Are you a busy person always on the go? Are you a traveler or in college? Ultimately are you without access to a kitchen but still want healthy (“healthy”), whole food meals? And you want fast food options when there’s little else to choose from? AND you live on budget!!! Here it is, “healthy” vegan meals for cheap from Whole Foods to fast food.
We hacked Whole Foods Market, Chipotle, Taco Bell, Little Caesars, Pei Wei, Wendy’s, In-n-Out, and Subway. As well as showing you some good things on the menu.
We recently went on a 10 day road trip from TX to CA. We tried out a bunch of food along the way. Most meals were around $5 per person. And for the most part the calories were under control too.
*if you have a kitchen and you’re looking for stupid easy/cheap meals check out my meal prep posts. My Vegan Meal Prep recipes can be as low as $2 a meal.
Here’s what we found.
DIY Vegan Mug Cake – 27 cents!!! Whole Foods (3 ingredients)
I’ve been making a bunch of Vegan Mug Cakes on the blog lastly. And I was wondering if I could wing it in public. And I could 🙂
As I mentioned in the video below all of the Whole Foods Markets in Dallas have a ton of condiments, a microwave, water and a host of other things to make DIY recipes like this 5 stars. But all of the whole foods we went to along our travels didn’t have the bells and whistles that I was used to. If I could have found bulk herbs I would have bought a penny worth of cinnamon but it wasn’t an option. They also didn’t have cinnamon on the customer side of the coffee bar. But they did have agave on the coffee bar.
1 banana, 4 spoonfuls of wheat flour (bulk), water (free). Mashed banana, mixed with flour and water til smooth. Microwaved for 1 minute (I asked to use the microwave in the prepared foods department). Walking back to my table I spotted the agave at the coffee bar. I put a squirt on top and enjoyed!
Vegan Veggie “3 Pointer” Burrito Hack $4.75 – Chipotle
— another chipotle hack below, it’s even better!!! —
This was my first time trying a 3 Pointer. Some of the employees didn’t know what the hell I was asking for and even tried explaining (poorly) what it was. Fortunately the cashier knew what was up. There’s even a button on the register so it’s a legitimate thing and not just some random back door hack.
Here’s what it is. Meat and guacamole are each 2 points so avoid those. Everything else is 1 point. The tortilla isn’t a point, I guess. So you pick a burrito or a bowl then pick 3 one point items from the line. I picked rice for substance, tomatoes for flavor and lettuce for volume. Then lots of free Tabasco. It was $4.75 (pre-tax). I felt the chick was giving half portions. Had I know I was paying so much for this mini burrito I might have spoke up (probably not). Really though, you’re paying for 1 full portion of each item.
At first I thought I paid a dollar less for a fraction of a burrito and felt gypped. But once I ate the burrito I totally was sold on this way of ordering. (I later realized I saved more than $1)
While this is $2 less for a MUCH smaller burrito I have a few reason why it’s worth it.
#1 is I felt FANTASTIC after I ate it. It was an excellent portion of food. I did not feel stuffed.
#2 I’m pretty sure a full on vegan burrito is over 1,000 calories and a bowl is over 600. The mini burrito was 400-500 calories max. Perfect!
#3 I got a great burrito that tasted fresh while saving 30% off the standard burrito price. Not as cheap as taco bell but definitely fancier.
Vegan Taco Bell – 2 Bean Burritos $3.45
I wasn’t sure how big these were and since they were cheap I ordered 2. Man, too much food for $3.45! Maybe next time I’d order 1 burrito and just get an extra scoop of beans.
This isn’t so much a hack as a really cheap food option. But it’s worth saying that it made it to the list. Cheap, cheap, cheap. Did I mention I got charged for lettuce? Fuck it. I’m worth it.
3 Cups of Bean Soup – $1.50 – Whole Foods Hack
To be fair these were more like half cups. I really wasn’t sure how much of the dry mix from the bulk section to buy. These were SOOOOO good. My fav was the split pea soup! The curry lentil one was under salted so just a heads up. These were $7.69 a lb at this whole foods but the whole foods in Dallas they’re $5.99. Cheap either way.
