The Thanksgiving holiday season is traditionally the busiest travel time of the year, and 2017 is expected to be the busiest since about 2005. Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, predicts that 28.5 million passengers will travel on U.S. airlines during the 12-day Thanksgiving travel period. This number is up 3 percent from 2016 and represents an increase of 69,000 daily passengers compared to the 2016 Thanksgiving travel period.
Once again we contacted the airlines to request nutrition information for the foods they serve and make available for purchase to economy-class passengers on domestic flights and gathered data stored on websites and other online resources to bring you the 2017-2018 Airline Food Survey.
Table of Contents
Major airline food headlines
Delta is the clear leader among the major carries and is tied with Virgin America this year as the healthiest airline.
The average number of calories per menu choice was 360 in 2012; in 2013 it was 388; in 2014 it was 397; in 2015 it was 400; in 2016 it was 392, and this year 405 calories, a 13 calorie increase over last year. Keep in mind, calories are not everything; we are looking at the nutrients in these foods when they are provided, as well as innovations moving towards healthy, tasty, inexpensive, sustainable foods.
Alaska Air purchased Virgin America, and the goal is to maintain the status-quo when it comes to food in all categories until next year.
American and Delta have once again started offering complimentary meals in economy class on domestic flights, something we haven’t seen in more than 15 years.
Airlines are eliminating those oversized packages of snack foods and offering individual smaller packages or eliminating individual snacks altogether.
Some airlines are going back to serving individual complimentary snacks, but they’re not very healthy. How about an apple or an orange, or maybe a Clementine or a Halo (mandarin orange).
The “Shame on You” award goes to Hawaiian and United Airlines. Hawaiian just does not respond while United’s food and beverage department seems put-out by the process, and it shows in their responses to queries. American Airlines is not too far behind with a media rep who also seems put-out by the process.
Note to all airlines: It is not difficult to get nutritional information for all foods. Every airline uses detailed recipes; all they have to do is put the ingredients into a free online food calculator (such as supertracker.usda.gov), and in a few minutes they could have complete nutritional information.
Also, did you read the press release from the FDA commissioner? “One important step is ensuring consumers have access to reliable and actionable information about the foods they eat so that they can make more informed choices about their diets and health for themselves and their families.” Menu labeling is coming in May 2018.
Food-service offerings from several of the more Popular Airlines
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.
Summary of Health Ratings (5 Stars is highest): Delta 4 stars, Virgin America 4 stars, Air Canada 3.75 stars, JetBlue 3.75 stars, Alaska Air 3.5 stars, United Airlines 2.75 stars, American 2.5 stars, Frontier Air 2.25 stars, Southwest Airlines 2 stars, Allegiant Air 1.75 stars, Spirit Airlines 1.75 stars, Hawaiian Airlines 1 star
Delta Air Lines (www.delta.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Excellent Health Score: 4 Average Calories Overall (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks) = 480 Average Snack Box Calories = 560 Average Meal Calories = 559 Average Individual Snack Calories = 164
Comments: Delta is doing an incredible job focusing on improving its food, transparency and communication. It is the clear leader among the big carriers by a long shot. While calories are surely not everything, it’s always nice to see a decrease; the overall calories are down from 527 to 480. Meals are down from 628 to 559. Delta has also eliminated many of its individual paid snacks, however the free offerings are relatively low in calories yet are still not the great choices, other than the almonds.
Delta continues its commitment to improving its food in terms of health and consciousness. Its menu continues to focus on “transparency into ingredient and allergen information for customers,” and its focus on transparency includes providing a key on the menu for snack items that are Non-GMO, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Kosher, and Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian. Also, the Tapas box is the U.S. airline industry’s only non-GMO snack box. Delta continues to work with Luvo which has a very strong commitment to healthy eating.
All the calorie information for the Luvo items are listed on Delta’s menu (and online); I’m just not sure why the airline doesn’t put all nutritional information for all its food on the website and pocket cards–why not? List ingredients, as well as fats, proteins, carbohydrates and sugar.
Best Bets: For a snack, the almonds are the best choice–even over the Kind bar, or the lower-calorie pretzels. The vegan, GMO-free Tapas Snack Box is a good healthy choice if you share or make it a meal (it’s too high in calories as a snack). Within the box the best bests are the Super Seed Crackers, Snapea Crisps, dark chocolate, almonds, hummus, and quinoa with pepper dip. You can pass on the rest.
For morning travel, choose the continental breakfast (fruit and yogurt). It’s 345 calories, but save the Kind bar for a snack later in the day. For Lunch/Dinner, choose the Sesame Noodle Salad or the Greek Meze Plate. You can skip the caramel-filled chocolate to save calories.
(Available on flights of more than 250 miles)
Flights 250-599 miles get a choice of Biscoff cookies or pretzels
Flights of more than 600 miles get a choice of almonds, pretzels, Biscoff cookies or a Kind honey and oat bar
Snyder’s pretzels (50 calories/11 minutes of walking)
Biscoff cookies (120 calories/26 minutes of walking)
Kind Honey and Oat Healthy Grain Bar (150 calories/32 minutes of walking)
Squirrel Brand Classic Almonds (124 calories/27 minutes of walking)
(Served all day on flights of more than 2 hours or 900+ miles)
Pringles $3.49 (375 calories/81 minutes of walking)
All Day Snack Boxes
(Available all day on select flights of more than 2 hours or 900+ miles)
Delta Flight Fuel Tapas Snack Box $8.99 (100% Vegan and Non-GMO) Calbee Harvest Snaps Snapea Crisps (90 calories), Mary’s Gone Crackers Super Seed Crackers (100 calories), Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate (50 calories), Madi K’s Whole Natural Almonds (100 calories), Nature’s Bakery Lemon Fig Bar (110 calories), La Panzanella Multigrain Crackers (70 calories), Pick Pocket Dips Traditional Hummus (95 calories), Quinoa Queen Quinoa with Pepper Dip (50 calories) Total = 665 calories/144 minutes of walking.
Delta Flight Fuel Crave Snack Box $7.99 Nabisco Original Wheat Thins (220 calories), Cheez-It Crackers (100 calories), Hormel Hard Salami (110 calories), White Cheddar Gourmet Cheese Spread (53 calories), Pepperidge Farm Dark Chocolate Milano cookie (110 calories), Original Skittles (70 calories), Tic Tac FreshMint (8 calories) Total = 671 calories/145 minutes of walking.
Delta Flight Fuel Crunch $6.99 Late July Sea Salt Multigrain Tortilla Chips (130 calories), Naturally Fresh Medium Salsa (15 calories), Old Wisconsin Beef Snack Stick (50 calories), Madi K’s Hickory Smoked Almonds (107 calories), Toblerone Swiss Milk Chocolate (41 calories) Total = 343 calories/74 minutes of walking.
(Available 5 a.m. to 8:59 a.m. on select flights of more than 3 hours or 1400+ miles and in select Caribbean/Latin American markets)
Continental Breakfast Plate – $6.99 Chilled fruit served with strawberry Greek yogurt and a Kind almond butter protein bar. Total: 345 calories/75 minutes of walking.
Smoked Turkey Breakfast Sandwich – $8.99 Mesquite smoked sliced turkey breast, apple butter, Boston lettuce and sharp cheddar cheese on cinnamon swirl bread Total: 454 calories/98 minutes of walking.
Tillamook Cheese and Fruit Box $8.99 (Also available from 9am to 8pm) Smoked medium cheddar, pepper jack and sharp white cheddar, olive oil and grey salt crackers, natural almonds, red grapes, Godiva Masterpiece Dark Chocolate Ganache heart Total: 475 calories/103 minutes of walking.
