Airline Food Calorie Counts: Do You Really Want to Know?

Airline Food Calorie Counts: Do You Really Want to Know?

DietDetective.com and health advocate Dr. Charles Platkin from the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College surveyed 12 airlines’ snacks and meals to scope out calorie counts and all-around healthiness. If you are like me and actually still care about and eat airline food (it is, sadly, a big highlight of air travel for me, even when the offerings are kind of awful. At least it’s something to do. Must be why I blog about it so much), you may want to know what they discovered.

Based on an analysis of seven criteria—health of meals, health of snacks, food variety, calories, improvement from last year's survey, menu innovation, and cooperation in providing nutritional information—Virgin America offers the “healthiest” food—how interesting that the press release put that word in quotation marks. Air Canada and Alaska Air were nipping at Virgin’s tail section in second and third place, and, while American and JetBlue aren’t great, they are improving, unlike United and Delta.  Frontier and Allegiant were the unhealthiest, least cooperative and received the lowest health rating. The average calories count per food item is 388.

All the gritty details, including full listings of the snack/on-board food, comments, ratings, cost, calories, exercise equivalents, and tips, are available on the DietDetective Web site.

Of course, your best bet is to bring your own, which for some reason other than maybe a protein bar I never remember to do, though I always bring a water bottle to fill from the bubblers on the other side of security. They recommend bringing cereal, fruits that take take a licking like apples and oranges (but what do you do with the peel/core?), fruit salad (do you then carry dirty Tupperware all day?), yogurt, sandwiches, peel-and-eat tuna and salmon cups (just please don’t sit next to me!), nuts, whole wheat crackers…you get the gist.

Personally, I'm going for the giant cookie...calories eaten on the plane stay on the plane, right?

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