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This blog started as a way for me to share my recipes + culinary adventures, tips for vibrant health + happiness, thoughts on the latest developments in nutritional medicine + the low down on the Sydney wholefoods scene and beyond...

Tips for eating and sleeping on international flights

Becca Crawford


I’m getting asked a LOT of questions about whether you can take food on international flights, and what food to take etc. I haven’t eaten plane food for about 15 years instead preferring to take my own. I average 3-4 international trips a year so I’ve got plane food down to a fine art. It’s easier than you think. 

Before we dive in I will preface by saying that flying is one of the most unnatural things you can experience- from changing time zones, to radiation exposure, to the “food” offered on flights, to the air you’re breathing, to sitting for extended periods, to broken sleep and to being surrounded by a high concentration of people in very small area. So this now becomes an exercise in damage control. Is it any wonder you leave the flight looking and feeling like you’ve been in a washing machine?! Hopefully the tips below will ease the damage and have you bouncing back in no time. 


Yes, you are allowed to take your own food on planes. Liquids (which include tinned food and tubed toothpaste!!!) must be under 100g/ml. Declare anything that needs to be declared at the destination which is typically meat, dairy and eggs. Each destination country is different but this is a good general rule of thumb. The stuff I refer to below that I frequently take into USA goes through without any issues after I declare it. 

Before I leave I buy some fresh fruit and veggies – enough to keep me going for about 2-3 meals depending on length of flight. When heading back to Australia from overseas I head to the local farmers market or marketplace to buy produce. I tend to buy these the day before or the day that I’m flying out so that they remain fresh. Things like lettuce, tomatoes, celery, cucumber, capsicum, carrots etc. 

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Non-perishables that are great on planes include grass fed beef jerky, wild salmon jerky (bought this baby in Seattle!), activated nuts, goji berries, flaked coconut, nori seaweed, tinned wild fish less than 100g and raw dark chocolate (getting stuck into my 100% variety). If you’re taking cheese or hard-boiled eggs be sure to eat within 12 hours due to lack of refrigeration. I prefer not to bother with cheese and eggs as there’s plenty of other sources of protein that I list above that don’t require refrigeration. Tinned salmon spooned into cos lettuce worked a treat. Yes take plastic spoons (biodegrable if possible, though I’ve had my non biodegrable plastic ones for about 15 years and keep washing and re-using them). 

Things without pips and that don’t require chopping are easier (e.g. I prefer not to take a bunch of cherries, a large tomato or a block of hard cheese. Instead I would buy blueberries, cherry tomatoes and pre-cut large chunks of cheese or veggies into smaller pieces). Use common sense. Having said that, I did take an avocado and used a plastic knife to cut it and all was well in the world. 

Don’t forget to drink lots of water with a pinch of unrefined salt. I always carry a small container of salt in my handbag when travelling to add a pinch to all my drinking water and to sprinkle over my food. Unrefined salt = minerals. 

When flying back from overseas into Australia, note that Australia has stricter laws than most countries in that all food must be declared so try eating as much of it as possible especially all fresh foods on the flight, else declare it. Bringing in opened packets of goji berries, coconut flakes, chocolate, my activated nuts and UNOPENED Aussie beef jerky back into Australia was no problem for me when I declare it. If the beef jerky was opened they would have confiscated it.


I sleep poorly on flights so I take a natural melatonin (I like Young Living chewable Immupro) and I wear blue blocking glasses to block out all the blue light which disrupts melatonin production (and hence makes it harder to fall asleep). Young Living oils like lavender or RutaVaLa™ (which is a calming blend of Lavender, Valerian, and Rue) applied topically can support a deeper sleep. I can not sleep if I’m even slightly cold so I wear layers upon layers of warm clothing including 2 pairs of socks and a pashmina. I take a neck pillow too. 

Try to get your circadian rhythm back by adopting the time zone of the destination city as soon as you land even if this means staying up all day when all you want to do is sleep. 

Getting out into sunshine and grounding your feet in the earth help to adjust your circadian rhythm. 

Quality coffee, raw cacao powder, 100% raw dark chocolate and Young Living peppermint oil all help me stay awake! I always travel with raw cacao powder, raw cacao butter and peppermint oil to make a minty hot choc with boiling water. 

If you must eat the food know that the eggs are probably powdered and hence constitute oxidised cholesterol. Sorry to break that bad boy to you. I would avoid. The yogurts are typically low fat and flooded with additives. I personally would prefer to fast than eat plane food (though the fruit salad would be ok if I was pressed to eat something). Still, fasting is not a bad option to get your mitochondria firing…If you’ve made your mind up to eat the plane food then eat it, make peace with your decision and DON’T STRESS ABOUT IT as stress is more toxic than the most toxic food. Got it?!

RADIATION and other lurgies.

A mineral rich diet goes a very long way in supporting the body after exposure to radiation and other toxins. 

Young Living Melrose essential oil is touted to protect against radiation bombardment - I inhale a few drops in the palm of my hands and apply topically. 

I also like to rub the almighty Young Living Thieves essential oil blend on the soles of my feet (neat) before boarding, and on my neck and chest (dilute with a natural carrier oil if it feels too “hot” on your skin). I use the Thieves Room Spray or if I run out I cheat and simply dilute Thieves in a small spray bottle of water and use that to spray all around me on the plane and directly on my neck to generally support my system during the flight against any lurgies. Thieves is Young Living’s signature blend and the most copied essential oil in the world. So be on guard for imitators and cheap alternatives. If you want the real deal, or want more info on Young Living generally, simply fill out the contact form on this page of my website and I or one of my team leaders will contact you to explain it all to you as you need an existing Young Living member to set up a YL account for you. 

I like to keep things really simple and practical for the average person and not get too fancy with different expensive equipment that reduces radiation exposure because most people can’t afford it or just won’t do it. Travelling healthy shouldn’t be too burdensome or expensive otherwise it becomes a form of stress and, as I keep on saying, stress is more toxic than anything you can put in or on your body. Just do your best to minimise toxic exposure in all its guises and enjoy your travels to the full extent. 

Happy travelling!