November 26, 2019

Airline Food Study with Health Ratings 2019-20

The Thanksgiving holiday season is traditionally one of the busiest travel times of the year, and 2019 is expected to be busier than ever before. Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, predicts that 31.6 million passengers will fly on U.S. airlines during the 12-day Thanksgiving travel period.

Once again, we contacted the airlines to request nutrition information about the foods they serve and make available for purchase to economy-class passengers on domestic flights, and gathered data stored on their websites and other online resources to bring you the 2019-2020 Airline Food Survey.

This year Alaska and Air Canada share the top spot as the airlines with the ‘healthiest’ food choices in the sky, with Delta and JetBlue tied for second.

This year, we’ve incorporated additional criteria into our Overall Health Score, including total levels of sodium, whether or not the airline offers meals during flights of two hours or more in the air, Airline Water Safety score, and environmental initiatives such as replacing plastic straws, stirrers, and cups inflight with sustainable eco-friendly options.

Here are the major airline food headlines:

  • Alaska Airlines and Air Canada pull to the top for a tie this year as the healthiest airlines.
  • Average Calories Same as Last Year: The average number of calories per menu item was 373 calories in 2018 and this year it is almost the same at 375 calories. But keep in mind, calories are not everything; the study also looks at the nutrient content of these foods, as well as innovations moving towards healthier, tastier, less expensive and more sustainable choices.
  • Alaska Airlines is the clear leader in making strides to minimize its environmental impact. It was the first to replace plastic straws with paper ones and continues to look for eco-friendly substitutions. Alaska has also launched a #FillBeforeYouFly campaign to encourage flyers to bring their own water bottles and fill them up at water-filling stations in the airport to reduce the use of plastic cups and water bottles on board.
  • Shame On You Award goes to Hawaiian for not providing ALL their nutritional information for the study, and to the EPA for not providing penalty information on galley water violations when requested.
  • Sodium Matters: Sodium is often used by food providers to boost flavor, especially in the air where senses can be dulled. The average airline meal contains more than 800mg of sodium, which is more than 40 percent of the daily limit of 2000mg set by the World Health Organization. Also, note that in addition to health-related concerns, sodium can make you feel and look bloated because you retain extra water. Watch out for high levels of sodium throughout all airline menus.
  • Mini-Meals: Full meals or “mini-meal” options are better bets than eating individual snacks, which generally have little nutritional value.
  • Short Flights Matter: We urge airlines to provide meals or allow for preorder on shorter flights so that passengers have the option to eat a healthy meal no matter how long they’re in the air. Keep in mind that a 90-minute flight can easily turn into a 5 or 6 hour travel experience when you include getting to the airport, TSA lines, waiting for the flight to take off, deplaning and getting to your final destination.
  • You Need to Know: We believe transparency around food is important for airlines. This means providing an up-to-date version of its menu online with all nutrient information (i.e., calories, fat, carbs, sugar, fiber, protein and sodium), including ingredients.
  • Taste Changes in Air: Research shows that our taste perception changes while in flight, and more flavor is needed for us to taste and enjoy food. Dr. Charles Spence from the University of Oxford found that the three factors impacting taste at such high altitudes are the lower cabin air pressure, lack of humidity and loud background noise. In-flight, air is recycled every few minutes and humidity is normally about 20 percent (compared to the ideal indoor relative humidity of 40 percent). With lower humidity and air pressure, we’re likely to be thirstier and there’s naturally less moisture in the throat, which slows the transport of odors to the brain’s smell and taste receptors. More salt, sugar and flavor enhancers (i.e. spices and herbs) are necessary to make meals inflight to taste the way they do on the ground. In addition, a 2010 study commissioned by the German airline Lufthansa found that loud noises on aircraft suppress the taste of sweet foods. Taking all of this taken into account, it’s important to be aware that a lot of inflight food options will be higher in sugar and sodium because of the taste impairments we experience while in the air. Research even suggests that umami, our fifth, savory taste (in addition to sweet, sour, salt and bitter), is boosted by airplane noise (which is why people often pick a tomato-based drink that they would not normally order on the ground).
  • Watch Your Carbs: 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. Your blood sugar levels will spike and then fall, which will negatively impact your mood. The fact that food impacts mood, attitude and behavior has been well documented in scientific literature.
  • Water Watch: This year we published an Airline Water Study highlighting the quality of water provided onboard. Each airline was given a Water Health Score, which has been factored into their overall score in this study. The study revealed that the quality of drinking water varies by airline, and many have provided passengers with unhealthy water. In general, it’s probably best to avoid drinking coffee and tea on board since they are made with galley water.

Here are the food-service offerings from several of the more popular airlines, along with Diet Detective’s comments, ratings (Health Score: 5 = highest rating), calories, exercise equivalents (amount of walking required to burn off the food consumed) and personal favorites.

Summary of Health Ratings (5 is highest): Air Canada 4.0, Alaska Airlines 4.0, JetBlue 2.9, Delta 2.9, United Airlines 2.7, American 2.7, Frontier 2.0, Allegiant Air 1.9, Spirit Airlines 1.9, Hawaiian Airlines 1.9, Southwest Airlines 1.7

Air Canada (www.aircanada.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very Helpful
Health Score: 4.0 / 5
Fleet Size: 372
Onboard Water Health Score: N/A
Average Calories Overall (Individual Snacks, Snack Boxes, and Meals): 347
Average Individual Snack Calories: 308
Average Snack Box Calories: 590
Average Meal Calories: 376
Average Sodium Content Overall (Individual Snacks, Snack Boxes, and Meals): 544mg

Comments: The good news is that Air Canada has added several new items that show some serious health innovation, including the Grilled Chicken Summer Salad and the Wild Rice Superfood Salad. These are great mini-meals, much better than a traditional snack, and are low in calories with great nutrient content. Air Canada also offers a Bento Express sushi California roll. And then there is the Freshii menu, which provides lower-calorie and higher-nutrient meal choices packed with more vegetables than many other airline options. Air Canada’s meals are relatively healthy and available for trips that are more than 2 hours long. Providing real meals starting at 2 hours is not typical; most airlines start offering real meals at 3 or 4 hours, which is not great if you want to avoid unhealthy snacks. The bad news is that Air Canada needs to include all nutrient information and ingredients on its menu and online – there is no reason not to.

The average sodium content of 544mg for all of Air Canada’s offerings is almost ten percent higher than the average among all airlines. However, the average sodium content for meals, at 620mg, is lower than the overall average for all airlines, which is 823mg. Air Canada also has a larger selection of food items overall, which allows for several healthy options.

Best Bets: For breakfast, the Liberte Greek yogurt is still a good choice and will probably fill you up. The Avocado Smash Box, with fresh guacamole, hard-boiled egg, green apple slices, and multigrain muesli bread sounds amazing and also offers 23g of filling protein to keep you energized. You might want to skip the cheese though. Other best bets would be the new Grilled Chicken Summer Salad and the Wild Rice Superfood Salad, both of which are relatively low in calories and high in protein for a mini-meal. The chicken salad has 220 calories and 14 grams of protein (which helps to keep you full longer), and the wild rice is a close second with 260 calories and 8 grams of protein.

The Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup is a low-calorie choice for a snack that will fill you up, but be wary of the 950mg of sodium if you are salt sensitive. The Celery & Carrots with Ranch Dip (if you use no more than half the dip) is still an OK choice. The Sabra Hummus is an OK choice if you share it, and the Sabra Guacamole appears to be healthy, but the Tostitos offer little nutritional value. The Krispy Kernels Natural Almonds come as a large portion but are still a better choice than most of the individual snacks.

If meals are available, the sushi California roll is a good choice. The Pangoa Bowl and the Sriracha Lime Wrap are both high-nutrient/ low-calorie choices. Skip the Smoked Meat Sandwich, since it has nearly an entire day’s worth of sodium along with a high calorie content. And Air Canada needs to offer at least one healthy kids’ meal.

Individual Snacks (Available on most flights of 2 hours or longer)

  • Celery and Carrots with Ranch Dip $5.00
    230 calories, 8g fat, 15g carbs, 2g protein, 770mg sodium / 50 minutes of walking
  • Cheese and Crackers (Available after 10 a.m.) $4.00
    320 calories, 20g fat, 9g carbs, 18g protein, 315mg sodium / 69 minutes of walking
  • Krispy Kernels Salted Cashews $3.00
    400 calories, 31g fat, 14g carbs, 14g protein, 210mg sodium / 86 minutes of walking
  • Krispy Kernels Natural Almonds $3.00
    290 calories, 25g fat, 9g carbs, 9g protein, 0mg sodium / 63 minutes of walking
  • Pringles Original Grab and Go $3.00
    190 calories, 13g fat, 19g carbs, 1g protein, 200mg sodium, 1g sugar / 41 minutes of walking
  • Twizzlers Licorice $4.00
    833 calories, 3g fat, 199g carbs, 6g protein, 1217mg sodium, 102g sugar / 203 minutes of walking
  • Sabra Hummus with Rold Gold pretzels $4.50
    380 calories, 23g fat, 37g carbs, 9g protein, 810mg sodium / 82 minutes of walking
  • Sabra Guacamole with Tostitos Rolls $4.00
    220 calories, 15g fat, 20g carbs, 2g protein, 370mg sodium / 48 minutes of walking
  • Maynards Swedish Berries Gummy Candy $3.00
    359 calories, 0g fat, 87g carbs, 0g protein, 38mg sodium / 78 minutes of walking
  • Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup $3.00
    200 calories, 1g fat, 2g carbs, 0g protein, 950mg sodium / 43 minutes of walking
  • Made Good Organic Dark Chocolate and Cherry Fruit and Nut Bar $3.00
    160 calories, 7g fat, 21g carbs, 3g protein, 3mg sodium/ 35 minutes of walking
  • Hershey’s Mix- Sweet & Salty snack $3.50
    270 calories, 15g fat, 33g carbs, 6g protein, 320mg sodium / 58 minutes of walking
  • Kit Kat King Bar $4.00
    385 calories, 20g fat, 48g carbs, 4g protein, 61mg sodium / 83 minutes of walking
  • Freshii Energii Pack $3.50
    340 calories, 22g fat, 26g carbs, 11g protein, 270mg sodium / 73 minutes of walking
  • Jack Link’s Original Beef Jerky $5.50
    240 calories, 2g fat, 12g carbs, 36g protein, 1680mg sodium / 52 minutes of walking
  • Clif Salted Caramel Cashew Whey Protein Bar $4.00
    250 calories, 11g fat, 25g carbs, 14g protein, 200mg sodium / 54 minutes of walking
  • Grilled Chicken Summer Salad $5.50
    220 calories, 8g fat, 23g carbs, 14g protein, 490mg sodium / 48 minutes of walking
  • Wild Rice Superfood Salad $5.50
    260 calories, 9g fat, 38g carbs, 8g protein, 440mg sodium / 56 minutes of walking