Lunch / Dinner
(Fresh Flight Fuel PM) (Available 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on select flights of more than 3 hours or 1400+ miles and in select Caribbean/Latin American markets.)
Mesquite-Smoked Turkey Combo $10.99 (also available on Flight Fuel Premium) Mesquite-smoked turkey sandwich with Swiss cheese, leaf lettuce and honey mustard served on a pretzel roll twist, kettle potato chips, Dancing Deer Brownie and mayo. Sandwich only: 606 calories/131 minutes of walking Total: 971 calories/ 210 minutes of walking
Luvo Southwest Chicken Caesar Wrap Snack Box $10.49 (Available westbound on Flight Fuel, Flight Fuel premium and flights to Hawaii) Chicken in a yogurt Caesar dressing with romaine, tomatoes, corn, black beans, barley, millet, bulgur wheat, and kale, with parmesan spread in a whole wheat spinach tortilla. Served with a Luvo oatmeal crunch cookie Total: 510 calories/110 minutes of walking Sandwich only: 400 calories/86 minutes of walking
Luvo Barbecue Chicken Wrap Snack Box $10.49 (Available eastbound on Flight Fuel, Flight Fuel premium and flights to Hawaii) Chicken in a BBQ sauce with romaine, broccoli slaw, tomatoes, corn, black beans, millet, bulgur wheat, and kale, with pinto bean hummus in a whole wheat tomato tortilla. Luvo oatmeal crunch cookie. Total: 480 calories/104 minutes of walking Sandwich only: 370 calories/80 minutes of walking
Main Cabin Complimentary Meals
Three choices available on complimentary meal flights. Breakfast includes a “Protein Pack.” Lunch and Dinner choices includes a Luvo Veggie wrap option.
Available eastbound on select flights departing from PDX, SAN, SEA, SFO to JFK; SEA to BOS, FLL, MCO and RDU; SFO to BOS; LAX to BOS, DCA, JFK. Available westbound on select flights departing from JFK to PDX, SAN and SEA; From BOS, FLL, MCO and RDU to SEA; From BOS to LAX; From JFK/BOS to SFO; From JFK/DCA to LAX (Murray’s only out of JFK/BOS/DCA)
Breakfast (Available on flights departing between 5 a.m. and 8:59 a.m.)
Smoked Turkey & Swiss Sandwich (westbound) Smoked turkey breast and Swiss cheese on a potato bistro bun, fruit cup and apple cinnamon chia bar Sandwich only = 230 calories/50 minutes of walking Total = 410 calories / 89 minutes of walking
Mesquite-smoked Turkey & Swiss Bagel (eastbound) Mesquite-smoked turkey with Swiss cheese and sliced Granny Smith apples with honey mustard served on cinnamon raisin bagel, Chobani Greek yogurt and apple cinnamon chia bar Sandwich only = 335 calories/72 minutes of walking Total = 525 calories/113 minutes of walking
Murray’s Cheese Plate (westbound JFK/BOS to SFO; JFK/DCA to LAX only; also available for lunch and dinner) Murray’s French brie, Irish cheddar and Pecorino Calabrese, olive oil, flatbread crackers, dried apricots, natural almonds, Gala and Granny Smith apple wedges, grapes, Harry & David dark mint chocolate Total = 557 calories / 120 minutes of walking
Tillamook Cheese and Fruit (eastbound and westbound, not from JFK/BOS/DCA; also available for lunch and dinner) Smoked medium cheddar, pepper jack and sharp white cheddar, olive oil and grey salt flatbread crackers, natural almonds, red grapes, Braeburn and Granny Smith apple wedges and a Godiva Masterpieces dark chocolate ganache heart Total = 475 calories/103 minutes of walking
Protein Pack (westbound) Mesquite-smoked turkey breast, brie, Vermont Cheddar, sunflower seed butter, whole grain muesli snack rounds, sliced Granny Smith apple, red grapes, and a strawberry. Total = 617 calories / 133 minutes of walking
Protein Pack (eastbound) Hard-boiled egg, apple butter, Gruyere, Cheddar, whole grain muesli snack rounds, sliced Granny Smith apple, red grapes, strawberry Total = 642 calories/139 minutes of walking
(Available on flights departing between 9am and 3:59pm; options also include Murray’s cheese plate and Tilamook cheese and fruit.)
Turkey Brioche Sandwich (westbound) Mesquite-smoked turkey breast, Cheddar and Parmesan cheese, Roma tomatoes, baby arugula, and lemon garlic aioli on a brioche roll with carrot & celery sticks and red pepper hummus. Served with a Godiva caramel-filled milk chocolate. Sandwich only = 520 calories/112 minutes of walking Total = 700 calories/151 minutes of walking
Beef Pastrami Sandwich Beef pastrami and Swiss cheese on multigrain bread with a garlic & Creole mustard aioli, topped with romaine and sliced pickles. Served with a ranch fingerling potato salad and a Godiva caramel-filled milk chocolate. Sandwich only = 800 calories/173 minutes of walking Total = 973 calories / 210 minutes of walking
Luvo Harissa Roasted Veggie Wrap combo (westbound) Roasted red peppers, zucchini, eggplant, red onions and carrots, roasted in a mild harissa dressing, mixed with wheat berries, brown rice, chickpeas and golden raisins in a citrus vinaigrette, with spinach and edamame hummus wrapped in a whole wheat green onion & sesame tortilla. Served with grapes, strawberry, and an oatmeal crunch cookie. Wrap only = 430 calories/93 minutes of walking Total = 585 calories/126 minutes of walking
Luvo Casablanca Veggie Wrap combo (eastbound) Tangy Moroccan spiced roasted carrots mixed with tomatoes, chopped romaine, wheat berries, brown rice, garbanzo beans, and raisins in a citrus vinaigrette and green chickpea hummus wrapped in a whole wheat green onion & sesame tortilla. Served with a strawberry, grapes, and an oatmeal crunch cookie. Wrap only = 430 calories/93 minutes of walking Total = 585 calories/126 minutes of walking
(Available on flights departing between 4pm and 10pm; options also include Murray’s cheese plate, Tilamook cheese and fruit, Luvo Harissa Roasted Veggie Wrap combo and Luvo Casablanca Veggie Wrap combo.)
Sesame Noodle Salad (westbound) Sliced grilled chicken over noodles, tossed with carrots, red peppers and cucumber in a sesame soy dressing. Served with a Godiva caramel-filled milk chocolate. Total = 345 calories / 75 minutes of walking
Greek Meze Plate (eastbound) Grilled chicken breast, tomato, cucumber, tabbouleh, feta, green & Kalamata olives, carrot & celery sticks, roasted pepper strips, tzatziki sauce, mini pitas, and a Godiva caramel-filled milk chocolate. Total = 330 calories / 71 minutes of walking
Virgin America (www.virginamerica.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Excellent Health Score: 4 Average Calories Overall (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks) = 340 Average Snack Box Calories = 358 Average Meal Calories = 4060 Average Individual Snack Calories = 276
Comments: The airline has been purchased Alaska Air, and eventually the Virgin name will be disappear. The good news is that Alaska Air is committed to adopting the healthy food options (and transparency) of Virgin America. Additionally, Alaska will more than likely reduce the sizes of the individual snaaks. Virgin is still the only airline that provides nutritional information (not just calories) for every all items.
