Weekly Column_120 / August 16, 2012

Airline Snacking Survey with Health Ratings

By Charles Platkin, PhD

Here are what some of the airlines are offering in terms of snacks, along with comments, Diet Detective ratings (Health Score: 5 stars = highest rate, 1 star = lowest rating), calories, exercise equivalents and choices.

UNITED AIRLINES (847-700-4000, www.united.com)

Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very helpful.

Health Score: (*****) United really has the best variety and most healthful offerings. The only negative is that they’re not offered on flights of less than three hours.

Best Bet: Go for the Ritebite or the Smartpack (which is all-natural, trans-fat free and vegetarian-friendly). Keep in mind the Smartpack is best if you’re sharing; it has a lot of food and can be high in calories for one person.

Total Calories: 895 (Smartpack), 550 (Minimeal), 650 (Quickpick), 580 (Ritebite)

Exercise Equivalents: (Amount of walking to burn off the calories) 231 minutes (Smartpack); 142 minutes (Minimeal); 168 minutes (Quickpick); 149 minutes (Ritebite)

Cost: $5 per box

Snack Choices:
Smartpack

  • SunGold Creamy SunButter (1.5-ounce container, 266 calories)
  • Bear Naked All-Natural Fruit and Nut Granola (1/2-cup bag, 280 calories)
  • Vermont Village Cannery Organic Peach Applesauce (4-ounce container, 80 calories)
  • Glacier Ridge Farms White Cheddar Cheese (0.75-ounce package, 50 calories)
  • Pita Shack Multigrain & Honey Lavash crackers (0.9-ounce package, 120 calories)
  • Hero Strawberry Preserves (½-ounce package, 64 calories)
  • Bali’s Best Latte Candy (1 candy, 15 calories)
  • Emer’gen-C Fizzing Drink Mix – Tangerine (1 packet, 20 calories)

Minimeal

  • Hormel hard salami slices (1 ounce, 110 calories)
  • Rondele Peppercorn Parmesan cheese spread (1 ounce, 70 calories)
  • Venus wheat crackers (1 package, 60 calories)
  • Mott’s Healthy Harvest Granny Smith applesauce, unsweetened (1 cup, 50 calories)
  • Kettle Classics natural potato chips (1-ounce bag, 150 calories)
  • Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies (2 cookies, 120 calories)

Quickpick

  • Jack Link’s hickory-smoked beef jerky (1-ounce bag, 60 calories)
  • Just the Cheese Baked Cheddar Cheese Snacks (low carb) (1/2-ounce bag, 75 calories)
  • Stoned Classics all-natural blue tortilla chips (1½-ounce bag, 180 calories)
  • La Victoria Thick n’ Chunky salsa (1½-ounce package, 15 calories)
  • SunRise honey coated trail mix (2-ounce bag, 205.5 calories)
  • Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies (2 cookies, 120 calories)

Ritebite

  • Bumblebee Sensations Lemon & Pepper Seasoned Tuna Medley (3 ounces, 110 calories)
  • Late July Organic Crackers (1 package, 100 calories)
  • Wild Garden Hummus (1 jar, 73.5 calories)
  • Stacy’s Multigrain Baked Pita Chips (1 ounce, 130 calories)
  • Fino Selections Gouda cheese slice (1 ounce, 101 calories)
  • Newman’s Own organic California raisins (0.5 ounces, 45.5 calories)
  • Mini-Toblerone (1 12.5-gram bar, 66.5 calories)

CONTINENTAL AIRLINES(713-324-2950, www.continental.com)

Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very helpful.

Health Score: (****) Not much variety, but a low-calorie, high-impact meal.

Best Bet: Both sandwich options are fine; the light mayo is a nice touch.

Total Calories: 285 (turkey), 316 (ham)

Exercise Equivalents: (Amount of walking to burn it off the calories) 73 minutes (turkey); 81 minutes (ham); 21 minutes (peanuts); 13 minutes (pretzels)

Cost: No charge

Snack Choices:
Flights over two hours:

  • Turkey sandwich (170 calories, including packet of Hellmann’s light mayo) or
  • Ham sandwich (201 calories, including packet of French’s yellow mustard)
  • Small bag of carrots (35 calories)
  • Fun-size candy bar (80 calories)

Flights under two hours:

  • Honey-roasted peanuts (1.5-ounce bag, 80 calories)
  • Mini pretzels (1.5-ounce bag, 50 calories)

      JETBLUE AIRWAYS(800-538-2583, www.jetblue.com)

      Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very helpful.

      Health Score: (****) The individually packaged snacks are portion-controlled (however, you can ask for as many as you want). And get this — they’re trans-fat free.

