Airports with the Healthiest Food Options

December 1, 2008 8:31 AM CT

Here’s some great news for those who travel frequently, like I do, or for those with atrial fibrillation who are traveling during the holiday season.

Healthy diet is so important to those with afib and to anyone who has, or wants to ward off, heart disease or other health issues. Thus it’s useful to know that the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine just came out with their ranking of which of 15 busy airports had the healthiest food.

Detroit Metro and Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) tied for first place for having healthy food options as most airport restaurants offer at least one low-fat, cholesterol-free vegetarian entrée. They offer many healthy options, including lots of fruits and vegetables, gluten-free items, and items marked as “Heart Smart”. You can even find sushi and other Asian-inspired foods as well as Middle Eastern options.

Coming in at the bottom of the list, as being least healthy, were Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C., Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, and McCarran in Las Vegas.

Airports with the Healthiest Food

  1. (Tie) Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
  2. Chicago O’Hare International Airport
  3. Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport
  4. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  5. Los Angeles International Airport
  6. Denver International Airport
  7. (Tie) Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and San Francisco International Airport
  8. Orlando International Airport
  9. (Tie) Miami International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport
  10. Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
  11. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  12. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

Source:  Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Read more:  Metro tied atop physicians’ study of healthiest airport food

I’ve been very pleased with the progress of DFW, my home airport, in adding healthy choices over the past couple of years. I’m not surprised that it tied for first place.

There are good options in each DFW terminal for heart-healthy foods, but if I have time once I get through security, or if I have a long connection there, I sometimes take the Skylink over to the newer Terminal D. It features some of my favorite restaurants as well as La Bodega Winery, which offers heart-healthy wines. As far as I know, La Bodega is still the only on-airport winery. Who would expect that in an airport?

I must agree that Detroit has made major progress, too. In the early part of this decade, I used to travel to Detroit every other week and found the airport food choices sorely lacking. But several times this year I’ve connected through Detroit and been delighted by the healthy options available. In fact, it was hard to choose. That is an amazing problem to have in an airport.

A couple of airports aren’t mentioned in the list, but deserve some mention. Boston’s Logan Airport has recently acquired some healthy options, and my favorite airport, Austin (TX), though too small for the list, has healthy options at outposts of several of Austin’s favorite restaurants.

It’s always nice to find airport restaurants offering grilled chicken, steamed veggies, and heart-healthy fat-free salad dressings. When you’re in a hurry, grab-and-go salads with low-fat or fat-free dressings, or a fat-free yogurt, are good choices, too. If you prefer sandwiches, Subway, for one, has low-fat options. Eating healthfully at airports is finally now a reality.