Food Diary: How a 30-Year-Old Physician Eats on $65K in Philadelphia, PA

Food Diary: How a 30-Year-Old Physician Eats on K in Philadelphia, PA

5:45 p.m. 45 minutes of Intervals and Arms later I’m still thinking about that cup of peanut butter so I go for it and enjoy it slowly melting in my mouth as I walk my corgi, Ollie.

6:43 pm My parents come to town from the suburbs for dinner. They loved exploring Philadelphia’s great restaurant scene with me, but I have some criteria for ‘dining out with the parents’ – the restaurant shouldn’t be too dark or too loud or too expensive, and there needs to be something on the menu standing I know will please them both. I select Chayatee Thai, a Thai place around the corner that we all really enjoyed on a previous visit. While we catch up, my dad orders some root vegetable fall rolls as an appetizer ($7). The order comes with three rolls, which is perfect. My mom and I both gulp down the extra sweet and sour sauce. It’s rainy tonight so curry feels like a good choice. My massaman curry has tender chunks of pumpkin that melt in my mouth, and I enjoy every last bit of the rich sauce with nibbles of rice ($22).

My family can never pass on the dessert – I wonder where I got it. I love mango and sticky rice so that’s what I order ($9). The bright orange mango half is topped with some sesame seeds, which add a unique flavor and crunch. However, if my mom’s coconut sorbet comes out in an actual coconut shell, I think she’s won the dessert roulette ($10). It’s incredibly silky, almost like yogurt. ($39 for my share, covered by my parents). The sticky, sweet condensed milk on my rice almost allayed my dessert cravings, but I still crave chocolate when I get home, so I have two more mini peanut butter cups while I pack my breakfast.


Wednesday total: $2.25 (or $41.25 including dinner covered by parents)


6:37 am Before I go out, I spread some salty almond butter on the banana I bought in the cafeteria on Tuesday. This amount of fat and protein should help me until I can have breakfast after the rounds.

8:42 am With my cafeteria meal card, I buy a Core Power vanilla protein shake ($4.40), a banana to save for later ($0.65), and a decaf coffee ($1.60). To make the coffee palatable, I add some of the Italian Sweet Crème creamer in our call room, a room where residents can stay during night shifts. ($6.65 total, covered by my meal card)

8:58 am While writing my notes after the round, I chew my breakfast of fruit, yogurt, and granola. Today’s one has grapes and thawed mangoes. My favorite bites are those with dried cranberries.

10:13 am I break into my packaged snacks early. Those peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets are so satisfying to crunch into and easy to eat while I’m working on the computer.

12:12 pm My roommate and I previously played “guess what the cafeteria will have for lunch”, but I’m pleasantly surprised to see that the cafe offers a taco salad as a special, which I get with rice and beans instead of meat, and no cheese or sour cream ($5). I realize this is almost embarrassing, but I’m really not a big cheese person. They also have spicy fried cauliflower bites, so I add a small container of that ($1.50). I know I have a few bucks left on my meal card, so I grab a tub of watermelon ($3) too. ($9.50 total, covered by my meal card) The cauliflower nuggets are pretty good, especially when mixed with appetizers of taco salad. It could have used a little more dressing but all in all not a bad cafeteria lunch. I also eat three clementines that I brought from home.


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