5 Healthy Breakfasts You Can Pack For Your Flight That Will Get Through Airport Security

When I travel via airplane, I love to fly early in the morning in order to avoid any issues. It is why I often think about the breakfasts I can pack for my flight that will get through airport security. I typically start the morning with a frothy collagen or bulletproof coffee at home, so by the time I board my first flight, I am ready to eat. One too many times, I have had my overnight oats or yogurt thrown away by a TSA agent, only to be left with my “backup snacks,” and the hope that I will be adequately satiated until I reach my destination.

When I recently took a morning flight to visit a friend in Charleston, SC, I had some leftover blender pumpkin protein waffles from the day before. They ended up being the perfect breakfast to pack. Paired with a peanut butter packet and some berries, it was a delicious and healthy morning meal post take-off. The protein, healthy fat, and fiber trifecta balanced my blood sugar, helping me avoid any in-flight “hanger.”

I started to wonder what others pack for flights that gets through airport security. I asked some nutritionists and health-minded individuals, and here is what they said. 

Hummus bagel sandwich (or sandwiches in general)

“Smear hummus into a slightly scooped out whole grain ‘everything’ bagel. Separately pack hearty veggies, like fresh cucumber slices and raw or pre-grilled red bell peppers. Stuff veggies into the bagel sandwich before eating,” explains Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, chef, culinary nutritionist, and author of The Plant-Based Diabetes Cookbook. If eating gluten-free or grain-free is a nutritional necessity for you, fortunately there are brands on the market that offer both options. Bedrock Bakers has an Everything bagel made with grain-free flours that fits a paleo eating plan. A couple of other sandwich ideas could be a nut butter and banana (or chia jam) combination, or an avocado and egg sandwich on a gluten-free bun or English muffin. Rice cakes are another good base for nut butter, hummus, or mashed avocado. 

A blood sugar balancing bar or homemade trail mix

“For a convenient solution, consider opting for a well balanced bar,” says Michelle Routhenstein, MS, RD, Preventive Cardiology Dietitian, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and Certified Diabetes Educator. Brands that fit the bill are Gratisfied, Purely Elizabeth, Healthy Eating, Kate’s Real Food, Rx, IQ Bars, Larabar, or KIND. Another choice would be a homemade trail mix that will balance your blood sugar and contain “both fiber and protein, ensuring satisfaction and serving as a backup when other food options are scarce,” Routhenstein adds. “Dry roasted edamame brings the protein punch, while freeze-dried apple chips, like the ones from Bare Naked, add a crispy, fiber-packed goodness. They’re TSA-friendly and sealed tight for that perfect satisfying crunch on-the-go.”

Along these lines, depending on the duration of your flight, sometimes a variety of healthy travel snacks will get you to your destination. The trick is to focus on fiber and protein with some healthy fat to complete the satiety factor. In addition to a bar or trail mix, you could consider beef jerky sticks (like Chomps or Paleovalley), cheese sticks, fruit with nut butter packets, protein cereal, roasted chickpeas, and raw kale chips. One of my favorite foods to fly with is an avocado. Simply scoop with a spoon. Pair half with some hard-boiled eggs for extra protein. Enjoy these items individually as you graze, or combine a few of these things for a pieced-together meal on-the-go. 

Pre-made salad

Ever heard of a breakfast salad? When I am feeling the need for an extra nutritional punch in the morning, eating a salad starts your day on the right foot. Flying is no exception. Registered dietitian Jen Hernandez encourages this healthy meal for your flight. However, she asks that you “also be mindful that salad dressings may be packed with salt and/or sugar, so getting an oil and vinegar dressing could be easy and healthy.” Making it at home and packing it in a tupperware container could be your best bet. For the mix-ins, think breakfast flavors amidst leafy greens: bacon, hard-boiled eggs, berries, goat cheese, roasted almonds, sweet potato, and avocado. Pack a one- or two-ounce container of dressing to avoid a soggy salad pre-flight. Balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar mixed with some olive oil and honey is a simple yet flavorful dressing that will pull the meal together perfectly. 

Protein Cereal, Granola, or Oatmeal Cup

Relatively recent nutritional schools of thought advise you to stay away from the inner grocery store aisles, especially those showcasing sugary cereals. However, many brands are coming on the market offering Healthified versions of the traditional breakfast treat. Not only are these cereals made with upgraded ingredients (think low-inflammatory flours, heart-healthy oils, and blood sugar balancing sweeteners), but many are packed with protein. Seven Sundays, Catalina Crunch, Purely Elizabeth, Three Wishes, and Lovebird are some brands to turn to when you are wanting to satiate your cereal fix. Pack a serving in a to-go container, but make sure it is dry. Then when you get through security, head to the nearest coffee shop and ask for a cup of milk (think almond, coconut, or whole milk). When you are ready to eat, simply pour the almond milk onto the cereal, slice up a banana, and enjoy. You can even do this with an overnight oatmeal mixture – pack oats and chia seeds in the same way. You might have to wait thirty minutes to one hour to allow the oats to soak, but then they should be ready to eat. Pair your overnight oats with raw nuts or nut butter and berries in order to incorporate some more energizing healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals into the meal. 

Protein Toaster Waffles

Similar to my homemade pumpkin protein waffles, there are some options you can find in the freezer section that offer a similar meal in a more convenient way. The ingredients might not be perfect, but it will be better than what you would find in an airport. You can get Birch Bender’s, Kodiak, Van’s, and Nature’s Path brands at almost any store. I also love Swapples grain-free waffles, which you can find at Whole Foods and other independent retailers. By planning and preparing ahead of your flight, there are also healthier waffle mixes which allow you to whip up a batch easily and effortlessly. Or make your own breakfast bar using Gratisfied’s Empower Bar baking mix. Either way, make them the day ahead, pack what you need for your trip, and freeze the rest. I suggest pairing a couple of waffles with a nut butter packet and a banana or berries as I did on my flight to Charleston. 

In conclusion

Healthy eating when traveling can be challenging, but with some forethought, you can feel better prepared. All you need to do is prioritize and plan. A road trip is easier to navigate; all you need is a lunchbox or cooler, and the possibilities are endless. Flying is where healthy food gets trickier. Hopefully these aforementioned options have given you some good alternatives the next time you fly. 

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