I lived in NYC myself and work a 9-5pm day-job. I'm also an actor and often have rehearsals at night as well. So, I'm usually going from 7am - 11pm each day. That said, I can tell you it's totally possible to pack your lunch (& dinner!). It keeps costs down, and is far, far healthier.
I tend to plan out my weeks worth of meals when I'm on the train - I make notes in my blackberry. I usually cook on Sundays for that week, and sometimes I will make the lunch in the morning while I'm making my breakfast. It is certainly a challenge, and I certainly don't do it perfectly everyday, but I can attest, even in this crazy busy & super expensive city it IS possible.
I also have a handful of recipes in my head that I know I can make quickly - so taking some time to experiment with quick & healthy recipes might be useful for you.
ALSO - I have certain items in restaurants I frequent that I know are healthy, and will only order those items. Even if you have to run into a starbucks to eat - always know before hand what you will get.
I certainly empathize with you, because I find this planning and preparing meals can be quite a feat in this city!
Something we were withholding made us weak, until we found out it was ourselves. We were withholding from our land of living and found forthwith salvation in our surrender.
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