0

It's possible to make nutritious choices while flying

We're all buzzing about Samuel L. Jackson's new movie, but let's talk about something everybody finds on the plane - snacks.

When the flight attendant rolls by with the snack cart, you have a split second to choose which might be healthier - peanuts or pretzels? Granola bar or cookies? With a little research, you can find out ahead of time what snacks will be available on your flight. You might find it's worth it to pack your own nutritious treat.

When in doubt, stick with the old standby airline snacks, peanuts and pretzels, said Ginny Reddick, a registered dietitian with the Northeast Georgia Medical Center. They're actually decent snacks.

As long as you grab just one, the tiny snack bags are a sensible serving size. While pretzels are lower in calories, peanuts are usually the better choice, Reddick said, especially if you're hungry.

"The peanuts are going to be more satisfying. They have more protein and a little bit of fat, so they'll fill you up a little more and keep you full," Reddick said. "A lot of times, with pretzels, you'll want a couple more bags."

If you can, request unsalted rather than salted peanuts, or dry-roasted rather than honey-roasted, which have more sugar, she said.

One new snack offering, popping up at airlines such as Delta and Comair, are granola bars. While they sound more nutritious than a pack of cookies, parents should be wary, Reddick said. While some organic or whole wheat bars could be a nutritious snack choice, options such as the Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip granola bars aren't much better for you than cookies. They have only slightly fewer calories, and don't offer much fiber or any other healthy ingredients, Reddick said.

With the days of complimentary airline snacks on the way out, it may be easier - and cheaper - to pack a quick, healthy snack in your carry-on.

Reddick recommends bringing a protein bar or a small bag of almonds, both of which will be more filling and nutritious than a pack of pretzels or a cookie. For kids, try packing some dried fruit or cutting up some fresh fruit that doesn't need to be refrigerated.

And taking a few minutes to spread your own peanut butter on whole wheat crackers is a much better choice than the prepackaged, neon orange cheese crackers with peanut butter.

"As a whole, there's not much in those packages of crackers. It's pretty much white, refined flour and lots of sugar. Plus, the peanut butter is spread so thin it doesn't even have much protein," Reddick said. "It usually gives you a quick little sugar fix, but that's going to bottom out pretty quickly because it doesn't offer much else."

Complimentary Snacks

Delta

On most flights, you'll get to choose from a snack basket containing the following snacks:

•Frito Lay Sun Chips. A 1-ounce serving has 140 calories, 6 grams of fat (1 saturated), 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar and 2 grams of protein.

•Quaker Granola Bars. One bar has 120 calories, 4 grams of fat (11⁄2 grams saturated), 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar and 1 gram of protein.

•Dry roasted peanuts. A 1-ounce package contains 166 calories, 14 grams of fat (2 grams saturated), 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar and 7 grams of protein.

•Biscoff Cookies. One cookie has 30 calories, 1 gram of fat (1⁄2 gram saturated), 21⁄2 grams of sugar, no fiber and 1⁄2 gram of protein.

•Lance Honey Peanut Butter Crackers. One package packs 190 calories, 8 grams of fat (2 grams saturated), 1 gram of fiber, 5 grams of sugar and 5 grams of protein.

AirTran

•On morning flights in coach class, you'll be offered Biscoff Cookies. One cookie has 30 calories, 1 gram of fat, 21⁄2 grams of sugar, no fiber and 1⁄2 gram of protein.

•On afternoon and evening flights in coach class, you'll be offered a package of pretzels. A 1-ounce serving of pretzels typically has about 110 calories, 1 gram of fat, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar and 2 grams of protein.

Comair

Comair offers complimentary snacks on flights longer than 30 minutes. Passengers can choose between the following snacks:

•Quaker Chewy Granola Bars. One bar has 120 calories, 4 grams of fat (11⁄2 grams saturated), 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar and 1 gram of protein.

•Lance Swiss on Wheat Crackers. One package contains 200 calories, 9 grams of fat (2 grams saturated), 1 gram of fiber, 5 grams of sugar and 5 grams of protein.

•Kinds Honey Roasted Peanuts. One ounce of honey roasted peanuts typically has 160 calories, 12 grams of fat (2 grams saturated), 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar and 9 grams of protein.

Continental

On flights longer than one hour, Continental offers peanuts or pretzels.

JetBlue

On most flights, passengers can choose from the following snacks:

•Terra Blues Chips. A 1-ounce serving has 140 calories, 6 grams of fat (1 saturated), 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar and 3 grams of protein.

•Doritos Munchies Mix. A 1-ounce serving comes with 140 calories, 6 grams of fat (1 saturated), 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar and 2 grams of protein.

•All Nuts Jumbo Cashew Halves. One ounce of cashews typically contains about 160 calories, 12 grams of fat (2 saturated), 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar and 5 grams of protein.

•Mamma Says Pistachio Biscotti. One biscotti contains 150 calories, 6 grams of fat (4 saturated), 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar and 4 grams of protein.

•Mrs. GoodCookie Jungle Crackers. A 1-ounce serving has 120 calories, 3 grams of fat (1⁄2 gram saturated), no fiber, 6 grams of sugar and 2 grams of protein.

Midwest

On all flights after 10 a.m., Midwest offers warm chocolate chip cookies that are baked on board the plane.

Snacks for Sale

American Airlines

American offers snack packs for sale.

•A $4 snack pack contains a Quaker Fruit and Oatmeal Bar, Sun-Maid Raisins, Jacob's Crackers, Le Petit Fromage cheese spread and Lorna Doone cookies.

•An afternoon snack box, also $4, comes with Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, O'Brien's Cured Meat, Lorna Doone Cookies, Kings Raisins, Jacob's Crackers, Le Petite Fromage cheese spread and Emerald Deluxe Mixed Nuts.

•Fisher cashews are also available for $2.

Northwest

Northwest offers snacks for sale.

•On flights with beverage-only service, you can buy a packaged snack mix, containing 3 ounces of raisins, almonds and cashews, for $1.

•At mealtimes, you can purchase a $3 snack box, with a granola bar, crackers, a sausage beef stick, dried fruit, cheese spread and cookies.

Spirit Airlines

Spirit offers snack packs for sale.

•A $2 pack comes with Pringles, a Milky Way candy bar, Skittles, a soft pretzel and a muffin.

•A $4 Fiesta Pack contains Tostito chips, nacho cheese sauce, chili sauce and candy.

•A $4 biscotti pack comes with a biscotti cookie, chocolate-covered cranberries and a mini Toblerone candy bar.

United

United airlines offers $5 snack boxes.

•Among the offerings is a box full of all-natural, high-energy snacks, including Bumblebee Sensations Tuna Medley, Late July Organic Crackers, Wild Garden Hummus, Stacy's Multigrain Baked Pita Chips, Fino Selections Gouda cheese slice, Newman's Own organic raisins and a mini Toblerone candy bar.

U.S. Airways

U.S. Airways offers two snack selections for $5 each.

•A fruit and cheese plate includes an assortment of crackers served with strawberries, grapes, apple slices and cheddar, pepperjack and Swiss cheese cubes.

•The airline's SkyFun Box comes with chips and salsa, a fruit bar, cheese and breadsticks and Nestle Buncha Crunch candy.