We applaud that transparency and hope Alaska continues to do so. There are not many menu changes (obviously because of the transition). The individual snacks are still unhealthy. They have 9 snacks, and should offer healthier options. Believe me, no one will complain.
Best Bets: Avoid the individual snacks if you can. Even the nuts, which are the best choice, are high in calories if you consume the entire package. Always choose a real meal if you can, even if it’s slightly more calories, it will keep you full longer.
For breakfast try the Udi’s Granola with Yogurt and Fruit, which is a bit high in sugar but overall low in calories at 330. The best snack box is the Protein Meal with hummus, nuts and tuna; the others are a bit high in calories and 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. In general, almost all the meals (as long as they’re eaten as meals and not snacks) are good choices. The Quinoa Wrap at 420 calories is high in protein for a vegetarian meal, which will help keep you full longer.
The Protein Plate is also a good choice, as is the Farro Salad with roasted chicken – powerful from a health perspective. 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.
The Daily Crave Veggie Chips $3.75 (130 calories, 6g fat, 18g carbohydrates, 1g protein, 1g sugar/28 minutes of walking)
Buddha Bowl Himalayan Gold Popcorn $3.75 (100 calories, 4.5 g fat, 13g carbohydrates, 2g protein, 0g sugar/22 minutes of walking)
Protein Box $8.00 Bumble Bee lemon pepper tuna,Milton’s gluten-free crispy sea salt baked cracker, Sriracha hummus, The Daily Crave veggie chips, all natural almonds,Travers Bay Fruit Co. Premium dried fruit medley. Total = 425 calories, 20g fat, 39g carbs, 26g protein, 10g sugar/ 92 minutes of walking
The Works Box $8.00 Old Wisconsin beef salami, Hometown Bagel, Chicago-style bagel chips, Dairyfood Glacier Ridge white cheddar cheese spread, the Good Bean sea salt chickpeas, and Yum Earth organic fruit snacks Total = 420 calories, 18g fat, 47g carbs, 15g protein, 15g sugar / 91 minutes of walking
Jet Set Kid Pack $7.50 Buddy Fruits original applesauce, White Cheddar Pirate Booty, Old Wisconsin Turkey Stick, Lucy’s chocolate chip cookies and a pack of twistable, stickable Wikki Sticks Total = 229 calories, 7.5g fat, 36g carbs, 5g protein, 16g sugar / 49 minutes of walking
Turkey and Gouda Sandwich $8.50 Roasted turkey breast and sliced gouda cheese on whole wheat bread with Dijon mustard, fresh dill, mesclun lettuce and ripe tomatoes. Total = 440 calories, 13g fat, 60g carbs, 29g protein, 9g sugars/95 minutes of walking
PB&J Half Sandwich $4.50 Sliced wheat bread topped with creamy peanut butter and strawberry jam served with Tasty Brand Fruit Snacks. Total = 430 calories, 7g fat, 51g carbohydrate, 6g protein, 21g sugar/ 93 minutes of walking
Artisan Cheese Plate (Travel Light) $8.25 Fontina, brie and Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar served with red seedless grapes, dried persimmon, dates and gluten free olive oil and sea salt crackers. Total = 390 calories, 25g fat, 24g carbohydrate, 20g protein, 5g sugar /84 minutes of walking
Protein Plate $8.50 Cage free hard-boiled egg, sharp cheddar cheese, fontina cheese, grilled chicken breast slices, red grape tomatoes, green grape cluster, carrot, celery, cucumber batons and wheat mini pita rounds served with edamame hummus. Total = 440 calories, 21g fat, 28g carbohydrate, 30g protein, 8g sugar /95 minutes of walking
Udi’s Granola with Yogurt and Fruit $7.00 Fruit flavored yogurt served with Udi’s Gluten Free Granola and a side salad of pineapple, mango, grapes, orange, strawberry. Total = 240 calories, 3.3g fat, 49g carbohydrate, 7g protein, 28g sugar /52 minutes of walking
Quinoa Wrap $7.50 Roasted red pepper tortilla wrap filled with Greek yogurt hummus, tricolor quinoa, green harissa dressing, roasted tomatoes, goat cheese, roasted parsnips and sweet potatoes. Served with a side of spiced garbanzo bean salad. Total = 420 calories, 22g fat, 50g carbs, 11g protein, 4g sugar/ 91 minutes of walking
Farro Salad $9.00 Farro and bulgur wheat salad with roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, teardrop tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and roasted chicken breast tossed with a turmeric-tahini dressing. Total – 390 calories, 25g fat, 30g carbs, 16g protein, 2g sugar/ 84 minutes of walking
Roast Beef Sandwich $9.00 Sliced roast beef with sriracha mayo and fontina cheese served on a telera roll [Mexican bread ] with baby spinach, fresh basil, tomatoes, cornichons and red onions. Total = 500 calories, 21g fat, 50g carbs, 27g protein, 7g sugar/108 minutes of walking
Air Canada (www.aircanada.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very Helpful Health Score: 3.75 Average Calories Overall (Meals and Individual Snacks) = 320 Average Meal Calories = 377 Average Individual Snack Calories = 267
Comments: The airline keeps nutrients high and calorie counts low for meals. Also it’s nice that they offer meals but no snack boxes. People tend to eat the entire snack box, which is typically high in calories and low on nutrients. The airline has ended its relationship with the food company, Luvo and replaced them with a company called Freshii.
The individual snacks are not great, and still need work because there are very few healthy choices. Also, Air Canada should be transparent, put nutritional information and ingredients on the menu. Why not?
Best Bets: For breakfast, the Greek yogurt is still a good option– 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. Honestly, that is the kind of food every airline should be offering. Skip the egg sandwich.
The Chicken Soup is a low-calorie choice for a snack that will fill you up, but be wary of the 950mg of sodium if you have high blood pressure. The Celery & Carrots with Ranch Dip (if you you use no more than half the dip) is still an OK choice. While the hummus and the guacamole options sound healthy, the pretzels and Tostitos offer little nutritional value, and you’d be better off having a meal if meals are available.
If meals are available, the newly added Pangoa Bowl and the Fiesta Wrap are high nutrient low-calorie choices. The California Roll is another light offering that’s low in fat and calories. It would also make a great snack! The Thai Chicken Wrap is also a high protein, lower calorie option, but very high in sodium.
(Available on most flights 2 hours or longer)
Celery and carrots with ranch dip $5.00 (230 calories, 8.2g fat, 15g carbohydrate, 1.6g protein, 770mg sodium/ 50 minutes of walking)
Cheese and crackers (Available after 10 a.m.) $4.00 (320 calories, 20g fat, 9g carbohydrate, 18g protein, 315mg sodium / 69 minutes of walking)
Made Good Organic Chocolate Banana Granola Minis $4.50 Total = 375 calories (4 minis), 15g fat, 60g carbohydrate, 7g protein, 6g fiber, 2mg sodium/81 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. Total = 450 calories, 26g fat, 33g carbohydrate, 22g protein, 570mg sodium / 97 minutes of walking
Quaker Oatmeal $4.00 Maple and brown sugar oatmeal. Total = 210 calorie, 2.5g fat, 42g carbohydrate, 5g protein, 250mg sodium/45 minutes of walking
(Available on most flights 2 hours or longer that depart before 10 p.m.) *Not available on Embraer aircraft
Beef Pepperonata Sandwich $8.95 Roast beef with peperonata, red onions, arugula, and smoked mozzarella on an onion baguette Total: 390 calories, 9g fat, 54g carbohydrate. 26g protein, 1340mg sodium, 3g sugar/84 minutes of walking
Macaroni and Cheese $7.50 Homestyle Macaroni Served in a cheese sauce, with a dinner roll. Total = 490 calories, 21g fat, 56g carbohydrate, 19.3g protein, 828mg sodium/ 106 minutes of walking
Rustic Pepperoni Pizza $7.95 Tomato sauce, sliced pepperoni and mozzarella cheese atop a hand-stretched crust. Total = 570 calories, 23g fat, 65g carbohydrates, 23g protein, 1680mg sodium / 123 minutes of walking
Thai Chicken Wrap $8.50 Roasted chicken strips in sweet chili sauce with red pepper, daikon slaw, lime ginger mayo and romaine lettuce on flatbread. Total = 400 calories, 14g fat, 48g carbohydrate, 23g protein, 1020mg sodium/86 minutes of walking
Pan-Asia Fresh Sushi* $8.95 California roll Total=260 calories, 4g fat, 48g carbohydrate, 6g protein, 560mg sodium / 56 minutes of walking.
