Healthy eating and airline food rarely occupy the same space on a page. But using government-approved health claims as a guide, a group of European nutrition scientists have prepared what they call the “world’s healthiest meal.” The menu defies healthy eating stereotypes with gourmet foods created to be served as an in-flight meal.
Weeding out the food claims
Food manufacturers make thousands of claims about the health benefits that come from eating their products. Some are true, some aren’t, and government usually has the final say. Recently European Food Safety Authority researchers analyzed about 4,000 health claims food companies use to sell their products. Scientific evidence was found to support 222 of them.
The perfect airline meal
When Dr. Paul Berryman of British-based Leatherhead Food Research learned about the approved list, he got an outrageous idea: attempt to design a dinner that can make all 222 health claims. Better yet, create it as the perfect airline meal.
Berryman claims to have accomplished that goal and the results aren’t all that outrageous. Not only is the meal healthy, it’s full of delicious courses that someone could easily prepare at home.
Appetizer for heart and brain
To boost cardiovascular and brain health, your feast begins with a terrine made of fresh and smoked salmon rich with omega 3 fatty acids and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A side salad with extra virgin olive oil dressing helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
How about a beverage?
You can wash down dinner with a custom sports drink made with cranberry, raspberry and elderflower flavors. It’s fortified with nutrients including biotin, calcium, zinc, chromium copper, iron, potassium, selenium, and magnesium. Biotin answers claims for healthier metabolism, nervous system, skin and hair. Calcium promotes muscle function and healthy bones.
Powerhouse main course
The main course features a chicken casserole with lentils and mixed vegetables. In addition to dozens of vitamins and minerals, the entrée is nutritious enough to meet at least 80 legitimate health claims, ranging from protein in the chicken to build muscle mass to pantothenic acid in the lentils to reduce fatigue and improve mental performance. The high-fiber multigrain roll alone can make 17 approved health claims.
Dessert for your digestion
If you have any room left for dessert, indulge in a blancmange—a pudding made with yogurt topped with walnuts and a sugar-free caramel sauce. Probiotics in the yogurt are good for your digestive system, guar gum in the pudding is another healthy cholesterol regulator and walnuts help prevent arteriosclerosis by preserving the elasticity of your blood vessels. The sugar free sauce is easy on both your teeth and your blood glucose levels.
One more thing …
After such a healthy meal, your digestive system will shift into high gear to process all those nutrients. Be sure to take the activated charcoal tablets Berryman has thrown in to reduce excessive flatulence.
Your fellow passengers will thank you.