Primal Plane Food


primal plane food kids

Its six in the morning and Ive just started the coffee. Today is the day of our big trip. The whole crew will be returning to my birthplace, Portland, Oregon and then the coast. This will be the girls first plane trip and, subsequently, my first plane trip with them. Until now Id have preferred chewing tinfoil to sitting next to my kids on an airplane for any length of time. Family vacation seemed a bit like an oxymoron. Since they are almost 5 now I am starting to wonder if I’m being unreasonable. I must admit, however, that I am still not overjoyed at the prospect of spending nearly 6 hours trying to conceal their true nature (loud-talking, squirmy, dramatic, chaos-making from the other passengers. I can only hope that some other sorry soul has a loud infant or hyperactive toddler that will steal the attention away from whatever inappropriate thing my kids are doing. It is times like these that I feel I didnt adequately appreciate my 20s. There was nothing to do on the plane but read a book and gaze out the window as I indulged in my own self-important thoughts. I didnt have to worry about someone else getting bored, did not need to accompany anyone to the bathroom, anticipate their levels of hunger and thirst, be constantly available as a human pillow.

On the other hand, I get to share in their excitement and enthusiasm as we board this strange machine that can take us higher than the clouds.

As if simply making it through the day was not enough, I have set a goal for myself. I am determined not to waste a bunch of our vacation money buying snacks and little things at the airport. This is a weakness of mine. Once I go into vacation mode, money has no meaning. I only care about satisfying my immediate desires. I cannot guarantee that certain celebrity tabloid magazines will not be purchased, but I AM packing all the food we will need for the entire journey. We are leaving our home at 12:30pm EST and arriving at our destination hotel at about 8pm PST. Thats 11 hours of transit time and at least 1 meal and 1 snack each. Unfortunately I do not have time to prepare any of my cool green sandwich bread. Heres what I got:

Celery with almond butter
Almond butter packets, for those who like it straight
Roast beef from the deli
Mozzarella cheese sticks
Carrot and red pepper sticks
Boiled eggs
Erythritol (just in case I need a coffee

primal plane travel snack food

primal travel snack food

Nothing fancy here. Mainly these are items still remaining in our fridge or pantry, not even special things I bought for the trip. Wish I had some clever magic plane food recipe to share but the fact is that most of the time we just eat regular stuff. However, I would love to hear about YOUR magic plane food recipe or even just more ideas about portable primal snacks. In 2 weeks time we will be making another of these journeys and by that time I may need all the help I can get!

Note: I am posting this a little after-the-fact as we are already on our vacation and enjoying the Oregon coast. I had no way of knowing this at the time but we would have been in a desperate mess had I not packed all this food. We were supposed to change planes in Denver but the airport closed due to a thunderstorm. After circling the airport for an hour or so, we were instructed to land in Cheyenne instead. Meanwhile, the Denver airport opens again but we can’t fly back because there’s a control panel that’s not working properly. We also can’t get off the plane in Cheyenne because Frontier has no ground crew there. Eventually, after some insane amount of time, they wheel some stairs over and we are allowed off the plane. We ended up paying for a taxi to take us back to Denver where we crashed out at a hotel at about 3am. The plane staff kept handing out cookies but there was no real food to be found either on the plane or in the middle of the night at the Cheyenne ‘airport’ so we would have been stuck feeding the kids Doritos for dinner. My initial calculation of 11 hours transit time tuned into nearly 24. On the bright side, the kids were amazingly calm and cooperative throughout the entire ordeal perhaps figuring this was all just par for course. We got $800 worth of vouchers from Frontier so we’re already planning our next trip….

10 Responses to “Primal Plane Food”

  1. Living on the West Coast, with our families on the East Coast, in the UK, and in Europe, we’ve traveled many, many long, long plane trips with our son, beginning when he was 8 mos old. My husband is a research scientist and in addition to attending many international meetings (& earning FF miles for our “tagalong” trips), he has friends all over the world, who often invite us to visit. As a result, we travel a lot and our nearly 12 yo son is a seasoned traveler (and I’ll grant you, traveling with one child is easier than multiples, but still, I think frequent travel tends to create kids who travel well). I’ve traveled cross-country and overseas alone our son many times, even when he was an energetic toddler.

