DietDetective.com Annual Airline Snacking and Onboard Food Service Survey with Health Ratings for 2013

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DietDetective.com Annual Airline Snacking and Onboard Food Service Survey with Health Ratings for 2013
It's Thanksgiving time - which means travel. So, each year I contact the airlines to request nutrition information for the foods they serve economy-class passengers on domestic flights.

There are not too many major changes from last year, but as an overall observation, the good seem to have gotten better. Virgin America and Air Canada are tied as they were two years ago for having the healthiest food in the air. Virgin America has the ONLY Travel Light menu and on-demand ordering (eat when you want). Air Canada has better individual snacks, and the airline prides itself on the freshness and quality of its ingredients. The airline contracts with a company called Food with a Conscience to help create its menu. Alaska Airlines has real meals that are reasonable in terms of health and calories; and United and JetBlue seem to be moving in a better direction. American is not terrible, but it's not improving, either.
 
It is still a huge mystery to me why airlines don't see healthy, tasty foods as a profit center. Clearly, the "better for you" food market is on fire (think Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and all the new products on the market). The big airlines, like American, are slow to improve food service, but I believe we will see changes for the better in the next few years. JetBlue has added a few more healthy (and unhealthy) items on select routes between New York and California. JetBlue, please take a cue from Air Canada's food playbook and offer items like celery and carrots. Delta's snacks are still not very good, but their meals are getting better. Virgin America needs to offer healthier individual snacks to take the lead, and Air Canada needs to add healthier meals - a merger perhaps?
 
The "Shame on You" award, once again, goes to Allegiant. I wasn't sure it would be possible, but this airline was LESS helpful this year than last year.  Their foods are packaged. All they had to do was send photos of the nutrition facts panels, but they refused. Last year the media department actually told a journalist that they did cooperate - nonsense!
 
The average number of calories per food item last year was 388. This year it's 360 calories per itme - a drop!
 
Here are the food-service offerings from several of the more popular airlines, along with Diet Detective's comments, ratings (Health Score: 5 stars = highest rating), calories, exercise equivalents (amount of walking required to burn off the food consumed) and personal favorites.

Virgin America (877-359-8474, www.virginamerica.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Excellent
Health Score: (**** 1/2)
Average Calories Over All (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks) = 458.6
Average Meal/ Snack Box Calories = 360.75
Average Individual Snack Calories = 270.63
Comments: Another year goes by and Virgin America is still doing a fantastic job with their meals - truly fantastic.  All you have to do is go to the airline's website and you will see the nutritional information for its Travel Light menu. This year, they also introduced "Flight Bites," featuring fresh salads plus a decadent dessert. The only negative is that Virgin America needs to offer more healthy individual snacks to match the conscientious Travel Light menu. Once they do that, they will be the clear leader in healthy eating in the air.
Best Bets: Avoid the individual snacks, since none of them is very healthy. Even the nuts, which are the best choice, are high in calories if you consume the entire package. For breakfast, Virgin used to have low-calorie oatmeal, which has been replaced by a higher-calorie granola with fruit and yogurt - not too bad if you were rushing to catch the plane and didn't have any other choice. The best snack box is the Protein Meal with hummus, nuts and tuna - the others are a bit high in calories that are not really worth it. For kids, skip the Jet Set Kid Pack if you can, and go for the half peanut butter and jam sandwich: It's a better choice.

In general, the best bet is to go for a real meal, even if you save half for later. Nearly all the Travel Light meals are good choices (although the half wrap might not be filling enough). Just reading the menu can make you hungry and excited to fly on Virgin America. The standouts are the Roasted Pear and Arugula Salad with almonds and a fig mustard dressing, which has lots of fiber and only 310 calories. Also, the Chicken Protein Platter is a bit higher in calories (you can always skip some of the cheese), but the protein will keep you feeling full and alert. Again, these are meals that will fill you up and help you avoid the junk. The good news is that none of the food goes overboard in terms of calories - so you really can't go too far wrong.

Individual Snacks

"       Chex Mix $4.00 (420 calories, 91 minutes of walking)
"       Thai Sweet Chili PopChips $3.25 (120 calories, 26 minutes of walking)
"       479 Popcorn Fleur de Sel Caramel $3.25 (100 calories, 22 minutes of walking)
"       Pringles Grab and Go $3.25 (375 calories, 81 minutes of walking)
"       Holly Baking Co. Chocolate Chip Cookies $3.50 (310 calories, 67 minutes of walking)
"       Hail Merry Seasoned Nut Blend $3.00 (450 calories, 97 minutes of walking)
"       Krave Basil Citrus Turkey Jerky $4.75 (120 calories, 26 minutes of walking)
"       Kuko Bites $3.00 (270 calories, 58 minutes of walking)

Meals and Snack Boxes

Protein Meal $7.00
Multigrain crackers (60 calories), Wild Garden Sundried Tomato Hummus (63 calories), Fisher Mixed Nuts (170 calories), Ocean Spray Craisins (100 calories), Bumble Bee Lemon Pepper Tuna (110 calories), Toblerone Mini (67 calories). Total = 570 calories, 123 minutes of walking.

Hearty Meal Box $7.00
Snyder's of Hanover Mini Pretzels (160 calories), Old Wisconsin Salami Slices (90 calories), Thin Addictive Cranberry Almond Cookies (100 calories), Welch's Fruit Snacks (80 calories). Total = 430 calories 93 minutes of walking.

Jet Set Kid Pack $7.00
Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain Goldfish (100 calories), Ritz Peanut Butter Sandwiches (130 calories), Giddy Strawberry Dip 'Ems Biscuits (140 calories). 18 Rabbits Bunny Bar (120 calories), Dolphin earbuds (headphones) and slide puzzle toy. Total = 490 calories, 490 minutes of walking.

Travel Light Meals Available on flights of more than two hours

Arugula and Roasted Pear Salad $8.25
Crisp romaine and baby arugula salad tossed with red seedless grapes and toasted slivered almonds, topped with pears roasted in fig mustard and served with olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette and diced Brie cheese on the side.
Nutrition information: 310 calories; 10 g fat; 23 g carbohydrates; 8 g protein; 67 minutes of walking. (Contains nuts and dairy.)

Chicken Protein Platter $7.75
Edamame hummus served with whole-wheat pita, sliced grilled chicken breast, cage-free hard-boiled egg, carrots, celery, cucumber, grape tomatoes, smoked Gouda, and cheddar and Muenster cheese, accompanied by green grapes. Nutrition information: 470 calories; 12 g fat; 43 g carbohydrates; 39 g protein; 102 minutes of walking. (Contains wheat and dairy.)

Artisan Cheese Box $9.50
An assortment of cheeses, including Camembert, smoked Gouda, Muenster and cheddar, served with seedless green grapes, dried apples and apricots, and paired with gluten-free multiseed crackers. Nutrition information: 310 calories; 19 g fat; 21 g carbohydrates ; 16 g protein; 67 minutes of walking. (Contains dairy.)

Tandoori Chicken Sandwich $9.50
Freshly baked ciabatta roll with a rich and spicy tandoori spread, layered with grilled chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, fire-roasted peppers and provolone cheese.
Nutrition information: 300 calories; 10 g fat; 23 g carbohydrates; 8 g protein; 65 minutes of walking. (Contains wheat and dairy.)