Breakfast (Available on most flights of 2 hours or longer departing between 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. only)

  • Avocado Smash Box $7.95
    Fresh guacamole, aged cheddar cheese, hard-boiled egg, apple slices, multigrain muesli bread, chili flakes
    590 calories, 24g fat, 74g carbs, 23g protein, 700mg sodium, 17g sugar / 127 minutes of walking
  • Breakfast Sandwich $5.50
    Egg, back bacon, and processed cheddar cheese on an English muffin
    230 calories, 5g fat, 29g carbs, 16g protein, 580mg sodium, 2g sugar / 50 minutes of walking
  • Liberté vanilla 2% Greek yogurt $2.00
    90 calories, 2g fat, 11g carbs, 8g protein, 30mg sodium, 11g sugar / 19 minutes of walking

Available All Day (on most flights of 2 hours or longer)

  • Made Good Organic Chocolate Banana Granola Minis $4.50
    416 calories, 15g fat, 62g carbs, 4g protein, 41mg sodium / 90 minutes of walking
  • Fruit and Cheese Plate $8.50
    A selection of Swiss, cheddar, brie, and herbed Havarti served with Lavash crackers, red grapes, and green apple slices.
    450 calories, 26g fat, 33g carbs, 22g protein, 570mg sodium / 97 minutes of walking
  • Quaker Oatmeal $4.00
    Maple and brown sugar oatmeal.
    210 calorie, 3g fat, 42g carbs, 5g protein, 250mg sodium / 45 minutes of walking
  • Milano croissant with cocoa cream filling $3.00
    210 calories, 10g fat, 26g carbs, 4g protein, 100mg sodium / 45 minutes of walking

Meals (Available on most flights of 2 hours or longer departing before 10 p.m.) (Not available on Embraer aircraft)

  • Smoked Meat Sandwich $8.95
    Montreal-style smoked meat with pickles and mustard, mayonnaise on a wheat, rye and herb bun
    500 calories, 20g fat, 52g carbs, 27g protein, 2090mg sodium / 108 minutes of walking
  • Macaroni and Cheese $7.95
    Homestyle macaroni served in a cheese sauce with dinner roll.
    490 calories, 21g fat, 56g carbs, 19g protein, 828mg sodium / 106 minutes of walking
  • Rustic Pepperoni Pizza $7.95
    Tomato sauce, sliced pepperoni and mozzarella cheese atop a hand-stretched crust.
    630 calories, 26g fat, 80g carbs, 24g protein, 1680mg sodium / 136 minutes of walking
  • Chicken Fiesta Ranch Wrap $8.50 (ending Nov. 30)
    Chicken strips, Tex Mex roasted red peppers and lettuce with a jalapeno ranch dressing and Monterey Jack cheese on a flatbread
    370 calories, 12g fat, 45g carbs, 21g protein, 920g sodium / 80 minutes of walking
  • Al Pastor Chicken Wrap $8.50 (staring Dec. 1)
    Chicken strips in Al Pastor sauce, red peppers, onions and pineapples on a flatbread
    290 calories, 3g fat, 47g carbs, 19g protein, 850mg sodium / 63 minutes of walking
  • Bento Express Sushi $8.95
    California roll
    260 calories, 4g fat, 48g carbs, 6g protein, 560mg sodium / 56 minutes of walking.
  • Sriracha Lime Wrap $8.95
    Roasted sweet potato, chickpeas, kale, quinoa and red cabbage with a zesty sriracha lime hummus on a whole wheat flatbread
    330 calories, 8g fat, 53g carbs, 16 protein, 620 sodium / 71 minutes of walking
  • Pangoa Bowl $13.50
    Brown rice, chicken, guacamole, black beans, corn, aged cheddar, salsa fresca, fiery buffalo bbq sauce
    290 calories, 8g fat, 34g carbs, 23g protein, 570mg sodium / 63 minutes of walking

Bistro Junior (for kids 12 and under)

  • Cheese Pizza $4
    200 calories, 6g fat, 26g carbs, 9g protein, 420mg sodium / 43 minutes of walking
  • Macaroni and Cheese $4
    360 calories, 8g fat, 59g carbs, 12g protein, 260mg sodium / 78 minutes of walking
  • Kid’s Snack Trio $3
    GoGo SqueeZ apple strawberry fruit sauce, chocolate chip Bear Paws, mixed fruit-flavored snacks.
    320 calories, 6g fat, 62g carbs, 3g protein, 165mg sodium / 69 minutes of walking

Alaska Airlines (www.alaskaair.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very Helpful
Health Score: 4.0 / 5
Fleet Size: 335
Onboard Water Health Score: 3.3 / 5
Average Calories Overall (Individual Snacks, Snack Boxes, and Meals): 359
Average Individual Snack Calories: 265
Average Snack Box Calories: 464
Average Meal Calories: 388
Average Sodium Content Overall (Individual Snacks, Snack Boxes, and Meals): 472mg

Comments: Alaska Airlines has a variety of snacks, snack boxes, and meal offerings that include some better-for-you options. We applaud Alaska’s transparency compared to other airlines, because its full menu and complete nutritional information are available online, and on Alaska’s app. However, the full ingredient list for each offering is still missing from the website. Although there are improvements to be made, Alaska Airlines has been a clear leader for the past several years, and continues to be committed to healthy food. However, we’d like to see more of the airline’s healthier options, some of which are now available only on flights of more than three hours, available on shorter flights as well.Still, the average number of Alaska’s overall calories is 45 fewer than last year, and the average sodium content, which is 472mg overall, ranks close to the average of 497mg for all foods among all airlines.

One highlight is that Alaska is allowing for preordering of foods on their mobile app as well as on their website, so that passengers can reserve healthy foods in advance. Alaska is also a clear leader in environmental initiatives. It was the first airline to replace plastic straws and has launched a #FillBeforeYouFly campaign to encourage flyers to bring their own water bottles and fill them up at water-filling stations in the airport to reduce the use of plastic cups and water bottles on board (do not refill your water bottle on board).

Best Bets: Among the snack boxes, the Mediterranean Tapas 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 545 calories is a bit high for a “snack,” so it would be best if you either shared the box or had it as a meal replacement. For kids (and their parents, because of nagging), the Kids’ Choice Picnic Pack may be tempting, but it’s always better for children (and adults) to eat a real meal.
Among individual snacks, the Beef Jerky is low in calories but very high in sodium. The Umpqua Oats Organic Apple Cranberry & Nut Oatmeal has 255 calories and 8 grams of protein, which makes it a healthier choice overall.

The breakfast offerings are a bit heavy and calorie-rich. The Fresh Start Protein Platter has 27 grams of protein, which is high (a good thing) for the number of calories in the platter (340 calories). The Signature Fruit and Cheese Platter also has 27 grams of protein; however, it also has 85 percent of the total amount of saturated fat you should have in a day, so you might want to skip half the cheese. And while you’re at it, maybe skip half the crackers as well.

There are fewer lunch/dinner choices this year, but the Fall Harvest Salad is a high-protein, low-calorie choice. When available, the Charge Up Protein Platter is also a great high-protein option.

Individual Snacks

  • Umpqua Oats Organic Apple Cranberry & Nut Oatmeal $4.50, available on flights departing from midnight to 10 a.m.
    255 calories, 64g fat, 45g carbs, 8g protein, 162mg sodium, 15g sugar / 55 minutes walking
  • Creative Snacks Co. Smart Heart Trail Mix $4.50, 3.5 oz. (99 g)
    450 calories, 30g fat, 36g carbs, 15g protein, 0mg sodium, 21g sugar / 97 minutes of walking
  • Skinny Dipped Dark Chocolate Almonds $4.50, 3.5 oz. (99 g)
    524 calories, 44g fat, 29g carbs, 20g protein, 291mg sodium, 20g sugar / 113 minutes of walking
  • Oberto Original Beef Jerky $4.50
    110 calories, 1g fat, 11g carbs, 14g protein, 740mg sodium, 10g sugar / 24 minutes of walking
  • Luke’s Organic Sea Salt Potato Chips $2.50
    150 calories, 9g fat, 16g carbs, 2g protein, 150mg sodium, 0g sugar / 32 minutes of walking
  • Buddha Bowl Himalayan Gold Popcorn $2.50
    100 calories, 5g fat, 13g carbs, 2g protein, 150mg sodium, 0g sugar / 22 minutes of walking

Snack Boxes

  • Mediterranean Tapas Picnic Pack (Vegan, Kosher and gluten-free) $6.00
    Late July organic multigrain snack chips, Mario snack olives, Truitt Family Foods natural hummus, Madi K’s almonds, Vacaville Fruit Company Snackins’ Apricots, and Seattle Chocolates 60% Cacao dark chocolate
    545 calories, 31g fat, 59g carbs, 11g protein, 605mg sodium, 16g sugar / 118 minutes of walking
  • Northwest Deli Picnic Pack $6.00
    Tim’s Cascade potato chips, Old Wisconsin salami, La Panzanella multigrain crackers, Madi K’s sea salt roasted Almonds, and Glacier Ridge Farms smoked gouda.
    526 calories, 36g fat, 37g carbs, 17g protein, 762mg sodium, 6g sugar / 114 minutes of walking.
  • Kids’ Choice Picnic Pack $6.00
    Pirate’s Booty White Cheddar Puffs, Old Wisconsin Honey Brown Sugar Turkey Snack Stick, Tree Top Strawberry Applesauce, Kind Kids Chewy Chocolate Chip granola bar, YumEarth organic fruit snacks, Wikki Stix Play Pack.
    315 calories, 9g fat, 57g carbs, 5g protein, 265mg sodium, 29g sugar / 68 minutes of walking
  • Signature Fruit and Cheese Platter featuring Beecher’s Flagship $8.50 (available on most flights of more than 2 hours departing between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm)
    Two wedges of Beecher’s Flagship cheese along with Tillamook Sharp Cheddar and Brie, fresh fruit, Partners crackers, and a Seattle Chocolates Truffle.
    470 calories, 29g fat, 500mg sodium, 34g carbs, 21g pro, 19g sugar / 102 minutes of walking

Breakfast (on most flights of more than 3 hours departing before 10 a.m.)

