While most airlines have cut back on serving free meals and even snacks and transitioned to pay-per-meal plans, nutrition expert Charles Platkin notes that airline food is becoming a lot healthier, with airlines providing at least one nutritious meal on their in-flight menu, according to the Los Angles Times.
Platkin, a professor of nutrition at the City University of New York and founder of Diet Detective, has ranked and tested numerous airline foods for the past 12 years. His annual Airline Food Survey found that Virgin America provides the healthiest options; he awarded it four-and-a-half stars on a five-star scale. Virgin America serves low-calorie alternatives such as a Protein Plate with hummus, nuts, and tuna, and a roasted pear and arugula salad with almonds and fig mustard dressing. Each of these food options is less than 450 calories and packed with fiber.
Platkin rated the food on 12 airlines, providing a health score based on availability of healthy snacks and meals, food variety, calories, innovation, cooperation in offering nutritional information, and how the airline’s healthy options have improved since last year's survey.
Air Canada and Alaska Airlines came up second and third on Platkin’s list. American, United, Delta, and US Airways also made the cut, falling within the middle of the list.
The lowest ranking was given to Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air, which received one-and-a-half stars for its snacks, which include Pringles chips, and M&M's.
See the 12 US airlines with the healthiest food in the slideshow above.