LAX is No. 1 in a nationwide ranking for veggie meal options

Health food advocates, rejoice.

Los Angeles International Airport has been ranked first among airports nationwide for offering healthful food for stressed-out travelers. But the ranking may matter mostly to veggie lovers.

The nation's second-busiest airport won the honor from the Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine, a Washington, D.C., group that advocates vegetarian or vegan diets. Its annual airport review noted that 90% of the eateries at LAX offer meatless munchies.

If you crave baby kale and quinoa salad, for example, you can find it at Wolfgang Puck Express in Terminal 7.

Homeboy Cafe in Terminal 4 sells a salad featuring tofu, vegetables and pumpkin seeds.

At Terminal 3, La Brea Bakery offers a baby kale salad with grapefruit, pistachios, avocados and citrus vinaigrette.

But if you are don't mind ingesting a few calories in exchange for some extra flavor, a separate study has found that the calorie counts for in-flight foods at all airlines are rising.

Those findings come from an annual study by Charles Platkin, a health food advocate and professor at New York's Hunter College who compares calorie counts of meals and snacks offered by airlines.

His latest study ranked Virgin America as having the healthiest food, with an average calorie count for meals and snacks of 352. The California-based airline has won the top ranking four years in a row.

But Platkin's studies found that the overall calorie count for airline food is on the rise, from an average of 360 calories in 2012 to 400 calories this year.

He believes the calories are climbing because airlines are adding more fat and sugar to their foods to improve the taste and increase sales.

Platkin said he is pushing airlines to realize that healthful fare may actually result in happy travelers.

“I think the science supports that,” he said.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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