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Train 101: Worst Foods to Eat on a Train

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Have you ever wondered what are the train 101s you should know? Get ready for the food edition!

Plane 101 and rules are flying around all the time, but there are very few train 101s!

In my time as a traveler, I have encountered a lot of times when it was more convenient for me to hop on a train than on a bus, plane, or sometimes even my car!

Indeed, traveling by train is a whole new experience, and be it the subway or the Amtrak, there are certain things to do and not to do so that you do not get in trouble with your fellow travelers!

And while the likes of music volume and chatting etiquette are easier to pinpoint than others, when it comes to food, we may have a whole different experience!

Be it that your choice of snack or meal can end up being pungent and disturbing everyone around you or that you may have chosen badly and end up with stomach issues, certain foods are believed by train users, myself included, to be better avoided!

If you are curious about which foods are not recommended when taking the train and why, most of which I observed myself on both short and long train rides, keep on reading!

When have you last taken the train? What was something that upset you about the ride or other passengers? Share your experience in the comments!

train 101
Image By Andrei Iakhniuk From Shutterstock


This is one of the foods that seems to be perfect for the train; however, you should think twice about it.

Sure, the size of the sushi seems perfect: they’re bite-sized and they come pre-portioned; you can just pick them up from the store and throw them in your train bag to eat later after you catch the train. Not to mention, it’s pretty healthy!

The problem when it comes to sushi is that it can lead to a ton of problems if the train ride is too long.

The biggest issue is that, depending on the type of sushi you enjoy, it can end up going nasty pretty fast. No matter if it is cooked or raw fish sushi, the pieces are not meant to be outside of the fridge for more than two hours.

After two minutes, you run the risk of contracting some foodborne illness, and it can mean a ruined vacation in a matter of minutes.

If you go on a long or overnight trip and do not eat them immediately, you expose yourself to this risk.

The second issue is that you may not be the one who suffers if you bring sushi. If you do not have your compartment with your family or friends or just by yourself, you will be sharing the carriage with other people, and raw fish has a very potent smell.

The longer you leave it, or if it contains any sort of smoke smell, everyone will be able to smell it for hours after you are done.

If you truly want to bring sushi with you, avoid the fish ones. Go for the plant-based ones that are filling and non-offensive to smell, and avoid the risk of being given the stink eye or getting any illnesses on long journeys!

Egg salad

Yeah, this one is in the same category when it comes to bothering those around you with the smell. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good egg salad sandwich, and it is a filling and delicious meal, but not when I am on the train.

These sandwiches stink!

This is all caused by a chemical reaction when the eggs are cooked; the eggs will get their signature scent from the hydrogen sulfide in the egg whites when they are cooked and the iron sulfide in the yolks.

While for you, it may be an okay smell, for others, it may be extremely unpleasant!

If you pull out an egg sandwich, you may just end up being the most hated traveler in that carriage. You do not have to give up the sandwich if it is your favorite, but you will have to take it to a more ventilated area so that the whole carriage will be spared.

On the likes of an Amtrak train, you will have some stops, and you can take it outside to eat. However, keep in mind that this one too can go bad pretty fast if it is warm outside, and there is a chance that your egg salad will result in you passing gas.

So consider all the possibilities before choosing this sandwich!

Speaking of gas…

train 101 food
Image By Elena Veselova From Shutterstock

Brussel sprouts

I know this is an unconventional train food, but believe me, in the past few years I have encountered plenty of people pulling this dish out of their lunch boxes! And man, do I remember those train rides!

Brussels sprouts are having their moment, and they are past the bad reputation they had when we were kids.

This is in part because we have developed many other ways of cooking them that go past that sad boil we used to get.

You can roast or pan-fry these cruciferous veggies, and seasoned well, they can be an amazing and nutritious side dish! The one problem is that these veggies have a strange and, at times, pungent smell.

They are similar in this aspect to eggs, as when cooked, Brussels sprouts will release sulfur and raffinose, both of which are pungent gases.

Generally, you can reduce this scent if you cook them quickly, in under five minutes, but let’s be real.

No one cooks Brussels sprouts for their train ride.

You are most likely taking those last night’s leftovers, and while the parmesan-crusted sprouts were delightful last night, everyone else will be able to smell them on the train from a mile away the second you crack open the Tupperware!

Not to mention, much like with eggs, because of the sulfur contained in them, you can end up becoming bloated and gassy. A sensation you do not want on a longer train ride!

To still get something out of those scraps before you leave, do not cook all of them. Leave some and put together a salad with kale and some raw shredded sprouts inside.

That way, you will not have to be embarrassed because of the smell (unless you’re sensitive to the sulfur), and you will not have to throw food away!

Still, I recommend you only pick these up for a short train ride!

train 101 food
Image By Zu Kamilov From Shutterstock

Fast food

Yes, you read that right! And probably not for the reasons you expect!

Fast food seems like a great choice when you are in a pinch and you have 15 minutes until the train leaves. You won’t have enough time to eat something, but you can pick up something from the closest fast food chain you like and think to yourself, You’re eating on the train.

Here’s what I know can go wrong:

That grease from the fries can easily go through the bag and get onto anything it touches, including your clothes.

If you have any condiment pack, you run the risk of making a mess with it, and then you need to throw it somewhere without dirtying anything. That is if it does not explode (been there, done that).

And sometimes, that burger’s integrity is not at all there, especially when it’s super juicy. To make matters worse, that’s the exact moment you’re out of wet wipes!

Another issue is the smell; while not unpleasant like the other ones on this list, the scent of grease permeates the air fast, and it can easily stick to clothes’ fibers. Not only you, but everyone around you will smell like second-hand fast food.

Lastly, you have to take into consideration when you will eat. In a lot of cases, if you do not eat that food fresh, it takes as little as 15 minutes for the food to change its profile and become weird-tasting and soggy.

Do yourself a favor, and if you’re running late for the train, grab a sandwich or wrap!

No matter what type of food you bring with you, you should have a good, insulated lunchbox to make sure it will not go bad. This one from Amazon has been serving me well for years, and it comes at a great price!

Sometimes you do not have much of a say in the meals you have while traveling. My friend has been on a cruise, and there are some experiences she’s had with certain foods that have left a lasting impact. To find out which cruise foods to avoid and which to savor instead, check out this article!

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