Back in January, I made one New Year’s resolution – to eat healthier. And by that, I mean eat more vegetables and cut down on unnecessary carbs like rice, bread, pasta and potatoes. Of course, I instantly thought of my budget. Eating healthier usually means cutting out cheap places like McDonald’s and shopping at expensive places like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, no? Wrong. Well, partially.
It turns out that in Manhattan, I could save a good chunk of money by shopping at Trader Joe’s. The other day, for instance, I went and bought a week’s worth of chicken breast, spinach, baby carrots, sliced mushrooms, guacamole, yogurt and almond milk for around $35. The same items could have cost over $40 at Fairway and close to $50 at Whole Foods. I know Trader Joe’s is considered expensive elsewhere, but not in New York.
But my favorite part about the new diet is eating at the local food bar near my office where everything is priced at $7.99 per pound. Here, avoiding starchy foods has made it easier for me to say no to cheap and heavy items like mac and cheese, white rice or mashed potatoes. Instead, I pack on the salad greens with avocado, creamy shrimp and oyster, steamed Basa fillet, grilled chicken and a small amount of quinoa. My entire meal weighs less than a pound and comes out to just under $7 including tax! That’s about the same as a Big Mac meal and cheaper than General Tso’s Chicken at most places in the city. And you can’t beat the variety that I get with each meal.
Update: I’ve taken my savings to the next level with packed lunches. Read all about it here.