Trapped in S-Bux

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I’m sure other work-from-homers can identify with this current crisis:  there are WAY too many distractions at home!  Even though I’ve worked from home for 3.5 years, I sometimes struggle to focus.  And I really need to buckle down this week and get stuff done.


Hence:  Starbucks.


Not only is it quiet in my favorite corporate giant coffee shop, but there is free WIFI!  Wahoo.  Latte + Internet = 5 hours of uninterrupted bliss.


Also, there are petite vanilla scones.  Loves.  I saw the Pioneer Woman did her own version of these recently… Yum.  Must try.


Going to Starbucks was a good idea for the scones for my productivity levels.  Kind of reminds me of being a high schooler and studying for exams.


By the time I left, it was dark out!


So I stopped for Chinese food.  This is becoming a habit.


Since I already had tofu today, I decided to mix it up by just ordering steamed broccoli + mixed vegetables + brown rice in a basic Chinese brown sauce.  I saved a few bucks by not adding a protein!


When I got home, I broke out the cashews.


And topped my veggies with a generous sprinkle:


SO good.  It was the perfect ‘fast food’ dinner – and pretty healthy, too (maybe just a little sodium overdose).   Next time, I’ll get the same veggie base and add chickpeas – this restaurant doesn’t do the best tofu, anyway.


What’s your favorite healthier fast food solution?



  • Evan Thomas November 2, 2010, 8:17 pm

    I have been loving Starbucks lately. I’m starting to get to know the baristas well, too, Lol. My only problem with going there is they offer so few gluten-free snack options, I usually have to bring my own if I want to be there 90+ minutes. Besides that, complete love for the starbucks.

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks November 2, 2010, 8:18 pm

    I spent a lot of time in cafes in college. Writing papers in my apartment just wasn’t going to happen. For some reason it’s easier to be productive when sitting in a strange place drinking $3 coffee.

    Don’t know why it is so, but it just is!

  • holly @ couchpotatoathlete November 2, 2010, 8:23 pm

    My “healthy” fast food solution is usually Subway or Chipotle — plus they are both pretty cheap which is a nice bonus 🙂

    I used to love to do homework and study at coffee shops, I seemed to get so much more reading and writing done there than if I was at home — the tv alone is too distracting for me!

    • eml November 2, 2010, 8:41 pm

      Cashews FTW!! 🙂

  • Laura (Starloz) November 2, 2010, 8:24 pm

    I can sit in starbucks for hours with friends, i know the baristas & they bring me lattes every now & then, its excellent.

    fast food never tastes as good once it’s been put in a container & sweated.
    i’d rather eat in or make something at home.

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) November 2, 2010, 8:24 pm

    I love working in cafes — I get more done without the distractions of, ‘Oh, I’ll get another drink of water’ ‘Oh, let’s see who’s on Ellen.’

    Favorite healthy fast-food: Subway is always a safe bet and I do love Chipotle. If you get a veggie bowl, it’s really not that high calorically and is packed with nutrients.

  • Brittany (a healthy slice of life) November 2, 2010, 8:25 pm

    Next time you go to Starbucks, let me know. I’d live to come meet you if I’m in the area! 🙂

  • *Andrea* November 2, 2010, 8:26 pm

    my go-to fast food is THAI! i love the rice/veggie combo and love adding in curry flavors and tofu. Greek is also a top one of mines – i love falafel, hummus, tabbouleh, pita, lavash, etc.! and of course olives. i also love whole foods salad bar if that counts 😉

    great idea with the cashew topper!

  • Erin @ Bishella November 2, 2010, 8:26 pm

    That’s such a smart way to eat Chinese food! putting that on my to-try list…

  • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) November 2, 2010, 8:26 pm

    My favorite healthy fast food/ delivery option is a Greek place around the corner. Ordered from there last night infact. I love their Greek salad with chicken.

  • Maria @ Oh Healthy Day November 2, 2010, 8:26 pm

    I love going to Whole Foods for “fast food”. I usually get a cup of soup and a made to order sandwich. All fresh and hot 🙂

  • grocery goddess jen November 2, 2010, 8:28 pm

    I need a laptop, stat! I want to work from starbucks 🙂

    Healthy fast food…usually when we go out to eat it’s for Friday night dinner, so I don’t get much takeout, but I love what you got tonight! Looks like a good choice.

  • Hope November 2, 2010, 8:33 pm

    Yum! I love cashews in chinese food mmmmm! You’ve got me craving for chinese now lol the stuff I try and recreate at home never ends up tasting as good as takeout chinese!
    My favourite healthier fast food is a Vegan Pizza (pizza, I know) from a New Zealand chain called Hell Pizza. It had no cheese but beans, jalapenos, capsicum, tomato and olives…yummo!

