Airport food getting healthier, study finds

The percentage of restaurants that offer healthy entrees at the nation's busiest airports has increased, according to a new study.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

You have no more excuses for eating junk food while traveling.

At the nation’s busiest airports, 76% of restaurants offer at least one healthy entree, according to a survey by a panel of doctors. That’s a big improvement from 2001, when only 57% of airports offered at least one healthy dish.

Based on a ranking by the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Denver International Airport came out on top, with 86% of its restaurants offering healthy dishes like wraps, barley burgers, vegetable soup, Roma tomato paninis and spinach salads.


Los Angeles International Airport tied for third place with 83%, an increase of seven percentage points from 2012, when the airport ranked 10th, the study found.

But LAX may move up in the rankings because the study was completed before the airport expanded and opened the Tom Bradley International Terminal in September with 31 new eateries.

“The emphasis on fresh, healthy fare is a major highlight of Tom Bradley’s new dining program,” said Eileen Hanson, a spokeswoman for Westfield Inc., the concessions developer at the terminal. “Today’s travelers, many of whom adhere to special dietary considerations, expect the same quality food that they’re able to get outside the airport.”

But LAX is not all sprouts and tofu. You can still stuff yourself at three McDonald’s, two Panda Express and two Burger King eateries.

For the third year in a row, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport, was at the bottom of the healthy food ranking, with a score of 51%.


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