The Saucy Airplane Food Hack That's So Simple, It's Genius

We're willing to bet there aren't too many people who get legitimately enthused when they hear the rattle of the food cart making its way down the narrow airplane aisles. If you manage to get an airplane meal that is reasonably palatable, chances are it's still going to be incredibly bland. Sure, there's typically a tiny salt and pepper packet to add a little flair to your dish, but that often doesn't do all that much.

And that's not even taking other worries into consideration, like whether the food may not have been heated up properly or might have sat out for a bit too long. According to the National Business Aviation Association, hot fare served on the plane should remain above 135 degrees Fahrenheit for food safety purposes. This may be easy enough to achieve if you're one of the flight attendant's first stops, but if you're way down the row and those trays have been sitting on the cart for a while, the temperature could be more challenging to maintain.

Many people avoid eating on planes altogether, preferring to instead eat before they board or to bring along enough snacks to tide them over. However, there are certain situations where you may need to rely on what the airline provides in order to satisfy your hunger. There's an easy solution to make the food taste a little bit better, and it just involves a brief moment of planning as you toss all your essentials into your carry-on bag.

Bring along your own sauces

Let's face it — there's not really a lot you can do to improve the airline meal itself. Chances are, the pasta will be overcooked and mushy, the protein will be a little rubbery, and the entire thing will be fairly underwhelming. In your home kitchen, you might reach for salt to bring out the flavors in a dish, but you should be sparing with that particular seasoning while up in the air — according to Business Traveler USA, the typical tiny airline meal contains over 40% of the World Health Organization's daily recommended amount of sodium.

The solution is simple — invest a few dollars in TSA-friendly condiment dispensers that you can bring along with you and fill with your condiments of choice. Since a burst of heat can mask a lot of mediocre meals, a great choice is your preferred brand of hot sauce. Or, if you know your meal will likely come with a bland dinner roll or an uninspiring salad dressing, why not prepare with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixture that you can use instead to both dip your bread and dress your salad?

If you're not willing to buy the tiny containers needed to bring along your own condiments of choice, instead raid the drawer in your home where you toss any leftover sauce or seasoning packets from your takeout meals and bring a few. Even something as simple as a packet of soy sauce can elevate a bland meal.