What adjectives come to mind when you think of airplane food? Bland, mushy, tasteless perhaps? While nutritionists are hired by airline companies to create "well-balanced" meals on certain flights, let's face it, the food is a far cry from healthful or satisfying in my opinion. Trans-fatty snacks, overcooked veggies loaded with salt so you can taste them better in a pressurized cabin, and conventionally farmed meats are just some of their underwhelming offerings. And while I give them credit for providing gluten-free, vegetarian, even Kosher options, we can do them all one better.
Enter...the custom-made, multi-textured salad box. Layered with creamy, crispy, crunchy gratification and loaded with nutrients, the salad box is a multi-sensory pleasure any time, in a ready-made convenient, disposable container that's perfect for traveling. And to stabilize blood sugar during a long flight, a good dose of healthy fats and proteins is in order. For more on this, check out this article by fitness and health guru, Ben Greenfield.
Here's how to do it: Start with the small, 5-ounce plastic box of organic greens. Arugula is my choice for my upcoming trip. Take out a handful or two of the greens (save for another use) to make room for the other goodies. Add in healthy proteins and fats that help you look forward to delighting in this mid-trip meal. Make sure you've got plenty of different textures that help satisfy. Here, for my hubby's box and mine I chose:
• 2 T hemp seeds
• a handful of walnuts
• sliced radishes
• quinoa with currants, chopped almonds, parsley and a bit of ume plum vinegar
• guacamole: 3 mashed avocados with juice of 1 lemon and a 1/2 t salt
• spaghetti squash leftovers: previously roasted, shredded and combined with coconut milk, lime juice and salt
• smoked turkey roll-ups
Alternatives: hummus (unless it gives you gas), sliced cukes, jicama, carrots, chopped herbs, rice salad, tabouli, pesto, roasted chicken, leftovers, etc.
I always save the small plastic sauce/dressing containers, but you can buy them too. This dressing is made from blended zucchini, avocado, lemon juice, herbs a bit of water and dash of salt. A simple vinaigrette would be great too. Once assembled, wedge the dressing container into a corner of the box. Close the box, wrap with a rubber band and put the whole thing with a plastic fork into a large Ziploc bag, ready for your carry-on bag.
You can easily translate this simply prepared fare to homemade daily lunches to take to work in well-sealed glass boxes to amp up your nutrition every day.