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Posted on Jan 3, 2008 in Bento, Equipment, Sandwich Case, Tips | 77 comments

Avoid airline food, pack your own bento lunch

Avoid airline food, pack your own bento lunch

My husband, my three-year-old son and I went on a multi-city vacation in December, so of course I brought along gear to pack bento lunches for our flights and day trips. Nowadays airlines in the U.S. are offering less and less in the way of meals, instead selling nasty carb-loaded “snack box” meals full of pretzels, crackers and processed cheese. Those things are loaded with preservatives and aren’t particularly delicious or satisfying — better to bring your own food and be in control of your own destiny. I get a kick out of pulling a proper meal out of my carry-on bag, quieting my son while making my seatmates and the flight attendants jealous. But there are some tricks to packing an appealing airplane lunch that’ll pass through airport security and still taste good. (Click to read the full post…)

Bento lunch gear to bring on a family vacation (unpacked)

  • Disposable lunch for plane tripSave space with your containers. Choose a disposable container if you’re packing a meal to send away with someone else, or if space is at a premium and you won’t be packing any additional meals. Or choose a collapsible sandwich case or a multiple-tier bento box that nests (JList sells some here) into itself when empty so that you can save space in your luggage, and use them throughout your trip. For our family trip I brought along the gear in the photo above; it looks like a lot, but it didn’t take up much room in my luggage because the boxes collapsed and nested. (Click any photo for details and a larger view.)

Bento lunch gear to bring on a family vacation (packed)Although the Laptop Lunchbox was designed to fit perfectly on an airplane tray table, I find it a bit large and unwieldy when traveling (your mileage may vary). Give me a container that I can collapse after I eat, and I’m happy. Another upside of collapsible containers is that you can whip one out of your bag to pack up leftovers from a restaurant meal and store it in your hotel room refrigerator, saving you money on lunch the next day (even if you’re not flying). I especially like the collapsible sandwich cases because sandwiches are widely available and easily packed on the road when I’m away from my kitchen.

  • Think about security restrictions when choosing your food. Cut food into bite-size pieces as necessary beforehand as your knives won’t make it past airport security, and avoid large quantities of liquids or gels. To be safe, this means skipping the soup or curry, and packing small amounts of condiments (under 3 ounces) in a separate 1-quart plastic bag to speed your passage through security. Remember that you can always pick up little condiment packets from airport restaurants after you’ve gone through security! Leave the yogurt, applesauce, and juice boxes at home. I had juice boxes confiscated on this past trip as TSA determined that my three-year-old is no longer an infant. It’s been fine at other times, so be prepared to lose questionable items (Bug was so sad watching his juice boxes being thrown away by security — learn from my experience!). The most current U.S. guidelines for carry-on items are here, but check your own country’s air travel authority for local laws.
  • DIY oshibori and casesDon’t forget the accessories. Bring along a few sauce containers, food dividers, reusable silicone baking cups, or travel utensils if you think you might pack meals on the road or for the flight home. If you’re packing something messy and a regular napkin won’t cut it, consider bringing along disposable wet wipes or even a damp oshibori hand towel. You can make your own on the cheap with common items like a wet paper towel in a plastic baggie, or a reusable baby washcloth inside a travel soap case (see my oshibori how-to).
  • Lunch wrapped in cloth napkinUse multitaskers. Use a cloth napkin or dishcloth to wrap your bento box, keeping your lunch secure and giving you a nice placemat or napkin to use during your meal. I use the simple Otsukai Tsutsumi wrapping style shown on this illustrated how-to wrapping chart to wrap flimsy disposable containers so they can be thrown into carry-on luggage.
  • Contain the smell. You’ll be eating in close proximity to others; be considerate and think about how your meal will smell when you open it on the plane. Read my tips for packing smelly foods if you’re going to pack things like tuna fish or garlic.
  • Don’t overpack food for international travel. When traveling internationally, it’s safest to either finish your lunch on the plane or throw away any fresh leftovers before going through customs. Customs officials generally aren’t amused if you forget to declare fresh fruits or meats in your luggage — once I absentmindedly lost an orange and a hard-boiled egg this way in Costa Rica. Familiarize yourself with the laws of the country you’re going to beforehand so you don’t get caught out.
  • Don’t overpay for airport drinks! Bring along an empty water bottle and fill it from a water fountain after you’ve passed through security. This is when those individual packets of powdered drink add-ins come in handy — throw a few of these in your carry-on and you’re independent!