I got a tiny scoop of the 3 bean mixes. Since this location didn’t have a convenient microwave I got a large cup of hot water from the coffee bar (free). Grabbed 3 empty soup cups. Mixed hot water with the bean mix. Let it sit a for a few minutes then ENJOY!
Vegan Smoothie Bowl – $6 – Whole Foods Market
I was hoping for some banana ice cream from the smoothie bar but the lady said they didn’t have frozen bananas. Oh well. I requested the smoothie be on the thicker side. I was pumped to see a calorie count listed next to each of the smoothies. I dug through the bulk section looking for gems to top my smoothie bowl with. This tiny Whole Foods didn’t have vegan chocolate chips or cacao nibs but I somehow survived.
I found 1 honey-free granola in the bulk section and some fancy trail mix. I got a tiny scoop of each. I found a ripe banana next to the smoothie bar. And ordered a strawberry smoothie. Beside the salad bar was a paper container which I got for free. I sat at a table poured everything into the bowl and split this with Mark. So good! I’ll have to do this again!
Huge Vegan Pizza + Bread Sticks – $14 – Little Caesars
Now $14 isn’t cheap but I did go overboard trying to prove a point to myself. The bread sticks were overkill. Way too much food for 2 people. 2 people could have ordered just the bread sticks for $3.50 and had an full meal. Or even just the $9 pizza. Tons of food for 2 people.
$9 vegan pizza – HUGE!!!!! + Plain bread sticks (ordered dairy free) with sauce. Food for days!
3 Veggie Burgers – $5.50 – In-n-Out
These were like $1.50 each! ha ha ha and 150 calories each too. I think grilled onions would have improved these nicely. I didn’t order fries but clearly should have. Low price, low calories. What more could you want?
3 Burgers ordered “veggie” with extra veggies and pickles. Just mustard + ketchup, no spread. Should have ordered some fries.
Vegan Loaded Baked Potato – $1.50 – Wendy’s
I applaud anyone who spells my name wrong with no fucks given. I would quit a job where I had to publicly display my horrific spelling skills (with the exception of this blog). The chick that took my order didn’t charge me for side 🙂 She wasn’t sure how to ring them up and the manager was telling her instead of showing her. Tip: Show your employees what to do.
Wendy’s fully lists the ingredients on their website. I ordered somethings that normally comes on a salad and got them for FREE! Did I mention that the remodeled Wendy’s looked fancy inside. Glamour is my middle name.
Plain baked potato, side of hummus, side of quinoa (which has beans and spices), side chives. Likely a 300 calorie meal. Surprisingly good!
Vegan Subway Sandwich – $6
The lady who made my sub wasn’t piling high the toppings. And you know what, still a ton of food for $6! Another non- hack since this is on the menu but it’s too good not to add to a fast food list.
Italian bread, all the veggies (minus onion), no dressing is needed if I get plenty of jalapenos and banana peppers. Under 500 calories and reliably good!
Buy One – Get One Free – Vegan Burrito – $7 – Chipotle
I’ve heard of this but this was our first time trying it out. Order a veggie bowl and while you’re still at the start of the line ask for tortillas on the side. Mark asked for 2. Then he asked for extra beans and rice. As far as I know you can ask for extra of any of the toppings (except meat/guac) for no extra charge. Then roll yourself 2 massive burritos at the table. Dude, to say this is two for the price of one is not an exaggeration. I barely could roll the first burrito closed and could NOT close the second burrito. It was over flowing!
1 veggie bowl, 2 tortillas on the side (ask for them when you first order to not hold up the line!), extra rice and beans. Roll 2 burritos yourself! Tons of enjoyable food.
Side Brown Rice – 49 cents!! – Pei Wei
Dude, dude….DUDE. 49 cents for a side of fancy brown rice! Shut the front door. I don’t even know what to say. I’m not sure if Pei Wei is everywhere but it’s soooo cheap. Everything else they sell isn’t cheap but this is all you need.
1 side brown rice is 51 cents after tax. Some free soy sauce. Thank you very much!