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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Healthiest Airport Food

I'm not a big fan of the The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). They're a fanatical anti-milk and anti-animal-as-food organization.

Because they're militantly vegan, though, they can occasionally be of help to those who are looking for healthy dairy-free food, as long as you remember to read their findings through the lens of their bias.

They just published their eighth annual PCRM Airport Food Review, perfect timing for those about to embark on airline travel this holiday season. You can find the full report on this page. It's not very long.

During this season of increased air travel, where can a hungry traveler find a healthful meal? Nutritionists with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) surveyed meals in 15 of the nation’s busiest airports and found that 80 percent of airport restaurants now offer at least one low-fat, high-fiber, cholesterol-free vegetarian option. ...

A restaurant was rated as healthful if it served at least one low-fat, high-fiber, cholesterol-free breakfast, lunch, or dinner option. Healthful options at airports covered in this report include the Mediterranean platter at La Tapenade Mediterranean Café at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, the vegan stromboli at French Meadow Bakery & Café at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and the roasted veggie ciabatta at Brioche Dorée at Los Angeles International Airport.

(Note: Where menu items include cheese or other dairy products, to ensure a healthful meal, travelers should request that these meals be prepared dairy free.)

Here's the summary report on the top two airports, a tie, to show you what you might find if you check the rest.
1. (tie) Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (95 percent): DFW increased its score by one point and remains in first place this year. Health-conscious travelers will find nearly 40 restaurants that offer at least one low-fat, zero-cholesterol meal. Healthful offerings include the vegan smoked tofu, broccoli, and mushroom burrito at 360 Gourmet Burrito, the portable portobello wrap (hold the feta) at UFood Grill, the Sonoma veggie wrap (minus the cheese) at Camille’s Sidewalk Café, and the guiltless black bean burger at Chili’s Too.

1. (tie) Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (95 percent): After two years in second place, Detroit increased its score by two points and tied with Dallas for first place. The addition of new low-fat menu items—like the vegetarian pita at National Coney Island Express—drives the Motor City into the number one spot. Zero-cholesterol items with an international flair include the tabouleh, hummus, and veggie burger at Online Café Bar and Grill, veggie and tofu rolls at Sora Japanese Cuisine and Sushi, and the fattoush (a salad made from vegetables and pita bread) or the veggie wrap at Waterworks Bar and Grill.

Anyone who flies and has tried to find reasonably healthy food at an airport knows that the choices are often limited, although far better today than in the past. The report gives scores for the previous years of the survey. As recently as 2001, four of the ten airports surveyed had scores of 50% or below.

This report seems like reasonable advice, which is why I'm passing it on despite the source.

Just a quick dig I can't resist slipping in. When you have two items tied for number one, what comes next? That's right, number three. Except for the geniuses at the PCRM. Chicago O'Hare ranked just below Dallas and Detroit. It's ranked number two.

Where's the slap your head smiley?

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1 comment:

Mark Evans said...

To make it easier for people to find the better places to eat at airports, PlanetEye (an online travel planning service) put together a guide that covers more than 40 airports around the world. It can be found here: