I have a confession to make.
Last week, I ate out for lunch and dinner. Every day.
This is unprecedented. Every now and then I like to treat myself and go out to eat, but I like cooking for myself and, to be honest, eating out frequently makes me nervous. When I eat out, I feel like I’m spending so much money for so much less than I can make at home. It also feels harder to eat healthy food since I can’t control what goes into the recipe if it’s made by someone else.
Last weekend just happened to be really busy and I never made it to the grocery store. I had high hopes at the beginning of the week, but never made it, and continued eating out. Here’s how the week looked:
On Monday I tried really hard to make it through the day without purchasing a meal. At this point, I hadn’t succumbed to eating out all week and was hopeful that I’d make it to the grocery store at some point. Unfortunately, it didn’t end well. I went on a run after work and felt terribly afterwards, probably because I hadn’t eaten enough calories throughout the day.
For breakfast I had toast with peanut butter and homemade peach jam (thanks, Nana!). Lunch was leftovers from the night before – a stir-fry of all of leftover veggies (cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, and edamame) on brown rice. After recovering from my run, I stopped at Subway for a 6-inch turkey sandwich loaded with veggies ($4). I also had two granola bars as snacks during the day.
Tuesday was much better because I incorporated more fruit and veggies after the running incident from the night before. I had the same toast with peanut butter and jam for breakfast but picked up a fresh fruit cup ($4) from the sandwich shop on the first floor of my office building. For lunch I had a steak salad from Chipotle ($7). My intention was to save half of it for lunch the next day, but it was too delicious and I ate the whole thing in one sitting. Before heading to hip hop yoga that night, I picked up a small strawberry passion smoothie from Au Bon Pain ($4), which was the perfect light snack before working out. For dinner I had a 6-inch breakfast sandwich on flatbread from Subway ($4).
By Wednesday I was in the groove and had the same toast and fruit cup for breakfast ($4). Lunch was my go-to cheap and easy lunch in Harvard Square: the falafel appetizer from Falafel Corner ($4). It comes with 2 falafel balls, a salad of chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, pita, and a side of tzatziki for just 4 dollars! For dinner I had (you guessed it) a 6-inch turkey sandwich from Subway ($4). If you couldn’t tell, there aren’t too many healthy options near my apartment.
Breakfast on Thursday was a treat – a hot tea and banana from Dunkin Donuts ($3) and a bagel and cream cheese from the sandwich shop in my office building ($3). For lunch, I used a 5 dollar credit to the Just Crust in Harvard Square. I ordered the garden salad and a slice of pesto veggie pizza. With the credit, the meal cost me just $5 (originally $10) and was enough food for two meals (see Friday, below). That evening, I was treated to dinner at a restaurant in Cambridge.
Finally, Friday rolled around. For breakfast I had toast, jam, peanut butter and a fruit cup ($4). Lunch was a steak burrito bowl from Qdoba ($4 – 50% off after using a coupon!). For dinner, I had the leftover salad and pizza from the Just Crust.
My total expenses for the week were $58 – surprisingly, that’s just about the same amount I budget for myself in groceries each week. I feel like I stayed relatively healthy in my food choices by opting for veggies and fruits whenever I could. I lucked out with some help (from Level Up and coupons) but I consider that being resourceful. All in all, it wasn’t too bad. But first thing Saturday morning I went to the grocery store!
Images: homemade jam from my Nana (upper left), naked steak burrito bowl from Qdoba (upper right), pizza (lower left) and salad (lower right) from Just Crust.