Spicy Southwestern Half Wrap $7.50
Spicy Southwestern salad with black-eyed peas, yellow and poblano peppers, crisp jicama, cotija cheese, cumin, oregano and olive oil, wrapped in a roasted red pepper tortilla and served with a sweet corn and black bean salad. Nutrition information: 340 calories; 15 g fat; 47 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 73 minutes of walking. (Contains dairy and wheat.)

Udi's Granola with Fruit and Yogurt $7.50
Fresh fruit salad of pineapple, mango and red seedless grapes, served with Udi's gluten-free granola and fruit yogurt. Nutrition information: 440 calories; 16 g fat; 69 g carbohydrates; 9 g protein; 95 minutes of walking. (Contains nuts and dairy.)

Peanut Butter and Jam Half Sandwich $4.00
Peanut butter and strawberry jam half sandwich on wheat bread, served with Tasty Brand fruit snacks. Nutrition information: 320 calories; 14 g fat; 36 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 69 minutes of walking. (Contains wheat, sugar and nuts.)

Fresh Meals Offered on flights of more than two hours

Flight Bites $16.50
Six of our freshest salads and snacks in one guilt-free sampler: roasted beets with orange and feta; asparagus antipasto with marinated mozzarella and tomatoes; honey mushroom and fig salad; cheese bites; a smoked chicken with green lentil salad; and chocolate mousse with raspberry. Nutrition information: 500 calories; 33 g fat; 34 g carbohydrates; 18 g protein; 108 minutes of walking. (Contains dairy, poultry and sugar.)

San Francisco Club Sandwich $9.50
Sliced sourdough bread piled high with turkey breast, smoked bacon, baby arugula, crisp lettuce and Roma tomatoes. Served with a creamy feta cheese spread and a Tcho chocolate on the side. Nutrition information: 570 calories; 18 g fat; 67 g carbohydrates; 33 g protein; 123 minutes of walking. (Contains wheat, dairy and sugar.)

Air Canada (514-393-3333, www.aircanada.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Excellent
Health Score: (**** 1/2)
Average Calories Over All (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks) = 330.95
Average Meal/ Snack Box Calories = 296.90
Average Individual Snack Calories = 365
Comments: I've been a fan of Air Canada, but this year they've increased the calories on meal items and are offering Twizzlers and other high-calorie, processed candies that are not necessary.
Best Bets: They can do slightly better on their individual snack offerings. Pick the Nissin - Chicken Ramen Noodle Soup. It will fill you up, and it's more like a meal than a snack. The cashews need to be shared. For kids, the apples with caramel dip are an OK choice, but you should probably limit the caramel. I still love the idea of the Celery & Carrots with Ranch Dip (limit the dip to no more than half). For many of the individual snacks, many are healthy (e.g., nuts, humus), but should be shared. Most of the full meals are relatively low in calories. The Roasted Chicken Wrap is a reasonable choice; however, it has more calories than last year. The airline is also offering a salad - nice work, especially with the quinoa. Breakfast, other than the bagel, is a home run on Air Canada. Go for the Greek yogurt, which is only 150 calories, or the fruit plate (which sounds delicious) for only 186 calories. The smoothies and oatmeal are also strong choices. So glad Air Canada eliminated the calorie-laden muffin.

Individual Snacks Available on flights of more than 1.5 hours
"       Apples with Caramel Dip $3.00 (157 calories, 34 minutes of walking)
"       Celery & Carrots with Ranch Dip $5.00 (130 calories, 28 minutes of walking)
"       Cheese & (Gluten-Free) Crackers $4.00 (290 calories, 63 minutes of walking)
"       Nissin - Chicken Ramen Noodle Soup $3.00 (300 calories, 65 minutes of walking)
"       Krispy Kernels - Salted Cashews $3.00 (403 calories, 87 minutes of walking)
"       Krispy Kernels - Trail Mix $3.00 (345 calories, 75 minutes of walking)
"       Pringles Original - Grab and Go! $3.00 (285 calories, 62 minutes of walking)
"       Lindt Swiss Classic - Milk Chocolate Bar $3.00 (533 calories, 115 minutes of walking)
"       Twizzlers - Licorice $3.50 (833 calories, 180 minutes of walking)
"       Hummus with pretzels $4.00 (380 calories, 82 minutes of walking
"       Maynards - Swedish Berries $3.00 (359 calories, 78 minutes of walking)

Breakfast

Breakfast Bagel $5.50
Egg, ham and Swiss cheese on multigrain bagel. Total = 360 calories, 78 minutes of walking.

Greek Yogurt with Blueberry and Pomegranate $3.00
Total = 150 calories, 32 minutes of walking.

Fruit Plate $6.00
Pineapple, grapes, cantaloupe and honeydew. Total = 186 calories, 40 minutes of walking.

Quaker Oatmeal $4.00
Maple and brown sugar oatmeal. Total = 210 calories, 45 minutes of walking.

Smoothie Blend $.300
Mango. Total = 150 calories, 32 minutes of walking.
Strawberry. Total = 120 calories, 26 minutes of walking.

Meals Available on flights of more than two hours

Pizza $6.95
Classic Pepperoni Pizza - A baked classic made with tomato marinara sauce, pepperoni and a blend of mozzarella, Asiago, Parmesan and Romano cheeses, served on a thin crispy flatbread. Total = 470 calories, 101 minutes of walking.

Chicken Wrap $6.95
Roasted chicken breast strips with pesto mayonnaise, sun-dried tomato and Parmesan cheese on a flatbread. Total = 430 calories, 93 minutes of walking.

BBQ Pulled Beef Sandwich $7.95
Pulled beef, maple barbecue with mayo, Monterey Jack cheese, dill pickles and coleslaw on a potato scallion bun. Total = 510 calories, 110 minutes of walking.

Salad $6.50
Sweet potato, baby spinach, red and white quinoa, celery, spring onions and apricots, with a citrus dressing. Total = 290 calories, 63 minutes of walking.

Shepherd's Pie (New: Available Dec. 1) $7.95
Seasoned minced beef and sweet corn niblets topped with creamy mashed potato, served with a dinner roll. Total = 390 calories, 84 minutes of walking.

Alaska Airlines (800-252-7522, www.alaskaair.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very helpful 
Health Score: (****)
Average Calories = 402.77
Average Meal/ Snack Box Calories = 402.77 (no individual snacks)
Comments: A rocky start getting the nutritional information; however, Alaska Airlines came through in the end and sent me what I needed. They have a strong menu, and food is clearly relevant to the overall reputation of the airline. This is a quote from their website: "Elevating Airline Food to a Higher Standard: We've taken our food-for-purchase options to a whole new level by offering a hot, fresh meal for purchase on almost every flight longer than 2 hours." I also like the fact that Alaska Airlines does not offer individual snacks (other than the beef jerky), which means that if you're hungry you'll pick a real meal instead of snacking on unhealthy choices (which are what airlines are typically serving these days).
Best Bets: Among the snack boxes, the Mediterranean Tapas box hasn't changed much from last year - and is still the healthiest choice. It has olives, hummus, almonds, dried fruit and even a dark chocolate bar. But keep in mind that 497 calories is a bit high for a "snack" (or even a meal) - so it's best if you share the box. For kids, the snack box may be tempting, but it's always better for children (and adults) to eat a real meal than it is to "snack" aimlessly. As far as breakfast choices go, those on the west or northbound flights are all high in calories, but if you happen to be going east or south before December 2013, the Tex-Mex Breakfast is a reasonable choice. The French Toast is not healthy.   The Fruit and Cheese plate is available all day and is the best choice for breakfast if you skip the crackers and half the cheese. Among the hot foods, the best choices on the south and eastbound flights are the Mediterranean Quinoa Salad Shaker and the Chicken Wrap, and on north / westbound flights the Asian Chicken Salad Shaker.

