in-flight food ratings

Flying home for the holidays? How healthy is your flight food?

Now is the time of year many expats will be thinking about travelling to see family for the holidays. Travelling even relatively short distances can play havoc with your body-clock, eating habits (airport food at 5am anyone?), and your overall well-being.

If you’re flying long-haul then, unless you bring your own meals, you are at the mercy of airline food. A lot of emphasis is put on staying healthy in the air; avoid sitting for long periods, stay hydrated, and reset your body clock, but how healthy are the in-flight meals?

DietDetective runs an annual survey which rates airlines according to the nutritional values of their snacks and meals. Here are the top three airlines for in-flight meals and snacks.

  1. Virgin America (4.5 stars), a U.S. airline serving major cities on the west and east coasts, came top in the ratings for the second time. It is the only airline to offer a Travel Light menu, and also has on-demand ordering, meaning you eat when you want to. You can check the nutritional information on their website.
  2. In second place, also with 4.5 stars, came Air Canada. The airline slipped into second as the calorie content of its meals has increased, and they are offering high-calorie sweets, reports DietDetective. The average calorie count across meals, and snack boxes and individual snacks is 330.95.
  3. Alaska Airlines came third with four stars, and an average calorie content of 402.77. It offers a vegan/gluten-free meal option and healthy snacks such as hummus, and fruit and cheese platters.

The bigger U.S. airlines such as United (3.25 stars), American Airlines (3 stars) and Delta (2.75 stars) fell further down the table.

DietDetective’s Dr Charles Platkin recommends travellers bring their own snacks and meals where possible.

“Even if you ate before you left home, you are still going to get hungry. We often underestimate the amount of time a trip can take. A two-hour flight could mean four or five hours of travel.”