    With all this traveling, we’ve dealt with our fair share of travel-hell, too, though thankfully, more of the miserably inconvenient kind than anything tragic. Frankly, when the going gets tough, our son is the easiest to deal with; my husband is the one who gets cranky and difficult when things go awry ;-).

    You were wise to pack your traveling food. Between the high cost of buying as you go, the cr*appy airline and airport commodity foods options, and the many unplanned delay and rerouting situations that can mean no decent meals and skipped meals, having some packable, relatively non-perishable and nutritious foods is high on my list of “must-bring”, at least on the outbound. I swear, eating your own wholesome real food on an overseas flight helps to minimize or avoid jet-lag, too.

    First and foremost, I pack an empty stainless or collapsible water bottle ( www dot rei dot com/product/617927 ) to fill at a water fountain inside of TSA security checkpoints. I refill as needed.

    I must say, I admire that you packed hard boiled eggs. I always want to pack some, but my husband doesn’t want the sulfur smell to bother the other travelers. If I have to smell their Doritos (smells like stinky socks to me) then they can smell a hard boiled egg, IMO. 😉

    I also like to travel with a high fat/low carb nut bar. A good template that is easy to customize is here (replace dot with . ):

    www dot primalbody-primalmind dot com/blog/?p=459

    I put some of the ingredients through a food processor and hand mix in others that I want to keep in larger pieces; some favorite ingredients include coconut spread (like nut butter but made with ground coconut), raw cocao nibs, 70%+ chopped chocolate, a couple pitted prunes or dates for a tiny touch of sweetness, dark cherries, macadamias, and so on. I don’t make ball shapes, though, as I want them to pack into the smallest space, so I spread the mixture in a shallow pan, pre-score into 1×2 inch bars, then freeze. The bars break or cut apart easily when frozen solid (about 1 hour). Then I store the bars packed in airtight containers in the freezer, with one container in the fridge for current use. The bars will stay solid and firm unless subjected to warm temps, then they get a bit mushy and oily (still delicious); tightly sealed zip bags are a good insurance policy in the event of warm temps (contents can be squeezed out if need be). Shelf life is good, but of course, won’t last forever. The high natural fat content is important – it satisfies hunger with a small, dense portion that is portable.

    A commercial and somewhat sweeter option that isn’t grain-free but is gluten and soy-free (perhaps an option for the return journey) that is individually wrapped (& more expensive than homemade) is GoodOnYa bars. (replace dot with . )
    www dot thegoodonyabar dot com

    Other items I sometimes pack when traveling are pre-cooked bacon in plastic bags. That really gets the fellow passengers salivating :-). I bake bacon about 40-60 minutes at 250-275°F on a rack/shallow pan – at a low temp it cooks very flat without excessively chewy curly bits, the fat and meat parts are evenly cooked, and excess fat is rendered out, so it isn’t very messy to pack. It’s fine to eat a day or two later, even if kept at airplane/room temp (perhaps not stored in a hot car, etc.). I got the bacon idea after reading about the team that crossed the North, South Pole, Antarctica (?) eating primarily bacon and butter because those were the most energy dense packable foods (carbs are too voluminous for their calories). No hot grease to deal with either with precooked bacon.

    A good aged cheddar cheese is another reasonable option provided it doesn’t become extremely warm. I think it tastes better at room temp than mozzarella string cheese which are too rubbery, IMO. We also travel with a dried salami stick which keeps without refrigeration (traditional meat preservation method). It needs a knife, though, which we pack if we are checking a bag (or else we buy a cheap knife at a supermarket for use during our “ground” travels), as well as a small plastic cutting board. A plastic knife (carry-on safe) sometimes will cut salami if the edge is serrated enough (test at home). I cut & discard the “open end” cut” which is exposed to air and oxidation. The inner salami is fine if kept at a moderate room temp. Presliced salami doesn’t keep as well, but should be good for a day or so once opened. Salt is an ancient food preservative ;-).

