The ultimate eating challenge: long-haul travel


I always say that every meal is a gift: an opportunity for pleasure that I refuse to squander.

Now, ideally, I’d like everything I eat to be both healthy and tasty. But I recognize that there are certain situations in which I may have to, or even want to, eat something that isn’t necessarily both of those things.

Often I’ll eat something unhealthy but tasty just for the pleasure, and less often I’ll eat something healthy but bland if I have no other choice (e.g. at a work function). So unhealthy or bland I can handle, but unhealthy and bland is just not something I’m OK with. But that is, of course, exactly what is offered on an airplane (at least in economy class; I’ve never had the opportunity to test the food in business).

Fortunately, I learned a long time ago that, with a little advance preparation, eating healthy and tasty food on an airplane is really no problem. So I thought I’d describe what I ate on a recent flight from London to Bangkok to illustrate exactly how I do it.

The flight left London around noon and lasted about 11 hours, so I needed to eat both lunch and dinner, as well as a few snacks. I stopped at Borough Market the day before the flight for supplies (Yes, I actually thought about this the day before the flight. Healthy and tasty on an airplane doesn’t just happen!). On the morning of the flight, I spent about 30 minutes preparing the following:


Tomatoes, Burrata, Wild Garlic Pesto, Olives



Tuna, Green Beans, Garlic (and olive oil for cooking)


Coffee, Dark chocolate, Almond biscuits, Fruit Salad


Here’s what it all looked like ready to go:

(all x2 because there were two of us)


I also always ask for the fruit/vegatarian/vegan meals just in case of emergency. These are unlikely to be very tasty, but they are at least usually healthy:


The final verdict

I’ve done this many times before, so it was no surprise that it was a great success. And seeing the dire offerings that my neighbors on the flight were forced to endure left me feeling quite smug indeed.