Pangoa Bowl $13.50 Brown rice, chicken, guacamole, black beans, corn, aged cheddar, salsa fresca, fiery bbq sauce Total = 290 calories, 8g fat, 34g carbohydrate, 23g protein, 570mg sodium / 63 minutes of walking
JetBlue Airways (www.jetblue.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Somewhat Helpful Health Score: 3.75 Average Calories Over All (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks) = 337 Average Snack Box Calories = 357 Average Meal Calories = 483 Average Individual Snack Calories = 142
Comments: The individual snacks are still low in calories as well as nutritional value. The airline continues to post nutritional information for its snack boxes and meals on its website. They don’t post the nutritional information for the individual snacks, but it is on the packaging). In terms of free snacks, which JetBlue is famous for, how about offering something healthy – there is NOT a single healthy choice in the group.
The airline is clearly thinking about this on the snack box level–just look at the new AmpUp box with olives, hummus, Mary’s Gone Crackers (they’re great crackers) and a That’s It fruit bar–those are the types of snacks JetBlue should be offering for free. It would change the face of the airline. JetBlue should note that people are very serious about what they eat and are extremely conscious of choosing healthier, organic, non-GMO, nutritious foods. Finally, the airline should offer actual meals on more flights.
Best Bets: Still not too much in the way of healthy individual snacks. So keep in mind, the individual snacks are free, and the JetBlue team is generally friendly and will not say no to requests for extra portions. As for the Eat Up boxes, the Pick Me Up box is lowest in calories but not necessarily the most nutritious. The Amp Up box features hummus, Mary’s Gone Crackers and almonds, and while it’s high in calories, it’s loaded with good nutrition (e.g. fiber and protein).
Have it as a meal though, not as a snack, and skip the chocolate crispy squares to reduce low-nutrient calories. If you’re on a flight that offers the Eat Up Café, the Yogurt and Granola (you might want to limit the honey), the Kale & Quinoa Salad and the Spicy Soba & Korean-Style Chicken (unless you’re sodium sensitive) are all good choices. Skip the Grilled Chicken and Brie Sandwich, which is very high in calories and low on nutrition.
Rold Gold Pretzels – Original Tiny Twists 1 ounce Bag (110 calories, 1g fat, 23g carbohydrate, 2g protein, 450mg sodium/24 minutes of walking)
Abby’s Cookies — Chocolate Chip 1 ounce bag (120 calories, 7g fat, 17g carbohydrate, 2g protein, 55mg sodium/26 minutes of walking)
($5-$7; Available on flights of more than 2 hours)
Big Up Rx Bar blueberry bar (210 calories), Field Trip Cracked Pepper Turkey Jerky (70 calories), The Good Bean roasted chickpeas (90 calories), That’s How We Roll ParmCrisps (60 calories), Chimes Toasted Coconut Chewy Toffee (10.75 calories) Total: 441 calories, 13g fat, 44g carbohydrate, 34g protein, 366 mg sodium, 24g sugar/95 minutes of walking
Amp Up Dipin Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (50 calories), That’s It fruit bar (apples and cranberries) (100 calories), Made Good chocolate chip crispy squares (90 calories), GAEA olive snack marinated with lemon and oregano (15 calories), Mary’s Gone Crackers original crackers (80 calories), Wonderful almonds roasted and salted (90 calories) Total: 425 calories, 17g fat, 56g carbohydrate, 8g protein, 535 mg sodium, 19g sugar/92 minutes of walking
Mix It Up KIND Granola Bar Oats & Honey (150 calories), Crave-n-Rave Spikerz Ranch Crackers (100 calories), YumEarth Organic Fruit Snacks Tropical (60 calories), Field Trip Cracked Pepper Turkey Jerky (70 calories) Total: 345 calories, 54g carbohydrate, 9g protein, 370mg sodium, 21g sugar/75 minutes of walking
Catch Up HalfPops Crunchy Popcorn black truffle and sea salt (100 calories), Emerald salt and pepper cashews (100 calories), Cisse Cocoa Thins Super Thins Double Chocolate Brownie Crisps (60 calories), Jelly Belly assorted flavors (35 calories) Total: 295 calories, 15g fat, 37g carbohydrate, 6g protein, 365 mg sodium, 15g sugar/64 minutes walking
Pick Me Up $7.00 Trio of premium cheeses: sharp cheddar, garden vegetable, and Gruyere, dried cherries, crackers. Total =280 calories/60 minutes of walking
Eat Up Café (Available only on flights between New York (JFK) and the Los Angeles area, the San Francisco area, Phoenix and Reno/Tahoe; between Boston and the Los Angeles area, the San Francisco area and Phoenix; and between Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles, San Francisco or Lima, Peru) $4-$12—Prices for the individual items were not available
Chobani Yogurt and Granola (on select flights departing between 6 a.m.-7:59 a.m.) Fat-free plain Chobani yogurt served with granola and a side of honey. Total=210 calories, 0g fat, 32g carbohydrate, 17g protein, 125mg sodium, 1g fiber/45 minutes of walking.
Cheese Plate (on select flights departing between 6 a.m.-8:59 p.m.) An assortment from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese: Aged Flagship, creamy Dutch Hollow Dulcet, peppery Marco Polo, and Jamaican Jerk-seasoned No Woman. Served with Beecher’s Original Crackers, honey, and fresh grapes. Total=510 calories, 28g fat, 43g carbohydrate, 19g protein, 810mg sodium, 1g fiber/110 minutes of walking.
Grilled Chicken and Brie Sandwich (on select flights departing between 6 a.m.-8:59 p.m.) Grilled chicken, brie, arugula and cranberry mustard on a rustic roll, served with a side of fresh fruit. Total = 680 calories, 29g fat, 77g carbohydrate, 29g protein, 1320mg sodium, 5g fiber/147 minutes of walking.
Sirloin Sandwich (on select flights departing between 6 a.m.-8:59 p.m.) Top sirloin steak, red-wine caramelized onions, white cheddar cheese, spinach and horseradish cream on a rustic roll, served with a side of fresh fruit. Total = 600 calories, 26g fat, 57g carbohydrate, 31g protein, 900mg sodium, 4g fiber/130 minutes of walking.
Spicy Soba & Korean-Style Chicken (on select flights departing between 8 a.m.-8:59 p.m.) Korean-style grilled chicken and buckwheat soba noodles with sesame-seasoned carrot and cucumber slaw, a hard-boiled egg and spicy chili glaze. Total = 580 calories, 7g fat, 107g carbohydrate, 20g protein, 1890mg sodium, 8g fiber/125 minutes of walking.
