Eating 100% raw takes some prep and when my prep’s not done things start to unravel budget and diet-wise because it’s still quite hard to find calorie-dense, non-processed raw food on the go at a decent price in London.
If I don’t do breakfast at home, then my on the go alternative, can cost up to £8.50, if it’s a particularly hungry day following training.
Here are some of the solutions I’ve discovered over the years:
These are no longer exclusive to specialist health stores and so you are never far away from an outlet that sells them. Even Primark do them and for a bargainous 79p! Generally, they cost between £0.79 – £1.09 but they can go as low as £0.50 on special offer. I’ve heard Aldi do their own version on the cheap but I don’t have a store near me. There are now many variations on a theme – bites, Malteser type bags etc
But the ingredients are always the same; dates and nuts and some type of flavouring. So not great to live off but great to get you out of a tight spot.
My favourite food on the go for taste and price is fresh pineapple chunks. Sainsbury’s sell 400g for £1.50 – and (£1.60 the nearer you get to Central London). Tesco sell 400g for £2.00. I find these exceptional value for money and you don’t get the stodgy feeling that can sometimes follow one Nakd bar too many.
You can’t rely on supply though (rather like the banana situation), there are often days at a time when there is nothing on sale but anaemic pineapples; for me to justify the expense every single chunk in that box needs to be juicy, and ripe.
Snack size nut bags
Sainsbury’s to the rescue again. They have thoughtfully packaged nuts in 40g gram bags for people like me who would otherwise binge eat nuts. I usually eat cashew nuts which come in at £0.55 for 40g and pistachios at £0.70 for the same.
If you’re like me buying any more is just plain dangerous; if I buy it, I’m going to eat it – no such thing as later when it comes to me and cashew nuts.
500g box of grapes is £1.50 at Sainsburys and £2.00 at Tesco
High on calories, low on satiety so not a long term strategy but refreshing and gratifying in the moment of consumption.
I usually buy Naked Smoothie 500ml for £2.63 but £2 on offer or I get Sainsbury’s Smoothie 1lt for £2.
Watch out for the sugar rush!
San Pellegrino, 500ml 63p, Tesco brand, 500ml 48p, Highland Springs, 500ml 58p
I’ve been partial to sparkling water since I lived in Germany years ago but it particularly makes sense when you’re hungry and have nothing suitable to eat, psychologically and physically it fills up your belly. If you need to get it down quickly without distending your belly San Pellegrino is the choice.
Bag of Carrots
Tesco and Sainsbury’s both do these for about a pound. I don’t really love these as they taste as though they’re coated with something. When I do them myself I would use organic carrots but that isn’t an option when buying pre-cut carrots from the supermarket. I’ve tried as a compromise to shove my peeler in my bag and buy a bag of organic carrots with the intention of peeling them, but that just doesn’t work, both just sit in my bag unused.
Itsu sell these for £1.99 – not the best value during the day but if you raid Itsu a half hour before closing, everything is half price.
Tesco Spiralised Vegetables
A year or so ago, when all the supermarkets belatedly caught on to the spiralising craze Tesco brought these out.
Now I would never buy these and eat them on their own as they are always a little bit slimy, (I just don’t think they start off with prime, fresh, crisp vegetables). But when I need to eke out a left over salad I made at home I might buy a box and mix it all up.
They used to do a cauliflower version, which obviously wasn’t popular with the faddish (raw) vegan consumer (probably the smell) but they tended to be the driest in the pot and calorie-density-wise it was the best value for money.
Obviously you have the option of picking up some fresh ripe fruit, but good luck with that, especially finding a ripe banana in London. And there are a lot of salad pots about but it’s calories-per-£ that’s key and the usual salad pots aren’t even worth considering. There are a few leaves, a cherry tomato or two a slither of avocado and you’re parting with two or three quid. If you are willing to be flexible (on the raw part) which I have been on occasion. Marks and Spencer do awesome calorie-value salad pots 2 for £3.
And then you’ve just got to be prepared to do crazy things if you want to keep it raw. I once bought and ate a head of lettuce when I couldn’t find anything else.