Here are some sample bento lunches I’ve made for plane trips (click on any for details):

Disposable airplane lunchDisposable airplane lunch for diabetic

Disposable lunch for plane trip Lunch wrapped in cloth napkin

Speedy sandwich lunch for airplaneSpeedy airplane lunch for toddlerStromboli lunchStromboli lunch for toddler

Speedy meatball lunch for toddlerSpeedy meatball lunch

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  1. Great trips for travel, even for those of us who don’t always travel with children. Bento boxes are becoming easier to find in some of our Asian supermarkets in Boston.

  2. I saw your picture of the tiny fork and spoon and it reminded me of the time I was plane-hopping around Europe with a backpack.

    Several times airport security threatened to toss out my little fork, spoon and chopstick set! It may have just been jobsworths on a powertrip, but mini chopsticks make it through security more easily than a threatening spoon and fork combination. ;)

  3. Wow! These tips are great. I won’t get into the politics of the people who confiscate my stuff at the airport but I love the thought of bringing a nice meal onboard! Thanks, Biggie!

  4. I love the last tip, that applies no matter what! I’ve mentioned before to you that I’ve adopted the bento-on-plane strategy, and used to agree with your initial statement about snack packs. Actually it seems a lot of the US airlines are trying to offer better food on flights, still as pay-per-meals, but better food options, hiring gourmet chefs around the country… there was this really good article in the NYT about it, the big issue is what will keep and what reduces the amount of waste they will have…

  5. And I have gotten several of those silicone muffin molds. Very convenient for all sorts of stuff.

  6. I’m glad you mentioned the empty water bottle thing! That’s what I do, and it’s so much better than a $4 bottle of water or a dinky cup of soda on the airplane. And if the water tastes funny, I drop a crystal light packet into it. Such a money saver.

  7. Just from the international border crossing perspective –

    I work in Biosecurity (i.e. the border agency, like Customs, that is interested in anything you might introduce to the country in terms of pests, diseases, etc) – and in this country, if you fail to declare food you can get a very large fine (up to several hundred thousand dollars) or even jail time. Ignorance is no excuse, and all bags are x-rayed, sniffer dogs operate, etc. – so there is a good chance that anything you bring will be found. Condiments are still food – prepackaged goods (granola bars, chocolate, etc) are still food. So are juice boxes – anything that you consume, even water.

    Similarly, if you have dirty (i.e. used but not washed) bento equipment, it’s best to declare it – you may need to wash it before they’ll let you bring it into the country. If this is likely to cause you concern, then use disposable and leave them on the plane.

  8. great post. for a future post idea would you mind posting recipes or example airplane meals you’ve packed?

  9. Thanks for all the ideas. We’re taking trains later this year, and although meals won’t be a problem (they know how to cook, yummy), snacks and storage ideas once we are at the hotels are needed.
    You really are a great mind.

  10. How nice,
    I’m so sick of food on the plane,
    It’ll be so good that I can eat my own home-made food instead!
    Only one problem tho…
    I think I’m always too busy packing before a flight…no time to prepare for it…. >__

  11. @1 from Lydia: Thanks, Lydia! Good to hear about sourcing bento boxes in Boston. If you can recommend specific stores for bento gear locally, I’d encourage you to add them to the geographic shopping guide on the Bentolunch community on LiveJournal (linked on my Shop page: http://lunchinabox.net/shop)

