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Virgin America takes new survey's top spot for healthiest in-flight food

Virgin America takes new survey's top spot for healthiest in-flight food
An airline employee prepares meals for United Airlines flights at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J., on Oct. 14. (Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

Before you buy a snack box or two for that long flight, consider what's inside. Each food item served on airlines this year averaged about 400 calories -- and not all of those were healthy calories either.

DietDetective.com recently released its 2015 Airline Food Survey that assigns 12 North American carriers a health rating based on calorie levels, the number of healthy offerings and other criteria.

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Virgin America, for at least the third year in a row, took the top spot with 4.5 stars out of a possible 5. The survey warns against the airline's individual snacks and suggests the granola, yogurt and fruit breakfast and the protein meal with hummus, nuts and tuna.

JetBlue and Delta Air Lines tied for second place with 4 stars each. The latter receiving kudos for partnering with healthy snack company Luvo.

United Airlines received 3.25 stars, followed by American Airlines with 2.75 stars -- mostly because these larger airlines failed to provide better healthy choices.

The lowest-scoring airlines were Frontier, SouthwestSpirit and Hawaiian, which DietDetective said weren't forthcoming in sharing nutritional information.

The ratings were overseen by Charles Platkin, public health advocate and a professor at Hunter College and the City University of New York's School of Public Health, both in New York.

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