'Healthy' menus up 86%, including at airport restaurants
Restaurants using the word “healthy” in menu descriptions is up 86% over the last year, according to research group Technomic.
Instances of “low fat” on menus are up 33%, while “fat free” and “non-fat” are appearing 12% more often than they were last year. Meals claiming to be “no sugar” are now 51% more popular on menus.
And although “low-calorie” shows up less often than the other descriptors, its presence on menus jumped 154% year over year.
Chains including Starbucks, Jack in the Box, McDonald’s are all trying to appeal to the health-minded set as regulators crack down on calorie counts and fatty children’s menus.
Even airports, not normally known as bastions of good-for-you cooking, are offering a wider range of healthful alternatives to greasy burgers.
At the nation’s busiest 15 airports, 83% of restaurants offer at least one low-fat, cholesterol-free meal, according to a recent report from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. In 2001, just 57% of airport eateries could say the same.
Detroit’s Metropolitan Wayne County Airport was ranked the healthiest travel thoroughfare, with all of its 59 restaurants offering wholesome meals. Just 33% of those establishments made the list in 2001.
San Francisco International Airport was second-best, with healthful fare at 96% of its 68 eateries, followed by good eats at 92% of 38 dining spots at Washington's Dulles International Airport.
Los Angeles International Airport was third to last on the list, with 76% of its 55 restaurants featuring low-fat, cholesterol-free food.
-- Tiffany Hsu
Photo: Travelers dine at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times