  12. @2 from Olivia: You know, I keep expecting to have problems with the fork/spoon set when going through security, but haven’t yet. Up to now I’ve gotten a bit of a wide berth because I’ve been traveling with an infant, but I guess that’s over — time for me to toe the line a little more carefully! Interesting that security thinks chopsticks are less dangerous than a fork; I wonder what their scenarios are…

  13. @3 from Beanbean: I like the freedom carrying my own bento gives me on a plane. If I don’t like their food options, I can pass. If we’re delayed on the tarmac, I’m self-sufficient. This past trip, for example, our plane was delayed twice due to snow, causing us to have a lengthy layover in Dallas. No problem, just find a table or even just a seat at the gate, and munch occasionally while waiting for news on our flight…

  14. Great tips, thanks. I always try to pack food when I travel. It´s so much more fun, and tastes so great, especially when you see the styrofoam everyone else is having.
    I just wish I could find all those containers here in Spain.

  15. Loved the tip on taking an empty water bottle and filling after security using the on the go drink packets. Thanks!

  16. I’ve been traveling myself and will link to your article when I do a last writeup on GF meals on airplanes. I had good luck going to my destination- bad luck on later legs of the trip. I would have loved a nice tasty bento with my own food! Nothing like starving on a 11 hour flight, haha.

    Those “gourmet” meals they sell on planes tend to be 100% useless- wheat, wheat, and more wheat. DH who can eat them doesn’t want to… and regular meals they provide to international or domestic travelers can still often suck. Dunno what those chefs are thinking. ;)

    Washing bentos pre-security is a good idea, but I’ve never had any of the European or Asian countries I’ve travel to care about anything but MEAT and FRESH FRUIT or VEGGIES. So, i think as long as you’ve eaten all these things and rinsed your bento you should be fine.Obviously food should be declared, but some customs forms don’t ask. Others do. They always ask about fresh fruits/veg and meat, but there isn’t always a generic “food” box. When asked by customs, we always say “yes, we have pasta/crackers/chips” (truthfully, obviously) and they practically yawn they’re so bored with it. No one’s turned the dogs on us yet. (Or at least, the dogs haven’t been much interested in us, haha.) ;) Love the water bottle idea, too.

    -Sea

  17. My family and I ALWAYS bring our own food with us on trips, no matter how long the journey – airline food quality is despicable!!

    I LOVE all the little bento meal boxes that you brought – so fun!!

    Happy New Year!! :0)

  18. Watching your photos and reading your wonderful tips about packing lunch boxes I always wish to travel more – but as for it’s one of my New Year’s resolutions to travel with my kid more :) I believe I’ll be starting my adventure with bento soon.
    Happy New Year by the way! :D

  19. @ 17. from Sea:

    Hi Sea,

    What is of concern to the biosecurity folks really varies from country to country. I work in New Zealand (and am from Australia) – these two countries have some of the toughest biosecurity in the world, as we are fortunately free of many plant pests, diseases, weeds and foreign pest animals. When they ask about food here, they mean “anything you could consume”… they also routinely check shoes, camping equipment, fishing gear….

    In New Zealand, you may not bring any edible item that contains honey into the country, for example (no cookies, cakes, candies… personal care products are OK).

    Most wrapped items (cookies, candies) will be allowed in, but it depends on the ingredients – if they contain eggs or dairy they may not be allowed entry (I had some instant coffee sticks taken off me last time I went to Australia because they contained milk powder and I didn’t take the outer box stating they were product of New Zealand) – it’s in your interests to have things in unopened packaging that declares the country of origin.

    Some diseases or pests can be carried in very small amounts of water, in milk, cheese, chocolate, etc.

    I thought those on special diets (my partner has multiple food allergies) might appreciate the advance warning that if they come to Australia or New Zealand, to check carefully in advance what food they will be allowed to bring (and if necessary, check for appropriate local alternatives – there isn’t such a big range due to the smaller population, but you can certainly get by).

