Photo courtesy of American Airlines.

Flying on a trip longer than three hours? You can enjoy one of five new better-for-you options.

Zee Krstic
September 24, 2018

Airlines are doing everything they can to make flying less of a drag on your diet—finding healthy meals is getting much easier. But American Airlines is taking it one step further by partnering with the burgeoning Mediterranean fast-casual chain Zoë's Kitchen (the only Whole30-approved national chain) to offer healthy options on domestic flights longer than three hours.

Starting this December, any American Airlines passenger can order items a lá carte from an additional in-flight selection of five items designed in part by Zoë's Kitchen head chef Antonio Iocchi. There are breakfast items for early morning travelers, including a breakfast sandwich and waffles, and three other all-day options—including Zoë's signature sandwich, The Grüben.

The Zoë's Kitchen healthy reuben sandwich includes sliced turkey, Manchego cheese, a Mediterranean cabbage slaw, spicy mustard, and a feta-cheese spread layered on wheat bread. When ordered in a Zoë's restaurant, the sandwich contains just about 570 calories and 10g of saturated fat, but sneaks in a substantial amount of sodium at 2,070mg. It's unclear if the nutritional values of the Zoë's Kitchen products served on American Airlines will be the same as those served in stores, according to Sunny Rodriguez, a representative for American Airlines.

Photo courtesy of American Airlines.

Other items on the new menu include a breakfast sandwich made with turkey bacon, eggs, tomato, arugula, and Calabrian-pepper aioli on a waffle brioche bun; a wrap made with grilled chicken, mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, arugula, and artichokes; and a hummus plate served with Zoë's pita bread, cucumbers and carrots. Prices for these items have yet to be released.

More tips on how to enjoy healthy food while flying:

"Our customers have asked for lighter tasty food choices," said Janelle Anderson, vice president of Global Marketing for American, in a press release. "This collaboration with the expert chefs at Zoë's provides an innovative, fresh approach to onboard offerings."

Photo courtesy of American Airlines.

Zoë's Kitchen operates more than 260 fast-casual restaurants in over 20 states—it recently merged with Cava, another better-for-you chain, to make the nation's largest Mediterranean chain. The chain is known for being one of the healthier options for those looking for healthy meals outside of their kitchen, but as with all new foods, it's important to check the nutritional values before ordering once on board.

The bottom line: The addition of Zoë's items on American Airlines flights will give economy travelers a few better options when it comes to healthy meals on the go—the airline will continue to offer other items like the nutritionally-sound fruit and cheese plate as well as a breakfast platter. Rodriguez says that more items could be possibly introduced for both economy and first class passengers on domestic flights throughout 2019.