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If you’ve flown short-haul on British Airways since 2017, then you will have noticed the free snack has gone in favour of an M&S buy on board menu. A big pro for the M&S menu is that passengers will recognise the items they can purchase and even view the menu before travelling.

The menu is updated seasonally with a variety of foods from sandwiches to sweet treats and a premium drinks menu. However, the menu doesn’t list any nutrition content, so how do you know what you are eating is the best choice for your waistline, and more importantly, your health? With a bit of digging, The Points Guy UK has done the work for you, so you know the top picks from the sky menu.
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It’s Not Just About Calories

Whilst calories may give you an idea whether something is healthy or not, you need to look a bit deeper to understand if something is nutritious. It’s more important to take into account the sugar content of a product than just looking at the calories alone. By analysing the sugar content, you will see how much a product will impact your blood sugar and whether it will keep you full.

A good example of this is the M&S porridge. On first look, it seems to be a healthy breakfast option. But in fact, it has more than 4tsp of sugar (21g) in a 70g pot — the same amount of sugar as if you opted for a Kit Kat instead. In an ideal world, you would pick a product with less than 5g of sugar, which unfortunately cuts out most of the M&S menu sweet items.

Another consideration is how much protein is in a product. As a rule of thumb, do not order anything with a low protein content, as you will feel hungry shortly after eating it. It’s best to choose the cashew nuts over a packet of crisps — whilst there may be more calories in the product, there is more protein in the cashews to keep you fuller for longer.

Often given in the Club World cabin as part of the Afternoon Tea service, BA now offers economy passengers a chance to buy a scone from the menu. The non-M&S item is high in calories, sugar and fat. As tasty as it may be, it’s a nutritional nightmare.

Where Are the Salads?

The buy on board menu used to have a range of salads to choose from, but these have disappeared from the current summer 2019 menu, and there is little to choose from if you are on a plant-based diet. In the place of salads, there is a tapas box, which is a non-M&S item and just OK in nutrition terms. It has far too many E numbers for a box with some salami, olives, cheese and crackers, and lacks vitamins and minerals.

The Classic Sandwich Options

The most-balanced sandwich option is the Honey Roast Ham & Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese Sandwich on Oatmeal Bread. It comes in at just less than 500 calories and contains adequate protein. It’s a better option than the Cheddar Cheese Ploughman’s Sandwich, which has 8g less protein and more fat.

Most will have a packet of crips with their sandwich, but it’s actually better to choose wasabi nuts or cashews. If you need crips, then the Hand Cooked Mature Cheddar & Red Onion Hand Cooked Crisps just pip the Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar as the healthier option. If you are going to have a sandwich and crisps, ditch half of the bread on the sandwich.

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Sweet Tooth

You want to enjoy something sweet but also want to pick the healthiest option, so what is there? The Made Without Wheat Salted Caramel Hazelnut Millionaire Bar isn’t a healthy option just because it’s gluten-free — it has a whopping 32.2g of sugar.

You should avoid the Percy Pigs, as they are empty nutrition and almost pure sugar. The healthiest sweet treat is the shortbread option with only 6.8g of sugar and 191 calories. It’s actually better to have the shortbread than a flapjack, pretzels, Kit Kat or any other sweet item on the menu.

Drinks

Whilst there may be several unhealthy drinks, BA now offer quality teas (Teapigs) and a personal favourite, which is Loveau Raspberry, Strawberry & Blueberry Sparkling Water. There are zero sugars or sweeteners in this water, so it’s great to go on its own or as a mixer with a Gin & Tonic or Vodka.

It’s healthier to have a spirit, glass of wine or Champagne than a beer or the new Estini, which is high in sugar.

The Verdict

Most people want something sweet and savoury, so it’s simple. Pick a nut pot or wasabi peas and have it with the shortbread. Pair with a can of Loveau and you will be satisfied without your blood sugar going on a roller coaster ride.

Featured photo courtesy British Airways.

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