WASHINGTON - More healthy food lands at U.S. airports. That's especially good news for the 100 million, often hungry, travelers expected to traipse through the passenger terminals during the coming holiday season.
According to a survey performed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, 76% of restaurants in 18 of the nation's busiest airports offer "at least one cholesterol-free, plant-based entrée" such as green salads, veggie wraps or black bean burgers. In 2001 only 57% of the total eateries at all the airports reviewed served such healthy fare.
The best hub to grab nutritious grub: Denver International Airport. The facility tops the 2013 good-for-you food chart as 86% of its eateries serve a nutritious option. In the bad food days of 2001, the Mile-High City's airport received a near-failing grade of 61%.
"We're finding more and more people continue to opt for healthful plant-based options, "says Susan Levin, Physician Committee director of nutrition education. "Everyone wants to maximize their health, beat the flu and be in a better mood -- and they realize their diet can help make all of this happen."
There's good news for the nation's capital. Its Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport gobbled the biggest gain, increasing 14 points from 2012 to this year's 83%, enough to tie for third place with Los Angeles International Airport.
The odds of getting a healthy meal are against you at Las Vegas McCarren International Airport, whose 68% score -- a drop of 23 points since last year -- puts McCarren in next to last place. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport comes in last with just 51% of its restaurants offering a healthy option.
(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)