Healthy Airplane Snacks – Marisa Moore Nutrition

Get the best healthy snacks for traveling by air plus non-perishable snacks for road trips and more. This dietitian-approved list of airplane snacks, travel-friendly snack recipes, and tips to pack food for the your next trip is just what you need to keep your healthy eating habits up on the road.

flat lay of peanuts in a jar, tangerines, water bottle, tea packet, fig bar and almond butter packets

These airplane snacks for adults will keep you help you eat healthier while traveling and keep you full on long days with unpredictable food options. Plus, taking your own snacks on the plane saves money. 

Easy Airplane Snacks

Whole fruit. Firm bananas, apples, and oranges are top picks for fruit. But you can also carry along rinsed and dried grapes and blueberries with a little forethought.

Fruit is a good choice for hydration and for an extra dose of vitamin C for the road. SKIP: Cut melons. Keep cut melons refrigerated and eat within 1-2 hours otherwise.

Nuts. Almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts and other nuts are one of my favorite snacks to bring onboard a plane. Don’t wait for the flight attendants to pass them out.

Carry a small bag of your own to squash hunger when it strikes and keep blood sugar levels stable. You can also carry little packets of nut butter to enjoy on an apple or with crackers.

Seeds. Like nuts, seeds provide plenty of satisfying protein and fiber to help keep you feeling full as you go through the day. These are especially helpful if you’re traveling with kids or others who have a nut allergy. Try pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds to start.

Flatlay of jar of peanuts, tangerines, tea packets, water bottle, nut butter packets, bags of pumpkin seeds and pistachios

Dried fruit. Raisins and dried cranberries are common but you can also pack dried cherries, blueberries, mango, apricots and more for an energizing sweet snack.

Dried fruit tends to be high in fiber and iron. It’s a good addition to snack mixes, topper for oatmeal or on its own.

Dried vegetables. Freeze dried peas and beans, okra, carrots and other vegetables are a good option for a crunchy snack and boost of fiber.

Most “veggie” crisps and chips are not the same. Many are simply made with potato or rice flour and very little of the vegetables they claim to contain. 

TIP: Look for the vegetable to be listed as the first ingredient. Bonus points if it’s the main ingredient with only salt, other seasonings or oil listed after it. 

Puffed Beans and Peas. Look for chickpeas, lupini beans, fava beans and lentils. Many will be simply salted and others will be heavily seasoned with flavors ranging from barbeque and buffalo to garlic and herb.

Find these: Check the snack or gourmet foods aisle and end caps for baked peas, beans and lentils.

Trail mix. Pick up a bag of your favorite trail mix at the store or make your own. Include a combination of nuts, seeds and dried fruits, dried vegetables for a nourishing and delicious snack mix that can go from planes to a hiking trail.

Water. Yes. You can buy water in the airport but it’s expensive and a waste of plastic. Consider instead bringing a reusable water bottle to fill once you get through security and to use throughout your trip. 

TSA-Friendly, Healthy Snacks

Peanut butter is classified as a liquid according to the TSA. 

You can’t carry on a jar of peanut butter but you can carry peanut or almond butter squeeze packs. Those are usually just over 1 ounce – well under the 3.4 ounces of peanut butter the TSA allows in carry-on bags.

If you need a jar of peanut butter, put it in your checked bag – preferably with plenty of coverage to avoid any spills.

Yogurt is also considered a liquid. I found this out the hungry way a long time ago as I thought I’d eat my 5 ounce container of Greek yogurt at the gate. No. They took it. 

Other tricky foods limited to 3.4 ounces for carry-on include hummus and other creamy dips or spreads, salsa, jam and jellies.  

Check the full list of foods the TSA allows in carry-on and checked luggage before heading to the airport next time.

As you can see, there are plenty of options to take with you including the snacks I shared above and these travel-friendly recipes below.

Travel-Friendly Snack Recipes

If you have time to prep a few snacks, try these travel-friendly recipes.

Berry Oat bars with crumbs

Vegan Berry Oat Bars

These bars are one of the most popular recipes here and for good reason. They are made with oats, ground flaxseed, jam and just enough sugar for an easy snack bar that is mostly handoff to make. You can easily cool, slice and carry these for breakfast or a snack throughout your travel day.

Double Almond Baked Oatmeal Cups

These oat cups are perfect for an easy breakfast on the go. They freeze well and are perfect for a filling, slightly sweet snack on the way to the airport or on the plane. 

Prune Oatmeal Cookies Travel can be tough on the digestive system. These cookies might help. These cookies are held together with prunes which add natural sweetness plus sorbitol and phytonutrients which help support gut health.

Prunes can be a natural laxative too. So you might wait to eat these when you get to your destination!

Savory snacks can make you feel like you’re eating a meal. These are some good picks for travel.

Side view of air fryer chickpeas in a white bowl with beige napkin.

Crunchy Air Fryer Chickpeas
Seasoned however you’d like, crispy chickpeas are a high protein and fiber rich snack that eats more like a meal. To keep them fresh and uncrushed longer, consider packing in a small glass jar if that doesn’t add too much weight to your bag.

Herbed Cheese Cookies
These cookies can be made up to 3 days ahead, packed and enjoyed throughout your travel day or the day after.

Want more of a meal than a snack? This Mediterranean pasta salad, smashed chickpea salad or quinoa salad with apple cider vinaigrette are all great options to carry on the plane.

How to pack snacks for the plane

Prevent spills and keep your meals and snacks from being crushed in your bag with the right gear. These sustainable options can help make plane snacks perfectly portable for years to come.

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stasher silicone bag with peanuts in shell inside

Get a variety of reusable snack bags – either silicone reusable storage bags or the more affordable reusable cloth snack bags and pouches

You can also protect and carry a sandwich or snack bars in reusable beeswax food wrappers.

Reusable zippered cloth snack bags

A reusable water bottle takes up a little room in your carry-on. But it’s a great way to stay hydrated especially on travel day. Most airports have filtered water stations available.

stainless steel food jar and bottle

Instead of spending $4 on a bottle of water or waiting a couple of hours or more for a half cup of water from the snack cart on the plane, consider taking your own bottle. Fill it up once you’re through security. Then use it to get water upon arrival in the hotel fitness center.

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