U.S. airports offering healthier fare

November 18, 2013
Green salads are more commonly offered at U.S. airports according to a new report. (Photo by Marge Ely for The Washington Post).
Green salads are more commonly offered at U.S. airports according to a new report. (Photo by Marge Ely for The Washington Post).

Your chances of finding a “cholesterol-free, plant-based entree” in a U.S. airport have improved dramatically over the past decade, according to a recently released report by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

The report found that 76 percent of restaurants in 18 of the nation’s busiest airports offer at least one cholesterol-free, plant-based entrée — good news, the group says, for the 100 million folks expected to fly over the holiday season.  But if your itinerary includes Las Vegas McCarran International or Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the plant-based pickings might be a little slim.

Since the group first began reporting on food options at the nation’s airports, the number of airport restaurants offering  green salads, veggie wraps and black bean burgers has increased.  In 2001, just over half — 57 percent — of airport eateries  offered at least one healthful option.

The best of the 18 airports cited in the report for a cholesterol-free, plant-based meal? Denver International Airport. (The airport tops the list for the first time since 2003). Reagan National tied for third with Los Angeles International, with 83 percent of restaurants offering cholesterol-free, plant-based options, while Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall tied with Washington Dulles International with 80 percent of restaurants offering that option.

“At BWI Marshall, we are committed to ensuring healthy options for our travelers,” Paul J. Wiedefeld, chief executive of BWI Marshall, said in a news release touting the airport’s top ranking. “We continue working with our concessions developer, AIRMALL Maryland, to provide healthy selections for travelers. Many BWI Marshall restaurants offer natural, organic, and healthy menu choices.”

Also of note: BWI has a 12.5-mile scenic outdoor trail that encircles the airport property, which opened in 1994. It was the first major U.S. airport to offer a dedicated hiker/biker trail.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for healthy eating, preventive medicine and ethical clinical research

Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.
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