    • Laura November 2, 2010, 11:47 pm

      Just randomly commenting because yay! A New Zealand blogger! I’ve been looking for one for ages. *Adding to Reader* 🙂

      • Caitlin November 3, 2010, 7:56 am

        Yay, friends!

        • Hope November 3, 2010, 6:27 pm

          Oh yay!! 🙂

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In November 2, 2010, 8:33 pm

    There is a chain in STL called CrazyBowls and Wraps that has options for brown rice, quinoa, tofu, tons of veggies, and a variety of sauces. It’s a healthy eater’s dream, takes about 5 minutes, and is cheap!!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 2, 2010, 8:37 pm

    I wish I was working in Sbux all afternoon! I love chinese food – it really isn’t all that bad, unless you count the sodium… just drink like 4 gallons of water tonight.

  • Liz @ Blog is the New Black November 2, 2010, 8:40 pm

    Great idea to add the cashews- that look really good!!!

  • Carla @ Will Run for Health November 2, 2010, 8:45 pm

    I am lucky to have a grocery store tha has a sushi counter. In a pinch I can run in and grab some vegan sushi packed with veggies and a green tea to go. When that isn’t an option, I still stick with “fast food” from the grocery store: pre-made salads, fruit, cereal bars, etc.

    • Cindy November 3, 2010, 11:24 am

      Oh great idea Carla! Publix grocery stores offer brown rice sushi also. I will have to remember next time nothing sounds good at a drive thru 🙂

  • Rachel @ EatMoreMeatLess November 2, 2010, 8:47 pm

    I went to Starbucks last week to get some quality work done, it worked well 🙂

    Sounds like a great dinner too!

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow November 2, 2010, 8:47 pm

    Indian is my fav fast food health fix. Wholesome sauce, rich spices and good flavor. YUMMO!

    I love the uninterrupted bliss-work-productivity at said Starbucks! Those are the best days.

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss November 2, 2010, 8:49 pm

    My favorite healthier fast food is definitely Chinese. I know it’s usually loaded with sugary sauces or whatever, but it’s also loaded with veggies and lean protein (if you choose smartly, at least)

  • Kelly November 2, 2010, 8:50 pm

    starbucks getting free wi fi is the best thing ever. they used to charge!

  • Tabitha (From Single to Married) November 2, 2010, 8:50 pm

    Subway. Quick and easy.

    btw – I worked from home too and I finally quit just last week because I couldn’t handle working and raising my little nine month old. The two just weren’t mixing – talk about distractions! (but a good one, of course)

  • Charlie November 2, 2010, 8:54 pm

    I usually get Chinese food or Subway.

    And I’m at Starbucks… 5-6 days a week. I just can’t study at home (I’ll watch movies and read blogs instead).
    Bad for the budget, though. But since I never (maybe 2 times a year) go out, I include it in my activities budget ;).

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 2, 2010, 8:55 pm

    I used to go to Starbs on a very regular basis – a couple of times each week – to get work/studying/blogging done but lately I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t had time. I’m hoping to go this weekend and chill out and blog for a bit… it’s one of my favourite places for that!

  • Shari November 2, 2010, 8:57 pm

    Those scones look so good!

    I work at home, too, but I’ve found that I really need as much quiet as possible when I’m ensconsed in the heart of writing. It’s definitely easier to get more distracted at home, though, so I’ve been mulling over the idea of going to a cafe or coffee shop to work every now and then. Your entry inspired me to go for it! 🙂

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) November 2, 2010, 8:58 pm

    I hear ya on the distractions! They just keep on coming. The kids were out of school today too! I love Moe’s Southwest Grill for healthy fast food. Easy hot and quick!

  • Amanda (Eating Up) November 2, 2010, 9:01 pm

    Is it weird that I’ve always wanted the Starbucks guy to remember me and my drink preference?

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit November 2, 2010, 9:05 pm

    That meal looks good, even though Chinese food kind of makes me sick to my stomach. Haven’t had it in awhile. I like Thai food- you can usually find a healthy veggie or tofu dish with a light sauce and brown rice.

  • Jenny November 2, 2010, 9:06 pm

    A veggie burger + baked sweet potato “fries” = a healthified Mickey D’s meal 🙂

  • Marie-Journey to Body Zen November 2, 2010, 9:07 pm

    I typically eat mexican food when I have to eat fast food because most of the time you can still have a somewhat healthy meal 🙂

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday November 2, 2010, 9:10 pm

    LOVE chinese veggies with cashews.

  • Emily November 2, 2010, 9:12 pm

    Starbucks is great for typing and research but rough if you have tons of reading homework…I have been stuck home with it for MONTHS! My fav fastfood is definitely asian cuisine; Chinese is usually steamed tofu and mixed veggies, thai rama garden with tofu (steamed mixed veggies), and japanese sushi rolls, salad, and miso soup!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) November 2, 2010, 9:13 pm

    What a great idea to add your own cashews!

