When it comes to dining, the fare served in restaurants at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport isn't quite as healthy as it used to be.
Just 72 percent of eateries at the state's busiest airport offer at least one cholesterol-free, plant-base entree, according to an annual food review put out last week by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
The airport ranked 13th on the list of the nation's 18 largest airports that the nonprofit group has surveyed since 2001. Last year MSP tied for 8th place when 78 percent of its 65 restaurants offered options such as leafy green salads, red pepper veggie wraps and black bean burgers. The airport's highest ranking came in 2011 when 86 percent offered a low-fat, cholesterol-free vegetarian meal. The low-water mark came in 2003 at 34 percent.
Overall, the nation's busiest airports are doing much better in offering healthful fare, which should come as good news for the 100 million fliers expected to pass through terminals during the upcoming holiday season.
The survey found that 76 percent of restaurants inside terminals offer at least one plant-based option, up from 57 percent when the inaugural airport food reviews began in 2001. Kiosks, coffee shops and snack-food shops were not counted in the review.
"We're finding more and more people continue to opt for healthful plant-based vegetarian options," said Susan Levin, the Physicians Committee director of nutrition education.
Denver ranked first with 86 percent of restaurants serving plant-based pickings. Detroit, Chicago O'Hare, Los Angeles, Reagan National in Washington D.C., Baltimore and Washington-Dulles all scored 80 percent or higher.
Restaurants serving pizza, fried chicken and other greasy fare were the most prevalent in Atlanta, which came in dead last with only 51 percent serving at least one healthy entree. Also ranking below MSP were Miami and Orlando at 71 percent, Charlotte at 70 percent and Las Vegas at 68 percent.