  2. mary says:

    I’m glad your back writing. I’ve enjoyed your blog in the past. Recently I took my first trip with my kids, too, except they are teenagers. Being a single parent I’ve spent all of their lives raising them and finally decided they need to experience flying. I hadn’t flown since 1983 😮 Anyways, I was pretty much just as clueless as they were since flying policies have changed quite a bit. I packed snacks, as well, but our flight was cancelled and we ended up eating all our snacks before flying. When they offered the snacks on the flight in my head I was trying to not only get past the disappointment of not being able to eat a decent snack, but also was accessing which snack would be the most nutritious. None of them passed my assessment. I ended up getting the banana chips which sounded the most nutritious but had no nutrition in them at all.
    My standbys for traveling are fruit, carrot sticks, pretzels, snack bars. Anything that will withstand temperature and handling.
    Have fun on your next journey.I’m looking forward to my next trip with my kids. 🙂

  3. Ilene says:

    My kids are now 20 and 22… I remember so well when they were young thinking “Family Vacation” my eye!! So I had to laugh when you mention “Family Vacation” was an oxymoron, sooo true… I also enjoy your blog, keep them coming, I also know that with young children it must be difficult to post but thank you for doing so…

  4. Debbie S says:

    Welcome Home!! I live in Portland:)

  5. Mike says:

    Hey Shelley, great writing as always. Writing can tell the story of something like a trip in ways that a conversation can’t do. Especially when the writing comes with pictures!

  6. Kara says:

    This is timely, as I am about to make a trip from Seattle to Florida to visit my family, all on my own with my busy 16 month old! We eat a LOT, so I’m packing:

    -frozen veggies–will defrost & just be cold by the time she eats them. Green beans, lima beans, & peas are her favorite.
    -banana, clementine
    -boiled eggs
    -cheese sticks
    -seaweed snacks
    -raw peppers & travel sized pckgs of hummus (we do hummus once in awhile although I’m not sure it’s primal)
    -homemade kale chips (if these turn out when I try to make them for the 1st time!)
    -Lara bars (not totally primal, I don’t think, but acceptable to me)
    -nut/seed/dried fruit travel mix
    -lunch meat & cheese & raw peppers rolled & toothpicked
    -little container of salsa & guacamole to dip the rolls in–if I can figure out if these are allowed on the plane
    -frozen juice boxes to keep it all cold (and for a treat on the plane. Mmmmm apple juice!)

  7. Kristen White says:

    This is helpful. I’m about to travel alone with my 11 mo old to Atlanta for 4 days. Will be staying in a hotel half the time so am already planning food to bring and what to buy and what we are willing to eat at a restaurant. Luckily, I’m still breastfeeding so can just take care of the baby that way though she does love solids. These are all really good ideas. I’m also thinking of taking a small cooler so I can bring homemade pear sauce, some goat cheese, maybe some yogurt. Not sure yet.

  8. Laura says:

    Did you have any problems at all at the security check point or they were OK with you bringing all this in the airplane? A friend of mine had some sealed jars w/ baby food with her while she was traveling with her baby and they barely let her have that in the airplane.

  9. shelley says:

    Laura – We didn’t have any problems at security. My guess is that the baby food violated the 2oz of liquid per container rule. What do they expect you to do with a baby, though? Weird.

  10. GiGi says:

    Snacks/Meals that I bring on the plane with me:
    – Tinned Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel, Tuna
    – Sliced Chicken or Turkey Breast
    – Or some sort of ground burger (premade)… tin foil rocks!

    I one time brought a WHOLE HEAD OF CABBAGE on the plane with me, with mustard… but then I realized that I needed a knife and well, yeah that was an awesome experience, I totally looked like a cave girl! ha ha.

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