  • Fresh Start Protein Platter $9.50
    Greek yogurt, non-GMO fire-braised turkey, seasonal fruit, a cage-free hard-boiled egg, and granola.
    340 calories, 12g fat, 35g carbs, 27g protein, 260mg sodium, 20g sugar / 73 minutes of walking
  • Sunrise Breakfast Sandwich $8.50
    Caramelized onion frittata, green apple, thick-cut shoulder bacon, and Boursin cheese served on brioche, with grapes on the side
    430 calories, 22g fat, 34g carbs, 18g protein, 660mg sodium, 7g sugar / 93 minutes of walking

Lunch/Dinner (on flights of more than 3 hours departing between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.)

  • Charge Up Protein Platter $9.50
    cracked black pepper hummus, fresh pita, Beecher’s Flagship Cheese, non-GMO fire-braised turkey, almonds, a cage-free hard-boiled egg, and a carrot
    360 calories, 20g fat, 23g carbs, 25g protein, 680mg sodium, 5g sugar / 78 minutes of walking
  • Smoky BBQ Chicken Sandwich $9.50
    Indulge in comfort food as you fly; savor the tangy flavors of barbecue chicken, chipotle mayo and smoked gouda all stacked together on a baguette.
    610 calories, 24g fat, 66g carbs, 30g protein, 1420mg sodium, 19g sugar / 132 minutes of walking
  • Fall Harvest Salad $9.50 (available on Coast-to-Coast and Hawaii flights departing between 10:00 am and 8:00 pm)
    Roasted butternut squash, quinoa, non-GMO fire-braised turkey, feta, spinach, Tuscan kale, pecans and dried cranberries, with maple rosemary vinaigrette on the side.
    200 calories, 10g fat, 15g carbs, 13g protein, 909mg sodium, 5g sugar / 43 minutes of walking

JetBlue Airways (www.jetblue.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very Helpful
Health Score: 2.9 / 5
Fleet Size: 254
Onboard Water Health Score: 2.6 / 5
Average Calories Overall (Individual Snacks, Snack Boxes, and Meals): 295
Average Individual Snack Calories: 120
Average Snack Box Calories: 392
Average Meal Calories: 460
Average Sodium Content Overall (Individual Snacks, Snack Boxes, and Meals):547mg

Comments: The best thing about JetBlue is that it posts all its nutritional information on its website; however, as of this study the information is not up-to-date. JetBlue has a few reasonably healthy meals on their EatUp Cafe menu; however, they are not offered on flights under 3 hours – not great. At least there are a few OK snack box choices that are available on flights of more than 2 hours. The airline needs to work on this. In addition, all JetBlue’s free snacks are unhealthy choices. I only wish that the airline would include apples and bananas in those snack baskets the flight attendants pass around. At least try it once. I would pay for the experiment (on one or two flights).

The average number of calories in JetBlue’s food offerings has decreased from 323 last year to 295 this year – nice. However, the average sodium content of all food items is 547mg, which is higher than the average of 497mg across all airlines.

Best Bets: The complimentary snacks aren’t high in calories but they’re low in nutritional value. The best bet would be to choose anything BUT the chocolate chip cookies. It’s hard to believe, but Cheez-Its made with whole wheat flour and having only half the calories of the original version might be an OK choice compared to the others. Too bad. The problem is that the snacks are free; but that doesn’t mean you need to take more than one.

As for the EatUp boxes, the PickMeUp is lowest with 300 calories, but it’s not necessarily the most nutritious. The SavorUp box features hummus, multigrain crackers and bean dip with Greek yogurt, and while it’s high in calories, it’s also loaded with good nutrition (e.g. fiber and protein).

Also the FuelUp box is reasonably good, with almonds, dried apricots, apples, and an RX Bar. Have it as a meal though, not as a snack, and skip the biscotti to reduce low-nutrient calories, or share the box with a traveling companion. If you’re on a flight that offers the EatUp Café, the Fresh Fruit and the Jicama and Grape Salad Shaker are very good choices. Skip the Ham & Cheese Croissant, which is very high in calories and sodium.

Individual Snacks (All are complimentary)

  • PopCorners Popcorn Chips
    120 calories, 4g fat, 20g carbs, 1g protein, 115mg sodium, 3g sugar / 26 minutes of walking
  • Terra Sweets & Blues Potato Chips – ounce bag
    140 calories, 5g fat, 17g carbs, 2g protein, 155mg sodium / 30 minutes of walking
  • Cheez-It Crackers
    102 calories, 4g fat, 14g carbs. 7g protein, 150mg sodium / 22 minutes of walking
  • Rold Gold Pretzels – Original Tiny Twists 1-ounce bag
    110 calories, 1g fat, 14g carbs, 2g protein, 450mg sodium / 24 minutes of walking
  • Belgian Boys Choc O’ Chip Cookies
    130 calories, 5g fat, 20g carbs, 2g protein, 55mg sodium/ 28 minutes of walking

EatUp Boxes (Available on flights of more than 2 hours)

  • FuelUp $9 (Protein-Packed Snack Box, Gluten Free, Contains Nuts)
    Chocolate Sea-Salt RxBar, Madi K Sea Salt Almonds, Field Trip Jerky Cracked Pepper Turkey Stick, Old Wisconsin Natural Cut Beef Stick, Vacaville Fruit Dried Apricots & Apples (Star K)
    462 calories, 24g fat, 42g carbs, 25g protein, 628mg sodium, 25g sugar / 100 minutes of walking
  • SavorUp $9 (Mediterranean Inspired Snack Box, Vegetarian, Kosher)
    TRU Flavors Traditional Hummus Dip, Dipitas Pita Chips (Pareve), TRU Flavors Roasted Poblano Cheddar Bean Dip with Greek Yogurt, La Panzanella Multi-Grain Crackers (Kof-K), DiBella Blueberry-Lemon Biscotti, Mario Herb & Spice Seasoned Pitted Snack Olives
    430 calories, 19g fat, 10g carbs, 11g protein, 940mg sodium, 8g sugar / 93 minutes of walking
  • PickMeUp $9
    Trio of Wisconsin cheeses: Pepper Jack, Smoked Gouda, Sharp Cheddar; Dried Cherries, Crackers
    300 calories, 18g fat, 20g carbs, 15g protein, 810mg sodium, 8g sugar / 65 minutes of walking
  • PartyUp $9 (Ready-to-Share Snack Box)
    HalfPops Sea Salt & Butter Crunchy Popcorn, Fig Newtons, Old Wisconsin Natural Cut Salami Slices, Whisps Parmesan Cheese Crisps, Milk Chocolate M&M’s
    375 calories, 62g fat, 45g carbs, 11g protein, 689mg sodium, 20g sugar / 81 minutes of walking

EatUp Café (Available only on select flights of more than four hours between New York-JFK, Boston and Fort Lauderdale. Fresh food will be sold from 5:30 am to 8:59 pm (scheduled departure) and is not available on overnight flights)

  • Fresh Fruit $8
    Mango, sliced strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and green grapes with passion fruit purée. (Gluten-free and vegan.)
    120 calories, 1g fat, 30g carbs, 2g protein, 0mg sodium / 26 minutes of walking
  • Turkey & Pepper Jack Sandwich $12
    Sliced turkey breast and pepper jack cheese with arugula and sun-dried tomato aioli on a rustic baguette. Contains: milk, wheat, egg, soy
    440 calories, 15g fat, 48g carbs, 32g protein/ 95 minutes of walking
  • Jicama and Grape Salad Shaker $12
    Kale, spring mix lettuce, cubed jicama, halved grapes and wild rice, shaken with our homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Served with goat cheese (packaged separately in container and can be left off so you can save 160 calories) and dry-roasted slivered almonds
    390 calories, 26g fat, 29g carbs, 12g protein, 490mg sodium / 84 minutes of walking
  • Cheese & Crackers $12
    Brie, Extra Mature Cheddar, Yellow Gouda and Dill Havarti cheese, dried apricots, Bon Maman raspberry jam and Rustic Bakery flatbread crackers) (Contains: Milk, Wheat)
    470 calories, 29g fat, 31g carbs, 23g protein, 790mg sodium / 102 minutes of walking
  • Ham & Cheese Croissant $10
    Sliced ham and fontina cheese on a butter croissant, with a side of Dijon mustard
    540 calories, 29g fat, 41g carbs, 27g protein, 1380mg sodium / 117 minutes of walking

Delta Airlines (www.delta.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very Helpful
Health Score: 2.9 / 5
Fleet Size: 916
Onboard Water Health Score: 1.6 / 5
Average Calories Overall (Individual Snacks, Snack Boxes, and Meals): 424
Average Individual Snack Calories: 172
Average Snack Box Calories: 560
Average Meal Calories: 495
Average Sodium Content Overall (Individual Snacks, Snack Boxes, and Meals): 780mg

Comments: It is nice that Delta provides our team with all the nutritional information for all foods, including sugar grams – nice. However, as we said last year, we would still like Delta to post all nutritional information and ingredients for every meal–NOT just the Luvo Performance Kitchen meals–online and on its menu. Delta does include labels that alert people who have dietary restrictions (i.e. gluten-free, Kosher, vegetarian). However, full nutrition information should be accessible for improved transparency. We also urge Delta, and all airlines, to follow Air Canada’s lead and include meals on flights of under 1300 miles or 3 hours in the air. Options like salads or other lighter fare are important even on shorter flights. If the airlines are worried about food waste, they can have passengers preorder.

