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Airplane food: The best and worst of onboard cuisine

Wednesday - 12/18/2013, 4:26pm  ET

WASHINGTON -- A health expert who calls himself the "Diet Detective" recently released results of his latest survey comparing the nutritional value of airline food.

Health expert Charles Platkin published his findings on his website, Diet Detective, finding Virgin America and Air Canada are tied for the second time at the top of the nutritional list, reports The Huffington Post.

On a Virgin America flight, meals average 360 calories and snacks average 270. Additionally, passengers can choose items from the "Travel Light" menu, the only low-calorie menu offered by any airline.

Air Canada's snacks and meals were a little higher, averaging 296 and 365 calories, respectively. Passengers have some nutritional options, such as celery and carrots with ranch dip or hummus with pretzels. Their lowest calorie meal option is the shephard's pie, clocking in at 390 calories.

As for the airline that serves the least healthy food, there's a trifecta: Southwest, Allegiant and Frontier.

Southwest offers minimal snack options and no meals. All snack options are fairly unhealthy, usually a choice between dry-roasted peanuts, pretzels and sometimes cookies.

Allegiant would not cooperate with Platkin and released no nutritional information. But the average calorie count for meals and snack boxes was 500 calories.

Frontier snack boxes were the highest: 613 calories, on average.

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