Meals and Snack Boxes
Mediterranean Tapas Picnic Pack (Vegan and gluten-free) $6.00
Late July Sea Salt Multigrain Snack Chips, Mario Snack Olives, Wild Garden Roasted Garlic Hummus Dip, Madi K's Almonds, Vacaville Fruit Company Apricots, TCHO 70% Dark Chocolate. Total = 497 calories, 107 minutes of walking.

Northwest Deli Picnic Pack $6.00
Kettle Brand Sea Salt Potato Chips, Old Wisconsin Salami, La Panzanella Crackers, Sahale Fruit & Almond Snack, Dark Chocolate Almond Roca, Smoked Gouda Cheese Spread. Total = 526 calories, 114 minutes of walking.

Kids' Choice Picnic Pack $6.00
Pirate's Booty White Cheddar Puffs, Old Wisconsin Turkey Snack Stick, Materne GoGo squeeZ Apple Cinnamon Applesauce, Plum Organics Grammy Sammy Strawberry Yogurt & Honey Graham, Fruit Chews, Wikki Stix Play Pack. Total = 335 calories, 72 minutes of walking.

Oberto Beef Jerky $6.00 (240 calories, 52 minutes of walking)

East or Southbound Flights
 
Tex-Mex Breakfast skillet $6.00
Mexican-style pinto beans, scrambled eggs and a tortilla with a side of salsa.
Available on most east and southbound flights departing before 9:30a.m. in November.
Total = 413 calories, 89 minutes of walking.

Traditional French Toast skillet $6.00
French toast with applewood smoked bacon and scrambled eggs. Available on most
east and southbound flights departing before 9:30 a.m. in December.
Total = 403 calories, 87 minutes of walking.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad Shaker $6.00
Spinach, quinoa, olives and feta cheese with a zesty lemon vinaigrette
dressing. Available on most southbound flights along the West Coast of 2.5
to three hours in November. Total = 142 calories, 31 minutes of walking.

Asian Chicken Wrap $6.00
Grilled chicken breast, bell pepper, butter lettuce and carrots wrapped in a
spinach tortilla. Served with sesame Oriental dressing. Available on most
southbound flights along the West Coast of 2.5 to three hours in December.
Total = 273 calories, 59 minutes of walking.

Texas-Style BBQ Pork Sandwich $6.00
Pulled pork with smoky barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese and a zesty chipotle slaw.
Available on eastbound flights over three hours departing after 9:30 a.m.
Total = 510 calories, 110 minutes of walking.

U.S. Certified Angus Burger $6.00
U.S. Certified Angus burger patty, cheddar cheese and Tim's Cascade Plain chips. Available on most eastbound flights of three hours or more and flights from
Mexico in November. Burger = 533 calories, chips = 140 calories. Total = 673 calories, 115 minutes of walking.

Signature Fruit and Cheese Platter $7.00
Beecher's Flagship, Tillamook Sharp Cheddar and a wedge of Brie with fresh
seasonal fruit and Partners crackers. Available on flights over two hours in November and December. Total = 456 calories, 98 minutes of walking.

North or Westbound Flights

All-Star Breakfast skillet $6.00
Scrambled eggs topped with cheddar cheese, chicken apple sausage and home-style potatoes. Available on most north and westbound flights departing before 9:30 a.m. in November. Total = 548 calories, 118 minutes of walking.

Breakfast Sandwich $6.00
Egg, sausage and provolone cheese on wheat thin bun with maple butter.
Available on most north and westbound flights departing before 9:30 a.m. in December.
Total = 635 calories, 137 minutes of walking.

Asian Chicken Salad Shaker $6.00
Grilled chicken with a blend of cabbage, carrots, wonton strips and toasted
sesame seeds with a side of dressing. Available on most northbound flights
along the West Coast of 2.5 to three hours in November. Total = 190 calories, 41 minutes of walking.

Beecher's Cheese & Chicken Cobb Salad Shaker $6.00
Romaine lettuce, tomato, grilled chicken breast, applewood smoked bacon and a
crumbling of Beecher's Flagship cheese, topped with a hard-boiled egg.
Available on most northbound flights along the West Coast of 2.5 to three
hours in December. Total = 315 calories, 68 minutes of walking.

Home-style Chicken Dinner $6.00
Just like Grandma's cookin'! Roasted chicken topped with home-style gravy,
mashed potatoes and buttered green beans. Available on most westbound flights of three
hours or more departing after 9:30 a.m. Total = 453 calories, 98 minutes of walking.

Reuben Sandwich $6.00
Turkey pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing on
marble rye. Served warm. Available on most westbound flights of three hours or more
departing after 9:30 a.m. in December. Total = 378 calories, 82 minutes of walking.

Signature Fruit and Cheese Platter $7.00
Beecher's Flagship, Tillamook Sharp Cheddar and a wedge of Brie with fresh
seasonal fruit and Partners crackers. Available on flights over two hours in November and December. Total = 456 calories, 98 minutes of walking.

JetBlue Airways (800-538-2583, www.jetblue.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very helpful
Health Score: (***1/2)
Average Calories Over All (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks) = 316.41
Average Meal/ Snack Box Calories = 450.22
Average Individual Snack Calories = 165.88
Comments: Last year JetBlue started offering their snack boxes on flights of more than two hours, which was a great move. Now they've started offering more foods, including the Eat Up Caf頨available only on flights between New York JFK and Long Beach, Calif.; JFK and Los Angeles; and JFK and San Francisco),which is somewhat good news. I say somewhat because not all the foods are great choices. It still boggles my mind that once-progressive JetBlue doesn't take more advantage of onboard snack purchasing.
Best Bets: Still nothing much in terms of healthy individual snacks, other than the nuts. And, by the way, the animal crackers are not a great choice, as some of you still insist. Keep in mind, the individual snacks are free, so don't take more than one. Also, I'm not sure why, but instead of adding healthier snacks they now have Doritos (which did replace the Fritos, but still). In terms of the meal boxes, Shape Up has healthy ingredients, but should not be eaten as a snack - it's a meal. Skip the other meal boxes, which are high in calories and fat and offer little in terms of nutrition. If you are on a flight that does offer the Eat Up Caf鬠the Yogurt Parfait and the Quinoa Salad are the best choices - the others are not wonderful (but if you don't like yogurt or quinoa, the Roast Beef Sandwich will do).