Delta continues to work with Luvo’s Performance Kitchen line, which has a very strong commitment to healthy eating. The bad news is that the Performance Kitchen items are no longer being offered as complimentary meals, and the remaining free meal options are not as healthy.

Delta’s overall calorie average, now at 423, is 76 calories lower than it was last year – nice. But the average sodium content for all its food items is 780mg, one of the highest of any airline.

Best Bets: For a snack, your best bet is the almonds, and you’ll be surprised by how filling they are. Don’t be fooled by the “whole grain” Cheez-It crackers – not a great choice even for free. Among snack boxes, the Tapas Box is an OK choice. Skip the rest of them.

For breakfast, not the best choices, but it would probably be best to go for the Protein Box. Just eat only one of the two cheese offerings, and have it as a meal.

For lunch and dinner, go for whichever of the Performance Kitchen meals are offered in the direction you’re flying – eastbound or westbound. The Mesquite-Smoked Turkey Combo is heavy on calories, carbs, and sodium. Among the complimentary lunch options (offered on cross-country flights) there is only one OK choice, which is the Tillamook Cheese and Fruit Box. For the complimentary dinner options (on cross-country flights), the Sesame Noodle Salad and the Greek Mezze Plate are good choices; however, they come with the Tillamook Cheese and Fruit Box, which starts to get extremely high in sodium and calories. So if you choose that option, offer the cheeses to someone else. As for the complimentary dinner meals, avoid the Beef Pastrami Sandwich, which packs enough calories for two meals and a whole day’s worth of sodium. If your sandwich comes with a cookie, save the calories and give the cookie away.

Complimentary Snacks (On flights of 251-599 miles)

  • Biscoff cookies
    120 calories, 5g fat, 18g carbs, 2g protein, 92mg sodium, 10g sugar / 26 minutes of walking
  • Cheez-It Whole Grain Crackers
    100 calories, 4g fat, 14g carbs, 3g protein, 150mg sodium, 0g sugar / 22 minutes of walking

Complimentary Snacks (On flights of 600 miles or more)

  • Cheez-It Whole Grain Crackers
    100 calories, 4g fat, 14g carbs, 3g protein, 150mg sodium, 0g sugar / 22 minutes of walking
  • Biscoff cookies
    120 calories, 5g fat, 18g carbs, 2g protein, 92mg sodium, 10g sugar / 26 minutes of walking
  • Kind Healthy Grains Dark Chocolate Chunk
    150 calories, 5g fat, 23g carbs, 2g protein, 65mg sodium, 8g sugar / 32 minutes of walking
  • Squirrel Brand Almonds
    130 calories, 12g fat, 4g carbs, 4g protein, 50mg sodium, <1g sugar / 28 minutes of walking

Individual Snacks (Served all day on flights of more than 900 miles)

  • Pringles $4.00
    360 calories, 22g fat, 38g carbs, 3g protein, 360mg sodium, <1g sugar / 78 minutes of walking

All Day Snack Boxes (Available all day on select flights of more than 2 hours or 900 miles)

  • Tapas Snack Box $9.00
    Rondele Plain Cheese Spread, TRU Flavors Hummus Dip- Traditional, Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate, Madi K’s Whole Natural Almonds, Vacaville Fruit Company Mediterranean Apricots, La Panzanella Multigrain Crackers, Harvest Snaps Snapea Crisps, Crunchmaster Multi-seed Crackers Original
    660 calories, 35g fat, 75g carbs, 18g protein, 570mg sodium, 20g sugar / 143 minutes of walking
  • Crave Snack Box $8.00
    Nabisco Original Wheat Thins, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, Hormel Homeland Hard Salami, White Cheddar Gourmet Cheese Spread, Pepperidge Farm Dark Chocolate Milano cookie, Original Skittles, Tic Tac FreshMint
    671 calories, 33g fat, 80g carbs, 15g protein, 1309mg sodium, 27g sugar / 145 minutes of walking
  • Crunch Snack Box $7.00
    Late July Sea Salt Multigrain Tortilla Chips, Naturally Fresh medium Salsa, Old Wisconsin Beef Snack Stick
    350 calories, 22g fat, 29g carbs, 12g protein, 608mg sodium, 8g sugar / 76 minutes of walking

Flight Fuel AM (Breakfast available 5 a.m. to 8:59 a.m. on select flights 1300 miles or more within the US, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico)

  • Honey Maple Turkey Breakfast Sandwich $8.99
    Honey maple turkey breast, Colby Jack cheese, cream cheese spread, everything bagel baguette
    340 calories, 12g fat, 43g carbs, 25g protein, 1340mg sodium, 6g sugar / 73 minutes of walking
  • Breakfast Protein Box $8.99
    Tillamook Colby Jack, Tillamook sharp yellow cheddar, hard-boiled egg, muesli snacking rounds, sunflower seed butter, red grapes, and a strawberry
    530 calories, 36g fat, 30g carbs, 18g protein, 540mg sodium, 14g sugar / 114 minutes of walking
  • Tillamook Cheese and Fruit Box $8.99 (Also available from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.) Tillamook Colby Jack, Tillamook sharp yellow cheddar, smoked Gouda, olive oil and grey salt flatbread crackers, natural almonds, red grapes, granny smith apples, Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Soiree
    530 calories, 32g fat, 31g carbs, 21g protein, 600mg sodium, 13g sugar / 114 minutes of walking

Flight Fuel PM (Lunch / Dinner available 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on select flights of 1300 miles or more within the US, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico)

  • Mesquite-Smoked Turkey Combo $10.99
    Mesquite-smoked turkey with cheddar cheese, lettuce, on an olive oil baguette, kettle potato chips, Dijon mustard and mayo, with a chocolate chunk cookie
    710 calories, 24g fat, 75g carbs, 45g protein, 1730mg sodium, 13g sugar / 153 minutes of walking
  • Performance Kitchen Southwestern Chicken Combo $10.99 (Available eastbound)
    Seasoned chicken (raised without antibiotics), pinto beans, corn, black beans, Monterey Jack cheese, mixed grains, roasted tomatoes, lettuce, and tomatillo poblano sauce in an organic whole wheat tortilla. Served with red grapes, strawberry and Ghiradelli dark chocolate
    465 calories, 10g fat, 66g carbs, 21g protein, 620mg sodium / 100 minutes of walking
  • Performance Kitchen Cashew Ranch Chicken Combo $10.99 (Available westbound)
    Seasoned chicken (raised without antibiotics), corn, black beans, natural turkey bacon, mixed grains, roasted tomatoes, lettuce and cashew ranch spread in an organic whole grain spinach tortilla. Served with red grapes, a strawberry and Ghirardelli dark chocolate.
    485 calories, 22g fat, 53g carbs, 20g protein, 640mg sodium / 105 minutes of walking

Main Cabin Complementary Meals

Breakfast (Available eastbound on select flights departing between 5 a.m. and 8:59 a.m. from PDX, SAN, SEA, SFO to JFK; SEA to BOS, MCO and RDU; SFO to BOS; LAX to BOS, DCA, JFK)

  • Mesquite-Smoked Turkey & Swiss Bagel
    Mesquite-smoked turkey with Swiss cheese and sliced granny smith apples with honey mustard served on cinnamon raisin bagel, grapes, and chocolate mini Clif bar
    450 calories, 14g fat, 58g carbs, 21g protein, 900mg sodium, 25g sugar
  • Tillamook Cheese and Fruit Box
    Colby jack, sharp yellow cheddar, smoked Gouda olive oil and grey salt flatbread crackers, natural almonds, red grapes, braeburn apples, Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Soiree
    510 calories, 33g fat, 38g carbs, 20g protein, 710mg sodium, 13g sugar / 110 minutes of walking

(Available westbound on select flights departing between 5 a.m. and 8:59 a.m. from JFK to LAX, PDX, SAN, SEA and SFO; From MCO and RDU to SEA; From BOS to LAX; From BOS to SFO, LAX, SEA)

  • Smoked Turkey & Swiss Sandwich
    Smoked turkey breast and Swiss cheese on a potato roll, fruit cup and chocolate mini Clif bar
    390 calories, 11g fat, 53g carbs, 22g protein, 830mg sodium, 21g sugar / 84 minutes of walking
  • Tillamook Cheese and Fruit Box
    Colby jack, sharp yellow cheddar, smoked Gouda olive oil and grey salt flatbread crackers, natural almonds, red grapes, braeburn apples, Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Soiree
    510 calories, 33g fat, 38g carbs, 20g protein, 710mg sodium, 13g sugar / 110 minutes of walking

Lunch (Available on flights departing between 9 a.m. and 3:59 p.m.)

  • Beef Pastrami Sandwich (eastbound)
    Beef pastrami and Swiss cheese on multigrain bread with a garlic and Creole mustard aioli, topped with romaine and sliced pickles. Served with grapes and Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Soiree.
    880 calories, 38g fat, 102g carbs, 37g protein, 2200mg sodium, 26g sugar / 190 minutes of walking
  • Turkey Brioche Sandwich (westbound)
    Mesquite-smoked turkey breast with cheddar, lemon garlic aioli, tomatoes, shredded parmesan and baby arugula on a brioche roll. Served with carrot & celery sticks and grapes and a Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Soiree.
    590 calories, 31g fat, 49g carbs, 28g protein, 1290mg sodium, 16g sugar / 127 minutes of walking
  • Tillamook Cheese and Fruit Box
    Colby jack, sharp yellow cheddar, smoked Gouda olive oil and grey salt flatbread crackers, natural almonds, red grapes, braeburn apples, Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Soiree
    510 calories, 33g fat, 38g carbs, 20g protein, 710mg sodium, 13g sugar / 110 minutes of walking

Dinner (Available on flights departing after 4 p.m.) (Dinner includes Tillamook cheese and fruit).