  • Katie @ peacebeme November 2, 2010, 9:16 pm

    I hate how its getting dark so early!

  • Dorry November 2, 2010, 9:19 pm

    I love Chipotle for black bean burrito bowls or Pei Wei for brown rice, veggies & tofu. 🙂

  • Lauren November 2, 2010, 9:21 pm

    Subway veggie! 🙂

  • Wei-Wei November 2, 2010, 9:25 pm

    Hmm, how much protein do cashews have? I’m curious! (It’s an interesting way to add protein to a meal, I think :D)

    • Caitlin November 2, 2010, 10:14 pm

      5 grams in a 1/4 cup

  • Camille November 2, 2010, 9:27 pm

    Oh sweet sweet Starbucks. I haven’t been there in forever!

  • Carlee November 2, 2010, 9:31 pm

    That looks awesome! What Chinese place is it? I feel like all ours are sooooo unhealthy. and fried filled. Yuck. I love Starbucks! It is soo comforting!

    • Caitlin November 2, 2010, 10:15 pm

      just a local place!

  • Andi November 2, 2010, 9:41 pm

    Stumbled across your blog again last week.. and have been hooked since! : )

    You do amazing work : )

    • Caitlin November 2, 2010, 10:16 pm

      thank you!

  • Missy Miller November 2, 2010, 9:43 pm

    The pre-made brown rice sushi rolls and rice wraps at the grocery store come to mind.

    However I am a big supporter of all that Chipotle does to promote a better way of eating. Did you know how cool they are? Google it.


    • Caitlin November 2, 2010, 10:16 pm

      Chiptole is pretty cool!

  • Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life November 2, 2010, 9:45 pm

    I don’t think I have a go to healthy take out place or restaurant. I usually pack protein powder, nuts like raw almonds and walnuts and also portable fruit like apples with me at all times when I know I’ll be out of the house for 2+ hours. If I don’t have anything on hand, I usually stop at the grocery store and pick up a luna or lara bar to tide me over until I can make it home! : )

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations November 2, 2010, 9:59 pm

    I know just what you mean about SBUX and productivity. And the nostalgia factor — working in Starbucks reminds me of law school. I spent many hours and many dollars in Starbucks during those three years.

  • Britt @ Runnerbelle November 2, 2010, 10:04 pm

    When I was in college I’d go to the local coffee shops all the time to get work done! I’d probably go now if I had to study for something too.

    I rarely do takeout for dinner, if anything we end up eating out…. and its not so healthy. 😉

  • Dee November 2, 2010, 10:18 pm

    Oh! I love their petite vanilla scones! YUM! I love Chinese food too!

  • ProjectLifeBy Sue November 2, 2010, 10:24 pm

    Loves the Starbucks but I’m a purist. No fancy lattes – I romance the thoughts of lattes and then I get one, and don’t love it. Oh but a Grande Bold with real (organic) cream and honey. Helloooooo.

    Healthy take out – Vietnamese. Vermicilli, vietnamese salad, and grilled chicken. YUMBO

  • Heidi - apples under my bed November 2, 2010, 10:31 pm

    Yay for productivity and chinese food 🙂 I love veitnamese for healthy fast food – going out for a quick, cheap, yummy Pho soup. For takeaway, Japanese! You’re right though – sodium overdose.
    Heidi xo

  • J November 2, 2010, 11:07 pm

    Love doing work in Starbucks- it just feels so much less painful. Prob has something to do with the lattes and baked goods 🙂

  • Leah @ Why Deprive? November 2, 2010, 11:08 pm

    We dont have many healthy fast food places where I am. At least, none that I get excited about. Tim Hortons is good though. They make some pretty fantastic sandwiches, and sandwiches ARE my favorite food. 🙂

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing November 2, 2010, 11:09 pm

    YUM! I haven’t had chinese in way too long!

  • katie hery November 2, 2010, 11:09 pm

    do you wake up super thirsty after chinese food? i do. also i have been meaning to ask you, did you get more visitors to your blog since the marie claire article?

    • Caitlin November 3, 2010, 7:55 am

      I’m not super thirsty right now, nope! Just regular thirsty 🙂 And a bit more, yes.

  • Gracie (complicated day) November 2, 2010, 11:23 pm

    I totally had to hit coffee shops to study in school…otherwise I would just clean my house! 😀

  • Jill November 2, 2010, 11:25 pm

    Sigh, to sit in Starbucks alone. I long for that again. For healthy fast food I make Chick Pea tacos. Just mix ’em up with some avocado and lime and voila–dinner is served.