Individual Snacks (all are free)
"       Linden's Chocolate Chippers (135 calories, 29 minutes of walking)
"       King Nut Fancy Nut Mix (170 calories, 37 minutes of walking)
"       PopCorners Popcorn Chips - Carmel (130 calories, 28 minutes of walking)
"       Stauffer's Original Animal Crackers - 1-ounce bag (110 calories, 24 minutes of walking)
"       Terra Blues Potato Chips - 1-ounce bag (130 calories, 28 minutes of walking)
"       Doritos Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips (80 calories, 17 minutes of walking)

la Carte Snacks
"       Field Trip Beef Jerky $4.25 (100 calories, 22 minutes of walking)
"       New York Nut Factory Omega-3 Mega Mix $4.50 (472 calories, 102 minutes of walking)

Eat Up Caf頁vailable on flights between New York JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco or Long Beach, Calif.
"       Yogurt Parfait $6.00
Greek yogurt, honey and banana (320 calories, 69 minutes of walking)
"       Antipasto $9.00
Prosciutto, hummus and Camembert cheese (440 calories, 95 minutes of walking)
"       Breakfast Trio $8.00
Croissant with turkey, blueberry muffin and fresh fruit cup (490 calories, 106 minutes of walking)
"       Quinoa Salad $8.00
Red and black quinoa, chickpeas and honey roasted carrots (300 calories, 65 minutes of walking)
"       Roast Beef Sandwich $10.00
On a pretzel sub with fruit on the side (570 calories, 123 minutes of walking)

Meal Boxes
Available on flights of more than two hours

Beef Up $6.00
Old Wisconsin Beef Salami (90 calories), La Panzanella Rosemary Crackers (80 calories), GRF White Cheddar Cheese Bar (100 calories), Stacey's Pita Chips, (130 calories) GRF Parmesan Peppercorn Cheese Spread (70 calories), Kind Plus Bar Cranberry Almond (115 calories). Total = 585 calories, 126 minutes of walking.

Shape Up $6.00
Milas Classic Hummus (100 calories), Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers Sea Salt (60 calories), The Good Bean Chickpeas (121 calories), Pamela's Simplebites Ginger Mini Snaps (115 calories), Sun Maid Raisins (45 calories), Oloves Tasty Mediterranean (26 calories), Bob's Mint Peppermint Flavor (50 calories). Total = 517 calories, 112 minutes of walking.  

Mix It Up $6.00
Quaker Chewy Bar - Chocolate Chunk (90 calories), Bauducco Real Torino Mini Classical Grissini (60 calories), Nutella Hazelnut Spread (100 calories), GoGo squeeZ Applesauce (60 calories), LeClerc Cheddar Cheese Frogs (120 calories), Ocean Spray Craisins (100 calories). Total = 530 calories, 114 minutes of walking.

Cheer Up $6.00
Trio of premium cheeses: Swiss, cheddar and hot pepper, almonds and crackers. Total = 300 calories, 65 minutes of walking.

United Airlines (800-864-8331, www.united.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very helpful
Health Score: (*** 1/4)
Average Calories Over All (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks = 458.58
Average Meal/ Snackbox Calories = 521.38
Average Individual Snack Calories = 322.50
Comments: Some improvement on individual snacks and overall food choices, but United can do much better.
Best Bets: On flights of more than two hours, choose the Tapas snack box, which is high in calories but has many healthy foods, including almonds, olives, hummus and bruschetta - just toss out the cheese spread. The snack box should be shared unless you eat it as a meal. On flights of less than three hours, you don't have much of a choice for a meal, and the Tapas will fill you up and provide healthy nutrients. Skip the Classic and Savory snack boxes - not too much nutritionally going on. The individual snacks on United have improved from a calorie perspective (the range is now 190 to 650, whereas last year it was 330 to 1,020), and from a health perspective, they've scrapped the Chex Mix, croissants, cinnamon rolls and 1,000-calorie nuts. Great work! United has also added the Sweet & Savory Bistro Blend Trail Mix, which is a good choice if you share it with three others (it's 560 calories per bag), the Two Degrees Food Bars at 190 calories per bar, and the Wild Garden Hummus Dip with Chips at 210 calories. The bars and hummus are both good snack choices. Skip the cheese plate; there are better options. 
 
On flights of more than three hours, United has eliminated the Grilled Chicken Spinach Salad at 360 calories - too bad. The good news is that they've added the Mediterranean-Style Salad, which is a good low-calorie choice that includes grilled zucchini, squash, bell pepper, olives, hummus and pita. Another reasonable choice is the Turkey & Swiss Cranberry Baguette - maybe skip the cheese. Skip the Cobb Salad Wrap; it is high in calories (do not be fooled by the word "salad"). For breakfast, your best bet is the Morning Energy Selection with fruit, egg and yogurt. The other breakfasts available are not very healthy.

Snack Shop Available on most flights of more than two hours

Individual Snacks

"       Haribo Gold-Bears Gummi Candy $3.99 - 4-ounce box (360 calories, 78 minutes of walking)
"       Pringles Original Potato Crisps $3.29 - 2.6-ounce can (375 calories, 81 minutes of walking)
"       Sheila G's Salted Caramel Brownie Brittle $3.99 - 2-ounce bag (240 calories, 52 minutes of walking)
"       Sweet & Savory Bistro Blend Trail Mix $4.29 - 4-ounce bag (560 calories, 121 minutes of walking)
"       Two Degrees Food Bars $3.99 (190 calories per bar, 41 minutes of walking)
"       Wild Garden Hummus Dip & Multi Grain Pita Chips $3.99 (210 calories, 45 minutes of walking)

Snack Boxes

Classic $7.49
Dairy Food White Cheddar Gourmet Cheese Spread (70 calories), Freshers Cream Crackers (78 calories), Mott's Original Applesauce (90 calories), Pepperidge Farm Cheddar Goldfish (100 calories), O'Brien's Premium Beef Stick with Pepperoni (110 calories), Skittles Candy (61 calories), Nabisco Oreo Cookies (100 calories). Total = 609 calories, 132 minutes of walking.

Savory $7.49
The Better Chip Corn Chips (130 calories), Emerald Natural Almonds (100 calories), Vanilla Raspberry Fig Bar (110 calories), Keebler Original Graham Crackers (60 calories), El Sol Foods All Natural Chunky Salsa (20 calories), Nutella (80 calories), Fresh Gourmet Dried Fruit Blend (90 calories). Total = 590 calories, 127 minutes of walking.

Tapas $8.59
Brookside Dark Chocolate with Fruit Flavors (65 calories), Crespo Pitted Green Marinated Olives (50 calories), Emerald Natural Almonds (100 calories), Heritage Roasted Red Pepper Bruschetta (20 calories), Partners Olive Oil & Sea Salt Crackers (50 calories), Freshers Cream Crackers (78 calories), Rondele Peppercorn Parmesan Cheese Spread (110 calories), Stacy's Pita Chips (130 calories), Wild Garden Traditional Hummus (63 calories). Total = 666 calories, 144 minutes of walking.

Bistro on Board
Available on flights of more than 3.5 hours within North America and to Latin America. Fresh selections may vary due to product availability.
        
Breakfast Available on most flights departing between 5:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.

BLT Baguette $8.99
Multigrain baguette with bacon, lettuce and tomato served with light mayonnaise. Total = 622 calories, 134 minutes of walking.

Morning Energy Selection $6.99
Hard-cooked egg, yogurt, granola, pineapple and grapes. Total = 402 calories, 87 minutes of walking.