      Best Bet: If you’re really hungry, try the nuts; they have protein and good fat and will give you satisfaction. Eat them one at a time. If you want munching food, the animal crackers are for you.

      Total Calories: See individual choices below.

      Exercise Equivalents: (Amount of walking to burn off the calories) see individual choices below

      Cost: No charge

      Snack Choices: (not a snack pack, distributed separately)

      • Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs Wheat Thins Minis (1 package, 100 calories, 26 minutes of walking)
      • Chocobillys Chocolate Chunk (4 cookies, 130 calories, 34 minutes of walking)
      • Doritos Munchies Mix (1-ounce bag, 140 calories, 36 minutes of walking)
      • Mama Says Biscotti Gingerbread Grande (1 cookie, 210 calories, 54 minutes of walking)
      • Mama Says Biscotti Pistachio Grande (1 cookie, 150 calories, 39 minutes of walking)
      • Mrs. GoodCookie Jungle Crackers (1-ounce bag, 120 calories, 31 minutes of walking)
      • Terra Blues Potato Chips (1-ounce bag, 140 calories, 36 minutes of walking)
      • All Nuts Jumbo Cashew Halves (1-ounce bag, 170 calories, 44 minutes of walking)

      AMERICAN AIRLINES(817-963-1234, www.aa.com)

      Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Helpful.

      Health Score: (***½) The meat, nuts, raisins and cheese in the snack box have enough protein and fat to give you a level of satisfaction. Available on flights of three hours or more.

      Best Bet: Skip the breakfast muffin; it’s good but very high in calories and fat. If you have nothing else to eat, split it with your seatmate. If you buy the snack pack, get rid of the cookies and the Goldfish, and you’re in pretty good shape.

      Total Calories: 710 (snack pack) 440/420 (breakfast muffin)

      Exercise Equivalents: (Amount of walking to burn off the calories) 183 minutes (snack pack), 108 minutes (blueberry muffin); 113 minutes (chocolate muffin)

      Cost: $4, snack box; $2, muffin; $5, sandwich

      Snack Choices:
      The following comes in a snack box and is served in the afternoon and evening:

      • Pepperidge Farm Goldfish (0.75 ounces, 100 calories)
      • O’Brien’s Cured Meat (32 grams, 110 calories)
      • Lorna Doone Cookies (2 cookies 140 calories)
      • Kings Raisins (28 grams, 90 calories)
      • Carr’s Table Water Crackers (7.5 grams, 2 crackers, 30 calories)
      • Le Petit Fromage Cheese Spread (0.75 ounces, 70 calories)
      • Emerald Deluxe Mixed Nuts (1 ounce, 170 calories)

      Breakfast Snack:

      • Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Muffin (4-ounce muffin, 440 calories)
      • Otis Spunkmeyer Blueberry Muffin (4-ounce muffin, 420 calories)

      US AIRWAYS(480-693-0800, www.usairways.com)

      Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Not helpful. “We do not provide nutritional data.”

      Health Score: (**) Not much variety and not much in terms of nutritional value. The snack pack is offered on flights of 2.5 hours or more.

      Best Bet: Eat the fruit and nut mix and the cheese; skip the crackers and cookies.

      Total Calories: 470 (snack pack)

      Exercise Equivalents: (Amount of walking to burn off the calories)121 minutes

      Cost: $3 per snack pack

      Snack Choices: (snack pack)

      • Azar Fruit and Nut Mix (1-ounce bag, 110 calories)
      • Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies (4 cookies, 150 calories)
      • Austin Cheese Crackers with Cheddar Cheese (1.38-ounce package, 210 calories)

      DELTA AIR LINES(866-715-2170, www.delta.com)

      Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Least helpful. In fact, they were evasive and didn’t provide any information. Probably why they’re in bankruptcy.

      Health Score: (*) You’ll be very hungry even after eating Delta’s entire snack pack.

      Best Bet: Travel another airline, but if you get stuck, keep the granola bar and the peanuts. Dump the rest.

      Total Calories: 766

      Exercise Equivalents: (Amount of walking to burn off the calories) 197 minutes

      Cost: $5 per box

      Snack Choices: Snack basket

      • Frito-Lay SunChips (1-ounce bag, 140 calories)
      • Quaker Granola Bar (1-ounce bar, 120 calories)
      • Dry-roasted peanuts (1 ounce, 30 nuts, 170 calories)
      • Biscoff Cookies (5 cookies, 146 calories)
      • Lance Honey Peanut Butter Crackers (1 package, 190 calories)

      Looking for tips on making your airline travel healthier? Go to www.dietdetective.com/food/fat-birds-dont-fly.html






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