Every frequent flier has a strong opinion on airplane food. Some refuse to touch a bite, some claim it’s best to only order vegetarian, and others have some strange affinity for the in-flight Salisbury steak of a particular airline. But, no matter your taste preferences, a new survey has revealed the in-flight meals that are best (and worst) for your diet.
Of 11 U.S. and Canadian airlines, Alaska was rated the best by Dr. Charles Platkin, executive director of the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center.
“Alaska’s meals are now on the lighter, better, and healthier side, having gone from ‘Island hash’ and teriyaki chicken bowls, for example, to Fall Harvest Salad on coast-to-coast flights,” Platkin wrote in his review.
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Alaska Airlines passengers can reserve their meals anywhere from 12 hours to two weeks before their flight, which makes meal-planning easier. All nutrition information is available on the Alaska Airlines app.
Runners-up for the healthiest in-flight meal offerings were Delta, Air Canada and JetBlue.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Frontier Air was deemed to have the least healthy inflight meals, earning only 0.85 stars out of a possible five. “The trail mix could be the healthiest option, but travelers would be best off bringing their own food,” according to Platkin.
Passengers who are looking for the healthiest options on their flights should avoid “eating lots of heavy carbs such as pasta with thick, dense sauces, breads, muffins or cakes will leave you feeling lethargic, cranky and not full or satisfied,” Platkin said. “Your blood sugar levels will spike and then fall, which will negatively impact how you feel.”
The survey recommended purchasing healthy options in the airport or packing a meal at home, as most food is allowed through TSA security checkpoints. Cereal, fruit, salads, energy bars, sandwiches and nuts are all good options for healthy eating while traveling.
Platkin also suggested staying away from snack boxes, unless you will share with others. People tend to eat most, if not all, of the food put in front of them, so be conscious of what you order.