The Diet Detective: Which Airline Food is Healthiest?

Virgin America


Cooperation in Providing Nutritional Information: Very helpful and most improved.

They were incredibly responsive. The calories (lower) and nutrient density (higher) of the items have also improved since last year (although we had to estimate last year's nutrition information). What's also pretty neat about Virgin America is that they offer on-demand in-flight food ordering via a touch-screen on every seatback. You can order any time, not just when the carts come through. Nice work, Virgin America.

Health Score: (****)

Best Bets:

In terms of individual snacks, the PopChips are a low-calorie choice; however, the best choice is the nuts. They are packed with important nutrients and will help keep you full longer than other snack choices. But you still need to split them with someone.

The oatmeal is a good breakfast choice at 310 calories—a nice whole grain to get you started in the morning. Virgin's snack boxes, such as the protein meal with hummus, nuts and tuna, are great. They'll fill you up and will be a real meal.

To be honest, the Jet Set Kid's Pack could set a better example. I wish it had some healthier choices, but at least it's relatively low in calories (compared to other airline snack boxes). In terms of meals, the Edamame and Portobello Mushroom Wrap is filled with great stuff and has 9 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein. Wow! The only negative is the high sodium content (1,300 milligrams).

Another good choice is the Egg and Vegetable Salad Wrap, which is filled with high-quality protein and has only 370 calories.
Note: Prices Not Available
Snacks (individual)

  • Chex Mix (420 calories, 91 minutes of walking).
  • Emerald Deluxe Mixed Nuts (382.50 calories, 83.25 minutes of walking).
  • PopChips (100 calories, 22 minutes of walking).
  • Umpqua Oats Kick Start All Natural Oatmeal (310 calories, 67 minutes of walking).

Meal Boxes
Protein Meal

  • Crackers (60 calories)
  • hummus (63 calories)
  • mixed nuts (170 calories)
  • Craisins (100 calories)
  • tuna (110 calories)
  • Toblerone Mini (67 calories)
  • Total = 570 calories, 123 minutes of walking

Hearty Meal Box

  • Snyder's of Hanover Mini Pretzels (160 calories)
  • Old Wisconsin Salami Slices (90 calories)
  • Thin Addictive Cookies (100 calories)
  • Welch's Fruit Snacks (80 calories)
  • Total = 430 calories, 93 minutes of walking

Jet Set Kid's Pack

  • Goldfish Crackers (100 calories)
  • Ritz Peanut Butter Sandwiches (130 calories)
  • Giddy Strawberry Dip 'Ems Biscuits (140 calories)
  • Total = 370 calories, 80 minutes of walking

Meals (Available on flights over two hours)
Mini Bagels, Yogurt and Fresh Fruit

  • Mini bagels, plain/strawberry cream cheese, fresh tropical fruit, fruit yogurt.
  • 450 calories, 97 minutes of walking.

Edamame and Portobello Mushroom Wrap

  • Edamame, fresh mint, walnuts, Portobello mushrooms, arugula, cucumbers, peppers, spinach flatbread, tropical fruit salad.
  • 620 calories, 134 minutes of walking.

Egg and Vegetable Salad Wrap

  • Hard-boiled eggs, cucumber, squash, onions, carrots, spinach, tomato, mayonnaise, flax seed tortilla wrap.
  • 370 calories, 71 minutes of walking.

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