Travel Tip: Airport Food Doesn’t Have to Be Horrible
Life + Money

Travel Tip: Airport Food Doesn’t Have to Be Horrible

Flickr/Frank Meier

Holiday travel is stressful enough – the packing, the security lines, the knowledge that time with your family is at the other end of the trip. If all that isn’t enough to give you heartburn, the airplane or airport food historically has been.

That last part may be changing, though. A new report by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine finds that 76 percent of the eateries in the nation’s 18 busiest airports now offer at least some healthy food options – which the report defines as a “cholesterol-free, plant-based entrée.” Yes, we know. Yum!

Related: 8 Great Holiday Travel Tips for Procrastinators

As bland as that definition may sound, frequent fliers can tell you that those options are probably much better (and safer) for you than grabbing a quick, greasy bite from an airport restaurant just before boarding a plane for a few hours. And the good news, according to the physicians group, is that healthy options have been proliferating in recent years. The 76 percent of restaurants with a decent food option is the same rate as last year but up from 57 percent in 2001. The report did not look at the food available at snack food kiosks, newspaper stands or small coffee shops.

Denver International Airport topped the 2013 list, with 86 percent of eateries offering nutritious, high-fiber choices, up from 61 percent in 2001. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in D.C. had the most improved menus, jumping 14 percentage points from 2012 to tie with Los Angeles International for third place overall.

Travelers visiting Las Vegas, meanwhile, will have less luck finding good grub, as McCarran International Airport’s score fell 23 points, dropping from second place in 2012 to 12th this year. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport, with a healthful food score of 51 percent, finished last for the third year in a row. It still ranks as the world’s busiest airport, though.

Follow Yuval Rosenberg on Twitter @YuvalRosenberg

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