Alaska Airlines offers the healthiest selection of food among the 10 primary mainline U.S. carriers, according to a study by the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center and DietDetective.com. 

The 2019-20 Airline Food Study rated food offerings of the 10 U.S. airlines plus Air Canada on a five-point scale. Rating criteria includes calorie counts, healthy nutrient counts, sodium levels and the availability of meals on flights of more than three hours. The study also weighs the airlines' level of transparency related to the ingredients of their food offerings, efforts carriers are making to improve their offerings, cooperation the carriers gave to the study's authors, and the quality of carriers’ onboard water, as determined in a Hunter College/DietDetective study in September

Alaska, with a ranking of 4.0 on a 5-point scale, was the lead U.S. carrier in the ranking and tied with Air Canada for the overall lead. Alaska also led the ranking in 2018. Alaska's meals had an average calorie count of 388, and lead author Charles Platkin praised the airline for its commitment to healthy food, mentioning options such as its Mediterranean Tapas snack box and its Fresh Start Protein Platter breakfast. 

Alaska was followed in the ranking by Delta and JetBlue. Each were given a ranking of 2.9. United and American (2.7 points) tied for fourth among the U.S. carriers, followed by Frontier (2.0), and then Allegiant, Frontier and Hawaiian (1.9). Hawaiian scored the lowest rating among carriers with full food offerings. The three ultralow-cost carriers offer snack boxes and snacks, but not meals. 

Coming in last was Southwest (1.7), which offers only individual snacks. 

"If the airline really does have a heart (as it does on its logo), it would care about the food that’s being served. Southwest needs to add some healthy snacks," the authors wrote. 

Hawaiian's low ranking was driven by high-calorie, high-sodium meals. According to the study's authors, Hawaiian was also the only airline that didn't provide complete nutritional information.

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