helathy food near grand central in nyc?
May 9, 2007 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find inexpensive food to help me stay thin in the manhattan area?

It's an old story: used to be scrawny and had the kind of metabolism that allowed me to eat whatever I want and stay stick thin. Now I'm not scrawny anymore but I'm not brad pitt either. I've got a small spare tire and a kind of general flabbiness and lack of definition that I'm not happy about.

I work in the graybar building above grand central, and I seem to be surrounded by nothing but fast food. I need to know where I can go, because this is a new job and I don't know the good places in the area to eat yet, so that I can eat more healthily and lose this flab. Yes I am exercising, no not enough but I don't have a tremendous amount of time or energy most days. I keep defaulting to subway, chipotle and other crap just because I don't know where I can get an inexpensive meal that'll keep me in shape.

The problem, mostly, is that I'm a very picky eater. I've always been a meat, and carbs kind of guy. I've tried the build your own salad places all over the city (guy and gallard, cafe metro) and I can't just eat that every day, it drives me crazy. I'll do the vegetarian stuff sometimes, but I'm a devout meat eater and a lot of what comes in a salad (tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, cucumbers, anything with seeds basically) is disgusting to me. Basically what I'm saying is I need as many options as I can get to keep me from getting so frustrated with the same boring salad every day that I give up entirely. So if anyone has any suggestions for good cheap food that isn't loaded with fat in the area, I'd appreciate it, because I'm at the point of giving up. Maybe my picky eating is just destined to make me fat.

So yeah, good healthy food in nyc, preferably in the grand central area. If someone wants to give me other weight loss advice (if it's relevant, i'm 6' 2" and somewhere between 201-205 pounds) I'll take it but right now my problem is that I feel like I have no choice but to eat utter crap every day at work and it's crushing the drive I had just a couple of months ago to improve myself.
posted by shmegegge to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Are there Mexican restaurants in the area? Black beans with chicken, salsa, and guacamole is a very healthy and energizing lunch. Just avoid the flour tortillas and rice.
posted by muddgirl at 1:58 PM on May 9, 2007

Can you pack you own lunch? That way you can control exactly what you consume and also save some money.
posted by BobbyDigital at 1:59 PM on May 9, 2007

Best answer: You might look for ideas in the Midtown Lunch archive.
posted by miniape at 2:02 PM on May 9, 2007

There's gotta be a halal cart somewhere around you.
posted by spec80 at 2:09 PM on May 9, 2007

If I eat out I find that portioning my meals tends to help me eat less. Example: Chipotle's veggie burritos (yum!) are like 1000 clories each! Instead of getting one huge burrito I get one or two veggie soft tacos, eat one and save the second for an hour or two later.

Another example: Today I got Chinese food at a place that only serves mountanous portions. I asked for three extra take-out containers and divided my order into four equal proprotions. One for lunch, one for supper today, leftovers for tomorrow.

Unless you're eating fried foods at every meal what you eat won't make as big a difference as how much you eat.

But, as BobbyDigital mentioned, packing a lunch is the best way.
posted by lekvar at 2:11 PM on May 9, 2007

Best answer: There's a Chirping Chicken rotisserie joint in the food court of Grand Central. Chicken and salad is a great, protein-packed lunch, delicious and good for you. 1/2 chicken with salad and a bottle of water is about $8.

Also a Mendy's Deli. Smoked turkey with mustard on rye (which you can grab at any bodega worth its salt in any case) is a great choice.

There's also a Dishes takeaway stand in the same area. Lots of good choices there as well.

There's a Pret-a-Manger on 42 and Lex. The Nicoise salad they make is excellent and filling. It just takes a little getting used to the idea that a good salad is enough to eat.

