Monday, January 4, 2016

Tips for Eating Healthy on the Plane

It can be really tricky to eat mindfully when you’re tens of thousands of feet in the air, but it is possible! Depending on which airline you take and where you’re going, you may actually have some healthy options! A recent survey compiled a list of which airlines have the healthiest food, and some of them seem pretty tasty. So if you’re considering taking a flight somewhere, see if you can get on board with these airlines and their scrumptious menus. And if you can’t, never fear--you can always pack your own!

The survey was conducted by Charles Platkin, a nutrition professor at Hunter College and City University of New York. Platkin investigated 12 of the major airlines in the U.S. with 10 criteria in mind, like whether the airline offers low-calorie meals or items that are actually nutritionally redemptive. He looked primarily at meals available for domestic economy-class passengers.

So which airlines came out on top with the healthiest in-flight options? Virgin America claims the top spot on the list, as they were the first airline to offer nutritional information about the food they serve. Virgin America’s meals are also all low-calorie: the average calorie count for a meal is a happy 408, and many options are also high in protein.

Just behind Virgin America is Delta Airlines, which has really turned its food game around recently. Delta also provides nutritional information for some of its choices (though not all), with plans to expand the release of that information next year. Some of its food options are made by Luvo, a company that makes healthy frozen meals.

The following three places are assumed by Jet Blue, Air Canada, and United Airlines. However, the two losers in the health category don’t offer anything Platkin would even recommend eating: neither Hawaiian Airlines or Frontier Airlines offer nutritional info or anything good to eat at all. "The worst offender [on Hawaiian] is the Island Princess Mele Macs, which are candied macadamia nuts that contain a staggering 1,120 calories," says CNN.

Happily, you’re not out of luck if you’re flying on one of the airlines whose food isn’t as good. Platkin expects that airline food will continue to change and improve as companies seek to respond to consumer interest--and demand--for healthier food choices. Until then, you can always pack plenty of healthy snacks for the flight, like fruit and nuts, sandwiches, or crispy veggies with a nice dressing!

Do you have a favorite in-flight snack? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!