Berry & Sweet Cheese Pastry $4.99
Berry and sweet cheese-filled pretzel pastry. Total = 462 calories, 100 minutes of walking.

Lunch and Dinner Available on most flights departing between 9:45 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Artisan Cheese Selection $7.99
Three-cheese selection with crackers, fruit spread, grapes and chocolate. Total = 435 calories, 93 minutes of walking.
Mediterranean-Style Salad $8.49
Grilled zucchini, squash and bell pepper, with olives, feta cheese, hummus and pita. Total = 342 calories, 73 minutes of walking.
Turkey & Swiss Cranberry Baguette $8.99
Cranberry baguette with turkey, Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato served with light mayonnaise. Total = 477 calories, 102 minutes of walking.

Cobb Salad Wrap $8.99
Tortilla filled with chicken, hard-cooked egg, blue cheese, lettuce, scallion and ranch dressing. Total = 638 calories, 137 minutes of walking.

Chicken & Swiss Focaccia $8.99
Tomato focaccia with chicken breast, Swiss cheese, tomato and arugula. Total = 530 calories, 114 minutes of walking.

Select Markets
Available on flights between Hawaii and Chicago, Houston, Newark and Washington

Breakfast Available on most flights departing before 9:15 a.m.

Bistro Scramble $9.99
Scrambled eggs with potatoes, turkey sausage, asparagus and Swiss cheese. Total = 531 calories, 114 minutes of walking.

Lunch and Dinner Available on most flights departing after 9:15 a.m.

Chicken Penne Pasta $9.99
Penne pasta with chicken breast, cherry tomato sauce, saut饤 squash and Parmesan cheese. Total = 474 calories, 102 minutes of walking.

American Airlines (817-963-1234, www.aa.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Excellent
Health Score: (***)
Average Calories Over All (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks) = 456
Average Meal/ Snack Box Calories = 447.57
Average Individual Snack Calories = 470.75
Comments: American has streamlined its menu offerings - no more big portions of terrible high-calorie snacks. The good news is that American is offering at least one relatively healthy item in each category - not great, but passable.
Best Bets: For individual snacks, the hummus and chips is your best choice at 203 calories (plus healthy hummus). You can pass on the other snacks, especially the fruit and nut mix, unless you have a large family to share it with. I'm not disciplined enough to order that - I would eat the entire 640 calories. Too bad American dropped the Insalata Caprese salad. Now there are no real meals available for that two-hour-plus flight time. If you're on a longer flight (three hours or more), the Fresh Chicken Caesar Salad Bowl minus the chips is the way to go (give the chips away or refuse them). Avoid the brisket sandwich; even without the chips it's more than 600 calories. For breakfast on flights of two hours or more there's not much to eat. You can share the Fruit and Nut Mix with three or more people and be OK until you land (provided you skipped breakfast). On flights of three hours or more, the Breakfast Sandwich is the better choice (without the cookies; give them away or refuse them). There is not much cheese on the fruit and cheese plate - so skip it.

Snack and Meal Options

Breakfast

Available on morning flights of more than two hours departing between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Breakfast Pack $5.99
Upstate Farms Yogurt (90 calories), Breakfast On The Go! Nut And Oatmeal Mix (190 calories), Nutella Hazelnut Spread (100 calories), Biscoff Cookies (73 calories), Nature's Bakery Fig Bar (110 calories) and a Lifesavers Mint (15 calories). Total = 578 calories, 125 minutes of walking.

Fruit and Nut Mix $4.79 (640 calories, 138 minutes of walking)

CLIF Bar Energy Bar $2.89 (260 calories, 56 minutes of walking)

Available on flights of more than three hours departing between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Fruit and Cheese Plate $8.29
Walnut halves (13 calories), Freshers cream cracker (78 calories), Swiss cheese (0.75 ounces, 81 calories), cheddar cheese (0.5 ounces, 57 calories), Muenster cheese (0.5 ounces, 52 calories), red and green grapes (40 calories), dried cranberries (5 calories). Total = 326 calories, 70 minutes of walking.

Breakfast Sandwich $6.79
Smoked turkey, white cheddar cheese and a tomato slice on a roll served with Biscoff cookies. Total = 457 calories, 99 minutes of walking.

Snacks
Available on flights of more than two hours departing between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Protein Pack $6.99
Snack pack featuring Jack Link's turkey jerky (70 calories), Clif Bar mini chocolate chip energy bar (100 calories), Gilman white cheddar cheese (110 calories), crackers
(70 calories), Craisins (100 calories) and a Life Savers mint (15 calories). Total = 465 calories, 100 minutes of walking.

Fruit & Nut Mix $4.79 (640 calories, 138 minutes of walking)

Wild Garden Hummus & Pita Chips $3.69 (203 calories, 44 minutes of walking)

Dancing Deer Brownie Co. Caramel Sea Salt Brownie $3.29 (360 calories, 78 minutes of walking)

Chex Mix $3.49 (420 calories, 91 minutes of walking)

Light and Fresh Snacks
Available on flights of more than three hours departing between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Brisket, Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich $9.99
Smoked brisket, lettuce, tomato and basil mayonnaise on a pretzel roll (634 calories). Served with Boulder Canyon chips (130 calories). Total = 764 calories, 165 minutes of walking.

Fruit and Cheese Plate $8.29
Walnut halves (13 calories), Freshers cream cracker (78 calories), Swiss cheese (0.75 ounces, 81 calories), cheddar cheese (0.5 ounces, 57 calories), Muenster cheese (0.5 ounces, 52 calories), red and green grapes (40 calories), dried cranberries (5 calories). Total = 326 calories, 70 minutes of walking.

Fresh Chicken Caesar Salad Bowl $9.99
Romaine lettuce, all white-meat chicken and Parmesan, Romano and Asiago cheeses with Parmesan Caesar dressing served with Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Tortilla Chips on the side. Total = 543 calories, 117 minutes of walking.

US Airways (480-693-0800, www.usairways.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very helpful
Health Score: (***)
Average Calories Over All (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks) = 442.46
Average Meal/ Snack Box Calories = 532
Average Individual Snack Calories = 367.50
Comments: U.S. Airways has replaced several high-calorie individual snacks with lower-calorie versions. For instance, the cookies have been reduced from 550 to 330 calories, and the nuts went from 1,020 to 320. While they are definitely moving in the right direction, they still need to add a few really healthy snacks (other than nuts). Many of their high-calorie meals have also been lowered, but it would be great if they offered meals on all flights of more than two hours.
Best Bets: The only individual snacks that work are the nuts (split with three people or more), the Clif Chocolate Chip Protein Bar and the chips and salsa; the rest lack nutritional value (and have too many calories). However, none of these is a really healthy choice. Among the snack boxes, the Caf預lus is much better this year, with mostly healthy items, including roasted garlic hummus, olives, honey glazed almond mix and a fig bar. The Caf頓nack box can also work if you share it, or it can serve as a meal for one. As for meals, for lunch or dinner the Egg and Turkey Bacon Sandwich (until Dec. 6) has actually increased in calories since last year (it was already high), but still, it's a real meal, and if you give away the yogurt or take off the jack cheese and the top part of the flatbread it can be a good choice. It's better than the Fruit and Cheese Plate, which is lower in calories but won't fill you up. Also, for breakfast you can opt for the Yogurt Parfait at 260 calories (it's the granola that adds all the calories). For lunch or dinner the Crispy Chicken Salad is probably a miss since it has fried chicken as the protein source. After Dec. 6, the lunch options are all more than 600 calories. Choose the Turkey & Cheese Croissant Sandwich, but take off the cheese. You can also choose the Chicken Cheddar Wrap and give away the chips, or go for the Penne and remove the meat to save calories.

