How to bring your own food on a plane (without getting in trouble with TSA)

Just your typical airplane salad (if you make it yourself).

Just your typical airplane salad (if you make it yourself).

In travel, there are two things that hold true: One, airplane food isn't the best food. Two, we usually still eat it.

We're not saying bringing your own food is always the most convenient way to go, but if you're up for the challenge, here's five tips for eating well and still getting through airport security without a hitch.

Solids? Yes. Liquids? Nope.
It's easy to forget simple TSA rules during the blur that is getting through the security line. Before you travel, think about whether your food is really, really a solid or a liquid. We all know about water bottles by now... but anything more than 3.4 oz of of items like soup, smoothies and apple sauce will also get tossed.

Packaging is everything.
If your goal is to eat your food, you won't want to obstruct TSA from getting a good look at it. Avoid tin foil as it will slow you down during the x-ray screening (parchment paper for a sandwich is a great choice). Also, for your own sake, make sure it's safely secured in a quart-sized or gallon-sized plastic bag. It'll help your cause with TSA, and no one wants mayonnaise on their iPad anyway.

Portion control.
Only bring enough food for your domestic flight or initial outbound international flight. You'll likely have to throw away your leftovers during customs upon arrival.

Travel size condiments are tiny food heroes.
As long as it's in the 3.4 oz realm and you put it in a ziplock bag, a little extra flavor could turn an ordinary (solid) food into an actual snack or meal. Fill a travel container (preferably before it had shampoo in it) with your substance of choice and let your imagination flow. Carrots and hummus, olive tapenade and crackers, caramel and apples, bananas and peanut butter, hot sauce and pretty much anything...

Mini alcohol bottles are allowed in your carry-on (as long as they fit the 3.4 ounce rule and are 140 proof or less), but it's against federal regulation to open your own bottle of alcohol on a flight or to drink alcohol that was not directly served to you by a flight attendant. That's where carry-on cocktail kits come in handy.

As a gentle reminder to keep airplanes a happy place, try to avoid anything that has a very strong scent (even if it doesn't bother you). Just because you can bring it doesn't mean you need to.

Have any of your own tips? Let's here them in the comments section below!