You have a world of good choices in GC terminal itself.
posted by kosem at 2:20 PM on May 9, 2007

But of course, as the RZA noted, the best solution is to make a delicious sandwich to bring in every day, hold the mayo, bring an apple, a few squares of dark chocolate and a little delicious, but still highish protein snack like wasabi peas or roasted nuts, dried fruit (Trader Joe's, son) to munch on in the afternoon when you are, like me, thinking about hitting up Mr. Softee or a bag of Fritos. Also, drink green tea. Seriously.
posted by kosem at 2:33 PM on May 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Pack your own lunch and drink water... constantly. If you're a real new yorker you should walk enough to burn off the calories of most any reasonable lunch.
posted by willie11 at 2:50 PM on May 9, 2007

Best answer: Dishes is CRAZY expensive. And the flow in there isn't that great during lunchtime. It's really hard to navigate.

I know I said a halal cart before but I was basing that very quick suggestion because from your post, I'm assuming you just like plain meat, plain carbs. (steak/potato, chicken/rice--halal cart)

Buuuuut, thinking about it further, here are some other possible choices:

Like kosem said before, GC terminal -- you can go to the market, grab a balthazar baguette and some meats and make your own fresh sandwich and also grab a piece of fruit.

Menchanko-tei - 131 E 45th St b/t 3rd & Lexington Ave
Japanese Noodle Soups (though it's getting hot out - not sure if you're a hot soup in hot weather guy)

Cafe Zaiya - 18 E 41st St b/w Madison and 5th
I must warn you that while they do have good lunch foods that can be healthy, I am sending you into a den of iniquity as they have Beard Papa cream puffs and a Japanese bakery there (GREEN TEA SPONGE CAAAAAKE) *wipes drool* Sorry. I'm composed again.

Oms/b - 45th between Lexington and 3rd
Omusubi (Japanese Rice Balls)

Yay research! I found you a halal cart. Not just a halal kart, THE halal cart. It's not right next to Grand Central, I'm not sure if it's too far for you to walk. But seriously, WORTH IT. Ask for extra white sauce. Do not ask for extra hot sauce. They will -- just.. no. Don't do it. Also it's better to get the platters than the sandwiches (chicken over rice, etc):
Kwik Meal Cart - 45th and 6th
The cart has a freaking wiki entry. If you haven't already, please go.

Thai-Nam Restaurant - 137 E 45th St
b/t 3rd Ave & Lexington Ave

Majaraja - 133 E 45th St b/t Lex and 3rd

And finally, I do not know if you live in area, but I've been doing a program called NuKitchen. It's a home delivery service and you can go online and pick your menu and cancel individual meals and snacks. I've lost a couple of pounds so far and I find the quality to be really good. I did ZoneChefs for 2 weeks and I had to quit because I was throwing away more meals than eating them. But this is something I budgeted for and it is a little expensive (about $40 a day) but it is a good fit for me.
posted by spec80 at 2:55 PM on May 9, 2007

Best answer: Grand Central Deli, on 41st by Park (near the Pershing Sq overpass) has a pretty wide selection from which you can piece together a decent healthy meal.

Another deli at the corner of 41st & Park (the other side of Park from the previous deli), also has a lot to choose from, but I only go there because they use Boar's Head.

I usually try to come up with what I want before heading out, and if I'm unsure of a particular food's contents, I check it out online at one of the nutrition databases (Google).
posted by jma at 2:56 PM on May 9, 2007

I really like the Rafiqi's cart. There used to be one on 43rd and 5th and there's also one on 50th and Lexington. Man, just thinking about it makes me miss New York. Lamb, chicken, hot dogs, italian sausages...
posted by harrumph at 3:36 PM on May 9, 2007

When you're in a Chipotle mood, Burritoville on 43rd is Chipotle-like while being a bit healthier (brown rice, wheat tortillas, etc.) and having better veggie options.
posted by backupjesus at 3:49 PM on May 9, 2007

Response by poster: man, mefi is awesome. other answer sites would have netted me the tremendously useful answer of "lolz, fatty. you are teh ghey." this has been really helpful, folks. thanks.
posted by shmegegge at 1:27 PM on May 10, 2007

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