Packing for 24 hours and multiple layovers

The art of packing food is my specialty.  Much like making my daily work eats (tutorials here), packing food for traveling is a bit of a craft.  Some may find it easier to buy meals at the airport rather than go through the hassle of taking extra baggage through security.  Personally, I’m not one of those people.  I don’t care if it adds 25 pounds of dead weight that I have to schlep by plane, train, and automobile, for me it’s SO worth the energy.  The cost to benefit analysis probably differs depending on your diet and distance, but knowing I won’t have to pay exorbitant prices for crappy food (with limited vegan options) is worth it.  Peace of mind for a peaceful stomach. 

Tips:

  • BYOB (tea bags and empty water bottles) – The way I get around the liquid law is filling up my klean kanteen at the fountain (for free) once I’ve made it through airport security.  Also most places will give you free hot water (some charge 25-50 cents).
  • Skip the salt – Flying causes bloating and there’s no reason to add to that.  I don’t know about everyone else, but I already feel gross within a second of boarding a flight.  So I generally try and ditch the pretzels and salted nuts and drink plenty of fluids.  And get an aisle seat ;)
  • Pack way more than you think you’ll need – This is the same as how I pack for work.  If I have too much stuff, fine, it’s not like I have to eat it all in transit.  Having extra bars and snacks is hardly a disaster.  Being hungry and unprepared, on the other hand, is totally miserable and leads to bad choices due to less than stellar options. 
  • Produce produce produce – Is there anything more portable than fruit?  No.  Apples, bananas, etc. are all naturally ready to bring on the go. 
  • Nibble mindfully – Because of time changes, my body never really knows what’s going on and I end up doing more snacking than eating full meals.  Rather than snack the whole trip long, I make sure I am truly hungry and not just bored.  [In other words, bring lots of magazines, books, movies, crosswords, etc. to keep your mind preoccupied so you aren’t using your mouth instead]

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Veggies, hummus, bread, nuts, dried fruit, cereal, apples, orange, oat bakes, dark chocolate squares.

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Snack central.  Seriously, I have no editing skills.  Just wait ‘til you see everything hidden in that bag:

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Probars, Corazona’s, Larabars, Clif bars, Luna bar, KIND bar, Artisana cashew squeeze pack, Attune bar, Love Grown granola, Udi’s granola, dried fruit

And my latest raw obsession too…

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kaia foods makes really yummy raw foods including sweet things like granolas, as well as savory things like these sprouted pumpkin seeds

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The good news is that I will have plenty of bars leftover to throw in my bag.  So when I’m struggling in Paris, I will have backup options and then some. 

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Hummus and dip-ables (carrots, celery, bread).

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Produce in zoom.  The salad is pretty much just romaine, carrots, corn, and avocado…with Trader Joe’s faux chicken on top. 

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I’ve had these before and they are pretty good.  They remind me of the same “chik’n” that The Veggie Grill makes. 

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It’s soy based with vital wheat gluten too.  It comes with some seasoning on it, which lends itself to a Mexican flavored meal.  Hence the Chipotle-salad-esque meal.  

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I only kept the soy meat separate for commute purposes…it will be added on top once it’s time to dig into the greens. 

Now about those “oat bakes”…

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I decided microwaved “bakes” were a smart portable option instead of oatmeal.  So I turned to Ashley, the queen of breakfast bakes.

The first one I made was a spin on her ba-nilla bake

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I have to say, almond extract is quite an interesting ingredient!  I’m going to have to get some of my own soon (my mom shocked me by having it in her cupboard, but I should have known she’d have it).

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Where my recipe differs from hers is my grain and milk choices.  I opted for oats instead of buckwheat.  I also skipped the almonds and replaced the almond milk with soy.  Since there was almond extract in the bake already, I decided on soy milk.  I also threw in golden raisins and dried cherries because I think tart dried fruit goes so well with vanilla.  Otherwise, it was pretty much the same recipe.

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Mixity mix. 

Ba-nilla Oat Breakfast Bake [serves 1]

*adapted from this recipe

  • 1/4 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1T chia seeds or 1 flax egg [1T ground flax meal + 2.5T warm water, whisked] or 1 egg white
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1T maple syrup
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1.5 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t almond extract
  • 1/4 t baking powder

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Here it is after just 2 minutes in the microwave.

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This photo steamed up the camera lens, but you can still see how it’s like a baked good as opposed to a bowl of oats. 

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The ease of this is so mind blowing.  Now, I haven’t tasted it yet, but I did lick the spoon, so I am pretty sure it’s going to rock. 

The second “oat bake” I made was my own recipe using up the second half of the banana and whatever I could find in my parents’ kitchen.

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Frozen blackberries?  Sure, why not! 

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Nuts & Berries Breakfast Oat Bake [serves 1]

  • 1/4 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup instant oats
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1T chia seeds or 1 flax egg [1T ground flax meal + 2.5T warm water, whisked] or 1 egg white
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 T crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1.5 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t baking powder

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Once they had cooled I packed them up in tinfoil. 

I’m pretty sure I’m covered in the food department.  Now, hopefully I won’t get to Spain and realize I am missing my toothbrush or something. 

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Adios amigos! 

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40 thoughts on “Packing for 24 hours and multiple layovers

  1. czechvegan

    Very nice and informative post! I am travelling on a weekly basis, so I know how hard it can be to pack all the good things that will keep your tummy satisfied:) I love baked oatmeal and your variations seems to be really tasty:)

  2. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)

    The oat bakes look great! Ive been doing my microwave banana oat cakes and microwave blueberry banana oat cakes for 6 mos or so now and they’ve totally changed breakfast (and snacks!). I do mine without egg whites or eggs and they hold together, too. I just use chia as you do.