    Sorry for the long post… biosecurity is my passion :)

  20. I was in the store tonight and saw the new “fit & fresh” lunch system. Ihad to get the “lunch on the go” one. So, now other then some lock and lock small pieces, I have a real “bento” lunch box to use! yea! Their web site is http://www.fit-fresh.com They have different kind of systems depending upon what you like, but I liked the lunch on the go one. It has an ice pack so it makes me feel better for food safety and it looks large enough capacity waise for a decent lunch. I’m excited about trying it out.

  21. Quick question for you. Have you ever seen seasonings for noodles….by which I mean, we have furikake for rice but apart from the instant ochazuke which can be added to somen with water, have you ever seen “cute” wafers which can be added to noodles? A friend brought some over from Japan, and I’ve been combing the ‘net to find out what these things are. They are like the stuff you feed fish, not much taste but very, very cute to add to soup. Some “wafers” have pictures of doggies or flowers. I’d love to know what these are and where I could get some.

  22. @4 from Yvo: Ah, interesting about the better “snack packs” on the airlines. On my flights the ones I saw people getting were pretty gross, though. I like your own airplane bento lunches here and your post on airline snack boxes here.

  23. @7 from Anna on the Moon: And with your own water bottle, you don’t have to go thirsty if the airlines decide not to do a drink service at all (this happened on one of our flights this past trip when there was turbulence). Self-sufficiency good!

  24. @8 from jeneration: Thank you for the informed Biosecurity perspective! What country are you in?

  25. @9 from girlrobot: I heard you about looking for lunch examples — I had them linked inconspicuously at the bottom of the post in “Further Reading”, but after reading your comment I put photo thumbnails in and made them more prominent. Thanks for the feedback!

  26. @10 from lisa_marli: Thanks for the kind words, lisa! I do like getting a hotel room with a mini refrigerator so that I can use it for restaurant meal leftovers I’ve packed up. Restaurant portions here tend to be so large that you can easily make it into two meals for portion control.

  27. @11 from Cindy: Oh man, I have the same problem with running short on time before a trip! For that reason, I tend to pack my airplane bentos the night before, wrap them all up in a cloth napkin, and just throw the whole thing into the fridge so I can just grab it and go in the morning.

  28. @15 from lobstersquad: Packing your own travel food is an easy way to spoil yourself, isn’t it? I’m definitely a convert. I hear you on sourcing bento gear in Spain — JList ships internationally, but they’re not super-cheap like a Daiso or Ichiban Kan…

  29. @16 from Dayna: My pleasure on the water bottle tip, Dayna! I started doing this regularly when I started traveling with my son and his sippy cup. I figured I could see what liquids I could get through in their own packaging, and have the sippy cup in reserve to mix juice/water in. Translate sippy cup to empty water bottle, and there you go!

  30. @17 from sea: How are you faring with the SF Bay Area rainstorms, sea? Our power was out here (in San Francisco) all day yesterday, so I’m just now getting back online and writing responses. More storms coming!

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments on bentos and gluten-free diets. When my husband was eating GF (for new readers, he was misdianosed with celiac disease and ate GF for nine months), I got really paranoid about what he’d be able to eat safely and sent GF bentos with him just about everywhere (meetings, conferences, trips, etc.). I can’t imagine a long plane trip without a SAFE bento if you’ve got a food allergy or intolerance! Have you ever pre-ordered a gluten-free airplane meal, and if so, what did you think of it? Can you trust them and are they appetizing?

  31. @18 from VeggieGirl: I would think that bringing your own food would be an excellent idea for vegans. Do airlines even offer a vegan meal option, not just vegetarian? I don’t know.

  32. @19 from Aloutka: Thanks for the nice words, Aloutka! Dive right in with meal packing; no need to wait for a special trip or anything…

  33. @20 from jeneration: D’oh! Please disregard my comment asking where you live; I hadn’t seen your later comment describing New Zealand and Australia restrictions.