Snacks and Snack Boxes

MarketPlace Snacks Available on all flights of more than one hour, excluding Shuttle
"       Chex Mix - Traditional $3.49 (420 calories, 91 minutes of walking)
"       Cranberry Nut Mix $5.00 (640 calories, 138 minutes of walking)
"       Pringles $3.00 (375 calories, 81 minutes of walking)
"       Late July Organic Sea Salt Multigrain Chips & Tomato Salsa $4.00 (140 calories, 30 minutes of walking)
"       Clif Chocolate Chip Protein Bar $3.29 (230 calories, 50 minutes of walking)
"       Almond M&M's $3.00 (400 calories, 86 minutes of walking)

Snack Boxes Available on flights of more than 2.5 hours departing between 5 a.m. and 7:59 p.m.

Caf預lus $6.29
Roasted garlic hummus, pita chips, olives, honey glazed almond mix, fig bar and a caramel candy. Total = 467 calories, 101 minutes of walking.

Caf頓nack $4.89
Walnuts and almonds, dried cranberries, Swiss and Gouda cheese and crackers. Total = 420 calories, 91 minutes of walking.
        
Fresh Food Available on flights of more than 3.5 hours departing between 5 a.m. and 7:59 p.m.

Prices range from $4.99 to $8.59

Through Dec. 6
Egg & Bacon Flatbread
Sliced hard-boiled egg, turkey bacon and Monterrey Jack cheese on flatbread with fresh fruit and yogurt. Total = 620 calories, 134 minutes of walking.

Strawberry Parfait
Vanilla yogurt with strawberries, topped with granola. Total = 260 calories, 56 minutes of walking.

Turkey Pastrami Wrap
Turkey pastrami, shredded cabbage and Swiss cheese wrapped in lavash bread served with Thousand Island dressing, kettle chips and white chocolate & raspberry cookies. Total = 720 calories, 155 minutes of walking.

Fruit and Cheese Plate
Fresh fruit served with almonds, Brie, cheddar and Muenster cheeses and cream crackers. Total = 590 calories, 127 minutes of walking.

Crispy Chicken Salad
Sliced chicken tenders on a bed of romaine lettuce with shredded cheddar cheese, boiled egg, tomato and cucumber slices with honey mustard dressing. Total = 450 calories, 97 minutes of walking.

Dec. 7 through January

Fruit and Cheese Plate
Fresh fruit served with almonds, Brie, cheddar, smoked Provolone and cream crackers. Total = 540 calories, 117 minutes of walking.

Strawberry Parfait
Vanilla yogurt with strawberries, topped with granola. Total = 260 calories, 56 minutes of walking.

Chicken Cheddar Wrap
Chicken strips, cheddar cheese and sliced tomatoes wrapped in a wheat tortilla with honey mustard dressing. Served with sweet onion and white cheddar tortilla chips and chocolate chip shortbread cookies. Total = 620 calories, 134 minutes of walking.

Penne Pasta Salad
Penne pasta topped with pepperoni and salami with roasted red peppers, olives, red cabbage and Parmesan cheese served with olive oil vinaigrette dressing. Total = 630 calories, 136 minutes of walking.

Turkey & Cheese Croissant Sandwich
Flakey croissant filled with sliced turkey and Swiss cheese complemented by fresh fruit and yogurt. Total = 630 calories, 136 minutes of walking.

Delta Air Lines (800-221-1212, www.delta.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: More helpful than last year
Health Score: (**3/4)
Average Calories Over All (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks) = 447.57
Average Meal/ Snack Box Calories = 516.91
Average Individual Snack Calories = 294
Comments: Delta has a few healthy items, but their selection could still use work.
Best Bets: For the free snacks (on flights of 1.5 hours-plus) the peanuts are the best choice. None of the "for sale" individual snacks is a good choice. If you do get the nut mix, make sure to share it with at least two others. Gosh, the snack boxes are getting worse (higher in calories). Both boxes are poor choices. However, if you choose the Eats Tapas, eat the hummus, bruschetta, olives, almonds, apricots and dark chocolate - skip the rest, and make this a meal, not a snack. Of the breakfast options, your best bet is the Kickstart Combo (yogurt, banana and Kind bar) at 340 calories. If you share the Fruit & Cheese Plate at 560 calories, skip the crackers, and don't eat all the cheese, it can be a good choice because of the fruit and almonds (and some of the cheese). The Turkey Slider Combo is a good choice if you skip the chips. On westbound flights of more than three hours, for lunch/dinner you can have the corned beef sandwich (if no other option suits you), but take off the Swiss cheese and skip the mayo. On eastbound flights of more than three hours, the Roasted Chicken Breast Sandwich is pretty good if you take off the cheddar cheese, and skip the aioli. On flights between Atlanta and Hawaii Delta has two healthy salads - Greek and Caesar. I wish they offered these on all flights.

Snacks
Complimentary snacks - choice of peanuts, pretzels or Biscoff cookies on all flights of more than 600 miles or 1.5 hours. Shorter flights receive a single complimentary snack of Biscoff cookies in the morning and pretzels in the afternoon.

"       Peanuts (70 calories, 15 minutes of walking)
"       Pretzels (45 calories, 10 minutes of walking)
"       Biscoff cookies (120 calories, 26 minutes of walking)

Individual Snacks Served on flights of more than 600 miles or 1.5 hours

"       Mrs. May's Cran Blueberry Nut Mix $5.99 (860 calories, 186 minutes of walking)
"       Pringles $3.00 (375 calories, 81 minutes of walking)

Snack Boxes Served all day
Travel Treats $6.49
Old Wisconsin Beef Salami Slices (90 calories), Pepperidge Farm Baked Naturals Wheat Crisps (230 calories), Rondel預eppercorn Parmesan Cheese Spread (136 calories), Pepperidge Farm Cheddar Goldfish Crackers (100 calories), Welch's Fruit Snacks Mixed Fruit (80 calories), Oreo Cookies (100 calories), Mentos Mint (10 calories). Total = 746 calories, 161 minutes of walking.

Eats Tapas $8.99
Stacy's Pita Chips - Simply Naked (130 calories), Dipin Hummus Dip - Classic (50 calories), Dipin Bruschetta - Pepper & Artichoke (70 calories), Crunchmaster - Multi-Grain Sea Salt (60 calories), Dancing Deer Cookie Nibbles - Sweet Lemon (100 calories), Vacaville Mediterranean Apricots (80 calories), Kings Roasted Almonds (130 calories), Varda - Dark Chocolate (30 calories), Olympos Pitted Greek Olive Mix (50 calories). Total = 700 calories, 151 minutes of walking.

Meal Choices

Breakfast Available 5 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.