Kale & Quinoa Salad (on select flights departing between 6 a.m.-8:59 p.m.) Cannellini beans, dried blueberries and cranberries, quinoa, and grape tomatoes over chopped kale and spring greens, served with white balsamic vinaigrette. Total = 320 calories, 15g fat, 43g carbohydrate, 5g protein, 90mg sodium, 6g fiber/69 minutes of walking.
Alaska Airlines (www.alaskaair.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Extremely Helpful Health Score: 3.5 Average Calories Overall (Meals and Snack Boxes and Individual snacks) = 479.6 Average Snack Box Calories = 479 Average Meal Calories = 516.5 Average Individual Snack Calories = 315
Comments: The good news is that Alaska Airlines purchased Virgin America, (named the healthiest airline over the last few years) and has vowed to take on some of VA’s healthy approach to food. That said, Alaska has always been committed to food, just not the healthiest.
The airline’s spokesperson was incredibly helpful and pointed out that the they will increase transparency on the combined airline and add many of VA’s healthy food choices
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 510 calories is a bit high for a “snack” (or even a meal), so would be best if you either shared the box or had it as a meal replacement. For kids, the snack box may be tempting, but it’s always better for children (and adults) to eat a real meal.
FYI, the beef jerky is low in calories but very high in sodium. As far as breakfast goes, you can pick the Ham & Sweet Potato Frittata but skip the corn muffin. The breakfast offerings are a bit heavy and rich (as are all the meals). If you opt for the fruit and cheese plate, skip the crackers and half the cheese. There aren’t too many dinner choices, but the Roast Turkey with Veggie Hash is a high-protein low-calorie choice, although also high in sodium .
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 Total = 510 calories, 28g fat, 60g carbohydrate, 13g protein, 572mg sodium, 17g sugar/112 minutes of walking
Northwest Deli Picnic Pack $6.00 Tim’s Cascade potato chips, Old Wisconsin salami, La Panzanella multigrain crackers, Emily’s Premium Northwest trail mix, dark chocolate Almond Roca, and Glacier Ridge Farms smoked gouda. Total = 526 calories, 32g fat, 47g carbohydrate, 13g protein, 750mg sodium, 15g 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, My Super Snack Chocolate Chip Granola Bar, YumEarth organic fruit snacks, Wikki Stix Play Pack. Total = 345 calories, 12g fat, 57g carbohydrate, 6g protein, 275 mg sodium, 30g sugar/75 minutes of walking
Signature Fruit and Cheese Platter featuring Beecher’s Flagship $7.50 (available on most flights of more than 2 hours and flights departing from Hawaii after 9:30 a.m. ) Two wedges of Beecher’s Flagship cheese along with Tillamook Sharp Cheddar and Brie, fresh fruit, Partners crackers and a Seattle Chocolates Truffle. Total: 534 calories, 31g fat, 40g carbohydrate, 21g protein, 665 mg sodium, 26g sugar/115 minutes of walking
(on most flights of more than 3 hours departing before 10 a.m.)
Lola’s Breakfast Scramble (Vegetarian) $8.00 (November Only ) Inspired by the flavors of Tom Douglas’s acclaimed restaurant Lola. Cremini mushrooms, oven roasted tomatoes, scallions and pepper jack cheese, folded into warm scrambled eggs and served with a side of savory garlic roasted red potatoes. Total = 606 calories, 49g fat, 19g carbohydrate, 22g protein, 910mg sodium, 2g sugar/131 minutes of walking
Tom Douglas’s Ham & Sweet Potato Frittata $8.00 (December Only) Eggs and cream, elevated. With ham, swiss cheese, sweet potatoes, garlic and onion. Bonus: a warm corn muffin. Total: 520 calories, 35g fat, 30g carbohydrate, 27g protein, 1288mg sodium, 7g sugar/112 minutes of walking
(on most flights of more than 3 hours departing between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.)
Tom Douglas’s Turkey Sandwich with Espresso Mayo $8.00 (November Only) Roast turkey, peppery arugula and smooth provolone meet up in a soft, slightly sweet bun made memorable with espresso mayo, delivering a toasty-smoky flavor and a nod to the Seattle coffee scene. Total = 529 calories, 31g fat, 46g carbohydrate, 14g protein, 594mg sodium, 16g sugar/ 114 minutes of walking Served with Tim’s Cascade Chips (140 calories, 9g fat, 15g carbohydrate, 2g protein, 110mg sodium, 0g sugar/ 30 minutes of walking)
Tom Douglas’s Smoky BBQ Chicken Sandwich $8.00 (December Only) Pulled chicken tossed in a smoky barbecue sauce flavored with ancho chile and molasses. Served with a side of coleslaw. Total: 621 calories, 35g fat, 47g carbohydrate, 25g protein, 1244mg sodium, 25g sugar/134 minutes of walking
(on most flights of more than 3 hours departing after 4 p.m.)
Tom Douglas’s Smoky Chicken with Sweet Potato Hash $8.00 (November Only) Smoky grilled chicken seasoned with African-inspired peri peri spice, served atop a roasted sweet potato hash with a coffee-infused barbeque sauce. Total: 358 calories, 15g fat, 27g carbohydrate, 28g protein, 1145mg sodium, 7g sugar/77 minutes of walking / 82 minutes of walking
Tom Douglas’s Roast Turkey with Veggie Hash $8.00 (December Only) Turkey and a seasonal hash of roasted sweet potato, onion and kale. Highlighted with an herb butter and topped with seasoned bread crumbs. Total = 379 calories, 16g fat, 36g carbohydrate, 23g protein, 1277mg sodium, 10g sugar/82 minutes of walking
Meals on Flights to and from Hawaii
Island Hash $7.00 (on flights departing before 10 a.m.) Start your day with a dash of aloha. Our Island Hash starts with scrambled eggs and blends island-style potatoes, onions and peppers. Includes a side of Portuguese sausage. Total: 616 calories, 35g fat, 47g carbohydrate, 25g protein, 1460mg sodium, 15g sugar/ 133 minutes of walking
Tom Douglas’s Red Miso Chicken $8.00 (to Hawaii departing after 10 a.m.) Sliced grilled chicken glazed in a sauce flavored with ginger, pineapple and red miso. Highlighted by tangy sesame carrots atop a bed of ginger garlic fried brown rice. Serving size 10.3 oz. Total = 564 calories, 29g fat, 51g carbohydrate, 23g protein, 930mg sodium, 13g sugar/122 minutes of walking
Teriyaki chicken bowl $7.00 (from Hawaii departing after 10 a.m) Tender grilled chicken, stir-fried vegetables and steamed rice with a savory teriyaki sauce. Total = 456 calories 20g fat, 44g carbohydrate, 28g protein, 1228mg sodium, 11g sugar/ 98 minutes of walking
United Airlines (www.united.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Somewhat Helpful Health Score: 2.75 Average Calories Overall (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks) = 416 Average Meal Calories = 484 Average Snack Box Calories = 492 Average Individual Snack Calories = 311
Comments: United, the 4th largest airline in the US, needs to change the way it thinks about its food offerings. They have very little food transparency on the website, meaning that nutritional information is not available, and the ingredients are listed but you have to dig a bit to find them (and take a peek here–they’re not very “clean”).
The individual snack choices are generally not healthy, the snack boxes could be much more food/healthy thoughtful, and the meals are average to OK. Also, the food and beverage group as well as the media reps for the airline seem bothered and put off by our inquiries.
