Best snacks to bring on a plane

These airplane food ideas will help keep away the munchies on your next flight. From healthy snacks to sweet treats, there's something for everyone.

Best snacks to pack when traveling by airplane

We all need airplane snacks!

Whether you're taking a long haul flight, or just a quick jaunt to your next destination, having some good snacks on hand can make all the difference. After all, airline food can be pretty lackluster to say the least!

In addition to airline food not being the greatest, many airlines no longer include complimentary meals in economy class (unless you're flying internationally). Which means you have to pay extra for the not so nice looking food they have on board. It's like being insulted twice!

A look at the Scoot inflight meal selection. We didn't think it was too badly priced overall.

(Actually, in all fairness, this Scoot menu when flying from Athens to Singapore looked pretty good! We had our own snacks anyway though).

So, in order to make your next flight a little more enjoyable, it's more important than ever to be prepared with your own food.

I've done this many times, including when I flew from Athens to Singapore on a budget airline!

I've rounded up some of the best snacks to bring on a plane, that includes healthy travel snacks as well as some of those little indulgences that make flying a bit more bearable. You might also want to check out my road trip snacks article for more ideas!

The Best In-Flight Snacks

There are a few things you should keep in mind when packing snacks for your flight. First, they should be easy to eat without making a mess. No one wants to be that person who's managed to cover themselves and their seat in food.

Second, they should be relatively compact so they don't take up too much space in your carry-on. You don't want to have to lug around a big bag just for your snacks!

And lastly, they should ideally not require refrigeration, particularly when taking long flights. Obviously this isn't a hard and fast rule, but it does make things a lot easier.

Related: Long Haul Flight Essentials

With those guidelines in mind, here are some of the best airplane snacks to bring along:

1. Nuts, Seeds and Dried Fruit

Nuts and seeds are the perfect in flight snack to bring on a plane because they're packed with protein and healthy fats. They'll help keep you feeling full and satisfied during your flight, without being too heavy or greasy.

And since they're small and lightweight, they won't take up too much space in your carry-on. You can buy ready made bags of mixed nuts and dried fruit, or make your own trail mix to take with you.

2. Granola Bars and Protein Bars

These types of bars are prefect snacks for long flights. They are well wrapped, don't need to be kept at any specific temperature, and will give you some much-needed energy.

It's always good to have a couple of bars tucked away in your carry-on. Even if you don't eat your granola bar during the flight, they make great snacks for afterwards when you're feeling a bit jet lagged and need something to tide you over until mealtime.

Related: How to prevent jet lag

3. Olives

Since living in Greece this last 7 years, I love taking olives as a healthy snack when bringing my own food on a plane. I have to say, they are one of the best snacks for long flights!

Olives are a great source of healthy fats, which are beneficial for your heart health. They're also high in antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage. And lastly, olives are very filling, so they can help keep you satisfied during your flight. Oh, and they taste lovely too!

4. Pre-peeled carrots and cucumbers

These are another ‘go-to' when I want to being snacks. Best packed in a small Tupperware, they're filling, satisfying and easy to eat without making a mess. Carrot sticks and cucmbers go well with the olives mentioned above!

5. Chocolate Bars

While it's always better to eat healthy food whenever possible, why not treat yourself to a delicious chocolate bar while you're flying?

It's understandable if you want to indulge your sweet tooth while on your flight. And since chocolate bars are small and easy to pack, they make the perfect snack to bring on a plane. Just be sure to choose one with a high cocoa content for the health benefits.

6. Sandwiches

If you're bringing your own food, then sandwiches are a great option. They're filling, satisfying and relatively easy to eat without making too much of a mess.

Just be sure to wrap them tightly so they don't get squished in your carry-on. And if you're taking a long flight, it's best to choose a meat or cheese that doesn't need to be refrigerated.

7. Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is another great option for a protein-packed mess free snack. It's high in protein and low in fat, so it's perfect if you're watching your weight. Plus, it doesn't need to be refrigerated, so it's ideal for long flights.

