You’re on the way to a _____ (Insert your destination du jour: soccer game, piano lesson, birthday party, etc.) and probably running late, when your adorable offspring inform you, “We’re starving!” Sure, you could do the typical fast food drive through for something to tide them over, but this is Portland, people. There’s no need. No matter what quadrant of the city you find yourself in, we’ve got some seriously healthy options that you can grab before your kids declare, “I’m hungry”. 

girls-eating-peachphoto credit: Bruce Tuten via creativecommons flickr

Laughing Planet “Satellite” Cafe
We heart Laughing Planet’s mission to bring healthy – yet ridiculously tasty and affordable! – food to the universe. And their latest location in Goose Hollow is made especially for busy peeps on the go.  Think a “greatest hits” version of the chain’s traditional menu with ready-made burritos, salads, and soups. If any place is going to get your kiddos to eat kale – and like it – our bet is on LP.

1755 SW Jefferson St.
Portland, Or 97201

laughingplanet-yelpphoto credit: Maureen N. via

New Seasons Market
You won’t find limp chicken fingers and soggy potato salad at this local supermarket’s “in and out” area. Every location offers awesome on-the-go options, from freshly made soups, sandwiches, and wraps to a hot food bar where you can load a bowl with noodles or rice and your choice of nuts, tofu, or veggies.

12 locations in Portland surrounding area

Santa Fe Taqueria
For hungry kiddos in the Alphabet District, we highly recommend making a pit stop at Santa Fe. The simplicity of their menu will appeal to the pickiest eater. Choose from bean and cheese, veggie, or meat burritos; quesadillas; or grab some chips and salsa or guac (and lots of napkins) to go.

831 NW 23rd Ave.
Portland, Or 97210

taco-kid-flickrphoto credit: Kristopher Volkman via creativecommons flickr

Bakehouse Water Bagels
For carb-loving kids, head over to Bakehouse for what are arguably some of the best bagels in town. Purists may shun some of their weirder flavors (like s’more and strawberry cheesecake) but for a healthy nosh on the go, you can’t beat a whole-grain  (they’re boiled and baked daily, of course) and cream cheese.

6141 SW Macadam Ave
Portland, Or 97239

19111 SE 34th St
Vancouver, WA 98683

yelp-bakehouse-bagelphoto credit: Erica M. via

Nectar Café
Tucked into a nondescript strip mall (in the old JazzKat’s coffee space), Nectar Café is one of the best options we know for families that trend towards gluten-free or vegan fare. Nectar offers whole fruit and veggie smoothies, gluten-free waffles, protein-packed bagel sandwiches, and even fresh Petunia’s Bakery goodies.

1925 NE 42nd Ave.
Ste E
Portland, Or 97213

Yes, this teeny-tiny Kerns hangout is known for their teeny-tiny dessert offerings, but they’ve got some great savory choices, too, that kids will like: chicken pot pie, for instance, seasonal quiche, or the insanely good breakfast pie with  sausage, hash browns and eggs. All make a perfect (and perfectly manageable) handful on the go. (Just be prepared to be tempted with dessert.)

521 NE 24th Ave.
Portland, Or 97232

mushroom-grueye-pot-piephoto credit: Ana B. via

Yes, it’s unmistakably fast food but this local chain prides itself on a commitment to fresh and sustainable practices and supports local communities. Kids’ meal options are what you’d expect – burger, cheeseburger, chicken tenders, or fish — but come with hormone-free milk and apple slices. And we dig (excuse the pun) getting a pack of seeds as the enclosed “prize.”

39 locations in OR and WA

Where are your favorite healthy eats to visit in Portland? Let us know in the comments below!

—Stephanie Booth