  34. @21 from Kim: I’d be curious to hear what you think of that Fit & Fresh container. I’ve heard some feedback that it’s a bit bulky and the lids are hard for small children (not an issue for adults), but as you say, excellent for food safety because of the built-in ice pack. Thanks for the tip!

  35. We do a lot of road traveling, rather than by air. I pack bentos for all of us and use a cooler to pack refills. Since I and my children are gluten free and have allergies, it has made traveling so much easier for us. We also tend to stay at hotels with refrigerators or kitchens so that our food will keep.

    My husband does a lot of air travel and I’ll have to look into getting some disposable bentos for him. He’d love it…sometimes he’s gotten stuck and hasn’t been able to get anything to eat except a tiny packet of peanuts.

    My biggest wish is for a better cooler for the car. One that will keep things cold longer.

    Thanks for a great post.

    Sheltie Girl @ Gluten A Go Go

  36. @37 from Yvo: Thanks for the NYT link, Yvo — interesting stuff. I wish there were a subscription option on the NYT where I could get just the Wednesday paper and the Sunday paper. There’s a thief in my neighborhood who keeps stealing our Sunday NYT — it’s very annoying.

  37. There is a food I am trying to find the name/and or recipe for and thought you might have heard of it. It’s not Japanese or Korean or even Chinese. I think it is Thai, or Vietnamese. It is rice that has savory fillings such as beef, pork, chicken, fish and it is all wrapped in bamboo leaves or banana leaves and then is steamed. They are usually fist sized or slightly bigger and usually in the chape of a 3D triangle.

    I had them as a child. My mom used to get them from a neighbor who’se ethnicity I do not remember. I used to love these things. I was in an Asian market the other day and saw something that looked like them. So excited, I got 4 and brought them home and steamed them right away and was sorely disappointed when it was sweet bean paste in the center. not bad, but not what I was wanting or expected.

    Do you know or heard of what I am describing?

  38. I thought you might like to see part one of my articles on gluten-free airline travel, since you do get visitors with allergies and gluten-intolerance. I linked to the article above. :)

    The local Daiso and other Japanese hyaku en shops have disposable lunch containers- also, it seems to me you could easily line your bento with a ziploc bag or other lining to make it super easy to clean- just toss your dirty lining on the plane or before customs and you are good to go.

    I think it’s important to keep in mind that custom regulations vary greatly, and those in Australia and New Zealand are unusually strict. I think it would be fine to take a bento to most countries, especially taking the precaution of throwing away any leftovers. Refrigeration could be an issue to consider, though…

    Good idea on the request for a microwave. Also, if you’re on the road in the US and have your own car, bringing your own toaster or toaster liners could be a lifesaver… but, this is a bit off topic of bento. oops. ;)

    -sea

  39. @42 from Kim: I know exactly what you’re describing! In Japanese it’s called chimaki, in Chinese it’s zongzi — described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zongzi I love them, and am fortunate enough to be able to get them both fresh at restaurants and premade at Asian markets near me. Hope this helps!

  40. I’m curious to know if you use ice packs in your bentos when you fly. I recently packed three boxes for my family when we traveled in December, but I was limited as to what I could pack in them because I wouldn’t be able to keep them cold. I figured that airport security would frown on ice packs and make me throw them away. I looked online to see if there was a specific rule against taking ice packs through security, but I could never find anything. Do you know anything about it? Do the bentos that you pack for the airplane not require any kind of long term refrigeration? Thanks for your help!

  41. @43 from sea: Thanks for giving us the link on gluten-free air travel, sea! It’s an excellent, informative post, as always! I’ve got a set of those toaster bags from our GF days — they really were a life saver for cooking in glutened toasters. A big recommend from me.

  42. Thanks for the great post! We’re planning on flying from the US to China later this year, and we were wondering if anyone had any ideas for packing several meals that would survive the trip.

    The first few meals should hold up well, and a stable breakfast is easy (granola and dried fruit), but I’m worried about carrying on a meal that needs to keep up to 12 hours.

    Does anyone have any advice?

