- Alaska Air
- A new airline food study looked at the food options on 11 North American airlines.
- It found that Alaska Airlines and Air Canada have the healthiest dining options in the sky this year.
- Alaska Airlines was commended for its transparency and for making environmentally friendly strides.
- Air Canada was lauded as “innovative” when it came to creating healthy dining options.
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Alaska Airlines and Air Canada tied for first place, both scoring four out of five points.
- Alaska Air
The study was a collaboration between DietDetective.com and the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center. It found that the average number of calories per menu item across airlines is 375.
Another fun fact: Plane food has higher than normal levels of sodium, as it’s used to enhance flavors since our taste buds and senses are dulled at altitude. According to the study, the average airline meal has more than 800 milligrams of sodium – more than 40% of the daily limit of 2,000 milligrams set by the World Health Organization.
Alaska Airlines was lauded for being transparent about nutrition and for taking the environment into consideration
The study commended Alaska Airlines for its transparency, as its full menu and nutritional information are available online, and called the airline “a clear leader in environmental initiatives” thanks to its eco-friendly substitutions, and the fact that it was one of the first airlines to replace plastic straws with paper ones. It also pointed out that passengers can preorder food on the Alaska Airlines app, meaning that they can have healthier meals once onboard.
According to the study, the average number of Alaska’s overall calories (snacks, snack boxes, meals) is 359, and 388 for meals, while the average sodium content is 472 milligrams.
While Alaska has a variety of meals and snack boxes, your healthiest options, according to the study, are the Mediterranean Tapas box, the Fresh Start Protein Platter, the Signature Fruit and Cheese Platter, the Fall Harvest Salad, and the Charge Up Protein Platter.
- Rachel Askinasi/Insider
Air Canada tied in first place with Alaska Airlines with an abundance of creative healthy options
According to the study, Air Canada’s new menu additions “show some serious health innovation,” and features more healthy options than other airlines with a larger selection of food items than most other carriers.
The Grilled Chicken Summer Salad, the Wild Rice Superfood Salad, and the Avocado Smash Box in particular are your best bets for healthy in-flight eats, as well as the Bento Express sushi California roll, or anything from the Freshii menu, which has lower-calorie and higher-nutrient options.
On Air Canada, the average sodium content is 544 milligrams, which is higher than the average across all airlines. However, the average sodium content for meals is 620 milligrams, which is lower than the overall average for all airlines, which is 823 milligrams. The average number of overall calories (snacks, snack boxes, meals) is 347, and 376 for meals.
Here are the results in full:
- Air Canada, Alaska Airlines (4.0/5.0)
- JetBlue, Delta Air Lines (2.9/5.0)
- United Airlines, American Airlines (2.7/5.0)
- Frontier (2.0/5.0)
- Allegiant Air, Spirit Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines (1.9/5.0)
- Southwest Airlines (1.7/5.0)
As menu options vary by flight route, it’s worth looking up meals online ahead of your trip.
- Read more:
- An airline just opened a restaurant that serves in-flight meals on the ground, and it’s a hit with customers
- Here’s why wine tastes different when you’re on a plane
- The typical airplane meals you’ll be served on 15 different airlines
- I saw how airplane food gets made from start to finish – and I learned a shocking secret about food waste and delayed flights