Eating out is tasty, but it can be unhealthy and the expense adds up really quickly. I haven’t been able to cook for real for about 10 days, and it’s going to be a week before I have access to the kitchenette that comes with our apartment in Seattle. I’m going a little nutty.
We do have a fridge and a microwave (and I plan to pretend this never happened for as long as I am kitchenless), but my pots and pans are packed – my oven has been cleaned for the next tenant, and I’ve been using some of my more creative ideas for snacks and meals.
Eating out for under $10:
I eat at Chipotle once per week even when I have access to my kitchen. It’s cheap, delicious, and they make efforts to sustainably source their ingredients. I usually order a brown rice black bean bowl with veggies, guacamole, and pico de gallo. The portions are huge and it can be enough to last me two meals for $7 or $8.
There is a new fast casual joint from the chipotle creators called shophouse – which has rice and noodle bowls with asian flavors. It’s pretty fantastic and although they are only in a few cities at the moment, they have plans to expand to more. I love a tofu brown rice bowl with lettuce, chili vinegar broccoli, and tamarind vinaigrette. Yum!
I also go to Vietnamese, Thai, and Japanese places for lunch. They usually have a great lunch specials for under 10 bucks and there isn’t any dairy or an overwhelming amount of wheat or sugar in those cuisines. A nice bowl of vegetarian pho, a papaya salad, or miso soup with seaweed salad are some of my favorites. Sometimes I’ll get two lunch specials, one for lunch and one to take home for dinner.
Ready Made Health Food Options:
If you stop by your local health food store, there are usually some great ready-made salad options that are much cheaper than going to a restaurant. I love some of the salads at Whole foods or Trader Joes and some places have a great salad bar where you can pick and choose your lunch.
For the more adventurous days when I feel like “cooking,” – there are tons of things you can microwave. Oatmeal. Sweet potatoes. Microwave the sweet potato according to your microwave settings and voila! you have a delicious and healthy snack. I feed the skins to my dogs. My latest favorite? Put a cup of your favorite tomato sauce into a bowl. Crack an egg over the top and microwave for one minute for a shakshouka type dish that is pretty tasty (although might horrify some chefs). Instant miso soup or green tea are easy to make if you have a mug, a microwave and some water!
Though there are tons of microwavable frozen meals on the market which I usually try to steer clear of. The ingredients are not always so healthy, even in the meals which market themselves that way.
So there you have it. Not a permanent solution by any stretch, but it’s getting me through these couple of weeks. What are your favorite healthy no-cook snacks and meals? Tell me in the comments!