Over the past couple years, I’ve noticed how many of my friends have been traveling all over the world. It totally makes me jealous. I asked myself:
Why the hell am I not traveling like that?
Okay, what are my biggest expenses that I can cut back on?
The problem I’ve struggled with since boarding school is trying to find the right balance of food that is healthy, cheap, convenient, and tastes good.
I’ve tried a few things:
Eating Out Every Meal
For years, I’ve settled on spending $30 per day on food. That comes out to $900 per month. (It’s no wonder why I haven’t been able to set aside money for vacations.)
On top of that, eating fast food every day means slowly killing my body with all sorts of unnecessary sodium and preservatives.
Too many times I’d find myself not in the mood for anything in particular and defaulting to the nearest fast food dollar menu.
It’s not worth it.
Meal Prep Mondays
This is a popular option that I see a lot of my friends doing on Instagram. The problem for me is two-fold:
I don’t trust my cooking skills enough to eat my own food every day.
I get bored of food too easily.
Meal prep life simply won’t work for me unless I invest the time in learning to cook.
Prepared Meals by My Fit Foods
For a few months, I tried an alternative idea to meal prep — My Fit Foods. Instead of cooking everything myself, I could conveniently call up My Fit Foods and have days worth of healthy portioned food ready for pick up.
It worked great! I lost 19 lbs easily, even without working out.
The problem was the meal plan was costing me $35-$40 per day. Plus, it conflicted with my social life. On nights when I’d spontaneously hang out with friends, the meal I was scheduled to eat would expire. Money wasted.
It was the most expensive — and honestly, increasingly boring — meal plan I’ve tried.
For a while, I was working in Culver City, which is filled with great vegan restaurants. For the first time ever, I found myself enjoying vegan food!
But there was a problem — the good vegan restaurants are always expensive, typically costing between $12-$15 per meal. It simply wasn’t financially sustainable.
Also, I found myself gravitating towards the vegan food that was deep fried. I’m no nutritional expert, but deep frying vegetables probably isn’t any healthier that any other fast food.
So again, I’m brought back to square one — how do I find the right balance of food that is healthy, cheap, convenient, and tastes good?
This is the latest idea I’m trying — a food replacement shake called Soylent. It is a legitimate food product, providing maximum nutrition with minimum effort. And best of all, it comes out to about $3/meal.
When I posted about Soylent on Facebook, a typical reaction was:
But Mel, you’re a foodie! You need real food!
True! But I realized something — drinking Soylent doesn’t mean I have to replace every meal; it just has to replace one or two per day.
Two Months Later
I’m happy to report that I’ve lost 7 lbs in two months and easily saved $7-$14 per day! Soylent has truly been great on my waistline and my wallet.
And there was one great unexpected benefit that has come out of it — I can treat myself out to a nice $16 meal at a sit-down restaurant every day and not worry about breaking the bank.
So now, I think I’ve found the right balance for me. I’m eating healthier. I’m saving money. I’m saving time and gas money. And best of all, because I can afford to eat one nice meal per day, I don’t have to give up my foodie adventures.
I’m living the healthy foodie life now. And I’m loving it.