  • Greek Meze Plate (eastbound)
    Grilled chicken breast, tomato, cucumber, tabbouleh, feta, Kalamata olives, carrot sticks with tzatziki sauce, mini pitas, and a Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Soiree.
    300 calories, 17g fat, 27g carbs, 16g protein, 700mg sodium, 8g sugar / 65 minutes of walking
  • Sesame Noodle Salad (westbound)
    Sliced grilled chicken over noodles, tossed with carrots, red peppers, sesame seeds, and cucumber in a sesame soy dressing.
    290 calories, 9g fat, 39g carbs, 14g protein, 900mg sodium, 12g sugar / 63 minutes of walking
  • Tillamook Cheese and Fruit Box
    Colby jack, sharp yellow cheddar, smoked Gouda olive oil and grey salt flatbread crackers, natural almonds, red grapes, braeburn apples, Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Soiree
    510 calories, 33g fat, 38g carbs, 20g protein, 710mg sodium, 13g sugar / 110 minutes of walking

United Airlines (www.united.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Somewhat Helpful
Health Score: 2.7 / 5
Fleet Size: 786
Onboard Water Health Score: 1.2 / 5
Average Calories Overall (Individual Snacks, Snack Boxes, and Meals):320
Average Individual Snack Calories: 186
Average Snack Box Calories: 463
Average Meal Calories: 431
Average Sodium Content Overall (Individual Snacks, Snack Boxes, and Meals): 464mg

Comments: United is improving for sure. The airline’s average calories for all food items are significantly lower this year than they were last year, and the average sodium content is 464mg, which is lower than the average across all airlines. Also, the average meal calories are very reasonable at 431. The bad news is that there is no nutritional information on the website, no ingredients list, and United is still lagging behind other airlines on the environmental front (still using plastic straws and cups).

Best Bets: The Beef Jerky and the Hummus are the only good bets for snacks. None of the complimentary snacks are healthy options, but if you must indulge, choose the pretzels. Get 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, and share it unless you’re eating it as a meal. Skip the Classic and Select snack boxes, and say no to the kids’ snack box.

For breakfast, the Overnight Blackberry Vanilla Oats is an OK choice, but it does have 41g of sugar, while the Egg White & Chicken Sausage Flatbread Sandwich, with only 310 calories and 21g of protein, will keep you full longer. Avoid the Egg White Sandwich if you’re sodium-sensitive.

For Lunch/Dinner, the Mezze Sampler, which has lots of veggies, hummus and grain, is your best bet.

Complimentary Inflight Snacks

  • Pretzels
    50 calories, 0g fat, 11g carbs, 1g protein, 150mg sodium, 0g sugar / 11 minutes of walking
  • Stroopwafel
    120 calories, 0g fat, 19g carbs, 1g protein, 150mg sodium, 0g sugar/ 26 minutes of walking
  • Lotus Biscoff
    120 calories, 5g fat, 18g carbs, 1g protein, 95mg sodium / 26 minutes of walking

Snack Shop (Available on most flights of more than 2 hours)

Individual Snacks

  • Think Jerky $5.00
    100 calories, 2g fat, 5g carbs, 16g protein, 380mg sodium / 22 minutes walking
  • GourmetNut Power Up Antioxidant Mix $4.00
    146 calories, 12g fat, 34g carbs, 2g protein, 22mg sodium / 32 minutes of walking
  • Lillie’s Q Buttermilk & Sweet Onion Kettle Chips $4.00
    140 calories, 7g fat, 16g carbs, 2g protein, 210mg sodium/ 30 minutes of walking
  • Haribo Gold-Bears Gummi Candy 4-ounce bag $4.59
    420 calories, 0g fat, 99g carbs, 6g protein, 30mg sodium/ 91 minutes of walking
  • Pringles Original Potato Crisps Grab & Go 2.36-ounce can $4.00
    375 calories, 23g fat, 38g carbs, 3g protein, 375mg sodium/ 81 minutes of walking
  • Dipin Classic Hummus and Baked Pita Chips $5.00
    130 calories, 5g fat, 18g carbs, 6g protein, 260mg sodium / 35 minutes of walking
  • M&M’s Milk Chocolate Candies $4.00
    230 calories, 9g fat, 35g carbs, 2g protein, 35mg sodium / 50 minutes of walking

Snack Boxes

  • Tapas $10.00
    Almonds, breadstick crackers, bruschetta, dark chocolate sea salt caramel, flatbread crackers, hummus, mint, olives, parmesan peppercorn spread
    495 calories, 26g fat, 49g carbs, 17g protein, 1088mg sodium, 11g sugar / 107 minutes of walking
  • Classic $10.00
    Cheddar cheese spread, Oreo cookies, crackers, pretzel crisps, root beer float marshmallow, salami, twizzlers.
    496 calories, 26g fat, 62g carbs, 13g protein, 1270mg sodium, 19g sugar / 107 minutes of walking
  • Select $10.00
    Chocolate chip cookie bites, chocolate chip crispy square, dark chocolate sea salt pumpkin seeds, fruit and nut mix, gummy bears, kettle corn snacks
    510 calories, 23g fat, 72g carbs, 8g protein, 195mg sodium, 42g sugar / 110 minutes of walking
  • Kids’ Snackbox (comes with activity sheet) $6.00
    Apple sauce, beef stick, cheddar crackers, fruit snacks, graham snacks
    350 calories, 10g fat, 60g carbs, 4g protein, 436mg sodium, 26g sugar / 76 minutes of walking

Bistro on Board (Available on flights of more than 3 hours within North America and to Latin America)

Breakfast
Available on most flights departing between 5 a.m. and 9:44 a.m.

  • Egg White and Chicken Sausage Flatbread Sandwich $8.00
    Egg whites, chicken sausage, smoked fontina cheese and roasted red pepper spread on lavash flatbread
    310 Calories, 16g fat, 24g carbs, 21g protein, 940mg sodium / 67 minutes of walking
  • Overnight Blackberry Vanilla Oats $7.00
    Overnight oats with vanilla yogurt and chia seeds, blackberry compote and coconut almond granola
    350 calories, 6g fat, 69g carbs, 8g protein, 75mg sodium/ 76 minutes of walking
  • Italian Sausage Frittata $9.00
    Sweet and spicy Italian pork sausage, eggs, brown rice, bread cubes, mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese and kale
    490 Calories, 34g fat, 28g carbs, 18g protein, 670mg sodium/ 106 minutes of walking

Lunch and Dinner (Available on most flights departing between 9:45 a.m. and 8 p.m.)

  • Mezze Sampler $9.99
    Greek-style ancient grain salad with roasted tomatoes, cucumber, kale, peppers and red onion, served with hummus, falafel and flatbread
    501 calories, 30g fat, 48g carbs, 14g protein, 515mg sodium, 14g sugar / 108 minutes of walking
  • Everything Bun Burger $10.00
    All-beef patty and Swiss cheese on a bun topped with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, salt, garlic and onion. Served with Sir Kensington’s ketchup, mustard and chipotle mayonnaise on the side
    540 calories, 26g fat, 45g carbs, 27g protein, 250mg sodium. / 117 minutes of walking
  • Lillie’s Q Sausage Sandwich $10.00
    Lillie’s Q southern-style smoked beef and pork sausage and Lillie’s Q South Carolina-style Gold BBQ sauce with roasted onions on a Labriola pretzel bun
    380 calories, 19g fat, 36g carbs, 16g protein, 1070mg sodium / 82 minutes of walking
  • Roth Wisconsin Selection cheese tray $10.00
    Grand Cru Original cheese, processed smoked Gouda, fontina, sharp cheddar, dried cherries, almonds and crackers
    450 Calories, 30g fat, 23g carbs, 24g protein, 780mg sodium / 97 minutes of walking

American Airlines (www.aa.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Mostly Helpful
Health Score: 2.7 / 5
Fleet Size: 968
Onboard Water Health Score: 1.5 / 5
Average Calories Overall (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks): 481
Average Individual Snack Calories: 144
Average Snack Box Calories: 471
Average Meal Calories: 585
Average Sodium Content Overall (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks): 678mg

Comments: With more than 900 planes, American is a leading airline and should certainly make a more concerted effort to provide healthier food choices. We like its continued partnership with Zoe’s Kitchen, a clean food company focusing on a Mediterranean diet, and we are glad the airline dropped the chocolate in the Hummus Duo, lowering the calories by 140 to a reasonable number, but they still need to serve healthier food. The Vegan Snack Box is good news, not just because it’s vegan but because of the nice offerings it includes. The bad news is that the airline is still not publishing a menu with nutritional information on its website — not good. Nor did American provide us with complete nutrition information (e.g. carbs, fats, protein and sodium). We appreciate the airline’s responsiveness, but given its size, it should have healthier menu options and provide online menus with full nutritional info and ingredients. Pringles are the only snack offered for purchase, not good. Come on, American–healthy food is good business, Have you heard of Whole Foods?

Overall, American’s calories have increased from 417 last year to 481–not the right direction. And the sodium levels, at an average of 922mg for meals, is much higher than the already high average of 823mg for all airlines that serve meals. (Note: 2000mg is the World Health Organization’s daily limit.)

Best Bets: The Continental Breakfast offering with Chobani Yogurt is a good choice (only available until Dec 1st, after which it’s replaced by a high calorie Belgian waffle).The Breakfast Platter is an OK choice with hardboiled egg and apple slices, and on cross-country flights to/from San Francisco or LA and NYC, the complimentary Vegan Snack Box (oats) is a decent option. If you purchase lunch or dinner, the Harissa Chicken Wrap (without the cookie) seems to be the best option. The Hummus Duo is higher in calories and sodium, but it can be a good choice to share between two people unless you eat it as a meal.

The lunch/dinner version of the Vegan Snack Box (hummus) is also not bad if you’re flying to/from San Francisco or LA and NY and you eat it as a meal. If you’re trying to eat healthy, skip the chocolate chip cookie in all meals that come with one – it’s 200 calories, and not worth it.

Avoid all the free or paid individual snacks and/or snack boxes except for the two complimentary vegan boxes on flights where they are available (transcontinental).

Complimentary Snacks (Available on flights of more than 250 miles)

  • Mini Pretzels
    80 calories, 1g fat, 17g carbs, 2g protein, 230mg sodium, 0g sugar / 17 minutes of walking
  • Biscoff cookies
    120 calories, 5g fat, 18g carbs, 1g protein, 92mg sodium, 10g sugar / 26 minutes of walking

Individual Snacks (Available on flights of more than 2 hours departing between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m.)

