Why It's Harder to Eat Healthy in NYC

Moving to the city has been a big adjustment for Matt and I across the board. Our family is still back in Texas, and so is the lifestyle that we were used to. It's funny how life in another place can feel so similar and yet so different at the same time. 

Anyways, one major thing that I've noticed over the past 3 months (can you believe it's been that long already?!!) is that living a healthy lifestyle is much harder here. That adjustment kind of blindsided me. New York has a little bit of everything, and when we visited last year, we found so many healthy restaurants to choose from! Also, in comparison to Houston, New Yorkers are a lot closer to a healthy weight. I think the fashion industry plays a large role in that -- there's definitely some serious restrictive eaters here. 

But after living here, I've found that like everything else, eating healthy is harder in the city. That doesn't mean it's not doable, but it is harder. I compiled a list of reasons. Hopefully, knowing the reasons will help us to prepare more wisely so that we don't fall into an unhealthy slump. 

You’re always in a hurry

I am always powerwalking, and always late. I have to talk myself down from getting frustrated with tourists and other slow people who are in my way of getting to my destination. I don't know what it is about NYC, but it just does not feel leisurely. Most people's commute to work is 45-60 min each way, and they are very career driven. When you're in the hurry mindset, it's hard to slow down at home and prep/cook meals. 

You're always tired

Same kinda deal as #1. You work long hours, stand up on the crowded subway carrying a day's worth of stuff in a tote bag, and get home totally exhausted. Ordering delivery on Seamless always sounds so much better than going into the kitchen and cooking. 

Going to the grocery store is not convenient

In most places, you really take for granted the concept of grocery store parking lots. In New York, there are corner bodegas where you can get produce and basic groceries in a pinch, but you wouldn't want to do your major shopping there. They're expensive, and their selection is limited. The other option is taking the subway to a bigger store, like Trader Joe's. The thing is, everything you buy, you have to carry back home. It's complicated.

You cook in a tiny kitchen

I remember dreaming of growing up and having a huge kitchen with tons of chopping space and a kitchen island with refrigerated drawers. Unless you're a millionaire, you probably don't have any of that in your New York apartment. Most of the kitchens I've seen in the city are smaller than a coat closet in Texas. Shelving and counter space is hard to come by. 

Drinking alcohol is the thing to do

This is a new concept for me. I'm not sure if it's necessarily New York, but getting drinks is the social thing to do. I'm used to hanging out with friends over coffee or tea. People don't seem to do that as much here. And if you don't drink, people are really confused. 

The pizza and bagels are objectively better here

This is so true. I have heard it has something to do with the high quality of NYC tap water. I'm not sure if that is the actual reason, but pizza and bagels are SO unfortunately good here. 

There are an overwhelming amount of delicious restaurants to choose from

New Yorkers are spoiled rotten with restaurant quality and selection. There are so many talented chefs in the city and so many restaurants to try. And most of the time, amazing restaurant food is not healthy food. 

You’re convinced that since you walk so much, you’ve earned some extra calories

I catch myself using this logic. Well... I walked 2.5 miles today commuting to work and then to the store. I earned this bagel. Realistically, I'm not walking enough to burn that bagel and even if I were, the nutrients in a bagel are not as nourishing as real food. 


They say if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. While they’re probably talking about career/money, I think it also applies to a healthy lifestyle. If you can cook at home and be healthy in NYC, you can do it anywhere. And that’s something to be proud of.