Fly like a plant-based BOSS with vegan travel snacks & the best food for long flights. Here are food ideas, recipes, tips, links & recommendations.
Table of Contents
- Can I take food through airport security?
- Vegan travel snacks for airplanes
- Best food for long flights
- Vegan airport food
1. Can I take food through airport security?
Yes, you can carry on solid food! But skip the juice, coffee and smoothies. All liquids (including beverages) have to meet TSA’s 3-1-1- rule. Check out TSA’s full FAQ about flying with food.
- Tip 1: We pack empty water bottles in our backpacks, then fill at a water fountain or bottle filling station.
- Tip 2: Different rules apply for infant formula, toddler juice & breastmilk.
- Tip 3: If you’re flying internationally, be sure to review those specific regulations.
- Tip 4: If you are flying with a food allergy, check out this detailed resource by Million Mile Secrets. It highlights the importance of preparation before arriving at the airport & how many airlines accommodate passengers with food allergies.
2. Vegan Travel Snacks for Airplanes
On a recent 4 hour flight, we were supposed to be offered a meal or snack to buy. But, the catering food didn’t get loaded on the plane. But even when snacks are provided, those 7 pretzels aren’t very filling. Vegan travel snacks save the day!
- Dips: Hummus, guacamole, salsa, dairy-free ranch
- Crunchy: Pretzels, pita chips, roasted chickpea snacks, edamame snacks, wasabi peas, tortilla chips, trail mix, nuts
- Whole fruit: banana, apple, tangerines/cuties, berries, grapes
- Cut fruit: melon, pineapple, mango
- Veggies: carrot sticks, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, mini sweet peppers
- Vegan bars: granola bar, protein bar, Larabar, GoMacro bar.
- Dried fruit: dried fruit, freeze-dried fruit, fruit leather strips
- Fancy appetizer: Olives, vegan cheez, roasted red peppers, crackers
- Drinks: tea bag, vitamin c electrolyte powder
- Sweets: dark chocolate, vegan gummy bears
3. Best Food for Long Flights
If you’re flying cross-country or internationally, you can pack food and/or request a vegan or vegetarian meal from the airline.
Pack a Vegan Airplane Meal
Beat the food costs and mediocre flavors by packing an easy, favorite meal. Whether breakfast, lunch or dinner, here are some vegan travel meals to try.
Vegan Airplane Breakfast Ideas
- Cherry nut granola, coconut yogurt & fresh berries
- Overnight oats (make ahead)
- Instant oatmeal cup (ask flight attendant for a cup of hot water)
- Banana nut-butter sandwich
- Bagel & jelly
- Protein powder, single-serve (add to water bottle)
Vegan Airplane Lunch & Dinner Ideas
- Buffalo chickpea salad sandwich
- Mediterranean sandwich / wrap: hummus, cucumber, roasted red pepper, lettuce, chickpeas or sliced tofu
- BLT sandwich: tempeh bacon (cook ahead of time), lettuce, tomato, vegenaise
- Bagel PB&J
- Instant miso soup packets (ask flight attendant for a cup of hot water)
- Cold pasta salad: cooked pasta shells, chickpeas, diced veggies, baby tomatoes, oil & vinegar
- Cold grain salad: cooked grain, beans & veggies, kale, nuts or seeds, oil (carry in a small dressing container in your 3-1-1 security ziplock, add to salad just before eating).
Request In-Flight Vegan Meals
For long haul flights, overnight and international flights, many airlines offer a “special meal selection” for in-flight meals. But, don’t assume they always carry a vegan option! Typically you request your special meal when booking your flight (but no later than 72 hours ahead of time). I advise calling the airline after booking your flight to ensure your meal is correctly requested, especially if you don’t plan to pack extra food.
Below are links to a few leading airlines which fly direct from the US to international destinations. Other domestic airlines like Jet Blue, Southwest and Frontier offer in-flight snack boxes and lunches on certain flights, which may include vegetarian or vegan offerings, but they do not have online information about pre-ordered special meals.
- American Airlines Special Meals & Nut Allergies
- Delta Special Meals
- United Special Meals
- Lufthansa Special Meals
- Virgin Atlantic Special Meals
- Air France Special Meals
- Alitalia Special Meals & Nut Allergies
- Emirates Dietary Requirements
People around the world have dietary needs for religious, cultural and personal reasons. The first time I ordered a vegetarian meal, I was overwhelmed by the options (vegetarian Jain meal, vegetarian lacto-ovo meal, etc). Happy Cow has a fabulous list that explains these airline meal terms in a simple way.
4. Vegan Airport Food: Fast Food & Convenience Shops
Vegan Restaurant Finder: Use the free airport wifi to download the Happy Cow app! Use the location finder to see vegan & vegetarian restaurant options near you… both in the airport and in your destination city.
Vegan Fast Food & Restaurant Options
- Auntie Anne’s Pretzels: original, jalapeno & almond pretzels
- Starbucks: PETA guide to ordering vegan at Starbucks (I’m a chai soy latte girl)
- Moe’s Southwest Grill: substitute tofu in all tacos, fajitas, salads & burritos.
- Chipotle & Qdoba: bean burrito with rice, veggies and guac. Tofu sofritas at Chipotle.
- Burger King: garden salad, fries, hash browns and french toast sticks are all vegan.
- Smoothie King: vegan pineapple spinach & lemon ginger spinach smoothies with plant-based protein.
- Jamba Juice: juices and smoothies
- Subway: made to order veggie sandwich
- Au Bon Pain: soups and sourdough bread
- PF Changs: vegetarian lettuce wraps, Buddha’s feast, coconut curry vegetables
- Local Endorsement: The Denver airport has a delicious restaurant – Root Down – which has a menu full of vegan, gluten-free, locally farmed meals. Vegan shoyu ramen, anyone?!
Vegan Travel Snacks in Convenience Shops
In most airport terminals, you can find a Hudson News, Flight Stop, CIBO Marketplace or other traveler convenience store. If you had to the airport in classic “Home Alone” style, there are some grab-and-go snacks available.
- pre-packaged fruit & nut snack packs (most contain cheese, though)
- granola and protein bars
- Sabra hummus & pretzel packs
- nuts, trail mix
- dried fruit
Wherever your plane is headed today, may the skies be clear and the snacks be delicious!
Let me know in the comments what YOUR favorite vegan snack is!