Flying can be hard when you’re on a restricted diet. Here are a few recipes and tips for what to eat when flying… paleo and GAPS style!
Not a frequent flyer.
As a mom of five little kiddos, flying isn’t something I get to do that often. My husband and I would have to spend our entire yearly income (practically) to be able to afford flying our whole family somewhere, not to mention the stress of herding 2 year olds and trying to keep boys from running and jumping their way through airports. Usually when my family needs to make a trip we drive.
This past week, however, I was offered a rare chance: flying alone to see my best friend and her family. Seeing as it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I took it.
What am I going to eat?
After the tickets were ordered, reality began to set in. Being on the GAPS diet, there was pretty much a 0% chance the airline would offer something I could eat. Without getting sick, that is.
I thought about eating before I left and then once I landed, but that left me with 8+ hours of no food. Not a very healthy thing when your body is in the process of healing. Since the GAPS diet is so restrictive, there was not really even a chance I would be able to find a suitable restaurant during a layover!
So I brainstormed with some friends, searched the TSA website, and set to work making my own paleo and GAPS-friendly travel snacks. Since I figured there are few of you out there who might someday be faced with the issue of what in the world to eat when flying, I thought I’d share my recently learned tips!
Foodie Flight Tips
If you’re traveling via the air and planning on eating, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Most commercial flights aren’t safe for gluten-free, paleo people. Don’t think you’ll be able to eat their peanuts, or even drink their coffee!
- If you’re taking an overnight or longer flight and need more than snacks and finger foods, make sure you contact the airline ahead of time and let them know you’ll need a special meal.
- Remember that going through airport security might take longer if you’re carrying food. Especially if your food isn’t easily recognizable as such through the security cameras. Not that I know that from experience…
- Remember, no liquid through the security checkpoints! You can, however, bring empty bottles and fill up on water once you get through security. Airports have really yummy water….
- If you’re taking any non-solid foods (like almond or peanut butter or mayo) you can’t take more than 4 ounces of it! Keep it in a leak-proof container – clear if possible – and ask the airline steward for a spoon once you’re on board.
What to eat when flying.
Now on to the goodies! I’m including foods that you can make ahead of time, that way you can control the quantity and the ingredient list. This is always the best option. However, if you don’t have the time to make your own food, I’m also including some store-bought options as well. Most of the store-bought options can be found at stores like Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Earth Fare. If you don’t have access to any of those grocery stores, you can buy the items on Amazon.
Please note, I usually just fly domestic and have not tried these foods on an international flight.
Also note, everything is completely paleo, and most foods are GAPS-legal unless noted otherwise. 😉
Energy Bars & Granola Bars
Energy bars and granola bars make great travel-friendly snacks. They’re easy to store, easy to eat, and packed full of nutrition! Here are a few delicious homemade options, as well as some store-bought ones if you don’t have the time to bake.
Chocolate Energy Bars from Delicious Obsessions
Crunchy Energy Nut Bars from The Things We’ll Make (sub honey as sweetener for GAPS)
Healthy Homemade Nut-Free Granola Bars from Raising Generation Nourished (pictured)
Paleo Chia Honey Power Bars from Raising Generation Nourished
Raw Power Energy Bars from Small Footprint Family
Store-bought or online options:
Organic Larabars – These are one of my favorite options. Just make sure to check the ingredients, since not all Larabars are paleo or GAPS-friendly. In general, the “organic with superfoods” ones are good. The Coconut, Kale & Cacao and the Turmeric, Ginger & Beet ones are my favorites!
Primal Kitchen Protein Bars – Made with grass-fed collagen for the protein, these paleo bars come in three flavors: Coconut Cashew, Dark Chocolate, and Hazelnut Protein Bars. None of them are GAPS-friendly, but they’re all delicious if you just need paleo!
RXBars – these come in a variety of flavors, like Blueberry, Coconut Chocolate, Mint Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Maple Sea Salt, Apple Cinnamon, Coffee Chocolate. I haven’t tried them all, but the ones I have tried (Coconut Chocolate and Peanut Butter) are completely GAPS-friendly.
