Inexpensive/healthy near Orlando convention center
Poor grad student will be at the Orange County Convention Center for a conference......
Any ideas for cheap/healthy food near the convention center? (within a few miles or easy public transportation distance)
Any good grocery stores nearby?
I don't know how helpful this is since you said public transportation, but a short drive to Sand Lake Road @ Turkey Lake Road will get you to a Whole Foods (I think it's open, it's a new one).
I can't think of anything else near the Convention Center is cheap or healthy. There might be a smoothie place in one of the shopping centers, but you'd have to look for it or look it up.
Whole foods not open yet, unfortunately. Grocery? as far as I know, Publix is the only thing near by. But you're more likely to find better food, IMHO, off of I Drive. Sand Lake Road has a few choices. First Watch is very good, serving breakfast and lunch and they have some great healthy options.
There is an "I-Drive Trolly" with a stop at the Convention Center. Here is a link to their website with a list of restaurants with trolly stop numbers.
You can do your own search on this site by price range. Three pages <$10.00 and four pages <$20.00.
My suggestions from this list:
Sweet Basils is a Thai restaruant within an easy walk. Good food at modest prices. Cafe TuTu Tango serves tapas with many healty options. Hanamizuki is a highly rated Japanese restaurant. For a quick cheap meal (decent/not great) there is a Sweet Tomatos chain with huge salad bar. All of these, and more, are within a short walk or quick trolly ride away from the CC.