    LOVE your travel tips…espi not loading up on salty foods. Totally agree!

  3. tea-bag

    great job in the food packing! i do the same thing when i travel and it absolutely saved me in peru & egypt!
    i also brought jerky (have you tried the meat-less primal variety?) & pre-measured bags of dried oats. when i was there, i found i could easily buy plain nuts & fruit so i was always stocked w/ food.

    i’m excited to see your pics from your trip!

  4. Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine

    I love that bar stash. Seriously, you are my hero!! I’m definitely guilty of boredom snacking on long trips. I eat all my snacks in the first few hours and then am starving later!

  5. libby

    I am leaving for a short vacation this week, and was just trying to plan out my food…Great post!! Safe Travels—ENJOY!!

  6. Kelsey @ Unmitigated Grub

    great tips! you are the queen of snacks! :) Isn’t it sooo much better having too many snacks (and having options!) than too little?? that’s my motto. And as long as you eat mindfully as you travel, it’s all good.

    ENJOY your trip!

  7. Michele

    Oh my gosh, this was PERFECTLY timed (for me, anyway). I was literally stressing out about what I’d eat on a road trip tomorrow through Thursday AS I opened my google reader! I’m traveling with my boyfriend’s extended family (without him. and I’ve only met his mother so far) and I really didn’t want to be the new girl AND the pain in the ass vegetarian at the same time. Thank you, thank you thank you!

  8. elise

    Haha thanks! I’m soo glad hummus doesn’t count as a liquid or gel bc 4 oz is not nearly enough!

  9. cbrady3

    You ARE the queen of packing food! I agree though, I always prefer to have my own food with me. Have so much fun!

  10. Marci

    you pack hummus and eat it warm? i like it cold. I also thought it would be a liquid.
    So glad you did the bake with regular oats. I’d been wanting to try with oats and not buckwheat!

  11. Abby

    This post will be getting starred in my Google Reader! lol. What a great post to refer back to whenever preparing for a trip! :) Hope you have a great time in Spain!

  12. britchickruns

    Hehe, I do the EXACT same thing packing with food! You should’ve seen my hand luggage when I went to the States…pretty much all food! Coming back was worse though, cos I found loads of American bars :P
    Great idea to bring the bakes with you!
    Have a fab time in Spain :)

  13. Jenny

    Heather’s oatmeal bakes are amazing. I just had one today, I wish I had buckwheat but I can’t get my hands on it. You are one amazing food packer. Have a wonderful trip!! :D

  14. elise

    Well obvs I prefer cold hummus! Unfortunately last time I checked security frowned on personal fridges as carry-ons.

  15. Ma Ma Megan

    I’ve turned into the queen of packing food around. We go to my grandma’s house a lot so I’m used to bringing everything I need in a cooler ;)

  16. littlehealthjunkie

    These are awesome tips!! I actuallly use like all of these already when I travel. I always bring tonnnns of magazines too-I need something to keep me extra occupied on long trips!! I’ve never brought hummus in the airport before though; I’ve heard so many stories of getting it confiscated! :( TRAGEDY!

  17. actorsdiet

    hey now, oat bake! looks good – i make a similar version but i call it oat cakes, since i slide them out when i’m done “cooking”

    have a great trip!

  18. holly

    ELISSSEEEE!!!

    viva a espana!

    but first, i caught up on like 20 posts. yes, 20. i am embarrassed but quite frankly, its kind of fun reading post after post, kinda like a story, ya know? anyways, most importantly, i hope everything is okay at the hospital. that easter story thing seemed a bit freaky so i hope they are doing everything they can to make sure everything is okay.

    second, you do continually impress me with your eating! while i still can’t get behind seitan (i’ve tried, i swear!), you manage to put so many fun things together into delicious looking meals of which i would like to recreate. espesh your salads – the ones with tons of avocado.

    also, you looked gorge at that wedding. I LOVE YOUR SISTER’S BLOG. and yes, it does make me want to quit my job and go travel the world. yay for kyle’s waffles making it to the finals! and yayyyy for spain! i cannot wait to read all your trip recaps and the fact you are going to the french open makes me oh so jealous. in the best way possible, i swear.

    love you friend!!!!!!!

    holly

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  20. janetha

    What is up miss PREPARED. I love your organization. I need to hop on these breakfast bake things soon, I hear they are all the rage.. and I guess you are the fan club pres now (i read the posts in the wrong order) so I am definitely gonna try to make one. Holy shit, why didn’t you take me to Spain?

  21. Allison

    That is so weird! When I flew from San Diego to Portland I brought a whole tub of unopened Sabra hummus and they made me throw it away because it “molded to the shape of the container” or some equally silly explanation. Hurumph. So sad to have to throw away a whole tub of hummus. Have a great time in Spain!

  22. kissmybroccoli

    Haha! Love that mountain of bars! I’m the same way when packing for travel or work…I always end up packing too much! I like to give myself options instead of a set amount of things to eat. What if I’m not feeling like an apple for my afternoon snack? What if I want yogurt instead? Bada-bing, bada-boom!

    Actually, now that I think about it, I pack clothing the same way? Why do I need 6 different pairs of shoes? Because I said so! ;)

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  26. Gena

    I have to agree with everyone — your packing skills are epic. If I do make it into med school, my third year clinical meals will all be inspired by you.

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