I’ll admit it. The thought of 24 hours of travelling on the plane freaked me out, not because I’ve got two kids under 6 to occupy in a space consisting of meagre centimetres alone (last year they were 4 and 18 months old!!) but because they are highly food intolerant. Airline food is completely and utterly off limits for us. I had to also prepare extra food just in case we were delayed or held up at any point in our trip. I envisaged I’d need to pack mounds of food for the journey, I was terrified they’d gobble it all up in the first five minutes like famished urchins and then be s-t-a-r-v-i-n-g for the rest of the trip, visibly wasting away by the second before plane had the chance to touch down 🙂
Then I got a grip: I sat down and wrote out a simple meal plan for three meals with extra snacks and it was actually pretty easy. I wanted to bring more food than we’d usually eat in 24 hours because I knew that we wouldn’t be sleeping much (we never do on flights) and that seems to make you (well, me anyway) hungrier.
I had two monster journeys to prepare for, from Australia to the UK (via Dubai for 3 hours) then back to Australia from Egypt, (via Dubai for 2 hours). I also had four shorter flights and bus rides to contend with, but it was the two monster 24 hour deals that I had to prepare for most.
Our flight to the UK was at 6 a.m. Last year I got up at a harsh 2 a.m to prepare the sandwiches. This year I prepared it all the night before and stuck it in the fridge overnight, a much better decision!
Here’s what I prepared for the UK Bound Trip (Food for me and my two daughters aged 3 and 5):
Breakfast/Brunch: Four bits of toast each, two pieces sandwiched together with mashed cannenlini or butter beans (salted and mixed with sunflower oil). (I knew there would be leftovers that could be used as snacks)
Morning Tea: Box of juicy celery sticks (these weren’t eaten in the end but were useful once we arrived in the UK as a snack the next day). A Frozen Pear Smoothie each (blended tinned pear in a Sinchie).
Lunch and Dinner: 6 slices of bread made into bean sandwiches plus 4 slices of bread made into Pear Jam sandwiches, Potato Muffins.
Extra Snacks: Two big zip lock bags of homemade cookies, Kettle Plain Crisps, Another Frozen Pear Sinchie (I kept these in an insulated bag and we arrived in the UK with them still cold!), Rice Crackers.
Leftovers: We had a lot of Potato Muffins left over, a decent amount of cookies and celery which served us well the first day in the UK.
The flight back to Australia was more tricky because I didn’t have any bread, and as you can see, the flight from Oz was mainly bread fuelled! Next year I think I will make some Potato Bread in the hotel kitchen in Egypt (I will put up a recipe for a much more simplified version of Potato Muffins in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned). So I made sure that I planned this trip back before I left Australia, packing certain ingredients before our holiday that I specifically saved for this last leg of the trip.
We left our house in Cairo at 2 pm, we ate a cooked lunch before leaving (rice and lentil soup). We were due to fly at 6 pm and so ate a tupperware tub filled with Orgran Buckwheat pasta and a tin of cannenlini beans mixed with salt and sunflower oil that I’d prepared that morning. This last ‘meal’ was a lifesaver for us as we boarded the flight feeling nice and full. The flight then was overnight at first, followed by the ‘day’ part. From last year I knew that we’d eat less in this flight due to the exhaustion of starting out the trip at night.
Four Foiled packed Pear Smoothies/Puree (I knew we wouldn’t have any Pear in Egypt and that the girls would be crazy about these for the trip back!)
Two Bags of Freeze Dried Pear (totally gobbled up)
Buckwheat and Rice Crackers (totally gobbled up)
A small bag of Sandwiches made of leftover bread I made with Chef Fathy in the Sheraton Soma Bay, I filled them with mashed beans (these were mostly eaten).
NB: I deliberately packed and saved TWO tins of Beans from Australia for the trip back (pasta dish and the sandwiches). Last year I had been unlucky in not finding tinned beans in the UK that my daughters liked.
A big bag of Cakes and Cookies I made with Chef Fathy (mostly eaten – of course!)
1 big zip lock bag of Cashew Nuts (mostly untouched)
A whole pack of Orgran Buckwheat Pancakes made in Cairo right before we left, I doused them in maple syrup before closing the zip lock bag (these were all eaten)
1 zip lock bag of Buckwheat Porridge and Maple Syrup (this wasn’t eaten but would have made a good back up had we been delayed or held up in Dubai).
The trip to the Airport was actually quite hair raising, there’d been protests the day before and many of the roads were closed, the traffic was even more shocking than normal. What should have been a 45 minute journey took us nearly 3 hours. We were very worried about missing the flight, if we had, all I could think about was what would I give the kids to eat with an extra 24 hours added to our journey time? Shudder…
Well that’s my summary of the Food while Flying. I’ve still yet to write up a travel summary with some tips for travellers both international and local so you can sign up for email updates here or like my Facebook Naomi Cook Writer/Author Page to see when something is posted. Meanwhile, for more on Food Intolerance and Vegan, Allergy Friendly Recipes click on the links!