Saturday, May 4, 2013

Airport Cuisine

At the age of 3.5 years, Neva is about to get on her 43rd flight.  Traveling with a little one, and with a family, one must plan accordingly, especially when the average total travel time seems to be around 12 hours, from home base to the final destination.  This time, we were lucky...only 11 hours total travel time. So, with all of this 'spare' time on my hands, I decided to check in and let you know about our experience so far.

Pretty mundane actually.  The standard checking luggage, standing in lines, and waiting around in uncomfortable chairs with outlets that are in use or out of reach.  I am, however, happy to report that for the first time, neither Christian nor I had to 'opt out' and get patted down by security and a BIG FIRST (so far) of not being forced to give an offering to the sacrificial TSA gods.  Amazing! 

I've got 11 hours to feed my family 3 meals, or more (I've got a hungry family).  Here are some staples that I like to bring on most any trip, whether hiking, biking, or just traveling light based on guidelines out of our control. 

Before we left the house, we loaded up on calories and nutrients with a nice smoothie and coconut water.

After an hour drive to the airport and another hour of waiting, the family started getting peckish and I reached into the bag of snacks.

Tortillas or pita pockets are versatile and flat, a just-add-water style sandwich filling is nice, and some fresh fruits and vegetables are a must in the grungy airport environment which only offers highly processed foods.  This time, we chose whole wheat pita pockets, wild caught canned tuna steak and apples.  With a little ingenuity, I was able to get half an apple cut up into small bits, for the crunch, a small pack of Boar's Head mayonnaise from a sandwich shop and 3 slices of lemon from the bar. Flake tuna and mix well and viola!  You've got a yummy tuna pita!  Carrying food in tupperware and plastic baggies is very useful for keeping leftovers.

TIP 1.  Pre-cutting things is good  because not a lot of food places will allow knives, let alone lend one to a traveler.

Tip 2. Vinegar can be used instead of lemon, if you can find it, but lemons are a guaranteed at the standard airport bar.

Lunch time on the plane.  The peanuts option is no more.

Vanna Nieve, showing the food off.
Anything milk-like seems to pass the test when going through security as "baby friendly" as long as it has a sealable lid.  They usually test it for fumes, but I haven't had a problem with it before.  Neva really enjoys kefir, and it seems to keep pretty well for the whole trip.  Mixing some granola tossed in raisins and dried cranberries with some kefir on top makes a great snack, and we just asked the flight attendant for one of the plastic cups used for beverages which are no longer complimentary.

TIP 3. You can bring on items for baby that are not re-sealable, however, they most likely will open them up to "test" them, and then you are stuck with an open container that you need to use right away. 

TIP 4.  Bringing your own utensils is helpful.  Some attendants are not as generous as others, and it's nice to have.

Dinner - the vacation stretch.  We had a 2 hour layover in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and were ready for some real food.  Unfortunately, the Fort Lauderdale airport has minimal accommodations.  The only two "food" sources only served prepackaged foods at ridiculous prices, but we had to cave because we had finished off the kefir/granola combo wanted greens.

Neva wanted to be in this picture.
We came up with a smoked salmon sandwich ($8.50), a hummus with pretzels (ahem...$5.00!), and a very dry orange (we didn't know that when we bought it).  Usually, I bring powdered hummus by Casbah.  It's light, easy to carry, and pretty delicious if you don't have many other options than bread around.  Neva was very proud of herself when she discovered it was extra tasty to dip her bread-heavy sandwich into the hummus.

TIP 5.  Don't forget the hummus...

I didn't take a picture of the fresh cantaloupe we brought, but this is the tupperware container that it was in.  All four sides lock and they have a tight rubber lid for a full water-tight seal.  They come in handy for future leftovers, or a way to make

TIP 6.  If you've ever had liquid spill, go for the Lock & Lock, BPA free food containers.

And last, but not least, if you are feeding your family...

Neva with her giraffe pillow and backpack of a few toys and snacks, waiting to leave the plane.
Make sure they carry their weight!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you made a great start on a wonderful trip. :)