  • Katy @ A Healthy Shot November 2, 2010, 11:33 pm

    I’m not sure how much healthier it is, but we have a Sunday afternoon ritual of Chinese food during NFL, and I order steamed dumplings rather than the sweet & sour chicken that I’d get back in college 😉

  • Maddie November 2, 2010, 11:56 pm

    Mmm Starbucks. I love going to coffee shops and working. I always feel so warm and cozy!

  • Marina November 3, 2010, 2:07 am

    I adore starbucks. I wish it would come to my country. When I go to a country that has them, I started jumping around like a kid 😀
    Hm, healthy fast food for me are sandwiches, and eggs with veggies. simple, fast and delicious

    • Caitlin November 3, 2010, 7:57 am

      where do you live?

      • Marina November 3, 2010, 3:15 pm

        Croatia 🙂

  • B November 3, 2010, 3:25 am

    For me, library is the best place to get my stuff done. As you know, library is always quiet and without distractions, I also can use library’s free wi-fi.

    My favorite healthier fast food solution is to steam everything. I steam vegetables, fishes and rice, they would be served with very little light soy sauce.

  • Eliza November 3, 2010, 3:44 am

    I eat sushi rolls a couple of times a week. No disrespect, but they’re much yummier here in Australia. I was disappointed in The US. But I did like Chipotle!

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) November 3, 2010, 6:23 am

    I love starbucks. I love their coffees. I love their petite little scones. I love the atmosphere. Love. 😀

  • Ash @ Good Taste. Healthy Me November 3, 2010, 6:26 am

    I love how you can make chinese food look healthier…I tend to opt for unhealthy things like crab rangoons and beef teriyaki. So good but I always feel so gross afterward.

    • Caitlin November 3, 2010, 7:57 am

      everynow and then, there’s nothing wrong with that kind of stuff! or get it as a side to a healthier entree!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin November 3, 2010, 7:37 am

    Subway is my favourite healthier fast food option. There’s one on campus, so it’s great for days when I don’t have time to pack a lunch.

  • Christin November 3, 2010, 9:13 am

    I always think of Chinese food as so unhealthy, but I LOVE it. My husband doesn’t so on the occasional night when he is away, I like to get take-out for myself. Do you ask questions about how the veggies are prepared? It can be difficult to talk to the restaurant workers because of the language barrier, but I always want to ask for less oil or whatever.

    Maybe I have control issues… 🙂

    • Caitlin November 3, 2010, 9:17 am

      I don’t really bother. They are definitely steamed and I figure if I’m eating rice + veggies, I need the calories from oil 🙂 Heh

  • Kimberley November 3, 2010, 9:21 am

    Subway used to be my go-to option, but then I recently read somewhere that their bread contains some kind of beef product and some weird chemical that is used to make faux leather. Who knows if that is even accurate, but it just sort of grossed me out. Do you have any intel. on this??

    • Caitlin November 3, 2010, 9:26 am

      Did a quick search… not awesome but no beef!

      9-GRAIN WHEAT Enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, barley malt, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, yeast, high fructose corn syrup, whole wheat flour, wheat gluten, contains 2% or less of the following: oat fiber, soybean oil, salt, wheat bran, rolled wheat, rye nuggets, dough conditioners (DATEM, sodium stearoyl lactylate), yeast nutrients (calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate), degermed yellow corn meal, rolled oats, rye flakes, caramel color, triticale flakes, parboiled brown rice, refinery syrup, honey, barley flakes, flaxseed, millet, sorghum flour, azodiacarbonamide, natural flavor (maltodextrin, natural flavor, silicon dioxide, lactic acid). Contains wheat.

  • Liz November 3, 2010, 9:23 am

    There is a vegan take-out place a few blocks from my house. It always looked sketchy from the outside and was under construction forever, but when I finally tried it I was very happy. It is a little pricey, but totally worth it when I don’t have the energy to cook.

  • nicole November 3, 2010, 10:39 am

    I like ordering steamed veggies from our go-to Chinese place too. It’s cheap, it’s quick, and I can add whatever I want to them at home.

  • Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa November 3, 2010, 11:25 am

    I love setting up in a cafe. As a student its the only way to go.

    My favorite fast thing, especially with friends, is getting a grocery store pizza and then jazzing it up with more interesting toppings.

  • Cindy November 3, 2010, 11:30 am

    I love Tijuana Flats. They have a Powerlite Menu you can order light sour cream & cheese. I love the blackened chicken salad and lots of hot sauce 🙂

  • Amber K November 3, 2010, 11:35 am

    There’s not a whole lot I can do for fast food that has no meat and no gluten! The last (and only time) I have tried to do it was the day after I found out I should go gluten-free I was on the road and stopped at a grocery store for a box of salad. I then swung through taco bell and got a side of rice and a side of beans and dumped both on top of the lettuce.

    Then I found out they put lard in their beans at taco bell. Ugh.

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