  43. @45 from Tuna Fish: You know, I actually haven’t tried packing ice packs yet for airplane bentos — maybe someone else could chime in if they have experience. I follow these food safety guidelines for packed lunches when making room-temperature lunches.

  44. @47 from Dryope: Wow, 12 hours is really pushing the limits for a fresh lunch. I’d look into bringing an insulated lunch bag with ice packs inside so you don’t have issues with food safety (hopefully the ice packs would clear security). That, or pack dried foods and whole fruits/vegetables.

  45. When I traveled from Los Angeles, I purchased a meal from SkyMeals.com. They packed my meal in a small cooler with ice packs. I think they were like gel packs.

    They are similar to what you would buy in a retail store with your lunch box. I was able to pass through security at LAX without any problems. It might make a difference if they are homemade ice packs.

  46. @51 from Sarah: This is just the information we were looking for — retail ice packs it is, then, unless we hear something different!

  47. I’m confused, though–won’t the ice packs melt long before the 12/15 hours are over for the flight? I can see why it would be handy for a 3-5 hour trip, but I just don’t think it would stay cold much past that.

    I like the idea of dried foods for the end of a long trip–maybe the stewardesses would give us hot water for instant noodle cups. :)

  48. A great guide and it all looks so delicious! The kid’s airplane container is adorable!

  49. This is cool information! However I’ve been wondering, where do you buy disposable bentos?

  50. @54 from Tracy: Thanks, Tracy!

  51. @55 from dejikowaffo: I got my disposable containers at Ichiban Kan and Daiso, but maybe others can chime in with additional resources.

  52. @53 from Dryope: I would think it would depend on when you were going to eat (how helpful an ice pack would be). If you wanted to eat a perishable meal in the first third of your flight, go ahead and use an ice pack and insulated lunch bag (or thermal lunch jar, just be prepared to show/explain the jar in security).

  53. I just wanted to follow up on Sarah’s reply @51. I went to the SkyMeal’s website that she provided and sent them an email asking about going through security with ice packs. Here is the reply from Richard Katz at SkyMeals:

    “We do use ice packs in the cooler bags. According to reports from our customers, they pass through security most of the time. Our best guess is that it’s because they are solid when taken through the check point. Once in a while, they are confiscated. At that point however, they have done their job. Even without the ice packs, the food should still be fresh throughout the duration of your flight. Since you know when our food is prepared (not until you order it) it will certainly be fresher than anything you might pick up at the terminal.”

    Thanks for providing this link, Sarah.

  54. @60 from Wendy: Yes, Bug would be fine for a while, then remember what had happened — sob quietly for a while, saying, “I so sad they took my juice away!” He even wanted me to go hit them (!), prompting a talk about hitting not being a good thing to do (um, especially with airport security. Want to see Mommy taken away in handcuffs?).

  55. I love reading your blog! I’ve avoided packing foods on flights because of the restrictions, but I’m going to try next time we head cross country!

    Oh – a note about things like tuna? Some people are extremely sensitive even to the smell. I would stay away from allergens that tend to strike many. I nearly killed someone this way once :(

  56. @63 from Alida: Excellent point about avoiding the really nasty allergens — let’s pack peanut-free airplane bentos, folks! Thanks for the feedback.

  57. this has been a fascinating blog entry to read. with all the restrictions lately, i haven’t tried to pack a meal to take with me on the plane. that is why it is interesting to read about so many other who have. does security ever say anything about the bentos that folks have packed? i’ve tried looking for restrictions about bringing food from home for a long flight, but can’t seem to figure any of the rules out. i’m just worried about packing a bento for the plane and it getting thrown away.

    any feedback would be appreciated! thanks!

  58. OMG! This is great! Wonderful tips! My 4.5 year old is picky when it comes to eating airplane food. I usually bring along tons of snacks, but never really a good meal. Now, I have some awesome ideas for our next plane trip!
    Thanks!

  59. @67 from jas: I haven’t had any problems except for juice boxes, but maybe others can weigh in.

