Best cheap and healthy bang-for-your-buck?
1. Bahn mi at Bahn Mi Saigon Bakery are pretty healthy, if you don't order the ones with the super fatty fillings. Summer rolls, which I've seen there on occasion and at many other similar, small Vietnamese places in Chinatown, are even better.
2. Han Ah Reum Market on E. 32nd has these wonderful takeout Korean-style maki rolls, mostly vegetable, for 4-5 dollars, on the weekend and most weekdays around lunch time. The $5 tray with several large, long rolls, will feed two or more people.
3. Indus Express on 48th St. between 5th and 6th has very inexpensive chaat. The chicken chaat is very healthy and filling enough for a meal. Bhel poori is also pretty healthy.
Banh Mi Saigon
198 Grand St, New York, NY 10013
Han Ah Reum
25 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001
Angelica Kitchen in the East Village is BYO and vegan.
Belcourt on 2nd ave and 4th street is more expensive but lots of high quality organic and locla ingredients and a total bargain considering the portions, quality, service, presentation, etc.
Brown on Hester and Essex has the same culinary mentality (lots of local and organic) and very well priced, especially at brunch/lunch.
Ayurveda Cafe for Indian vegetarian set meals on the UWS. Bottomless portions -- you can always ask for more -- but that kind of sort of defeats the purpose of healthy, doesn't it? I haven't been in a while but I used to pay $8 for lunch. It's a bit more during dinnertime. It gets you appetizer, rice, dal, vegetable, bread and dessert.
Food is not highly salted and seasoned like most Indian restaurants. So I can see a lot of people finding the food bland and tasteless if that's where you're coming from. You need to appreciate this place for what it is -- very fresh and light. This is the only place where the food doesn't make me feel like a ton of bricks afterwards.