Just be aware that beef jerky can be quite salty, so it's best to eat it in moderation. And if you have high blood pressure, you might want to avoid it altogether.

8. Fruit

Fruit is always a good option, whether you're flying or not. It's packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, and it's relatively easy to eat without making a mess. You'll not want to being fresh fruits that might get squished though such as bananas. Fruits like apples travel well, and hold up better in your bag for short periods of time.

Note: Some countries may have restrictions on what fruits you can bring in from other countries, so be sure to check before packing your plane snacks for international flights.

Related: Why do flights get cancelled

9. Hard Boiled Eggs

This might not be for everyone, but hard boiled eggs make a great snack. They're relatively easy to eat without making too much of a mess, but be sure to pack them in a container so they don't get squashed and you end up with egg covered carry-on!

What your fellow passengers may think to you bringing on board boiled eggs is another issue, but as long as you're prepared for some funny looks, go for it!

10. Cooked Meats

Cooked meats are another great option for a protein-packed snack for when you want to bring food on a plane. And like hard boiled eggs, they're relatively easy to eat without making too much of a mess. When bringing food like this on a plane, just be sure to pack it in an insulated container to keep it fresh if it's not got a sealed packet.

What food not to take on a plane

When you're thinking to bring snacks on a plane, it's also important to know what to avoid if possible. Here are some foods that are best left at home:

  • Instant Oatmeal or Instant Miso Soup – While some people have mentioned they asked a flight attendant for hot water, it's not always possible to get hot water on a plane.
  • Bananas – These never end well on a plane, as they only need the slightest knock and they bruise and split.

Related: Can I take a powerbank on a plane?

Tips on taking food items on to planes

Liquid drinks – Don't bring these from home, as you won't be able to get them through security. Once you have gone through airport security though, you can pick some up before boarding if there are small grocery stores in the departure area.

Pack food – Plan ahead and pack snacks and food you want to travel with into containers or small bags, that way they are easy to grab when you're feeling peckish on the plane.

Choose wisely – Be mindful of what foods you're choosing to take on the plane in a snack bag. If it's a long flight of more than a few hours, you might want to avoid anything that needs refrigeration or will go bad quickly.

Flying Scoot Athens to Singapore direct

Related: Pros and Cons of traveling by plane

FAQ – Taking Snacks On A Plane

If you're planning to bring along your own snacks when you next fly to save money or to eat more healthily, these commonly asked questions will come in handy:

What are some healthy snacks I can travel with in carry on?

Some healthy snacks that you can travel with in carry on include: Nuts and raisins, clif bars, dried fruits and veggies.

Can you take your own food on board a plane?

Yes, you are allowed to bring your own food on board a plane. However, there are some restrictions on what types of food you can bring depending on the country you're travelling to. It's best to check with the customs agency of the country you're travelling to before packing your snacks.

Can I pack baby food in my carry on?

Yes, you are allowed to bring baby food in your hand baggage. You may need to take them out to be scanned separately when going through airport security.

What is a filling snack for a flight?

Some good options for a filling snack for a flight include: beef jerky, fruit, hard boiled eggs, cooked meats, and nuts and raisins.

Can you take peanut butter on a plane?

Airline and security rules normally allow 100 ml of liquid or gel-like foods which include peanut and other nut butter.

Bringing your own snacks with you on the plane can make the journey more comfortable and less stressful. It's always better to go with a few healthy options when possible, but there are plenty of tasty snacks to choose from as well. Just be sure to check the rules and regulations before packing your snacks, so you don't end up with any surprises at the airport. 

Do you have any suggestions of airplane snacks for adults and kids? Leave a comment below!


Dave Briggs visiting an island in GreeceDave Briggs
Dave is a travel writer who first got on an airplane aged 5. During the many (many!!) years since then, he's been flying internationally to all parts of the world taking along food to eat on the plane. Dave's travel blog was created to help fellow travelers by providing travel tips and insights so they can better plan their travel adventures. Follow Dave on social media for travel inspiration from Greece and beyond:

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