Guess Which Airlines Have the Most Healthy Food — And the Least

Guess Which Airlines Have the Most Healthy Food — And the Least

General rule: avoid the snacks.

By Aly Walansky

At this time of year especially, many folks are doing a great deal of traveling. If this involves long-haul flights, that probably includes nearly unavoidable in-flight meals.

You may be flying first class, where there are certainly more and better options. Or, you may be carrying food onboard from an airport restaurant — or even from your own home. But many of us often inevitably simply find ourselves in economy, likely choosing between two uninspired-looking choices.

And for those journeys, is there any airline that is a cut above the rest when it comes to healthy main-cabin standard meals? Well, it turns out, yes actually.

According to Diet Detective's 2016-2017 airline food investigation, that airline is Virgin America, with an average of 337 calories in each food item. Coming in second and third were Delta and Air Canada.

The survey, which is conducted by the executive director of the NYC Food Policy Center, bases its ranking on “health and calorie levels of meals, snack boxes, and individual snacks, improvement and maintenance of healthy offerings, menu innovation, and cooperation in providing nutritional information."

"Virgin America is still doing a very good job of creating interesting, thoughtful food in all categories except for individual snacks. In fact, all the airlines could do better with their snack choices — there is no clear leader in this category," the report read.

"Following Virgin America, second place is tied between Delta and Air Canada, whose foods are healthier than those of other airlines. All the airlines have interesting food concepts going on. That said, Delta wins most improved from last year, and has the ability to take the lead if the airline makes a few easy changes," according to the report.

Airline snacks should be avoided in general, according to the study, because they are often high in sodium and calories, but are not sufficient enough to actually keep you full — meaning you will be eating those heavy meals soon after anyway.If you do want a snack, pack some fruit or yogurt to take onboard with you.

As for bottom of the heap, Spirit and Frontier airlines have the least healthy food options. So you may want to do a little extra planning ahead if you are boarding any of those airlines' flights.

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