  60. @68 from Manuela: Glad you’ve found something that’ll work for you!

  61. @69 from psulinkie: Your airplane bento sounds like it was much better than the inflight options — I bet you got a kick out of pulling that out of your bag in your seat! Glad you didn’t have any security issues.

  62. @73 from Cathy H: You’ve pointed out a truism — I hope that this site helps people with the basics of how to pack a bento lunch, and that everyone is inspired to use the foods that work for them personally (vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose-free, diet, vegan, soy- or egg-free, etc.).

  63. no offense but i used youre idea not olny did the food taste nasty it looked horrible every body gave me dirty looks becouse they lost there appteite when they saw it i ended up eating the airplane food which was tasty and i was in ecomey

  64. @75 from travel air flying: If you’re looking for advice on how to improve your packing for airplane meals, let me know exactly what food you packed, how you packed it (containers, etc.), and what the problem was when you opened it to eat. Then I’ll have better information with which to help you.

  65. My family and I recently traveled across the continent by air. Since I had read this blog, I packed some lunches. I didn’t want to risk having my bento boxes confiscated, and I wanted to reduce the amount of stuff we had to carry, so I packed everything in sandwich baggies and brown lunch bags. Pretty far from a bento box, I know, but the concept still worked. :)

    I just wanted to let you know one “tip” that worked for me. Since we were going to be in the air for more than 5 hours, I knew we’d have time for frozen food to thaw. The night before, I froze about 20 whole strawberries (washed and cored). I used those like ice cubes to nest into the salads (greenleaf lettuce, baby spinach, currants and slivered almonds). By the time we got around to the salads, the strawberries had thawed. In the meantime, however, they had helped to keep the salad fresh and TSA had nothing to say about my frozen strawberries!

  66. @77 from neverenoughjam: I like the idea of frozen strawberries as edible ice packs & gap fillers! Reminds of a Good Eats show where Alton Brown froze whole (washed & cored) strawberries in a cooler of dry ice. He said that because they froze so quickly in dry ice, there was less cellular damage and they didn’t suffer as much when defrosted (i.e. not soggy). I’d love to try that out one of these days when I get my hands on some dry ice.

  67. Juice boxes…what about freezing, using as an ice pack, then it’ll be drinkable. Would TSA confiscate in it’s frozen form?

  68. I just wanted to tell you your water bottle idea saved me on my most recent trip! Yesterday, I flew from PHL to YWG and I packed along a disposable water bottle (in case I had to abandon it at customs) and a pink lemonade packet. People kept asking me how I got lemonade!

  69. thanks for the tip, our airplane food sucks, i once got poisoned from it i stayed 3 days in bed

  70. Great Idea, I am overweight and the offering on the airlines are ghastly; carbs, sugar and process junk.I do not know what your responders are reading but most arilines are still serving junk.

  71. I love the envious looks when I pull out our bento lunches on flights.

    For utensils we have minichopsticks and BAMBOO spoons and knives. The spoons are a bit shallow for soup (which I don’t bring on flights anyway) but work well for most everything else and the bamboo knives spread and make cuts in softer food easily. If I think I really need forks I get them at one of the restaurants inside security.

    Love all the ideas here!

  72. I’m a little late, so apologies in advance if this has already been addressed — but according to TSA rules, gel packs are NOT allowed for food purposes, unless you have an infant or child: “Frozen gels/liquids are permitted if required to cool medical and infant/child exemptions. Frozen gels/liquids for any other purpose are not permitted.” http://www.tsa.gov/311/311-carry-ons.shtm

    I’m still curious about using frozen juice boxes or other frozen foods (frozen peas?) ;o)

  73. Greeting,
    This was a great lunchinabox.net forum. I needed to find something for my Homework and This site helped me out so much! Thanx alot!!!!

  74. Just an introduction. Glad to be here, I’m new. Saying hi to all you all. ;)

    SLK

  75. What an excellent idea! I never would have thought of disposable containers…totally makes sense.