About two years ago, I noticed a few people shunning airplane food service and doing carry on.  Maybe it’s my imagination, but airplane food seems to be getting worse. Is that possible?  Since airlines began charging for… well, just about everything, more and more people are taking responsibility for their in-flight nourishment.
If you, like so many others, have eaten your last soggy noodle on-board, here are five tips to help you plan bad airplane food revenge:

Tip #1:  If your only option is to eat the food, eat around the entree. This means, eat only what lies outside that center aluminum container.  The salad, cheese, fruit, bread and butter are eatable.  Avoid mom’s advice about eating everything on your plate. Let that entrée go in peace.

Tip #2:  Buy a fast food meal once you’ve cleared security. There is usually a McDonald’s or Wendy’s in the inter-sanctum of the gate areas.  This works great if you’re flying a short domestic flight. Unfortunately, not such a great plan if you’re flying international. A cold hamburger and fries are almost as bad as airplane food.

Tip #3:  Pack your own carry-on meal before you leave home. As long as you don’t bring any liquids, security will not object.  Things that work best are apples (no bananas – they bruise), peanuts and carrots. Sandwiches work if they are packed in a hard plastic container so they don’t get mashed.  Oreos are good treats as are almost any wrapped candy bar.  Avoid food that has a distinct odor like tuna. Also, avoid foods that spoil quickly like mayonnaise.

Tip #4:  Bag it!  Plastic bags are a traveler’s lifesaver. When I begin a trans-Atlantic or Pacific flight, I prepare “baggie meals”.  I have three bags: (1) breakfast (2) snack and (3) dinner.  In each bag I put things that will satisfy my hunger and keep me healthy.  Lots of nuts for protein.  Fruit (cut up ahead of time so I don’t need a knife), finger veggies like baby carrots and bite sized celery.  Since I’m a bread lover, I cook a small can of prepared biscuits several hours before my flight.  I smear jelly on a couple of biscuits for breakfast, ham (use mustard) for snacks and maybe roast beef for the dinner biscuits.  Biscuits have a greater resistance to being squashed than bread plus they are good hand food.  Instead of potato chips, I pack tortilla chips. They aren’t as fragile.

Tip #5:  Water, water, water.  Hydration is key to healthy travel. The flight attendants will do a ”milk” run early in the flight.  Be bold! When asked what you want to drink, ask for a bottle of water, not a cup. Don’t just say “water, please”. You need much more liquid than one of those 3 oz. cups.  With each service, request another bottle of water.  Stay away from carbonated drinks. Bad, bad, bad for you at this altitude.  If you are not fond of water, bring a couple of Propel packets to pour into the bottle and improve the flavor.

Definitely, the airlines should do a better job designing their menus. The food is expensive and the amount wasted is sinful. Current menu choices don’t prepare well at 35,000 feet.  The airlines would be smart to go back to the kitchen on food selection.  Until that happens, I recommend we all take control of our in-flight food for our own health sake.