Thunderbird Real Food Bars – these bars can be found locally in some Texas stores, but you can get them on Amazon as well. Just make sure to pay attention to the ingredient list. They’re all grain-free, but not necessarily paleo and GAPS-friendly (sometimes containing buckwheat, quinoa, or sweet potato). The Pecans, Goji & Pistachio, as well as the Hazelnut Coffee Mocha Bars are both certified paleo and are suitable for the GAPS Diet.
Crackers & Chips
If you’re on the lookout for store-bought, GAPS-friendly chips to take along on your trip, I got nothin’ for ya. Sorry. I’ve searched health food stores high and low for GAPS-legal chips, but haven’t found any. Paleo is a different thing, though. There are plenty of paleo chip options available in health food stores if you search well! Or you could just enjoy these homemade varieties…
3-Ingredient Paleo Crackers from Wholesome Yum
Carrot Pulp Cumin Crackers from Tasting Page
Kale Rosemary Super Seed Crackers from Tasting Page
Nut Free Paleo Crackers from What Great Grandma Ate (not suitable for GAPS)
Paleo Doritos Like Chips from The Things We’ll Make (pictured)
Savory Italian Tiger Nut Flour Crackers from Strength & Sunshine (not suitable for GAPS)
Paleo store-bought or online options (none of these are GAPS-legal):
Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips
If you’re packing baked goods for your trip, make sure they are of the firmer variety, so they won’t crumble all over or get too smashed in your carry-on. You don’t want to be digging out mushy cookies or crumbled muffins in the middle of your flight!
Note: some of these recipes may contain ingredients like baking powder and dairy-free chocolate chips, which can be suitable for a paleo diet, but are not GAPS-friendly. Just be aware…
3-Ingredient Grain-Free Bagels from Raia’s Recipes
Banana Lemon Muffins from Raia’s Recipes
Chewy Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies from Raia’s Recipes
Coconut Flour Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins from Small Footprint Family (use baking powder-free option for GAPS)
Coconut Flour Hodgepodge Cookies from Small Footprint Family
Dark Chocolate Banana Coconut Cookies from Raia’s Recipes
Egg Muffin Cups from Wholesome Yum (fine at room-temp for a few hours)
“Everything But the Kitchen Sink” Paleo Breakfast Cookies from Raising Generation Nourished (not suitable for GAPS)
Healthier Carrot Cake Cupcakes from Texanerin (leave off the drizzle on top)
Lemon Blueberry Macadamia Nut Muffins from Delicious Obsessions
Paleo Chocolate Banana Muffins from Texanerin (leave off the chocolate chips and topping for GAPS)
Paleo Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies from Texanerin (leave off the chocolate chips and topping for GAPS)
Pumpkin Spice Muffins from Raia’s Recipes
Savory Pumpkin Muffins with Apple & Sage from Raia’s Recipes (pictured)
Nuts, Trail Mixes & Granolas
Granolas and trail mixes are also a great travel-friendly snack. Just make sure that if you’re buying store-bought granolas, nuts, and trail mixes that you check the ingredients for grains, added sweeteners, or oils that aren’t paleo or GAPS-friendly. With trail mix, I’ve found it’s best to purchase the individual ingredients and then combine them myself. And if you’re on the GAPS diet, it’s safer to make your own granola at home.
Gluten-Free Morning Glory Granola from Raising Generation Nourished (use paleo option)
Goji Berry Paleo Granola from What Great Grandma Ate
Grain-Free Apple Cinnamon Granola from Raising Generation Nourished
Low-Carb Granola Cereal from Wholesome Yum (use honey as sweetener for GAPS)
Spiced Bacon Cashews from What Great Grandma Ate
Sugar-Free Curry Lime Nuts from Tasting Page (pictured)
Tiger Nut Trail Mix from Today In Dietzville (leave off chocolate chips for GAPS)
Veggies & Fruits
Sometimes simple is best. Fresh organic carrots sticks, celery sticks, cucumber spears, and chopped peppers, as well as fruits like apples and bananas are great snacks to bring along on a plane. Here are some homemade options that make for great travel snacks, as well.
