Navigating vegan vacations on the ground is one thing, but frequent travelers need more than basic salted nuts in order to stay fueled for problem solving in the air. Sure, more airport venues are stepping up with veggie burgers and individual fruit purchases, but once your plane goes wheels up youíre basically trapped in a closed system until you get where youíre going.
With fewer flights offering meal selections at all these days, even the old standby option of ordering a special vegan dinner selection ahead of time is difficult to implement with regularity. If pretzels donít have a place on your list of preferred travel snacks, youíll need to pack your own. Following are just a few of the food finds I recently discovered while shopping for workable personal solutions for vegan air travel.
Boxes: Traditional home-boxed lunches may or may not pass security scrutiny, depending on what you pack. However, Go Picnic offers a variety of prepackaged meals including one vegan option I ordered by the case to test out for a recent international flight. The meal consisted of shelf-stable hummus, crackers, two different nut and seed mixes and a piece of dark chocolate seasoned with sea salt. Purchased through my Amazon Prime membership which provides free shipping, my cost per boxed meal was roughly $4.
Additional vegan products the company offers include a black bean dip and plantain chips picnic, one with sunflower seed butter, a three-bean dip with rice chips option and more. Most are available at roughly the same cost of $4 per boxed picnic as the hummus lunches that I ordered in bulk. As someone who keeps a close eye on plastic waste, Iíd like to see them put a bit more effort into sustainable packaging, but itís nice to see a product available that doesnít require me to compromise my food choices.
Packets: In the cereal aisle at my nearest Whole Foods, I purchased packets of instant organic oatmeal by the box to take on the plane. Since most airlines still offer a hot beverage service, itís possible to pour the cereal into a coffee cup and add the hot water the flight attendants make available for tea. At less than a buck per envelope, I had a healthy and efficiently-packed alternative that could fit in the pocket of my jacket. To add extra nutrition, I also purchased a box of Flax Paks – individually-portioned packets of sliced flax seeds Ė to add essential, cruelty-free nutrition to my oatmeal option. The price worked out to about 50 cents per packet. While this is certainly more than Iíd prefer to spend on a day-to-day basis for my flax seed intake, itís more than doable for air travel days.
Another penny-pinching packet solution presented itself in the form of a Tasty Bite envelope. Itís no secret to vegan hikers and meatless road trip enthusiasts that this line of ethnic food products offers a number of prepared meal solutions that are completely free of animal products. However many of them are heavy on liquids, leaving air travelers open to potential security headaches. So I was stoked to trip over their seasoned multigrain and soy bean pack at the grocery store. Granted, this one is a bit tough to actually eat on the plane unless the staff is willing to heat it up for you. However, itís easily transported in a carry-on and provides you with something to microwave in your hotel room if your flight arrives too late for take-out goodies to be an option. The products are available at many major grocery chains and can also be ordered over the internet.
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