Best Bets: Among the individual snacks, the hummus is the best choice, and it would be a good idea to avoid the other choices. 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.
You should also share it unless you’re eating it as a meal. Skip the Classic and Select snack boxes. For breakfast, the Chobani Greek Yogurt and Fresh Fruit is OK, but it has a lot of sugar and a not-very-clean ingredients list (i.e., granola). For Lunch/Dinner, the Mezze Sampler is your best bet and should keep you full. Another choice would be the. Mediterranean Chicken Wrap, although it has a bit too much cheese.
Snack Shop (Available on most flights of more than 2 hours)
Chex Mix $4.59 (420 calories/91 minutes of walking)
Haribo Gold-Bears Gummi Candy 4-ounce bag $4.59 (420 calories/78 minutes of walking)
Pringles Original Potato Crisps Grab & Go 2.6-ounce can $4.59 (375 calories/81 minutes of walking)
Dipin Classic Hummus and Crispbreads $4.99 (160 calories, 35 minutes of walking)
Tapas $9.59 Rustic Bakery handmade flatbread, olive oil & sea salt crackers 4-pack, Torino olive bites crackers, Heritage roasted red pepper bruschetta, Truitt Family Foods Tru Flavors traditional hummus, Madi K’s sea salt almonds, Rondelé peppercorn parmesan cheese spread, Sander’s dark chocolate sea salt caramel, Traverse Bay fruit medley, VerMints mini 2 pack mint. Total = 568 calories, 28g fat, 64g carbohydrate, 15g protein, 1095mg sodium, 7g fiber/114 minutes of walking
Cheese and Crackers $6.99 Gilman Cheese plank, smoked gouda; Glacier Ridge Farms, Swiss cheese bar, Kitchen Table Bakers, oven baked ParmCrisps; Copper Cowbell cheese spread, asiago; Divina fig spread; La Panzanella multigrain crackers. Total = 390 calories, 26g fat, 29g carbohydrate, 19g protein, 910mg sodium, 1g fiber/84 minutes of walking
Ben Flyin $5.59 Skeeter Nut Free chocolate chip mini cookies, Sun Maid raisins, Pepperidge Farm cheddar Goldfish, Buddy Fruits pure blended fruit, orchard blend apple (with CrayAngles crayons and activity sheet) Total = 365 calories, 10g fat, 67g carbohydrate, 5g protein, 265mg sodium, 5g fiber/79 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.
(Available on most flights departing between 5:00 a.m. and 9:44 a.m.)
Southwestern-Style Omelet $9.99 Omelet with pepper jack cheese, black beans, corn and roasted peppers; black bean and corn salsa; chicken sausage and potato medley Total: 440 calories, 28g fat, 25g carbohydrate, 23g protein, 1490mg sodium, 6g sugar/95 minutes of walking
Chobani Greek Yogurt and Fresh Fruit $5.99 Chobani yogurt, cantaloupe, pineapple, honeydew, red seedless grapes, strawberries, whole-grain oat granola and Bonne Mamam honey stick Total = 240 calories, 2g fat, 47g carbohydrate, 12.5g protein, 98mg sodium, 25g sugar/52 minutes of walking*
Lunch and Dinner
(Available on most flights departing between 9:45 a.m. and 8 p.m.)
Smoked Gouda Cheeseburger $9.99 All-beef patty and smoked Gouda cheese on a Brooklyn Bred bistro bun. Served with lettuce, tomato, dill pickles and Sir Kensington’s ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise on the side Total = 520 calories, 30g fat, 35g carbohydrate, 26g protein, 820mg sodium, 3g sugar/112 minutes of walking Add Kettle brand sea salt potato chips $3.99 (150 calories, 9g fat, 16g carbohydrate, 2g protein, 115mg sodium, 0g sugar/49 minutes of walking)
Mediterranean Chicken Wrap $9.59 Grilled chicken, feta, roasted red pepper cream cheese, romaine, cucumber, bell pepper, spinach wrap Total = 575 calories, 29g fat, 45g carbohydrate, 29g protein, 1179 mg sodium/124 minutes of walking
Mezze Sampler $9.99 Seasonal wheatberry almond salad, red pepper hummus, whole almonds and triangle pita pieces Total = 501 calories, 30g fat, 48g carbohydrate, 14 g protein, 515mg sodium, 14g sugar/108 minutes of walking
Uno’s Spinach and Garlic Deep Dish Pizza $9.99 Cheddar cheese, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, Romano cheese, garlic spinach and tomato sauce. Total = 630 calories, 35g fat, 55g carbohydrate, 21g protein, 1220mg sodium, 4g sugar/136 minutes of walking
American Airlines (www.aa.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Below Average Health Score: 2.5 Average Calories Overall (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks) = 446 Average Meal Calories = 495 Average Snack Box Calories = 526 Average Individual Snack Calories = 192
Comments: In addition to its complimentary snacks, American began providing complimentary main cabin meals as of March 2017. Nothing very healthy, and I find the following comment not surprising considering that Delta is its competition: “Providing complimentary meals in the Main Cabin is yet another step we’re taking to enhance our service in this competitive market.”
The airline is still not publishing any food or nutritional information on its website–absolutely nothing. This is a strange move leading to even less food transparency and providing traveler with no ability at all to plan their meal. The only good news is that the airline has discontinued all it’s unhealthy for-sale individual snacks. Fresh and Light Meals are a step in a better direction, but for a major US airline, American is very far behind when it comes to food. The airline’s leadership needs to get in touch and start offering healthier, cleaner foods.
Best Bets: The hummus box is the best bet among snacks for purchase. If you opt to purchase a lunch, on flights of three hours or more the Chicken Arugula Wrap seems to be the best option — go light on the dressing. The Turkey and Chutney Sandwich is also an OK choice. If you opt to purchase breakfast, the Egg and Turkey Bacon Sandwich is OK as long as you go light on the honey mustard dressing.
If you’re on a flight with complimentary breakfast, opt for the Snack Box with yogurt and granola, which is just acceptable healthwise, and steer clear of the fruit and cheese plate. For complimentary lunch/dinner there really are no great options; the Fruit and Cheese Plate is the lowest in calories but not well rounded enough for a meal. The Vegetarian Wrap might be OK if you skip the brownie.
(Available on flights of more than 250 miles)
Mini Pretzels (80 calories/17 minutes of walking)
Biscoff cookies (120 calories/26 minutes of walking)
Pringles Grab and Go $3.25.$4.00 (375 calories/ 81 minutes of walking) (Available on flights of more than 2 hours departing between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m.)
(Available on flights of more than 2 hours departing between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m.)
Hummus Box $5.00 Hummus, Crispbreads, Dark Chocolate Total = 220 calorie/48 minutes of walking
Tapas Snack Box $8.00 Genoa salami, peppercorn Parmesan cheese, pita chips, pitted olives, chocolate clusters and mint. Total = 398 calories/ 86 minutes of walking
Flight Bites $9 (Replacing Tapas Snack Box as of Dec. 1, 2017) Beef Jerky, cheese spread, wheat crackers, cookie, mini crackers, chocolate almonds. Total= 560 calories
All Day Offering
( Available on flight of more than 3 hours departing between 5am and 8pm)
Fruit and Cheese Plate $8.99 Fresh fruit served with almonds and walnuts, Brie, Cheddar, Muenster cheese and a Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate with Raspberry square. Served with gourmet crackers. Total: 596 calories/129 minutes of walking
(Available on flights of more than 3 hours departing between 5 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.)
