making flight food paleo primal gluten free qantas emirates options low carb-min

Making Flight Food Paleo

I’ve just booked my flights back to the UK for a long awaited Christmas visiting my family.  Australia couldn’t be much further from the UK, which means almost 24 hours of flying each way.  One of the things I hate the most about flying is the very limited Paleo food options.  Often airports limit what you can take through security and onto the plane – which makes it very hard to guarantee good Paleo options. Why can't they make Flight Food Paleo?

I usually fly with Qantas, which offers the following meal options:

  • Diabetic: High in complex carbohydrate and dietary fibre; low in fat; no added sugar; low salt.
  • Fruit Platter: Consists of fresh, tinned and dried fruits.
  • Gluten Intolerance: Do not contain wheat, rye, oats, barley or malt or any milk or milk products.
  • Hindu: Do not contain beef, beef derivatives, veal or pork. Meals may contain fish or lamb.
  • Kosher Meal: Prepared to comply with Jewish dietary laws.
  • Moslem (Halal): Do not contain pork, or pork by-products. All meats come from ritually slaughtered animals.
  • Vegetarian (Asian Indian Style): Contain egg and diary products and are suitable for Hindu vegetarians.
  • Vegetarian (Lacto Ovo): Do not contain meat, fish or seafood but may contain dairy products such as milk, butter, cheese and eggs or foods containing these.
  • Vegetarian (Oriental): Contain vegetables, fruit, rice noodles and can contain nuts.
  • Vegetarian (Strict Indian): Do not contain any eggs, dairy or bulbous vegetables and are suitable for Hindu vegetarians.
  • Vegan: Contain fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and pulses and do not contain any animal products such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs milk or honey.

On my last two international flights (to PrimalCon and the AHS), I’ve tried different approaches, in the hope that I could stumble upon the best Paleo friendly meal option.

In my option, Diabetic people should follow a Paleo approach, to stabilise their blood sugar levels, so when I went to PrimalCon in April, I ordered a Diabetic meal.  I don’t understand why this is a low-fat, but hoped it would come with some good meat and some alternatives to the processed, sugar filled snacks that often go alongside plane meals.  Some of the actual meals weren’t too bad, for instance a breakfast of eggs, tomatoes mushrooms and spinach and a main meal of chicken, broccoli, carrots and white rice.  Some of the food however, left a lot to be desired.  Rice crackers served with a soy based spread (whilst everyone else on the plane got proper butter) and a breakfast of cereal and soy milk (remember, this is aimed at diabetics).


In August when I went to the Ancestral Health Symposium, I thought I’d try my luck with a gluten free meal.  My Paleo diet is completely gluten free, so somewhat optimistically I’d hoped for a good equivalent here.  I actually found the gluten free option considerably worse than the Diabetic option.  As I noticed at the gluten free expo, gluten free seems to be a huge industry of franken-foods.  Gluten is omitted – but replaced with lots of processed ingredients I don’t want to consume.  They still serve biscuits, deserts and other junk food, it’s just had the gluten removed.  Not Paleo.


On the way back, I therefore changed my meal preference and went with the standard option, which was actually much better.  Yes, there was a lot I wouldn’t eat, but most of the food was closer to “whole” food.  Butter was butter and I was lucky to have an option of a “meat and veg” style meal, instead of a pasta based meal.

So for this trip, I think I’m also going to try my luck with the standard option.  It appears I can bring small amounts of packaged food onto the flight, so I plan to try my luck and bring some jerky, raw nuts and avocados.  These foods, along with any reasonable looking meat and vegetables I can salvage from the plane food should be plenty to keep me going.  There’s also the very Paleo option of a coinciding intermittent fasting, should my food get confiscated at security!

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a Paleo meal option of organic, grass fed meat and not a processed product in sight?  Perhaps one day…

I’d love to hear your plane food hacks.  How do you keep it Paleo during a long flight?

making flight food paleo primal gluten free qantas emirates options low carb-min