Stock Up on Healthy Nosh at PDX Before Your Flight

Flying out of town this holiday season? Your best bet for staying sane and satisfied is grabbing snacks and meals before the plane takes off.

By Allison Jones November 19, 2014

It's no secret that PDX is, simply put, the best airport around. Travel + Leisure named our humble strip of tarmac the best airport in the country in 2013 and 2014, not least because we're spoiled with food carts, burgers made with sustainably raised beef, a nail spa you'd actually trust with your bare feet, an Instagram-famous #pdxcarpet, and a mini Powells for indie book browsing. It's enough to make you cross your fingers for a flight delay. 

In this, the season of frantic winter travel, our much-loved airport offers another boon for travelers—plenty of healthy meal and snack options for those who don't always want to default to a Cinnabon or slice of heat-lamped pizza. Whether you're stuck at PDX in one of those rare but debilitating winter snow storms or are anticipating an inevitable layover at other, less awesome airports, treat yourself with some nosh that won't give your body the digestive equivalent of jet lag. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Grab a Korean chicken or spicy tofu rice bowl from the Koi Fusion cart before heading through security, and get a side of kimchi for a punch of probiotics
  • Unlike most airport newsstands—that offer candy and chips and soda and...not much else—Portland's kiosks and shops cater to our superior tastes with raw nuts and fruit, real-food bars, pre-packaged salads, yogurts, and more. You can certainly do worse that stocking up on a few healthy snacks while you pick up your requisite stack of magazines
  • Concourse D offers Northwest chain Burgerville's natural beef, chicken, turkey, and bean burgers (available on gluten-free buns)
  • Laurelwood Brew Pub's two PDX locations offer hummus plates with falafel, housemade hummus, tsatsiki, feta, and kalamata olives as well as gluten-free, wild Alaskan salmon picatta and chicken Caesar wraps
  • Flying out in the morning? Grab an omelette or veggie scramble at Capers Café et Le Bar before you leave, and order a trio of house salads to go for lunch in the air, with specials like tabouli, vegetable pasta, or chicken and black bean salad
  • Flying Elephants deli offers the local chain's made-from-scratch sandos, soups, and salads (plus Stumptown coffee)
  • Jamba Juice, while not a local offering, now features cold pressed juices in bottles and squeeze-to-order cups. Try the citrus kick with oranges, apples, pineapples, and ginger for a cold-fighting boost
  • Starting in 2015Café Yumm! will offer vegan and gluten-free bowls, wraps, salads

Other healthy Holiday travel tips

Hydrate to be great: Thanks to uber-dry cabin air—and those complementary packs of salty pretzels and peanuts—plane travel can dehydrate even the frequentest of flyers, leading to dry eyes and even an increased risk of catching a cold. Luckily, PDX makes drinking great-tasting water easy. When you get through security, pop The Market at Concourse D for free filtered water fill-ups for your reusable bottle. If you can, resist the urge to order booze or sodas on the flight—both will up your risk of catching a virus from the sneezing person next to you—and ask for hot tea or water instead. You can restart the holiday imbibing as soon as you land, without any "airplane bloat."

Keep your skin happy, too: All that dry air isn't just hard on your sinuses—your skin gets thirsty in the low humidity, too. Stop by the Kiehl's shop for sustainable skin and body care products for a mini tube of hand cream (even a couple of sample pumps will give you a leg up on moisture). 

Find some OM in your airplane seat: Sitting for long flights can be hard on your joints and circulation. Avoid crossing your legs (which can constrict blood flow and increase your risk of clots) and break up the stretches of immobility with some simple seated movements like neck and ankle rolls, cat and cow movements (arching and rounding your back), and spinal twists. When you're in line for the loo, do some thigh stretches or subtle squats. Too shy to bust out the yoga moves? Focusing on your breathing can ease some of the stress of travel—and we could all use less of that

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