The intersection of travel and wellness


The Easiest, Healthiest, Cheapest Pre-Flight Breakfast

Air travelers who pack steaming sacks of fast-food egg sandwiches onto planes are a breed of their own. Chances are, you've sat next to one—or (gasp!) maybe even been one.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and conjure that smell.

OK, so eating on the plane doesn't have to be gag-inducing for your fellow passengers. It's totally possible to enjoy some healthy sustenance enroute to your destination without hitting up the airport McDonald's or relying on processed snacks for sustenance.

For early morning flights when I can't quite stomach a bite before stumbling into a Lyft to the airport, I've perfected a delicious, nutritious alternative: the portable, affordable protein oatmeal pack (also referred to as my "cake mix," by my loving brothers). It'll keep you full until lunch and spare you from being "that guy" (or girl) on the plane.

You'll Need:

Protein powder (I love Quest whey protein for its stellar blending consistency)
1/3 cup whole rolled oats (not instant) for each pack you intend to make
Cinnamon to taste
Resealable baggies (snack size or sandwich will do)

How to Make It:

1. Place one scoop protein powder, 1/3 cup oats and a few shakes of cinnamon into a bag. Repeat process for each bag. (I like to make enough to have one per day I'm going to be traveling.) If you're making multiple bags, put them all together in a nice zip-top, larger baggie to keep them together. These can travel safely in your carry-on. 

2. Get through TSA security and head for a coffee shop.

3. Ask for a double cup of hot water and a spoon. They'll usually give it to you at no charge, although I usually order a coffee, too.

4. Remove bottom cup from hot water. Add protein oats mixture into the empty cup.

5. Pour a little hot water over the top of the oats and stir. Only add a few tablespoons at a time; you don't want it to get runny. When you make this correctly, it has a thick texture, like oatmeal cookie dough.

6. When you have the texture you want and the oats are all mixed in, replace the lid on the cup and let it sit for a few minutes. 

7. Enjoy! For extra staying power, add a scoop of nut butter on top (Starbucks sells Justin's nut butters in individual packets, or you can buy the individual Jif packs that can safely travel though security). It will get all melty and basically taste like a cookie in a cup. I also love to add fresh berries on top when I can find good fruit at the airport!

*Without peanut butter or fruit, this breakfast averages around 215 calories, 22 carbs, 20-24 protein and 1-2 fat, depending on what type of protein powder you use. Based on a large canister of rolled oats from a regular grocery store and a 2-pound tub of protein, the cost of each pack comes out to around $1.50. 

What's your favorite travel-day breakfast? Share with me in the comments!