For the 12th year, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has reviewed the food served at some of the country's busiest airports in an effort to find the healthiest. The PCRM said that although some airports have lost points from year to year, the overall trend is toward offering passengers the nutritious meals they need to maintain a healthful diet and handle the stress associated with air travel.
PCRM dietitians reviewed restaurant menus at 18 airports. Each airport's score was determined by dividing the number of restaurants offering at least one healthful option by the total number of restaurants. Facilities that do not serve entrées, such as snack food kiosks and small coffee shops, were not included in the review. A restaurant was rated as healthful if it served at least one low-fat, high-fiber, cholesterol-free breakfast, lunch, or dinner entrée.
Winner: Newark Liberty International Airport
Biggest Loser: San Francisco International Airport, down 19 points from last year.
Most Improved: Chicago O'Hare International Airport
Last Place: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
The complete list and restaurants and meal recommendations from PCRM at each:
1. Newark Liberty International Airport
Healthy choices: falafel sandwich at Mediterranean Bistro and a hummus wrap at Market Fresh. Seaweed salad, cucumber rolls, vegetable rolls, asparagus rolls, vegetable gyoza, and yakko tofu at Hamachi Sushi, and a grilled veggie burrito at Qdoba Mexican Grill.
2. Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
Healthy choices: Vegetable-packed, cholesterol-free options include the smoked tofu, broccoli, and mushroom burrito at 360 Gourmet, which clearly labels the vegan items on its menu. Several HMS-operated eateries, including Home Turf Sports Bar and Fresh Attractions, serve a vegan wrap with hummus.
3. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
Healthy options: Seaweed salad and vegetable sushi at Musashi or visit Mediterranean Grill for tabbouleh, hummus, vegetarian grape leaves, vegetable stir fry, almond rice salad, and a fruit plate.
4. Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport
Healthy options: Visit Zpizza for the Berkeley Vegan Pizza: marinara sauce, vegan cheese, veggie burger crumbles, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and peppers. Mango Taco Truck serves veggie tacos with zucchini, summer squash, cilantro, peppers, and onions.
5. (tie) Chicago O'Hare International Airport
Healthy options: Johnny Rockets serves the Streamliner Burger — a Boca Burger with grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mustard. The Mediterranean platter at La Tapenade Mediterranean Café is with packed with pita points, hummus, olive tapenade, fresh asparagus, yellow zucchini, green zucchini, baby carrots, and Kalamata olives.
5. (tie) Miami International Airport
Healthy options: Visitors should indulge in the hummus platter at Beaudevin or several legume-based soups — black bean, white bean, lentil, chickpea, navy bean, and split pea — at La Carreta Restaurant.
6. (tie) Orlando International Airport
Healthy options: At Nature's Table Bistro — where vegetarian items are made-to-order vegan — opt for the veggie chili, sandwich, or wrap. ZaZa's Cuban Café also serves a vegan sandwich.