Continental breakfast $4.99 Plain bagel served with cream cheese, fruit preserve, a granola bar and a banana. Total = 420 calories/ 91 minutes of walking
Egg & Turkey Bacon Sandwich $8.79 Egg slices, turkey bacon, Cheddar cheese and tomato on a croissant. Just the sandwich = 535 calories/116 minutes of walking Honey mustard dressing: 140 calories/30 minutes of walking Total with dressing = 675 calories/146 minutes of walking Fresh and Light Meals (Available on flights of more than 3 hours departing between 9:46 a.m. and 8 p.m.)
Chicken Arugula Wrap $9.99 Whole-wheat lavash filled with grilled chicken breast, arugula and roasted red pepper hummus. Served with balsamic vinaigrette on the side. Wrap = 315 calories/68 minutes of walking Balsamic Vinaigrette = 86 calories/19 minutes of walking Total with dressing = 401 calories/87 minutes of walking
Turkey and Chutney Sandwich $9.49 Wheat bread with apple-cranberry ginger chutney, smoked turkey breast, crisp Granny Smith apple slices and romaine lettuce. Total: 483 calories/104 minutes of walking
Complimentary Main Cabin Meals
(Available on coast-to-coast routes between JFK-SFO and JFK-LAX)
Depending on the time of day, customers will be offered a continental breakfast or a boxed meal with a sandwich wrap, kettle chips and dessert. The menu also includes a vegetarian option and a fruit and cheese plate.
Complimentary breakfast includes a choice of the following: (Available on flights departing between 5 a.m. and 9:45 a.m)
Fruit and Cheese Plate Fresh fruit served with almonds and walnuts, Brie, Cheddar, Muenster cheese and a Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate with Raspberry square. Served with gourmet crackers. Total: 596 calories/129 minutes of walking
Snack Box Yogurt, Granola, Blueberry Muffin Top and Fresh Apple Slices Total: 340 Calories/73 minutes of walking
Complimentary Lunch/Dinner includes a choice of the following: (Available on flights departing between 9:45 a.m and 8pm)
Fruit and Cheese Plate Fresh fruit served with almonds and walnuts, Brie, Cheddar, Muenster cheese and a Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate with Raspberry square. Served with gourmet crackers. Total: 596 calories/129 minutes of walking
Protein Snack box Fresh Sandwich Wrap [Note: Details not provided by airline], chips, and brownie Total: 820 Calories/177 minutes of walking
Vegetarian Snack Box Vegetarian Wrap [Note: Details not provided by airline], chips, and brownie Total: 750 Calories/162 minutes of walking
Frontier Airlines (www.flyfrontier.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very Helpful Health Score: ** 1/4 Average Calories Overall (Individual Snacks and Snack Boxes) = 372 Average Individual Snack Calories = 386 Average Snack Box Calories = 300
Comments: Frontier’s communications team had historically been uncooperative. This year the information was shared promptly, but very little has changed on the airline’s menu.
Best Bet: As with last year, the trail mix could be the healthiest option, but travelers would be best off bringing their own food.
(Available on flights of more than 200 miles)
Almond M&Ms 2.83 oz sharing size $2.99 (Full bag: 400 calories/86 minutes of walking)
Chex Mix Traditional $3.99 (Full bag: 420 calories/90 minutes of walking)*
Pringles Original Potato Chips $3.00 (360 calories/48 minutes of walking)
Stroopwafel $2.99 (360 calories / 78 minutes of walking)*
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very Helpful Health Score: 2 Average Calories = 125
Comments: Not much variety and not much in terms of nutritional value. However, they are always helpful – that’s nice. Wish they would add some healthy snacks or at least test a few. This is one of the larger carriers in the US, so it would be great for Southwest to set an example and show that healthy food can sell if it is tasty and curated with consciousness.
Best Bet: The peanuts are the best, even though the pretzels are lower in calories.
All snacks are free of charge
Currently available on all flights
Honey Roasted Peanuts (70 calories, 5 g fat, 3 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 40 mg sodium, 2 g sugar/15 minutes of walking)
Mini Pretzels (45 calories, 0g fat, 10g carbohydrate, 1g protein, 135 mg sodium, 0g sugar/10 minutes of walking)
AM Snack (Morning only on select flights based on mileage) BelVita Cinnamon Brown Sugar Breakfast Biscuits (230 calories, 8g fat, 35g carbohydrate, 4g protein, 220mg sodium, 10g sugar/ 50 minutes of walking)
PM Snack (Afternoon only on select flights based on mileage) Nabisco 100-calorie Ritz Snack Mix (100 calories, 3g fat, 16g carbohydrate, 2g protein, 200mg sodium, 2g sugar/22 minutes of walking)
SAS Tray (Available on select flights based on mileage) Ritz White Cheddar Cracker Sandwiches (190 calories, 9g fat, 23g carbohydrate, 3g protein, 320mg sodium, 4g sugar/41 minutes of walking)
Frito Lay Corn Chips, 1 oz. single serving bag (120 calories, 4g fat, 12g carbohydrates, 1g protein, 125 mg sodium, 0g sugar/ 26 minutes of walking)
Mondelez Airplane Cookies (120 calories 4g fat, 21g carbohydrate, 2g protein, 90mg sodium, 7g sugar/26 minutes of walking)
Allegiant Air (www.allegiantair.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very Helpful Health Score: 1.75 Average Calories Overall (Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks) = 402 Average Individual Snack Calories = 474 Average Snack Box Calories = 307
Comments: The media department’s response was excellent this year and helped to clarify some of last year’s estimates. Would still appreciate a few more healthy food items on the menu. I bet they would sell.
Best Bets: Among individual snacks, the nuts might work if you share them with at least one other person. The hummus snack pack is your best bet if you’re mid-flight, but the snack boxes are not great in terms of health (and not just calorie-wise). Avoid the Deli Snack Pack, and the Wingz Kids Snack Pack is not a healthy choice.
M&Ms Peanut (3.1 ounces) $3.00 (440 calories/95 minutes of walking)
Nut Medley (4 ounces) $4 (680 calories/147 minutes of walking)*
Pringles (2.36 ounces) $3.00 (375 calories/81 minutes of walking)
Chex Mix (3.75 oz) $4 (400 calories/86 minutes of walking)
Deli Snack Pack Wheat Thins (230 calories), White Cheddar Cheese Spread (50 calories), Madi K’s Almonds (100 calories), Biscoff Cookies (120 calories), Slim Jim (50 calories). Total = 530 calories/114 minutes of walking.
Hummus Snack Pack Dipin Classic Hummus & Baked in Brooklyn Pita Chips Total = 150 calories/32 minutes of walking.
Wingz Kids Snack Pack Oreo 2-pack, Baked Goldfish Crackers, Welch’s Fruit Snacks Total = 240 calories/52 minutes of walking.
Spirit Airlines (www.spirit.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Helpful Health Score: 1.75 Average Calories Overall (Individual Snacks and Snack Boxes) = 316 Average Individual Snack Calories =342.5 Average Snack Box Calories = 316
Comments: The airline’s previous media spokesperson had been unresponsive but is no longer with the airline. Good news. Spirit, which is all about the bottomline, should see some grander opportunity in selling healthy food (e.g., better margins, increased revenue, improved customer satisfaction, etc…). Also, the airline is not keeping up with the major carriers who have learned that large size snacks are not the best option for travellers.
Best Bet: The hummus and pita chips are one of just a few changes Spirit has made to its menu, and at 330 calories are probably the best choice for a satisfying snack. The cup of noodle soup at 290 calories may also feel like a real meal, but it is very high in sodium, so it is not the best bet for anyone who is sodium-sensitive or has high blood pressure. The cheese tray at 130 calories is a much better choice than the Cafe Snack Box.
