Eating away from home is a sure fire way to spend, eat, and waste more. One strategy that I enjoy goes easy on your wallet, your waist line, and mother earth. Opt for a grocery or deli instead of a restaurant. Case in point -- last week I attended a seminar on the UW campus. The area is filled with restaurants and food vendors. None appealed to me. I was short on time, and am avoiding gluten (a lengthy story, but in short, avoidance leaves me feel great, so great I don't need allergy meds). My lunch situation was solved by a quick stop at the Fresh Market on campus.
First I got a salad from the salad bar. Veggie with dressing totaled $1.74. Then I went to the meat counter and got 5 slices of hard salami (marked as gluten free). Total cost was $0.53. I drank my own water and enjoyed the meal on a stone picnic table in front of the store. Lunch cost me $2.37 (there was a charge of $0.10 for tax). Far less than any restaurant would have charged. It was fresh, portioned enough for one meal, and very inexpensive.
The next time you are on the go, avoid the Subways and TGI Fridays, and go find yourself a good grocery store. Most have salad bars with hot and cold options. And don't forget the deli counter for a few slices of your favorite meat and or cheese.