Fruit & Cheese Plate $7.50 (Available for breakfast, lunch and dinner)
A selection of Wisconsin cheeses: sharp cheddar, GranQueso, smoked Gouda and Muenster, accompanied by olive oil and sea salt crackers, dried apricots, red grapes and heart-healthy almonds. Total = 540 calories, 117 minutes of walking.

Kickstart Combo $4.99
Authentically strained blueberry Chobani Greek yogurt is paired with a Kind Cranberry Almond mini and a banana. Total = 340 calories, 73 minutes of walking.

Maple Glazed Chicken Sandwich $6.50
Freshly sliced preservative-free Boar's Head Maple Glazed Chicken Breast served with cheddar cheese on a soft artisan roll with Boar's Head mayonnaise and deli mustard on the side. Total = 520 calories (calorie count includes mayonnaise (78 calories) and mustard (5 calories), 112 minutes of walking.

Lunch / Dinner Available 9:46 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Turkey Slider Combo $9.99
Boar's Head smoked Black Forest turkey in two egg knot rolls topped with romaine lettuce, Roma tomatoes and a spread of mojo mayonnaise. Includes ounce Cape Cod Kettle Chips (70 calories) and Sanders Dark Sea Salt and Caramel chocolate (47 calories). Total = 360 calories (includes chips and chocolate), 78 minutes of walking.

Westbound flights and select Caribbean/Latin American markets

Corned Beef Sandwich $8.50
Boar's Head Corned Beef and Swiss cheese layered with romaine lettuce, served in a tender pretzel roll, with Boar's Head mayonnaise and deli mustard on the side. Total = 600 calories (includes mayonnaise (78 calories) and mustard (5 calories), 130 minutes of walking.

Eastbound flights and select Caribbean/Latin American markets

Roasted Chicken Breast & Cheddar Sandwich $8.50
Boar's Head sliced oven roasted chicken breast and cheddar cheese on an oat roll topped with roasted red peppers, arugula and a garlic herb aioli. Total = 430 calories, 93 minutes of walking.

Atlanta to/from Hawaii only
Grilled Chicken Greek Salad $8.99
Grilled chicken breast, romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta cheese and pepperoncini pepper. Served with a Naturally Fresh Greek Vinaigrette and Grissini Breadsticks on the side. Total = 560 calories (includes dressing and breadsticks), 121 minutes of walking.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad $8.99
Grilled chicken breast with romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, julienne carrots and shredded Parmesan cheese. Served with Naturally Fresh Caesar Dressing and Italian seasoned croutons on the side. Total = 460 calories (includes dressing and croutons), 99 minutes of walking.

Davanni's Pepperoni Deep Dish Pizza $7.50
A tender buttery crust topped with the highest quality ingredients including a zesty flavorful sauce, whole milk mozzarella cheese, naturally smoked pepperoni and imported Pecorino Romano cheese. Total = 430 calories, 93 minutes of walking.

Spirit Airlines (800-401-2200, www.spirit.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very helpful
Health Score: (* 1/2)
Average Calories = 465.88
Individual Snacks Only. No Meals or Snack Boxes available
Comments: Not too much in terms of healthy options. I was excited to see that their menu included snack boxes, but apparently, they're not serving these.
Best Bet: The cup of noodle soup at 300 calories is the only choice that will feel like a real meal. Watch out for the Nuggets & Nuts at 600 calories, and all the muffins are at least 400 calories - not the best choices unless you split one (if you're the type who can do that). Bringing your own food is the best option.

Snacks
"       Jumbo-Size Combos Cheddar Cheese Pretzel (entire bag) $4.00 (882 calories, 190 minutes of walking)
"       Kings Delicious Spirit Mixed Nuts $4.00 (600 calories, 130 minutes of walking)
"       King-Size Peanut M&M's $3.50 (480 calories, 104 minutes of walking)
"       Nissin Cup Noodles Chicken Flavor $3.50 (300 calories, 65 minutes of walking)
"       Pringles Grab and Go $2.50 (375 calories, 81 minutes of walking)
"       M&M Cookies $2.50 (250 calories, 54 minutes of walking)
"       Otis Spunkmeyer Wild Blueberry Muffin $2.00 (400 calories, 86 minutes of walking)
"       Otis Spunkmeyer Banana Nut Muffin $2.00 (440 calories, 95 minutes of walking)

Frontier Airlines (800-432-1359, www.flyfrontier.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very helpful
Health Score: (** 3/4)
Average Calories Over All (Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks) = 380.09
Average Snack Box Calories = 613.67 (No meals available; only snacks)
Comments: They were great at providing nutritional information this year - thank you!!! Disappointing news: Frontier is no longer offering fresh food options on any of its flights, but they did improve their individual snacks by adding a Larabar (big fan) and Kashi Oatmeal.
Best Bets: For individual snacks, the Larabar is a very good choice (made from whole foods). The Mediterranean Snack Box with hummus, bruschetta, dried fruit and olives is really high in calories but not bad if shared or eaten as a meal, not a snack; just skip the cookies. As for the kids' snack boxes, the Flip's Surf Shop & Snack Shack is not the best choice.

Snacks and Snack Boxes Available on flights of more than 200 miles

Individual Snacks:
"       Peanut M&M's $2.99 (480 calories, 104 minutes of walking)
"       Mountain Man Nut & Fruit Co. Almond Chocolate Cherry Crunch trail mix $2.99 (230 calories, 50 minutes of walking)
"       Haribo Gold-Bears Gummi Candy $2.99 (450 calories, 97 minutes of walking)
"       Chex Mix Traditional $2.99 (210 calories, 45 minutes of walking)
"       Tostitos Bite-Size White Corn Chips & Medium Salsa $2.99 (360 calories,78 minutes of walking)
"       Pringles Original Potato Chips $2.99 (220 calories, 48 minutes of walking)
"       Apple Pie Larabar $1.99 (190 calories, 41 minutes of walking)
"       Kashi Oatmeal $2.99 (200 calories, 43 minutes of walking)
 
Snack Boxes

Mediterranean Snack Box $6.99
Hummus, bruschetta dip, wheat crackers, dried fruit, olives, almonds and Biscoff cookies. Total = 726 calories, 157 minutes of walking.

Flip's Surf Shop & Snack Shack $5.99
Barnum's animal crackers, GoGo squeeZ Applesauce, Welch's Fruit Snacks, Old Wisconsin Turkey Stick and Grammy Sammy Yogurt bar. Total = 420 calories, 91 minutes of walking.

Griz's Protein Pack Snack Box $6.49
Turkey jerky, Pepperidge Farm Snack Sticks with peppercorn cheese, Nature Valley Protein Bar, Emerald Almonds and Sun Maid Raisins. Total = 695 calories, 150 minutes of walking.