Fancy Nut Mix (no peanuts) $4.00 (300 calories, 22g fat, 21g carbohydrate, 8g protein, 32mg sodium/65 minutes of walking)
King Size Peanut M&Ms $4.00 (470 calories, 24g fat, 56g carbohydrate, 9.4g protein, 47mg sodium/102 minutes of walking)
Nissin Cup Noodles Chicken Flavor $4.00 (290 calories, 11g fat, 42g carbohydrate, 6g protein, 1070mg sodium/63 minutes of walking)
Pringles Grab and Go! $3.00 (375 calories, 22.5g fat, 37.5g carbohydrate, 2.5g protein, 375mg sodium/81 minutes of walking)
Oreos (100 calories, 4.5g fat, 16g carbohydrate, Total = 555 calories/120 minutes of walking*
Cheese Tray $7.00 Sharp Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, American Cheese, Crackers, Dried Apples and Cranberries Total = 130 calories, 9g fat, 8g carbohydrate, 8g protein, 360mg sodium/28 minutes of walking
Hawaiian Airlines (www.hawaiianairlines.com)
Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Terrible / Unresponsive Health Score: 1 Average Calories Overall (Meals, Snack Boxes and Individual Snacks) = 568 Average Meal Calories = 971 Average Individual Snack Calories = 460 Average Snack Box Calories = 342
Comments: The airline does not respond to requests for food information. All the nutritional information was estimated by Diet Detective nutritionists. Hawaiian Airlines’ food is high in calories and the menu doesn’t offer much choice either in terms of health, or in the way of food system consciousness (caring about sustainablity, organic growing, no GMOs, etc…). This could be a real disappointment if you are on a long flight and have not planned in advance. Plus, when free food is put down in front of you, you have a tendency to eat it. All of it. That could be a lot of unhealthy food.
Best Bets: Among the snacks, choose the Hummus & Pita Chips. It’s really the best choice, and better than any of the individual snacks, which are very high in calories. You might think the Salted Macadamia Nuts would be a good choice, and they do have healthy properties, but only if you split them with 5 other people or have them over the course of a few weeks. The two oatmeal options are lower in calories but likely high in sugar, while the beef and cheese sticks (the lowest calorie individual snack option) are high in saturated fat and sodium.
Also, keep in mind, you will probably get a very high calorie, unhealthy free meal on your flight, so go light on those snacks. Don’t be fooled by the Gluten Free Box; while many of the individual items are OK healthwise (such as the hummus and roasted chickpea snacks), it’s still high in calories and out-of-touch with current food trends.
For the complimentary meals, try to go light on the breads, treats and dressings. Your best bet calorie-wise, if it’s available, is the Penne Pasta Bolognese Sauce and green salad, but skip the shortbread cookie. In the end, it would be best to eat before you board the plane; otherwise you might wind up feeling lethargic and cranky after one of these calorie-heavy meals. Just say no, and bring your own food.
Fruits of the Island Chocolate-Covered Macadamia Nuts $6 (458 calories/99 minutes of walking)
Island Princess Caramel Macadamia Nut Popcorn $4.50 (600 calories/ 130 minutes of walking)
Island Princess Lightly Salted Macadamia Nuts $4 (550 calories/ 119 minutes of walking)
Island Princess Mele Macs $8 (1120 calories/ 242 minutes of walking)
Island Princess Royal Crunch $4.50 (700 calories/151 minutes of walking)
Kona Furikake Chips $7 (480 calories / 104 minutes of walking)
M&Ms plain $3 (420 calories/ 91 minutes of walking)
M&Ms peanut $3 (480 calories/ 104 minutes of walking)
Nissin Cup Noodles chicken flavor $4 (290 calories/63 minutes of walking)
Pau Hana Snack Mix $6 (420 calories/91 minutes of walking)*
Pringles $4 (375 calories/ 81 minutes of walking)
Primo Popcorn (Movie Butter) $6 (413 calories/ 89 minutes of walking)
Snickers $3 (440 calories/ 95 minutes of walking)
Straw Propeller Maple Oats oatmeal $5 (198 calories/43 minutes of walking)
Taro Chips $8 (560 calories/ 121 minutes of walking)
Trail’s Best beef and cheese sticks, $3.50 (100 calories/22 minutes of walking)
Winchester Ham Jerky (original or spicy) $12 (400 calories/ 86 minutes of walking)
Gluten Free Box $7 Good Bean Roasted Chickpea Snacks (90 calories), Crackers (60 calories), Welch’s Fruit Snacks (80 calories), hummus (67 calories), turkey stick (70 calories)*, cookies (120 calories)* Total: 487 calories/131 minutes of walking
Hummus & Pita Chips $4 Hummus (67 calories / 14 minutes of walking), Stacy’s pita chips (130 calories/28 minutes of walking)* Total: 197 calories/43 minutes of walking
New York to Honolulu
Meal: Penne Pasta with Mushrooms, Beef Meatballs, Marinara Sauce and Grated Parmesan Cheese, Mixed Bean Salad and Sweet Treat Snack prior to landing: Fresh Seasonal Fruits (120 calories/26 minutes of walking)*; Alouette Cheese (80 calories/17 minutes of walking)*; Pepperidge Farms Crackers (200 calories/43 minutes of walking)*; AlohaMac Chocolate (240 calories/52 minutes of walking)* Pasta entree only = 840 calories / 181 minutes of walking* Total = 1480 calories /320 minutes of walking
Honolulu to New York
Meal: Stir-Fried Chicken with Vegetables and Steamed White Rice, Coleslaw and Sweet Treat Snack prior to landing: Fresh Seasonal Fruits (120 calories/26 minutes of walking)*; Alouette Cheese (80 calories/17 minutes of walking)*; Pepperidge Farms Crackers (200 calories/43 minutes of walking)*; AlohaMac Chocolate (240 calories/52 minutes of walking)* Stir-fry entree only = 845/182 minutes of walking* Total = 1485 calories/321 minutes of walking
North America to Hawaii (excluding JFK)
Brunch flights (departing before 10 a.m.) Hot Buttermilk Biscuit, Egg Patty with Peppers, Onion and Cheese Fresh Fruit, Honolulu Cookie Company Shortbread Cookie Total: 587/127 minutes of walking
Lunch/Dinner flights (departing after 10 a.m.) Penne Pasta Bolognese Sauce, Black Olives and Parmesan Cheese Green Salad with Lite Ranch Dressing and Honolulu Cookie Company Shortbread Cookie Total: 605/131 minutes of walking
Hawaii to North America (excluding JFK)
Brunch flights (departing before 10 a.m.) Egg, Mushroom, Onion and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on a Sweet Bun Seasonal Fruits and Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts Total: 853/184 minutes of walking
Lunch/Dinner flights (departing after 10 a.m.) Braised Garlic Pepper Chicken with Vegetables & Steamed White Rice Green Salad with Lite Ranch Dressing and Honolulu Cookie Company Shortbread Cookie Total: 815/176 minutes of walking
Ideas for snacks you can bring or buy at the airport:
– Water: Bring your own empty, reusable water bottle to fill at an airport water fountain past the security checkpoint, take onboard and refill throughout your trip. Dehydration can cause or exacerbate hunger, jet lag and fatigue. Alternatively, buy a bottle after the security checkpoint. – 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. 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 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.
Last Updated on September 1, 2019
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