Dr Charles Platkin, the editor of the Diet Detective, studied snacks and meals on offer from 11 US and Canadian carriers. Picture: Pexels.

You may be on a strict diet at home, but when it comes to eating the food served on airlines, most people eat what is put in front of them. 

Dr Charles Platkin, executive director of the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center, and the editor of the Diet Detective studied snacks and meals on offer from 11 US and Canadian carriers and offered a breakdown of nutritional value and calories in his Airline Food Study for 2019. 

The airlines share nutrition information about the foods they serve and make available for purchase to economy-class passengers on domestic flights. 

Alaska and Air Canada tied first place for serving the ‘healthiest’ food choices in the sky, with Delta and JetBlue tied for second.

“Alaska Airlines is the clear leader in making strides to minimise 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,” the website revealed. 

Southwest Airlines received the lowest scores in the study. Dr Platkin revealed in the study: “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.” He recommended the airline add some healthy snacks to its offerings. 

Recommendations for healthier food options onboard 

Dr Platkins recommended a few things airlines could do to ensure healthier food options: 

  • While individual snacks may seem healthy, the findings reveal that it offers little nutritional value. It suggests full meals or “mini-meal” options.
  • Carbs like pasta, bread, muffins and cakes leave travellers feeling lethargic and experiencing other negative moods. With that being said, airlines should consider low carb options. See the full study here