What are the best snacks to eat when flying?

snacks while flying

You know you should eat well when traveling to keep your energy and hydration levels up, but all too often you’ll find yourself in the departure food hall, wolfing down a fatty, yet delicious, snack, probably with a glass of wine.

And it doesn’t get much better on the plane. Staple offerings are chips in cans (you know what I’m talking about), biscuits, reheated meals of dubious quality and nutritional value and drinks all round.

Airlines and airports don’t care about your diet. They don’t care if you are eating well. They simply want to extract as much money from you in as short a time as they can.

So, what’s the solution? With a little bit of planning, it is possible to eat well on your next flight.

Read: Qantas admits it’s ‘not delivering’ expected service

Here’s our guide.

Nuts to you

One of the best foods to include in your healthy travel eating regime is nuts. They travel well and are available in plenty of different packaging sizes or varieties. They take up hardly any room and are packed with protein to stave off hunger.

I’d stay away from peanuts, as in an enclosed cabin even the act of opening a packet can trigger a reaction in some people with peanut allergies.


Apples provide nutrition as well as hydration. They are easy to carry and, once again, come in a variety of types. They are also rich in fibre, which can help if you have been sitting on a plane for hours.

Apples are also high in simple sugars such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose. They are easy to digest, and they are a very popular fruit, so are easy to find at most destinations.

Read: Crush packing for a cruise with these nine tips

Baked chickpeas

Chickpeas had a bit of a ‘moment’ during the pandemic. There were recipes aplenty about how to use this pantry staple, in a time when poor supply chains made it difficult to find fresh food.

Roasted or baked chickpeas are a good ‘swap’ when you want a crunchy chip. They also rank highly in the diet stakes.

Someone had to say it but it’s the back end that benefits from a chickpea. They have stacks of dietary fibre. Studies show that eating chickpeas can help make bowel movements easier and more regular.

Chickpeas’ rather bland flavour also means they can easily absorb flavour when they are cooked, and there are oodles of ways to make your own tasty chickpea snacks.

Muesli bars

A great source of nuts and seeds in one serving. Just choose carefully. Some muesli bars have similar sugar levels to chocolate bars. If sugar or some variant is listed in the top-three ingredients, put it back and find another.

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A fancy name for cut up raw vegetables and very often a lazy way to provide a course when entertaining.

A container of carrots, celery, cucumber, radishes, and capsicums is an easy and delicious way to snack on a plane. Add a container of dip for a pop of flavour.

The good thing about a crudité selection is there is something for everyone. Don’t like raw capsicums? Try carrots. If need be, cover everything in dip.

A few more tips for travelling with snacks

Think about those around you. One of those tiny tins of tuna is a perfect hunger buster, but not for everyone else’s sense of smell. Pack with others in mind and avoid the stinky foods.

Also check the quarantine conditions for your destination.

Many countries won’t allow you to bring in food. Some Australian locations have restrictions. For example, South Australia won’t allow fruit, vegetables, plant and plant material from other areas into the state.

Happy snacking!

What’s your favourite travel snack? Why not share your tips in the comments section below?

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Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

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