Traveling with food allergies internationally is going to come with a flight to get you there and back. If coming from the United States you typically will leave in the evening and then arrive early morning. While passengers without food allergies will find themselves catered to by the airline I highly recommend avoiding any airline food due to the high risk that comes with it. No one wants to be 30,000 feet in the air and have an allergic reaction.
When preparing for your flight I recommend having a big meal at home before heading to the airport and then packing lots of snacks. If you have any snacks that you know are typically found at airports that can be something fun to look forward to – but just keep in mind they are never guaranteed. So make sure you bring the snacks you know and love. You can also consider purchasing fruit at the airport.
Now remember you need to abide by the airline and country restrictions and know what you can and cannot take into each country. 3.4oz limit is fairly industry standard for liquids and gels and must follow the 3-1-1 rule for TSA. Now if you purchase it on the other side of security then you can have all the spreads and liquids you want to take on the airplane.
What are some items that are considered liquid or gel?
- Spreads – hummus, cream cheese, peanut butter, honey, jam
- Liquids – water, milk (breast milk is different), dressings, oils, salsa
For a more detailed list check out the TSA instructions to best prepare yourself when leaving the United States and returning. However, do make sure you double check the country you are going to and ensure that you can take the food through customs or do you need to eat it on the plane. Fresh fruit and homemade meals cannot be brought into Australia for example.
Ideas on Meals when Flying with Food Allergies
Here are a few ideas for simple meals to take with you when you are flying with a food allergy individual:
Pack cereal and then purchase milk after security or on the airplane for those without a dairy allergy.
2. Instant Noodles or Instant Oatmeal
Super easy to bring instant noodles or oatmeal, and you can ask for hot water either in the airport at a coffee shop or restaurant and make an easy meal. Or on board the flight, they have hot water as well that you can ask for.
3. Pack a Sandwich
Whether with something as simple as sunbutter with or without jam. Sandwiches with meat, whether chicken or lunch meat, need to follow the rules of the security you are going through and most likely will not be allowed through customs on the other side so eat it on board.
4. A Premade Chicken and Vegetable Wrap
An item that contains protein and carbs to keep you full longer, just make sure you check the security restrictions for your originating country.
Meals that are good at room temperature like pasta, salad, noodles, and more are great options to consider. For anything with dressings, keep it separate in a 3.4 ounce container so the meal doesn’t get soggy. Make sure you find a container that is spill proof so you don’t end up with any unwanted mess.
Flying causes dehydration so it is important to not also eat a lot of salty foods, but if you do make sure to drink lots of water. However, post post-travel day ensure you hydrate and get some sleep in the new timezone to help with jetlag.
Remember that opening things at a higher altitude can cause an explosion due to built-up pressure. Be cautious about what you open up when you are in the air. Be kind to those around you and avoid anything with peanuts for those with allergies.
Double-check any regulations, as they can change at any time, and if you are taking food for medical reasons carrying a doctor’s note is always best alongside it.