  • Pringles Grab and Go $4.00
    375 calories, 22g fat, 38g carbs, 3g protein, 360mg sodium, 0g sugar / 81 minutes of walking

Snack Boxes (Available on flights of more than 2 hours departing between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m.)

  • Power Bites Snack Box $9.00
    Lorissa’s Korean barbeque beef jerky, Glacier Ridge Brie cheese spread, Rustic Bakery tart cherry crisps with cacao nibs, Divina fig spread, Skinny Dipped almonds with dark chocolate and Whisps parmesan cheese crisps.
    345 calories, 18g fat*, 26g carbs*, 14g protein, 830mg sodium, 10g sugar* / 75 minutes of walking
  • Tasty Travels Snack Box $6.99
    Nabisco Wheat Thins crackers, CLIF Bar chocolate chip mini bar, Clever shortbread emoji cookies, Welch’s Fruit Snack mixed fruits, Glacier Ridge Farms asiago cheese spread, Wonderful roasted and salted almonds.
    670 calories, 24g fat*, 94g carbs*, 15g protein, 880mg sodium, 48g sugar* / 145 minutes of walking

Breakfast Offerings (Available on flights of more than 3 hours departing between 5 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.)

  • Breakfast Sandwich $8.99
    All-natural sliced turkey and Swiss cheese on a croissant. Served with honey mustard dressing on the side.
    620 calories, 34g fat, 49g carbs, 32g protein, 720mg sodium, 14g sugar / 134 minutes of walking
  • Continental Breakfast Box (Zoe’s Kitchen) $7.99 (Ending Nov. 30)
    Chobani Greek vanilla yogurt, Made Good chocolate banana granola bar and fresh blueberries.
    311 calories, 4g fat*, 55g carbs*, 20g protein, 88mg sodium, 35g sugar* / 67 minutes of walking
  • Continental Breakfast Box (Zoe’s Kitchen) $7.99 (Starting Dec. 1)
    Sweet vanilla Belgian pastry waffle, Nutella, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.
    560 calories, 30g fat, 68g carbs, 6g protein, 230mg sodium, 52g sugar / 121 minutes of walking
  • Breakfast Platter $8.99
    Grapes, granny smith apple wedges, hard boiled egg, sharp cheddar cheese, muesli morning snacking rounds and almond butter.
    510 calories, 31g fat, 38g carbs, 21g protein, 440mg sodium, 20g sugar / 110 minutes of walking

Fresh Meals (Available on flights of more than 3 hours departing between 9:46 a.m. and 8 p.m.)

  • Fruit and Cheese Plate $8.99
    Red and green grapes served with smoked gouda, sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack cheese, Acacia gourmet cream crackers and Honeycomb dark chocolate
    590 calories, 37g fat, 42g carbs, 25g protein, 870mg sodium, 18g sugar / 127 minutes of walking
  • Hummus Duo (Zoes Kitchen) $9.99
    Chickpea hummus, kalamata olives, basil pesto, fresh cucumber slices, fresh carrot sticks, pita rounds
    450 calories, 30g fat, 39g carbs, 11g protein, 1180mg sodium, 7g sugar / 97 minutes of walking
  • Valencia Chicken Sandwich (Zoes Kitchen) $10.99 (ending Nov. 30)
    Grilled chicken, pickled veggies, Havarti cheese and almond romesco sauce on a telera roll served with mayonnaise and a chocolate chip cookie (skip and save 200 calories).
    720 calories, 33g fat, 73g carbs, 34g protein, 1170mg sodium, 23g sugar / 155 minutes of walking
  • Turkey & Pimento Cheese Wrap $10.99 (ending Nov. 30)
    All-natural sliced turkey, pimento cheese, turkey bacon bits and Boston lettuce on a grilled tortilla. Served with mayonnaise and a chocolate chip cookie (skip and save 200 calories).
    910 calories, 44g fat, 51g carbs, 38g protein, 1880mg sodium, 20g sugar / 197 minutes of walking
  • Turkey, Havarti, & Arugula Sandwich (Dec. 1)
    All-natural sliced turkey, Havarti cheese and baby arugula on marble wheat bread. Served with honey mustard dressing on the side and a chocolate chip cookie(skip and save 200 calories).
    900 calories, 53g fat, 84g carbs, 33g protein, 1490mg sodium, 31g sugar / 194 minutes of walking
  • Harissa Chicken Wrap $10.99 (Dec. 1)
    Grilled chicken, harissa sauce, crunchy slaw, lettuce and feta spread on a grilled tortilla. Served with balsamic vinaigrette and a chocolate chip cookie (skip and save 200 calories).
    650 calories, 34g fat, 56g carbs, 27g protein, 1100mg sodium, 22g sugar / 140 minutes of walking

Complimentary Main Cabin Meals (Available on coast-to-coast flights between JFK-SFO and JFK-LAX)

Complimentary Breakfast (Available on flights departing between 5 a.m. and 9:45 a.m)

  • Breakfast Platter
    Grapes, granny smith apple wedges, hard boiled egg, sharp cheddar cheese, muesli morning snacking rounds and almond butter.
    510 calories, 31g fat, 38g carbs, 21g protein, 440mg sodium, 20g sugar / 110 minutes of walking
  • Snack Box
    Yogurt, granola, blueberry muffin top and fresh apple slices
    340 calories, 7g fat*, 66g carbs*, 8g protein*, 379mg sodium*, 36g sugar* / 73 minutes of walking
  • Vegan Snack Box
    Coconut chia oats, fresh blueberries, almonds, walnuts
    450 calories, 30g fat*, 43g carbs*, 11g protein*, 14mg sodium*, 15g sugar* / 97 minutes of walking

Lunch/Dinner (Available on flights departing between 9:45 a.m and 8pm)

  • Fruit and Cheese Plate
    Red and green grapes served with smoked gouda, sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack cheese, Acacia gourmet cream crackers and Honeycomb dark chocolate.
    590 calories, 37g fat, 42g carbs, 25g protein, 870mg sodium, 18g sugar / 127 minutes of walking
  • Vegan Snack Box
    Red Pepper Hummus, Pita Rounds, Carrots, Celery & Dark Chocolate
    435 calories, 14g fat*, 64g carbs*, 12g protein*, 433mg sodium*, 17g sugar* / 94 minutes of walking

*Nutrient information estimated by Diet Detective registered dietitians

Frontier Airlines (www.flyfrontier.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very Helpful
Health Score: 2.0 / 5
Fleet Size: 91
Onboard Water Health Score: 2.6 / 5
Average Calories Overall (Individual Snacks and Snack Boxes): 289
Average Individual Snack Calories: 298
Average Snack Box Calories: 257
Average Sodium Content Overall (Individual Snacks and Snack Boxes): 367mg

Comments: Frontier was incredibly responsive, providing information quickly – nice. However, it would be great if the airline offered some healthier items. The average calories in their inflight offerings decreased for each category this year, but there is still room for improvement as to what those offerings could be. Again, Frontier is an innovative airline – please apply that innovation to food. The sodium content of its snacks is 367mg, which is much higher than the average for snacks across all airlines. And the average number of calories in its snacks is 298, which is 15 percent higher than the average across all airlines.

Best Bets: The best bet for snacks is to choose the KIND bar or the Jack Links Beef Steak (as long as you’re not sodium sensitive). Neither of the bundled snack boxes provides a nutrient-rich, low-calorie option.

Individual Snacks (Available on flights of more than 200 miles)

  • Almond M&M’s 2.83 oz Sharing Size $3.99
    400 calories, 22g fat, 46g carbs, 8g protein, 40mg sodium / 86 minutes of walking
  • Chex Mix Traditional $3.99
    420 calories, 12g fat, 77g carbs, 7g protein, 770mg sodium / 91 minutes of walking
  • Pringles Original Potato Chips $2.99
    375 calories, 23g fat, 38g carbs, 3g protein, 375mg sodium / 81 minutes of walking
  • Stroopwafel $2.99
    360 calories, 16g fat, 50g carbs, 2g protein, 200mg sodium / 78 minutes of walking
  • KIND Bar Caramel Almond & Sea Salt 1.4 ounces $2.99
    200 calories, 15g fat, 16g carbs, 4g protein, 125mg sodium / 43 minutes of walking
  • Rice Krispies Treat 2.2 ounces $2.99
    260 calories, 6g fat, 48g carbs, 2g protein, 290mg sodium / 56 minutes of walking
  • Jack Link’s Premium Cuts Beef Steak 1 ounce $3.99
    70 calories, 7g carbs, 1g fat, 9g protein, 770mg sodium / 15 minutes of walking

Snack Boxes

  • Cub Snack Box $4.99
    Old Wisconsin Beef Jerky Stick 0.5 ounces, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish 0.5 ounces, Oreo Cookies 0.78 ounces, and Skittles 0.53 ounces
    280 calories, 13g fat, 39g carbs, 5g protein, 367mg sodium / 60 minutes of walking
  • Grizzly Bear Snack Pack $5.99
    Old Wisconsin Beef Jerky Stick 0.5 ounces, Acacia Gourmet Cream Crackers 0.6 ounces, Glacier Ridge Farms Asiago Cheese Spread 0.75 ounces, and Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai & Blueberry Flavors 0.7 ounces
    233 calories, 13g fat, 24g carbs, 5g protein, 367mg sodium / 50 minutes of walking

Allegiant Air (www.allegiantair.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very Helpful
Health Score: 1.9 / 5
Fleet Size: 91
Onboard Water Health Score: 3.3 / 5
Average Calories Overall (Individual Snacks and Snack Boxes): 325
Average Individual Snack Calories: 390
Average Snack Box Calories: 240
Average Sodium Content Overall (Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks): 362mg

Comments: The good news is that Allegiant was very helpful throughout the study. Nice job! And compared to last year, it has lowered its overall calorie average slightly, from 336 to 326 calories. It would be wonderful if the airline added a few more nutritious food items to the menu, perhaps an apple or a salad shaker.