Baked Yucca Fries from Strength & Sunshine (not suitable for GAPS)
Baked Zucchini Chips from Wholesome Yum
The Best Crispy Kale Chips from The Things We’ll Make (pictured)
Easy Homemade Pickle Chips from Raia’s Recipes (remove any liquid before packing!)
Purple Sweet Potato Tater Tots from Strength & Sunshine (not suitable for GAPS)
Simple Homemade Sauerkraut from Raia’s Recipes (remove any liquid before packing!)
Spicy Chipotle Kale Chips from Today In Dietzville
Spicy Spiralized Sweet Potato Fries from Strength & Sunshine (not suitable for GAPS)
Store-bought or online options:
Veggie-Go’s Fruit & Veggie Strips – While these are all paleo, to the best of my knowledge, pay attention to the ingredients here, if you’re on the GAPS Diet. Some of these contain veggies that aren’t GAPS-friendly, like sweet potatoes. My favorites GAPS-legal varieties are the TropiKale and the Carrot Ginger strips.
Dried fruits such as raisins, banana chips, figs, and dates. Just make sure to check the ingredients to make sure no sweeteners, stabilizers, or other additives have been sneaked in.
If you’re going on a shorter trip, these no-bake treats will work well. I would make sure they’re stored on top of your carry-on, so they don’t get smushed. If you’re planning on taking a longer flight, these can still work, just maybe eat them first before digging into your other snacks.
Almond Butter Protein Snacks from Delicious Obsessions
Coconut Date Balls (or Bites) from The Things We’ll Make
Homemade Coconut Date Snacks from Delicious Obsessions
Sesame & Coconut Halva from Raia’s Recipes (pictured)
Store-bought or online options:
Heavenly Organics Mint Chocolate Honey Patties – these are uuuuuhhhhmazing and totally worth the money for a little GAPS-friendly treat!
You might also enjoy these…
Eat Your Way to Healthier Hormones
Easy Lacto-Fermented Cauliflower
GAPS Stage 1: Easy Squash Custard
Creamy Buttermilk Avocado Dressing
Oh this is so helpful Raia! Thank you! I have not attempted flying with the girls yet, but I am tucking this away for the chance that we will get to do that someday! Thank you!
You’re so welcome! I hope it is helpful!
Great post! Love all of these options especially the energy bar. More of us need to bring our own food on airplanes!
Yes! Thanks, Joni! 🙂
These are such great tips! I know how difficult it can be to travel with food restrictions, so I love posts like this one. I’m going to try some of these recipes!
Thank you, Jean! I hope you enjoy the ones you get to try!
Hey, hope you had a wonderful weekend trip! For a moment I thought maybe you brought the whole crew 🙂 I once flew International on a 14-hour flight with a 2 year old and a 4 year old by myself! Not recommended 🙂 The list of snack ideas are great, even for non-paleos!
Haha! Thanks. 😉 That does sound stressful. I’ve flown international with an 8 month old and a 2 year old, but thankfully my husband was with me! I would’ve got crazy by myself! You were brave. 😉
This is so helpful Raia!!! For traveling in general too … airplanes and road trips. It can be hard to come up with ideas of health food that you can bring with you. I really appreciate you taking the time to put this great resource together.
Thank you so much, Emily! I hope many people find it helpful. 🙂
Great list! It’s always challenging to make healthy portable treats. 🙂
What a super collection of ideas! Thanks, also for the list of ‘purchaseable’ goodies,
for the last minute trip that still needs snacks!!
Thank you so much, Carol! I’m glad to share what I’ve learned. 🙂
This is such a helpful resource! Enjoy your travels!
Thank you so much!
This a great list! The struggle to have good eats while flying is real, I’m always packing my own snacks. Definitely gonna be checking out those granola bars!
Thanks, Corrine! I hope you find a few you can enjoy!