{Today’s Lunchbox} Tips for a 9 Hour Flight

by Valerie on April 15, 2011 · 7 comments

Switzerland April 2011 191

Happy Friday! Today I wanted to share my lunchbox from yesterday, when I flew back to Washington, DC. I knew I had a nine hour flight, and while I was happy with my grain-free lunchbox from the previous week, I had pasta salad on the mind for this trip.  This was designed to be lunch and a few snacks.


Switzerland April 2011 186

  • Cashew Chive Mayo Pasta Salad with diced bell peppers and gluten-free brown rice pasta (see below for recipe)
  • Sides of steamed broccoli and raw carrots and cucumbers

Snacks and treats:

 Switzerland April 2011 187

Switzerland April 2011 199

  • Almond meal crackers (I am still tweaking these, but basically these are made from almond meal and chia seeds)
  • Larabars, and of course some chocolatey snacks – I had not eaten the Cacao Bliss of the Larabars on my trip to Switzerland, so I ate them on the way back.

Below are some tips for packing a lunchbox for a long flight.  These are just tips that have worked for me, and are not specific to flying in a part of the world or a particular airline.  

Tips for Packing a Lunchbox For a Long Flight

  • Incorporate as many watery vegetables as possible in your lunchbox. Even if you do not have access to a kitchen (as might be the case on your return flight) you can always pick up cucumbers and peppers and use a plastic knife to slice them.  I started incorporating more watery vegetables in my lunchboxes when liquid restrictions meant I could no longer bring my customary 3 liters of water with me on a flight.
  • Combine anything that might be perceived as a liquid into the dish – i.e. stuff hummus into vegetables or sandwiches rather than risk it getting confiscated (clearly, the thought of hummus confiscation makes me very upset)
  • Invest in minis, such as the nut butter pouches, as those are under the liquid carry-on maximums and are a nice treat.  You can also do that with salad dressings, though I prefer to combine them directly into salads rather than pack them separately.
  • Pack hearty salads which will not get soggy or mushy quickly.

Additional Tips for Gluten-Free Travellers

  • Think beyond gluten-free bread, especially if you are worried about cross-contamination – bell pepper halves make a great substitute.
  • Always bring extra nut butter pouches or gluten-free bars in your suitcase for the return trip.
  • If you do not have access to a kitchen before your return trip, you can still pack a gluten-free lunchbox.  Aside from the home-made pasta salad and the steamed broccoli, the entire above lunchbox could be made from store-bought items using just a plastic knife to cut the vegetables (you might want to skip the carrots, though).

Cashew Chive Mayo Pasta Salad (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Soy-Free) –  Makes 1 large serving, or 2 side servings

  • 1 cup gluten-free pasta, preferably fusilli or macaroni
  • 3 Tbsps Cashew Mayo (see below)
  • 2 Tbsps chopped chives
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped bell pepper (I used half a red pepper and half a yellow pepper)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and rinse with cold water. Combine with Cashew Mayo, chives and bell pepper. Season to taste.

Cashew Mayo (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Soy-Free) – Makes 3/4 cup

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least an hour in filtered water and drained
  • 2 Tbsps water
  • 2-3 Tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper

Combine above ingredients and process or blend in either a food processor or blender until smooth. 

Note: I made this in my mom’s regular blender and while it took longer than in the Vita-mix, it ended up quite smooth with some patience.  I started with 2 tablespoons lemon juice but ended up adding a third for tang.  For a more complex taste you could add tamari or Herbamare.

And of course, I am catching up on blog events with this post as well:


I am submitting both recipes and the lunchbox tips to the Gluten-Free Homemaker Gluten-Free Wednesday, which is a collection of gluten-free recipes, tips and other great ideas.

seasonal sunday

I am submitting the pasta salad recipe to Real Sustenance’s Seasonal Sunday, a weekly event focusing on seasonal eating.  Here the pasta salad contains chives, which are a Spring seasonal ingredient.


Pasta salad is the definition of frugal yet delicious to me, so I am also submitting this recipe to  No Croutons Required.  As you know from my past participation in this event, every month a different ingredient is chosen and participants must submit a vegetarian soup or salad.  Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen  and Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes take turns hosting the event. This month Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes is hosting and she chose the a fun Birthday Month theme.  The pasta salad fits with one of the October (my birthday month) themes, which focuses on Frugal Soups or Salads.


Finally, I am submitting the Cashew Mayo recipe to Diane’s Real Food Weekly at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang. 

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 bitt April 15, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Cashew mayo is something I could deal with, I hate veganaise. Ick. Too much like real mayo. I think my husband would like that pasta salad in his lunch.

I too pack a lot of watery veggies for more liquid.

I'd love the cracker recipe when you get to it!


2 withoutadornment April 16, 2011 at 3:54 am

I've never even knew that mayo could be made out of cashews!

I wish that I had a lunch box like this when we went to Europe last year! Much better than what they served me on the plane!


3 Olivia (Green Junkie Living) April 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Oh wow! I'm traveling back to D.C. from Cairo tomorrow, and how I wish I had you to make my lunchbox for me! I, too, worry about hummus confiscation–the horror! I've not had luck finding a grocery here, but at least I get fruit plates on all my flights now. Hope you had an awesome trip!


4 Lauren April 18, 2011 at 9:31 am

Great blog, coming here from Gluten Free Cat. I wish all my nutrition clients packed their travel food the way you do. Watery veggies genius given water restrictions. Well done.


5 Faye @ RawLawyer.com April 20, 2011 at 10:18 pm

You're amazing. I thought I had traveling with allergies down to a science! Great ideas!


6 Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty April 27, 2011 at 8:49 pm

DId you just eat the Cacao butter on it's own? I have a pack and I don't know what to do with it!!


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