Philly’s Best Healthy Lunches for Under $10, According to Philly Fitness Pros

Skipped your Sunday meal prep? Here are nine grab-and-go lunches that won't break the bank.

cheap healthy lunch

Tasty options that will hold you over until dinnertime. | Images via Erin Moffitt and Juliet Sabella.

Unless you’re talking about a farmers’ market or a community yoga class, the words “cheap” and “healthy” aren’t usually found in the same sentence together — especially when it comes to finding lunch in the city. It’s hard out there for a health-conscious human on the go, who may or may not have skipped their Sunday-night meal prep for the week. (Been there.)

But guess what? You actually don’t need to decide between eating lunch and paying your rent, nor do you need to settle for a limp and lonely bag of lettuce with your tears as dressing. Here are nine fantastic, delicious, go-to healthy lunch options that Philly fitness pros turn to, ranging from stacked sandwiches to crave-worthy stir-frys. And the best part is — drumroll, please — they’re all under $10. Yup, turns out you can have your (rice) cake and eat it too.

Ali Cook Jackson of Never Give Up Training
Go-to Under-$10 Healthy Lunch: Chopped Med Salad at Hip City Veg ($9.45)

“I am in love with Hip City Veg’s Chopped Med Salad. As someone who doesn’t love tofu and frankly doesn’t go the vegan route often with my meals, my mouth starts to water at the thought of the marinated tofu in this salad. It is the most delicious $9 of fresh roasted red peppers, artichokes that melt in your mouth, olives that give it a salty bite, garbanzos beans and a delicious basil dressing that will leave you wanting more. Refreshing, filling and healthy!”

Patrick Kempsey of Pat Kempsey Personal Training
Go-to Under-$10 Healthy Lunch: Bison Quinoa Hash at Snap Kitchen ($8.49)

“Most days, I have about fifteen minutes for lunch between clients, so lunches need to not only be healthy but fast. Snap Kitchen has a lot of great options but their Bison Quinoa Hash is my go-to. With ground bison, quinoa, kidney beans, and peppers, it’s high in protein and has enough complex carbs to keep my energy up for my afternoon sessions. It’s a healthy lunch that tastes great. It keeps me full, but it’s light and not at all heavy so I’m able to avoid the post-lunch crash. Along with lots of coffee, this meal gives me the fuel I need to power through the long days.”

Juliet Sabella of The Wall Cycling Studio
Go-to Under-$10 Healthy Lunch: Mediterranean Romain-Wich at The Foodery Roxborough ($6.50)

“I don’t think many people realize what kind of hidden gem The Foodery Roxborough is. Whenever I head in there (about one to two times a week), it’s not for their craft beer selection — it’s for their Mediterranean Romain-Wich. This is a Mediterranean salad sandwich, but no bread … hence the ‘romain-wich!’ Inside the giant romain lettuce leaves, there’s spinach, artichoke hearts, black olives, red onion, tomato, sun-dried tomato pesto, mozzarella cheese and balsamic dressing. I go very light on the dressing, sundried tomato pesto and the cheese, but this thing is amazing, filling and doesn’t leave you feeling in a food-coma state. Options are available to add a protein or to have it on a wrap, but I find I like the vegetarian option at lunch. It’s only $6.50, making it super affordable for me to throw in a bottle of Health Ade Cayenne Cleanse Kombucha to pair with it.”

Jayel Lewis of JL Fitness and Inspirationally Fit
Go-to Under-$10 Healthy Lunch: Herb-rubbed chicken thighs at Real Food Eatery ($9.20)

“Having to pick just one is pretty difficult, yet at the moment I’d have to go with a Real Plate from the newly opened Real Food Eatery located on 16th Street in Rittenhouse. My pick (although there are many options) would have to be the herb-rubbed chicken thighs (with lemon zest, garlic, parsley, chives, oregano, olive oil, salt, and pepper) accompanied with a side of greens or grains, roasted brussels sprouts, and roasted carrot fries — because carrot fries play a close second to real fries. The portion size is perfect for me, the ability to choose various options is great for my ‘Maybe I’ll try a little bit of this’ philosophy, and the price of less than $10 doesn’t make me feel like I’m breaking the bank. Winner, winner, chicken … lunch.”

Justine Bacon of Philly Yoga Factory
Go-to Under-$10 Healthy Lunch: Custom stir-fry concoction at Honeygrow ($9.88)

“I’m kind of obsessed with Honeygrow, maybe in part because it’s so close to so many of the studios I teach with. Despite their crazy popularity, they’re pretty quick as well as healthy and hearty. But mostly, it’s because I can get local almost everything, it’s super fresh, and I can build my own salad or stir-fry on the cheap for under $10 ($9.88 if you really want to know, tax included!). I build my go-to stir-fry dish with spicy tofu, chewy egg-white noodles (sometimes I get Boston lettuce cups instead), crisp jalapenos, green kale, scallions, snappy bean sprouts, buttery roasted cashews, shallots, cilantro, all tossed in a light-yet-rich red coconut curry sauce. Drooool. Happy munching ya’ll!”

Gina Mancuso of CoreFitness
Go-to Under-$10 Healthy Lunch: Fig, Smoked Gouda and Arugula Panini at The Monkey & the Elephant Cafe ($6.75)

“The Monkey & the Elephant Cafe on Girard Avenue has a simple, enticing menu full of good food (and coffee!), but it’s the fig, smoked gouda and arugula panini that makes my day. The panini is crazy flavorful and filling on its own, but I like to add bacon for a $6.75 post-workout treat that makes my mouth water just thinking about it. What’s best about the sandwich is that it comes from the non-profit coffee shop whose mission is to fortify former foster youth with skills for an independent lifestyle. If finding a cheap, healthy lunch and staying connected to the community is what you’re looking for, I bet you’ll find it here.”

Emile Sorger of The Yoga and Movement Sanctuary
Go-to Under-$10 Healthy Lunch: Hampton Salad at RyBrew ($8.25)

“I’d recommend the Hampton Salad at RyBrew on Girard Avenue. It’s a perfect-sized green salad with chicken, roasted tomatoes and parmesan  It gives one of those satisfied-but-not-weighed-down kind of feels.”

Erin Moffitt of Body Cycle Studio
Go-to Under-$10 Healthy Lunch: Spicy Dan Dan Noodles at Snap Kitchen ($6.99)

“My new favorite thing is the Spicy Dan Dan Noodles from Snap Kitchen. At $6.99, this baby is packed with flavor! The brown rice noodles are awesome, and the mix of veggies with hints of chili gives it the perfect kick. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan, so not only is it the perfect pick-me-up lunch; it’s also a crowd pleaser!”

Perry O’Hearn of Philly Phitness and PLUSgives
Go-to Under-$10 Healthy Lunch: Roasted Wheat Berry Salad at Honeygrow ($8.75)

“My go-to for an affordable, healthy, quick bite is the one and only Honeygrow. The founder is a client of mine, but more importantly a close friend. Since I’ve gotten to know him over the years, I’ve learned even more about his business. Between the immense amount of thought that goes into balancing the flavors of hand-selected, locally sourced ingredients to the impact and value Honeygrow has on the community, it is not only satisfying for my ever-hungry stomach, but also my conscience. My favorite salad is the Roasted Wheat Berry: honey ginger vinaigrette, wheat berries, green kale, roasted yams and brussels sprouts, local goat cheese, some dried cranberries and toasted pumpkin seeds.”

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