Best Bets: Among the individual snacks, the nuts might work if you shared them with at least one other person. The Hummus Snack Pack is also OK. Avoid the Deli Snack Pack, and the Wingz Kids Snack Pack is not a healthy choice

Individual Snacks

  • M&M’s Peanut, 3.1 oz., $3.00
    440 calories, 8g fat, 18g carbs, 3g protein, 15mg sodium, 15g sugar / 95 minutes of walking
  • Kings Nut Medley, 2 oz., $4.00
    360 calories, 32g fat, 14g carbs, 12g protein, 200mg sodium, 2g sugar / 78 minutes of walking
  • Pringles, 2.3 oz., $3.00
    360 calories, 22g fat, 38g carbs, 3g protein, 360mg sodium, <1g sugar / 78 minutes of walking
  • Chex Mix, 3.75 oz., $4.00
    400 calories, 11g fat, 69g carbs, 6g protein, 690mg sodium, 6g sugar / 86 minutes of walking

Snack Boxes

  • Deli Snack Pack $5.00 – Pennysticks Pretzels, 0.9 oz. (100 calories), White Cheddar Cheese Spread, 0.75 oz. (50 calories), Slim Jim, 0.28 oz. (40 calories), Lorna Doone Shortbread Cookies 4-pack (140 calories)
    330 calories, 15g fat, 45g carbs, 9g protein, 820mg sodium, 6g sugar / 71 minutes of walking
  • Hummus Snack Pack $4.00 – Dipin Classic Hummus, 1.42 oz. (50 calories) & Baked in Brooklyn Pita Chips, 0.75 oz (100 calories)
    150 calories, 6g fat, 20g carbs, 6g protein, 235mg sodium, 1g sugar / 32 minutes of walking
  • Wingz Kids Snack Pack $5.00 – Oreo 2-pack, 0.78 oz. (100 calories), Baked Goldfish Crackers, 0.50 oz. (60 calories), Welch’s Fruit Snacks, 0.90 oz. (80 calories)
    240 calories, 7g fat, 45g carbs, 2g protein, 215mg sodium, 20g sugar / 52 minutes of walking

Spirit Airlines (www.spirit.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very Helpful
Health Score: 1.9 / 5
Fleet Size: 135
Onboard Water Health Score: 1 / 5
Average Calories Overall (Individual Snacks and Snack Boxes): 360
Average Individual Snack Calories: 370
Average Snack Box Calories: 319
Average Sodium Content Overall (Individual Snacks and Snack Boxes): 450mg

Comments: Spirit’s inflight offerings were hard to find on the airline’s website. No nutritional information is provided for the food offered, and, overall, there are not many (if any) healthy options. The good news is that the airline responded incredibly well to our queries–nice.

The average sodium content of Spirit’s snacks is 403mg, which is well above the average across all airlines. The airline’s average individual snack calories are also significantly higher at 370 than the 255 average across all airline snacks.

Best Bets: The FlyFit Protein Mix of nuts would be a good bet if split among four people, because each bag contains about four servings of nuts. The Nissin Cup Noodle Very Veggie Chicken Flavor is OK at 330 calories and might feel like a real meal, but it’s very high in sodium. The Cheese Tray is a much better choice than the Cafe Snack Box, but it would be better shared between two people. It’s too bad that the Quinoa with Artichoke & Roasted Peppers is no longer on the menu, because it was a healthy and satisfying snack option.

Individual Snacks

  • Pringles Grab and Go! $3.00
    375 calories, 23g fat, 38g carbs, 3g protein, 375mg sodium / 81 minutes of walking
  • Otis Spunkmeyer Wild Blueberry Muffin $3.00
    410 calories, 17g fat, 59g carbs, 6g protein, 470mg sodium / 89 minutes of walking
  • Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Chip Muffin $3.00
    460 calories, 23g fat, 57g carbs, 6g protein, 350mg sodium / 99 minutes of walking
  • Cheez It Snack Mix Classic $4.00
    580 calories, 20g Fat, 20g carbs, 12g protein, 1480mg sodium / 125 minutes of walking
  • Share Size Peanut M&M’s $4.00
    470 calories, 24g fat, 56g carbs, 9g protein, 47mg sodium / 102 minutes of walking
  • Nissin Cup Noodles Very Veggie Chicken Flavor $4.00
    330 calories, 11g fat, 49g carbs, 8g protein, 1070mg sodium / 71 minutes of walking
  • Oreo Cookie 6-pack $3.00
    320 calories, 13g Fat, 49g carbs, 3g protein, 270 mg sodium / 69 minutes of walking
  • Rice Krispy Treat $3.00
    260 calories, 6g Fat, 48g carbs, 2g protein, 290 mg sodium / 56 minutes of walking
  • Del Monte Pear and Blackberry Chia Fruit Cup $6.00
    130 calories, 2.5g fat, 26g carbs, 2g protein, 5mg sodium / 28 minutes of walking
  • Haribo Goldbears $4.00
    400 calories, 0g Fat, 92g carbs, 8g protein, 20mg sodium / 86 minutes of walking
  • Brownie Brittle $4.00
    240 calories, 8g Fat, 42g carbs, 2g protein, 150mg sodium / 52 minutes of walking
  • PopCorners Sea Salt $4.00
    110 calories, 2.5g Fat, 20g carbs, 2g protein, 190mg sodium / 24 minutes of walking
  • FlyFit Protein Nut Mix $4.00
    720 calories, 56g fat, 28g carbs, 28g protein, 500mg sodium / 155 minutes of walking

Snack Boxes

  • Kids’ Snacks $5.00
    Goldfish crackers, Welch’s fruit snacks, Animal Crackers, Snack Stick Beef
    337 calories, 11g fat, 51g carbs, 6g protein, 453mg sodium / 73 minutes of walking
  • Café Snack Box $7.00
    Partners Olive Oil & Sea Salt, Craisins, Mario Snack Olives, Dolcetto Wafer Rolls
    350 calories, 14g fat, 52g carbs, 3g protein, 540mg sodium / 76 minutes of walking
  • Cheese Tray $7.00
    Sharp Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, American Cheese, Crackers, Dried Apples and Cranberries
    270 calories, 17g fat, 18g carbs, 15g protein, 710mg sodium / 58 minutes of walking

Hawaiian Airlines (www.hawaiianairlines.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Not So Helpful
Health Score: 1.9 / 5
Fleet Size: 57
Onboard Water Health Score: 3.1 / 5
Average Calories Overall (Individual Snacks, Snack Boxes, and Meals): 556
Average Individual Snack Calories: 369
Average Snack Box Calories: 515
Average Meal Calories: 898
Average Sodium Content Overall (Individual Snacks, Snack Boxes, and Meals): 755mg

Comments: This year, Hawaiian Airlines showed a tiny bit more effort, but, to be honest, it is now the ONLY airline that does not provide us with complete nutrition information. Much of the meal nutrient content had to be estimated by our registered dietitians, and the information provided by Hawaiian was confusing. There are a lot of high-calorie and high-sodium options, and many of the snacks will not be satiating. If you are flying Hawaiian it’s very important to note that ALL meals are free, and they are large, and there is a lot of food provided during flights from or to Hawaii – anywhere from 1122 to 1514 calories, and 1338 to 2453 milligrams of sodium. Those are very unhealthy numbers. The average sodium content of all Hawaiian’s food offerings is 775mg, which is way above the average across all airlines.

Best Bets: Among the snacks, choose the Kitchen & Love Quinoa with Artichoke and Roasted Pepper Quick Meal. That’s it for healthy snacks; pass on all the others. Among the snackboxes, the Gluten Free Box has some healthy components, including the hummus, chickpea snacks, and the turkey stick. But skip the fruit snacks, and the cookies. For meals, it’s much more complicated. NYC/Boston to Hawaii and Hawaii to NYC/Boston are long, 10-hour-plus flights, and food service includes several free meals throughout. The actual meal is OK; however, you should avoid all the free-meal extras, including the chips, the pineapple coconut treat, potato salad, cole slaw, cookies, cheese, crackers, snack mix, and alcoholic beverages. If you do insist on eating all the unhealthy “extras,” they will leave you feeling tired and uncomfortable.

Individual Snacks /Pau Hana Cart (for sale on select flights)

  • Hawaiian Chip Company Taro Chips Original Flavor $8.00 (ending Nov. 30)
    560 calories, 33g fat*, 90g carbs*, 0g protein*, 235mg sodium* / 121 minutes of walking
  • Kunoa Hawaii Grown Beef Bar $4.00 (ending Nov. 30)
    50 calories, 1g fat, 2g carbs, 9g protein, 280mg sodium, 2g sugar, / 11 minutes of walking
  • Island Princess Caramel Macadamia Nut Popcorn $5.75
    600 calories, 26g fat*, 95g carbs*, 4g protein*, 538mg sodium* / 130 minutes of walking
  • Island Princess Royal Crunch $5.75
    700 calories, 40g fat*, 90g carbs*, 5g protein*, 275mg sodium* / 151 minutes of walking
  • Kitchen & Love Quinoa with Artichoke and Roasted Pepper Quick Meal $6.00
    260 calories, 10g fat, 36g carbs, 8g protein, 700mg sodium / 56 minutes of walking
  • Kona Furikake Chips $7.00
    480 calories, 29g fat*, 48g carbs*, 9g protein*, 210mg sodium* / 104 minutes of walking
  • M&M’s Peanut $3.00
    460 calories, 18g fat, 70g carbs, 4g protein, 70mg sodium / 99 minutes of walking
  • Maruchan Instant Lunch Chicken flavor $4.00
    290 calories, 12g fat, 39g carbs, 7g protein, 1190mg sodium / 63 minutes of walking
  • Pau Hana Snack Mix 5.5 oz $6.00
    770 calories, 33g fat, 99g carbs, 11g protein, 825mg sodium, 0g sugar / 168 minutes of walking
  • Pringles $4.00
    375 calories, 23g fat*, 40g carbs*, 3g protein*, 375mg sodium*/ 81 minutes of walking
  • Primo Popcorn (Movie Night Butter Flavor) $6.50
    413 calories, 26g fat*, 42g carbs*, 6g protein*, 390mg sodium* / 89 minutes of walking
  • Samurai Brand Furikake Popcorn $7.00
    360 calories, 24g fat*, 32g carbs*, 4g protein*, 320mg sodium* / 78 minutes of walking