Southwest Airlines (214-792-4223, www.southwest.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Excellent
Health Score: (**)
Average Calories = 108 (Individual Snacks only; no meals or snack boxes available)
Comments: Not much variety and not much in terms of nutritional value. They need to add a few healthy items. How about an apple?
Best Bet: Go for the nuts and skip the pretzels and other items.
.
All the snacks are free of charge

Snacks:
"       Honey or dry-roasted peanuts (70 calories, 15 minutes of walking)
"       Pretzels (50 calories, 11 minutes of walking)

On select flights
"       Nabisco Airplane Cookie (120 calories, 26 minutes of walking)
"       Ritz crackers (200 calories, 43 minutes of walking)
"       Wheat Thins (100 calories, 22 minutes of walking)

Allegiant Air (702-505-8888, www.allegiantair.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Not very helpful
Health Score: (* 1/2)
Average Calories Over All (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks) = 408.25
Average Meal/ Snack Box Calories = 500.40
Average Individual Snack Calories = 366.36
Comments: The media representative was worse than last year. They did not provide ANY nutritional information for their food. They also told some media folks last year that they did cooperate - well they most certainly did not, for the record. And they did not cooperate in the least this year, either.
Best Bets: The snack boxes are not great in terms of health (and not just calorie-wise). Among the individual snacks, nuts are the healthiest choice. Low-carb fans might consider Jack Link's Beef Jerky. Overall, the turkey sandwich without cheese is a good choice for the West Coast. On the East Coast, go with the hummus, but you'll probably want to make sure you bring a sandwich for yourself.

Individual Snacks
"       M&M's Peanut, $3.00 3.4 ounces (490 calories, 106 minutes of walking)
"       Pringles, $3.00 2.6 ounces  (375 calories, 81 minutes of walking)
"       Skittles, $3.00 4 ounces (424 calories, 92 minutes of walking)
"       Dole Fruit Crisp, $3.00 4 ounces (Apple/Cinnamon) (160 calories, 35 minutes of walking)
"       Gardetto's Original Recipe, $4.00 5.5 ounces (206 calories, 45 minutes of walking)
"       Jack Links Beef Jerky, $4.00 1.5 ounces (120 calories, 26 minutes of walking)
"       Blue Diamond Wasabi Almonds, $4.00 4 ounces (680 calories, 147 minutes of walking)

Snack Boxes
Deli Snack Pack
Old Wisconsin Salami Slices - 1ounce (110 calories), Stacy's Pita Chips, Parmesan - 1 ounce (140 calories), Peppercorn Cheese - 1 ounce (100 calories), SnackWells Cr譥 Sandwich Cookies - 0.85 ounces (110 calories), M&M's Pretzel Fun Size - 1 bag (63 calories). Total = 523 calories, 113 minutes of walking.

Hummus Snack Pack
Wild Garden hummus accompanied by whole-grain pita chips. Total = 210 calories, 45 minutes of walking.

E.A.T Snack Pack (West Coast only)
Old Wisconsin Beef Stick - 3 sticks (170 calories), Emerald Almonds - 0.63 ounces (100 calories), Sesame Snack Sticks - 2 ounces (260 calories), White Cheddar Cheese - 0.75 ounces (86 calories), Milano Cookies - 2 Pack (120 calories), Twizzlers - 2 Pack (60 calories). Total = 796 calories, 172 minutes of walking.

Turkey Sandwich (West Coast only)
Turkey and Monterey Jack cheese served on a pretzel roll. Total = 440 calories, 95 minutes of walking.

Wingz Kids Snack Pack
Goldfish Cheddar Crackers - 0.5 ounces, Welch's Fruit Snacks - 0.9 ounces, Oreo Cookie - 2 pack. Total = 257 calories, 56 minutes of walking.

Chips & Salsa Snack Pack (East Coast only)
Late July Organic Sea Salt Multigrain Chips with a zesty salsa. Total = 140 calories, 30 minutes of walking.

Fruit & Cheese Plate (West Coast only)
Olive & Sea Salt Crackers accompanied by cheddar, Gouda, Brie, Havarti cheeses and fresh grapes. Total = 486 calories, 105 minutes of walking.

Hawaii Flight Menu
In addition to the original snack and beverage menu, the following items are available to Hawaii customers:

Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Chips, 2-ounce bag (280 calories, 30 minutes of walking)

Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts, 4.5 ounces (945 calories, 204 minutes of walking).

____________________________________

Bring Your Own Snacks


Even if you ate before you left home, you are still going to get hungry. We often underestimate the amount of time a trip can take. A two-hour flight could mean four or five hours of travel. Keep in mind that you can take most foods through security, but you need to check with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for the latest rules about carrying on food and beverages: www.tsa.gov/311/index.shtm

Here are some ideas for snacks you can bring or buy at the airport:
-       Water: Buy it after the security checkpoint to take onboard. Dehydration can cause or exacerbate hunger, jet lag and fatigue.
-       Cereal: Kashi, Shredded Wheat or other low-calorie cereals. Look for portable choices at under 120 calories per cup. You can also look for cereal in a cup. It's portion controlled in 1.5-ounce packs that are easy to store and easy to use.
-       Fruit and salads: Stick with fruits such as apples and oranges that can withstand some rough treatment. You can even bring a banana if you put it in a container such as a banana saver (www.bananasaver.com). Grapes or almost any other fruit can be carried in a plastic container. Also, fruit or salads are often sold in the airport. They're a bit more expensive than bringing your own, but at least they're healthy alternatives to what is served onboard.
-       Energy bars: Although they tend to be high in calories and fat, they are generally better than a slice of pizza or a candy bar at the airport. Choose Larabars; they have nothing but healthy ingredients.
-       Sandwiches: Pre-cut them into portion-controlled sections so you can pull them out at different times during the trip without making a mess. Chicken, turkey, cold cuts and cheese (on 100 percent whole-wheat bread) are all great options for sandwiches on the go.
-       Soy chips and PopChips: Both are portable, low-cal, high-fiber snacks. (www.glennys.com, www.popchips.com).
-       Peel-and-eat tuna and salmon cups: Chicken of the Sea makes these easy-to-open cups that give you a quick protein source. With no draining required, this wild-caught tuna or salmon is perfect for on-the-go lunches and snacks.
-       Nuts: They're a good source of protein, and they help fend off hunger. Portion them into 1-ounce bags (about 160 calories each).
-       Dried or freeze-dried fruit and vegetable snacks: Eat dried fruit in moderation: It's high in calories. (e.g., www.sensiblefoods.com, www.brothersallnatural.com, www.funkymonkeysnacks.com).
-       All Natural Fruit Roll-Ups (no sugar added): Check out Stretch Island Fruit Company's Original Fruit Strips, FruitaB and Smoooshed Fruit Rolls (www.stretchislandfruit.com).
-       Whole-Wheat Crackers: Make sure to get 100 percent whole-wheat crackers such as Ak Mak (www.akmakbakeries.com) or Dr. Kracker (www.drkracker.com).
-       Beef jerky: Especially if you're a low-carb fan, but not if you're watching your sodium.        
 

Created:   Last Reviewed:


CHARLES PLATKIN, Ph.D., M.P.H., THE DIET DETECTIVE is one of the country's leading nutrition and public health advocates, whose syndicated health, nutrition and fitness column, the Diet Detective appears in more than 100 daily newspapers and media outlets nationally. Dr. Platkin is also the founder of DietDetective.com, which offers nutrition, food, and fitness information. Platkin is a health expert and blogger featured on Everydayhealth.com, Active.com and Fitnessmagazine.com. Additionally, Platkin is a Distinguished Lecturer at the Hunter College School of Urban Public Health and CUNY School of Public Health in New York City.

 

The information provided on this site is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician.