The latest trend in U.S. airports isn’t connectivity, free
WiFi or speedier security clearances.
“We’re seeing a vegetable renaissance taking place in U.S.
airports,” said Susan Levin, director of nutrition education for the Physicians
Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Dieticians at the Washington-based nonprofit collect
restaurant menus from the busiest U.S. airports, based on data from the FAA,
then rank the culinary offerings.
Top U.S. airports for healthy dining
3. Los Angeles
4. Washington Reagan National
6. New York LaGuardia
9. San Francisco
10. Washington Dulles
Source: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
The just-released 2014 rankings, compiled by registered
dieticians who serve on the Physicians Committee, reported that at least one
healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner entree is available at 75% of the nation’s
23 busiest airports.
The healthful option must resemble a meal by including at
least two of the four food groups on the Physicians Committee’s Power Plate:
fruits, vegetables, whole grains or legumes.
An airport receives a point if its menu includes at least
one cholesterol-free, plant-based, high-fiber entree.
The final percentage score divides the airport’s number of
restaurants serving health-conscious fare by its total number of restaurants.
Survey methods include in-person visits, Internet research
and phone calls to restaurant managers to confirm menu items.
Health-conscious travelers are in luck if their flight plans
include Baltimore/Washington Airport (BWI).
That airport received the highest score in the 2014 survey
and tied Newark for the most improved airport in terms of nutritious fare available
to visitors in the terminals.
BWI took the lead with 92% of its restaurants (36 out of 39)
offering nutritious fare.
BWI travelers can recharge at Airspace Lounge with a
vegetable and hummus plate or stop by the Silver Diner for quinoa, Santa Fe roasted
vegetables or the warm roasted veggie salad made with 10 locally sourced
At Newark, which came in at No. 5 overall, travelers can opt for antioxidant-packed fare
at sub shops, pizzerias and traditional diners.
Seattle-Tacoma followed close behind BWI, with 43 of its 48
restaurants (90%) featuring at least one healthy item.
“The demand for healthful meals is creating an artisanal
food movement, ripe with beet burgers, quinoa bowls and Brussels sprouts
salads,” Levin said.
“I’m excited to see a menu shift toward immune-boosting,
Although Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport came in last,
65 of its 126 restaurants are moving vegetables, whole grains and legumes to
the center of the plate, the report said.
“The good news is that plant-based options are on the rise
at this airport, making it possible to find a vegetable plate, fruit cup or
salad in almost every terminal,” Levin said.
Menu items that garner healthful points this year at all
airports include dark leafy green salads, grain bowls, roasted vegetable wraps,
Mediterranean or Mexican-inspired vegetable plates and gluten-free, macrobiotic