Individual Snacks (complimentary on select flights)

  • Cream Cheese & Chive Sandwich Crackers (on JFK/BOS only)
    190 calories, 11g fat, 22g carbs, 2g protein, 270mg sodium / 41 minutes of walking
  • Pau Hana Snack Mix .50 oz
    70 calories, 3g fat, 9g carbs, 1g protein, 75mg sodium / 15 minutes of walking

Snack Boxes

  • Gluten Free Box $7.50
    Good Bean Roasted Chickpea Snacks, Crackers, Welch’s Fruit Snacks, hummus, turkey stick, cookies
    467 calories*, 21g fat*, 57g carbs*, 17g protein*, 734mg sodium* / 101 minutes of walking
  • Keiki (Child) Snack Box (Gluten Free) $7.50
    Pirate’s Booty Cheese Puffs, Apple Cinnamon Granola Minis, Turkey Stick, Applesauce, Gummy Bears, Mini Cookies
    279 calories*, 16g fat*, 74g carbs*, 15g protein*, 589mg sodium* / 60 minutes of walking
  • ‘Ono Snack Box – Gluten Free $7.50
    Salami, Cheddar Cheese, Dried Apricots and Apples, Olives, Crackers, Cookie
    800 calories*, 44g fat*, 93g carbs*, 19g protein*, 2065mg sodium*/ 173 minutes of walking

Meals Breakfast/Lunch/ Dinner

Hawaii to Boston/New York (JFK) (Note: Passenger receives all meals during the flight complimentary)

Lunch/Dinner

  • Penne Pasta with Vegetable Ragout served with Potato Salad, and Bale Cookie (Ending Nov. 30)
    694 calories*, 37g fat*, 116g carbs*, 18g protein*, 1026mg sodium*/ 150 minutes of walking
  • Chow Fun with Garlic Pepper Sauce served with Coleslaw, Gochujang Dressing & LaTour Coconut Macaroon Cookie (Starting Dec. 1)
    564 calories*, 27g fat*, 75g carbs*, 10g protein*, 938mg sodium* / 122 minutes of walking

Prior to Arrival

  • Continental Breakfast Bag with Fresh Fruit Cup, Yogurt, Cheese, Crackers and Hawaiian Host Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nut
    558 calories*, 21g fat*, 103g carbs*, 15g protein*, 400mg sodium*/ 121minutes walking

Total Food Served on Flight (Ending Nov. 30): 1252 calories, 58g fat, 219g carbs, 28g protein, 1426mg sodium / 270 minutes of walking

Total Food Served on Flight (Starting Dec. 1): 1122 calories, 48g fat, 178g carbs, 25g protein, 1338mg sodium / 242 minutes of walking

Boston/New York (JFK) to Hawaii (Note: Passenger receives all meals during the flight complimentary)

Beverage Service

  • Pineapple Coconut Breakfast Bite
    140 calories, 8g fat, 17g carbs, 2g protein, 70mg sodium / 30 minutes of walking

Lunch/Dinner

  • Yakisoba with Mushroom Sauce, Served with Cucumber Tomato Salad, Honolulu Cookie Company Cookie (Ending Nov. 30)
    524 calories*, 13g fat*, 91g carbs*, 14g protein*, 1258mg sodium* / 113 minutes of walking
  • Vegetarian Chili with Steamed Rice Served with Noodle Salad with Lime Soy Dressing and a Honolulu Cookie Company Cookie (Starting Dec. 1)
    472 calories*, 9g fat*, 80g carbs*, 23g protein*, 636mg sodium* / 102 minutes of walking

Midflight Snack

  • Cream Cheese and Chive Sandwich Crackers
    190 calories, 11g fat, 22g carbs, 2g protein, 270mg sodium / 41 minutes of walking

Light Snack/Sandwich Bag

  • Roasted Vegetable with Feta Sandwich, Hawaiian Host Chocolate & Pau Hana Snack Mix (ending Nov. 30)
    660 calories*, 28g fat*, 82g carbs*, 17g protein*, 855mg sodium* / 143 minutes of walking
  • Egg Salad Sandwich, Hawaiian Host Chocolate & Pau Hana Snack Mix (starting Dec. 1)
    471 calories*, 32g fat*,36.5g carbs*, 12g protein*, 482mg sodium* / 102 minutes of walking

Total Food Served on Flight (Ending Nov 30): 1514 calories*, 60g fat*, 212g carbs*, 35g protein*, 2453mg sodium* / 327 minutes of walking

Total Food Served on Flight (Starting Dec 1): 1273 calories*, 60g fat*, 156g carbs*, 39g protein*, 1458mg sodium* / 275 minutes of walking

Hawaii to Mainland (Excluding Boston/NYC)

Brunch Flights

  • Breakfast Sandwich with Egg, Pepper and Onion w/ Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Bite
    540 calories*, 29g fat*, 55g carbs*, 19g protein, 413mg sodium / 117 minutes of walking

Lunch/Dinner Flights

  • Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich served with Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Chips (Ending Nov. 30)
    466 calories*, 23g fat*, 43g carbs*, 21g protein*, 616mg sodium* / 101 minutes of walking
  • Pesto Chicken Hand Pie served with Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Chips (Starting Dec. 1)
    438 calories*, 19g fat*, 56g carbs*, 13g protein*, 508mg sodium* / 95 minutes of walking

Late Night Flights – Moemoe Menu

  • Pau Hana Snack Mix
    70 calories, 3g fat, 9g carbs, 1g protein, 75mg sodium / 15 minutes of walking

Mainland to Hawaii (Excluding Boston/NYC)

Brunch Flights

  • Breakfast Sandwich with Egg, Mushroom and Cheese w/Pineapple Coconut Breakfast Bite (Ending Nov. 30)
    519 calories*, 31g fat*, 47g carbs*, 15g protein*, 966mg sodium* / 112 minutes of walking
  • Egg Sandwich with Garlic Pepper Aioli w/Pineapple Coconut Breakfast Bite (S
    9tarting Dec. 1)
    611 calories*, 42g fat*, 43g carbs*, 15g protein*, 750mg sodium* / 132 minutes of walking

Lunch/Dinner Flights

  • Turkey Pastrami and Swiss Cheese Sandwich w/Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Chips (Ending Nov. 30)
    490 calories*, 28g fat*, 37g carbs*, 26g protein*, 1017mg sodium*/ 106 minutes of walking
  • Chicken Sandwich with Chili Mayo Served with Tim’s Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Chips** (Starting Dec. 1)
    400 calories*, 16g fat*, 41g carbs*, 22g protein*, 516mg sodium* / 86 minutes walking

Late Night Flights – Moemoe Menu

  • Pau Hana Snack Mix
    70 calories, 3g fat, 9g carbs, 1g protein, 75mg sodium / 15 minutes of walking

Southwest Airlines (www.southwest.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Somewhat Helpful
Health Score: 1.7 / 5
Fleet Size: 754
Onboard Water Health Score: 2.4 / 5
Average Individual Snack Calories: 106
Average Sodium Content Overall (Individual Snacks): 135mg

Comments: For one of the top carriers, Southwest does not offer much variety or nutritional value. If the airline really does have a heart (as it does on its logo), it would care about the food that’s being served. Southwest needs to add some healthy snacks. And this year, for the first time in 20 years, the people we contacted were not nearly as helpful as they usually are in providing information for the study. The communications team’s kindness was its only saving grace. The airline’s average calories for snacks has decreased from 138 last year to 106 this year. The average sodium for the few food offerings is low at 135mg.

Best Bets: The pretzels are the only reasonable choice, they but have no nutritional value. More than on any other airline, when you fly Southwest, you need to bring your own fresh, nutrient-dense, healthy food, such as nuts and fresh fruit.

Available on all flights. All snacks are complimentary.

  • Pretzels
    45 calories, 0g fat, 10g carbs, 1g protein, 135mg sodium, 0g sugar / 10 minutes of walking
  • Lorna Doone Shortbread Cookie Crisps (AM)
    100 calories, 3g fat, 16g carbs, 1g protein, 120mg sodium, 6g sugar / 22 minutes of walking
  • Ritz Bits (PM)
    160 calories, 9g fat, 18g carbs, 2g protein, 160mg sodium, 4g sugar / 35 minutes of walking
  • Frito Lay Corn Chips, 1 oz. single-serving bag
    120 calories, 8g fat, 12g carbs, 1g protein, 125 mg sodium, 0g sugar / 26 minutes of walking

*Nutrient information estimated by Diet Detective registered dietitians
**There were some discrepancies between the online menus and the information about the Hawaiian Airline cycle menu provided for the study. Items with a double asterisk were included on the cycle menu but not the online menu.

Across all airlines, minutes of walking were estimated by Diet Detective registered dietitians

EDITOR’S NOTE

Travel Food and Water Tips

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 average four or five hours of travel.

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).
If you can’t or didn’t bring your own food, avoid these words on the airline menu: a la mode (with ice cream on the side), au gratin (covered with cheese), battered, bisque, breaded, buttered, in cheese sauce, creamy or rich, crispy, fried or deep-fried, deluxe, with hollandaise (sauce made with butter, egg yolks and wine), jumbo, with nuts, scalloped, sautéed or tempura–all of which describe foods that are calorie-dense and nutritionally poor choices.

Here are some ideas for snacks you can bring from home or buy at the airport:

Water: Bring your own empty, reusable water bottle to fill at an airport water fountain past the security checkpoint and take onboard, or buy a bottle after you go through security. Ask for bottled water throughout your trip. Dehydration can cause or exacerbate hunger, jet lag and fatigue.

Cereal: 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. Grapes or almost any other fruit can be carried in a plastic container. Also, fruit and 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.

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.
All Natural Fruit Roll-Ups (no sugar added)

Whole-Wheat Crackers: Make sure to get 100 percent whole-wheat crackers such as Ak Mak (www.akmakbakeries.com), Mary’s Gone Crackers or Dr. Kracker (www.drkracker.com).
Beef jerky: Especially if you’re a low-carb fan, but not if you’re watching your sodium.




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