Health

Healthiest airline meals and snacks

Published 7:47 AM ET, Wed December 30, 2015
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A recent survey found that airlines have a long way to go in making their meals and snacks nutritious and low in calories.

Coming in first, none of Virgin America's meals is high in calories. The average number is 408 calories. In addition to being low in calories, the Ginger Chicken Soba Noodles and Provencal Tuna Sandwich are high in protein. Click through our gallery to see how other airlines ranked.
Virgin America
Some of Delta's meals are now made by Luvo, a health-focused frozen food company. Delta does provide calorie information, at least for its Luvo products, such as the 460-calorie Grilled Chicken Wrap and the 520-calorie Fresh Breakfast Medley.
Delta
JetBlue is tied with Delta for second place in this year's survey. It scored points for providing calorie and nutritional information for its meals and some of its snack boxes on its website. Among the lower-calorie choices are the Grilled Chicken & Brie Sandwich at 680 calories and the Chobani Yogurt & Granola, which has 210 calories. Jet Blue
Although Air Canada does not provide calorie information as the top three airlines do, the staff is very forthcoming with the information. Charles Platkin, nutrition professor at Hunter College and City University of New York, recommended the Chicken Club Wrap, which has 360 calories, and the 450-calorie sushi. Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star/Getty Images
United Airlines was tops in the 2008 survey after it came up with the idea of snack boxes and introduced several healthy options. But since then, the airline has swapped out all but one of the snack boxes with higher-calorie, less nutritious choices. Platkin recommended the 616-calorie tapas box, which contains nuts and hummus, and skipping the cheese spread to reduce the calories. United Airlines
American Airlines has cut way back on its food options, Platkin said. The Chicken Cobb Salad and Asian Chicken Wrap, containing 310 and 620 calories respectively, are the only two choices for lunch and dinner.
American Airlines
Alaska Airlines, which ranked fifth, is one of the few airlines that changed the calorie content of its meals and snacks for the worse. The number of calories in an average meal jumped from 456 to 606. For dinner, Tom Douglas' Roast Turkey With Veggie Hash has 532 calories. Alaska Airlines
Your choice on Southwest, which ranked in sixth place, may be pretty simple: Do you want pretzels or peanuts? Platkin recommended the 70-calorie peanuts over the 50-calorie pretzels because they are a good source of protein. Southwest Airlines
Tied with Southwest for sixth place, Allegiant fares poorly because of some pretty unhealthy snack choices. The individual for-sale snacks are all about 400 calories or more, with the exception of the 200-calorie Gardetto's chips. Gardetto's
Many of the snacks for sale on Spirit Airlines flights are more than 400 calories, and the Jumbo-Size Combo is 840 calories per bag. You're better off going with the 290-calorie Nissin Cup Noodles or sharing one of the 400-calorie muffins. shutterstock
Hawaiian, which tied with Spirit for seventh, offers a cornucopia of snack choices. But they are all high in calories. The worst offender is the Island Princess Mele Macs, which are candied macadamia nuts that contain a staggering 1,120 calories. from island princess
Coming in dead last, Frontier Airlines was "shamefully" unwilling to give Platkin nutritional information about its food options. However, it is pretty clear that its snacks available for purchase are low in nutritional value, including potato chips, Twizzlers and Almond M&Ms. Shutterstock