Wonder which airports offer the healthiest food choices? Well, thanks to the PCRM (Physicians Committee of Responsible Medicine), we have our answer. In their annual Airport Food Review, they look at 17 airports throughout the country and determines if each airport restaurant falls into a “healthful” category. It is rated healthful if its food choices include at least one low-fat, high-fiber, cholesterol-free breakfast, lunch, or dinner entrée. The airport’s score is then calculated by dividing the number of healthy establishments by the total number of establishments. The review does not include facilities that don’t serve entrées, such as snack food kiosks and small coffee shops.
The good news is that ratings are improving and that an airport restaurant is more likely to serve healthy food choices than in years past. The bad news is that there is still great room for improvement. Personally, I think having only one healthy option on a menu hardly qualifies an airport restaurant as “healthful.” In my mind, each airport restaurant should have several healthy food choices.
The chart below provides a summary of what PCRM nutrition experts found at each airport, ranked from best to worst:
# of Healthy Eateries /
|Examples of Healthy Food Choices
|#1||Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport||100%||54/54||Every airport restaurant now offers at least one healthful entrée, such as the veggie sushi at Musashi, the hummus veggie wrap at National Coney Island Express, and the vegetable sandwich (hold the cheese) at Earl of Sandwich.|
|#2||San Francisco International Airport||94%||60/64||Healthy food choices include a vegetable curry and rice plate or vegetarian chow mein at the Harbor Village Kitchen or a vegetarian gyro from Max’s the Greek.|
|#3||Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport||87%||54/62||Get an avocado cucumber roll at Yoshi’s Asian Grill, a portobello mushroom and red pepper sandwich (hold the cheese) at the Home Turf Bar, or a black bean burger at Chili’s Too.|
|#4||Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport||86%||49/57||Steamed vegetables and rice at Lotus Express, the grilled veggie delite plate at Charley’s Express, and the Caribbean salad at Houston To Go.|
|#5||Newark Liberty International Airport||85%||58/68||A house salad with roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomatoes (ask for no mozzarella) at Vito’s Gourmet Deli or spaghetti with marinara at Sbarro.|
|#6 (TIE)||Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport||83%||50/60||Good food choices include Southwestern black bean salad at Caribou Coffee, the grilled tempeh Reuben or veggie chili and rice at French Meadow Bakery and Café, or butternut squash soup at Wolfgang Puck Express.|
|#6 (TIE)||Orlando International Airport||83%||39/47||The lentil chili at McCoy’s Bar and Grill airport restaurant, the fajita veggie burrito at Qdoba, and the soba noodles from Cibo Express.|
|#7 (TIE)||Denver International Airport||80%||45/56||Bean burritos and tamales (without cheese) at Tamales by La Casita and the vegetarian chili at Lefty’s Front Range Grille.|
|#7 (TIE)||Los Angeles International Airport||80%||45/56||Food choices include the vegetable sushi rolls at Sushi Boy and the vegetable sandwich with sprouts, sun-dried tomatoes, and avocado at Creative Croissants.|
|#8||Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport||77%||75/97||Vegetarian sushi from Blue Bamboo Xpress and a falafel roll-up at Ufood Grill.|
|#9||Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport||76%||65/86||Good food choices include the hummus cilantro wrap at Great Wraps, the made-to-order vegetarian burritos and tacos at Moe’s Southwest Grill, and the three-bean salad at Nature’s Table.|
|#10||Miami International Airport||72%||28/39||The vegetarian rolls at Sushi Bar and the vegetarian platter or the black beans and rice at Bongos.|
|#11||Baltimore/Washington International Airport||71%||27/38||The best airport restaurant for savvy travelers is the Silver Diner, which offers portobello vegetarian stir-fry with tofu, veggies, and wheat noodles in teriyaki sauce, summer salad, and veggie chili with kidney beans, mushrooms, carrots, and squash.|
|#12||Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport||70%||23/33||Hummus and veggie flatbread sandwich (Cosi) and angel hair puttanesca (Cibo Bistro and Wine Bar).|
|#13 (TIE)||Chicago O’Hare International Airport||68%||64/94||The Goose Island Brewing Company is an airport restaurant serving a marinated portobello panini. Or one can get the vegetarian sandwich at Argo Tea.|
|#13 (TIE)||Washington Dulles International Airport||68%||23/34||Whole-wheat pasta with mixed vegetables at Moe’s Grill & Bar.|
|#14||Las Vegas McCarran International Airport||66%||38/58||While travelers do have a few healthful food choices—including the vegan wrap at Burke in the Box—there are still quite a few unhealthy eateries.|
Which airport restaurant is your favorite? Which of their food choices do you enjoy best?
Excerpted from the 2009 Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Airport Food Review