This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Airports With the Healthiest Food

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Hungry travelers can find more healthy options than ever before at the nation's major airports, but the availability of such heart-healthy food varies wildly from airport to airport.

That's according to the latest annual report from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which surveys the food options at restaurants in 15 major airports. Airports are ranked based on the percentage of their restaurants that have at least one healthy option on the menu, defined by PCRM dietitians as a "low-fat, high-fiber, cholesterol-free vegetarian entrée." While we think it's a bit unfair to completely exclude meat-based dishes -- a baked chicken breast can't be healthy? -- it does make sense to consider whether a restaurant has at least one option available to someone trying to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible. The report cites the fact that "High-fiber, low-fat vegetarian foods have also been shown to reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes."

A report looks at which major airports offer the most heart-healthy eating options.

First, the good news: The average airport had 83% of its eateries qualify as "healthy" by this criteria. That's up one percentage point from last year and is the highest figure recorded since the group started conducting the survey in 2001. It also marks a huge improvement during the past decade, as that first survey back in 2001 found the average airport scoring just 57%.

If there's any bad news, it's that some airports continue to lag behind in offering healthy options. While Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport took the top spot for the third year in a row with a perfect 100% rating, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport ranked second from the bottom with only 75% of its restaurants meeting the minimum requirements for healthfulness. That actually represents an eight percentage-point improvement over last year, when it ranked dead last. Despite the improvement, the report notes that many of its restaurants still offer only "burgers and other greasy bar food."

The most improved airport for 2011 was North Carolina's Charlotte Douglas International Airport, which improved by nine points to settle into a tie for seventh in the rankings; the report looks approvingly on eateries there that offer veggie burgers and portobello mushroom and red pepper sandwiches. On the flipside is Denver International Airport, one of the few to see its score decline in 2011.

>>Fast Food Goes Green

Of course, even a low ranking in the report doesn't necessarily mean there are no healthy options to be found at the airport. You'll just need to search a little harder to find them, and that's not always an option for health-conscious travelers in a hurry to catch a flight.

Here are the 15 airports surveyed by PCRM from April to November. They are ranked in order from the highest to the lowest percentage of restaurants with at least one healthy option on the menu.

1. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (100%)
2. San Francisco International Airport (96%)
3. Washington Dulles International Airport (92%)
4. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (86%)
5. (tie) Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (83%)
5. (tie) Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (83%)
6. (tie) Denver International Airport (82%)
6. (tie) Miami International Airport (82%)
7. (tie) Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (81%)
7. (tie) Charlotte Douglas International Airport (81%)
8. Orlando International Airport (80%)
9. (tie) Los Angeles International Airport (76%)
9. (tie) Baltimore/Washington International Airport (76%)
10. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (75%)
11. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (71%)

>To submit a news tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.

Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,987.51 -61.49 -0.36%
S&P 500 1,985.54 -11.91 -0.60%
NASDAQ 4,567.5980 -24.2080 -0.53%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs