Frugal healthy lunch ideas: works for me Wednesday

frugal healthy lunch

Frugal healthy lunch ideas from Midge

Hi all! It’s Molly’s cousin Midge here. Molly knows I’ve been working hard to find new ways to be frugal and for this new year – I’ve set some personal goals for my health as well.

Fortunately for me, my Molly Green magazine membership will allow me to have exclusive access to the Dine on a Dime menu planner from Build a Menu (coming soon) AND I get a big discount on a full membership to BAM which includes the fabulous Trim Healthy Mama recipes to help me even more.

Now, I know you may be thinking “lucky Midge – being related to Molly and all”  but, this is not just a family deal - YOU get the same benefits with a Molly Membership – see,  you can join the Molly Family too!

So now, about those frugal healthy lunches . . .

I’ve been making my very own kind of “Lean Cuisine” meals for the week.  When I do my batch cooking  or prepare evening meals – I set aside food to build the lunches with the tips as follows:

  1. Measure 1 cup of extra brown rice to add to broth. Freeze in baggies for quick access.
  2. Place portions of rice in freezer containers and add chopped veggies for a frugal, healthy homemade lean cuisine.
  3. Use broccoli stems to chop small pieces to add to rice for lunch stir-fry or to salads.
  4. Use the tops of tomatoes and bottom portion and chop for a fresh pico de gallo - to add to beans, salad, or chicken,  a Mexican rice dish or fish – for an instant burst of flavor that will light up your taste buds!  pico de gallo
  5.  Use tops and bottoms of white onions and peppers you might normally toss out for the same purpose. Chop ‘em small and throw them into sauce or soup too.
  6. Freeze washed berries and grapes individually on a tray and then divide them into portion sizes for your smoothies and health drinks.
  7. Chop bite size pieces of leftover meats – chicken, fish, steak – and freeze in portion sizes to go into your rice or healthy pasta for a protein boost at lunch.
  8. Once cooled, freeze lunch size portions of your homemade chick broth  in Mason jars or other freezer containers – add leftover rice, chicken, and veggies for a hearty hot lunch.
  9. Use frozen broth to make a homemade Egg Drop Soupfrugal healthy lunch: egg drop soup
  10. Freeze stuffed bell peppers  for a flavorful lunch – use leftover ingredients of rice and lean ground beef, turkey, or venison to fill them with.

Frugal healthy lunches can be yours with just a little bit of prep and planning ahead of time.

Don’t wait to get your Molly Membership so you can take advantage of the big discount for Build a Menu and have the Trim Healthy Mama recipes at your finger tips – or just use the Molly Membership to enjoy the ever frugal Dine on a Dime menu planner!

Go here to get your first month for only $1 and only $7.95 ever after. 

linking with Works for Me Wed

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Almond cheese rounds: Build a Menu recipe

You may have heard our exciting news about our new partnership with the ladies of Build a Menu.
You can look forward to more yumminess like the following Almond Cheese Rounds ( Trim Healthy Mama special).
Even better! Molly members get a special discount to a full membership from BAM – and FREE access to their Dine on a Dime recipe planner.
 Learn more about how Build a Menu can save you big money – HERE. 
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix all ingredients.
  3. Divide into 6-8 balls and flatten slightly, place on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for about 10-12 min until golden brown.


- See more at BAM and Print the Recipe HERE

Easy Allergy-Friendly Lunches~ Works For Me

Last month I shared my trick for fast-fix salads at home. Today I thought I’d share about how I prep quick-grab lunches for my husband. This time of year he’s working harvest, which means 13 hour days. And since he’s gluten-free, he can’t just grab a sandwich and go. Therefore, I’ve been spending Sunday afternoons prepping a week’s worth of lunches that he can grab. That way I don’t have to worry about it again and he has a healthy lunch ready to go.

Last week was just a partial week of harvest and I fixed him some salads with two kinds of beans, marinated grilled chicken and cheese. I actually had two boxes of Ziploc bowls that I’d gotten free on a promo and never used. The salads worked perfectly in them. I prepped the salads, boiled up a bunch of hard boiled eggs and filled sandwich bags with some mini carrots, string cheese and almonds. I also made up some brown rice with lentils and peas and put them in bowls as well (not pictured.) I put some dressing in tiny cups and put some yogurt nearby. Now hubby has all his lunch items on one shelf and can easily grab what he wants.

This week I made a TON of potato salad. I filled six bowls with it for hubs and kept a tub for us to eat as well. I made my version of Southwest chicken salad. I used a package of the cubed chicken I’d prepped from my Zaycon foods purchase, mixed it with black beans and corn and dumped in some taco seasoning. Then I topped them with cheese.

I then cooked up a bunch of rice and added the rest of the chicken/corn/bean mixture to that to make a “rice bowl” type dish. I had some extra taco sauce packets from Taco Bell in my odds & ends drawer so I stuck a couple right on top of each bowl.

Another week down! Here’s a pic of things “in process”.

Here’s a shot of the rice bowl. You can put pretty much any kind of meat & veggies in these and have them come out well.

I took another shot of the fridge this week to show how I label dishes with my pink hair tape labels. I like these because they’re cheap, easy to write on, and peel right off. I decided I’d better label them after hubs took two of the same dish for lunch last week. I thought they were see-through enough (or that one could lift the lid and look?!), but I guess not. ;-)

Oh! And if you look at the cost of a pre-made salad bowl you’ll find that they’re right at $3!! And rice bowls are about the same, I believe. CRAZY! it’s definitely worth the time to make your own. Same with potato salad. It’s very inexpensive to make, but costs a fortune to buy pre-made.

What about you? Do you have any easy lunch tricks or tricks for dealing with allergies or intolerances?

Linking up to Tackle it Tuesday and Works for Me Wednesday.

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Staying Frugal While Being Sick

Guest blog featuring: Midge

Ever have just one of those weeks?  One word can sum up my week so far… sick.  I am the kind of sick where your head feels like it’s full of lead and your body aches when doing small things like walking across the room or even brushing your teeth.  Who knew brushing your teeth could be so strenuous?

I am super prepared to take care of my baby daughter when she falls ill yet seem to lack the ability to take of myself when an illness strikes.  Our medicine cabinet is chock full of thermometers (yes, I have many different baby thermometers!), the blue nose bulb thingy and a variety of odds and ends that our pediatrician recommended to keep in times of sickness for the baby.  But, it is seriously deficient in the grown up medicine department.

I do not ever expect to be sick but inevitably it happens.  During those times, I find myself running quickly into the drug store for cough drops or a pain reliever.  I don’t care how much it costs; I buy it because I feel so miserable.  I would love to have a frugal plan of attack whenever one of those life draining illness hits.

What do you keep regularly stocked in your medicine cabinet?  How do you stay frugal while being sick?

Thanks everyone for weighing in!

Love ya,





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Guest Post~ Promoting Healthier Meals for the Family

 Guest post by Liz Nelson

 Have you ever wondered why organic foods at the grocery store are so much more expensive although less money was spent in the insecticides and growth additives? You’d think that organic means of eating would be cheaper. Well, they can be. Growing your own edibles can go a long way to eating healthier while spending less money. However, what are some ways that you can entice children to eat these healthier vegetables and fruits if they aren’t accustomed to the idea?

1. Spinach - Many children are less likely to eat boiled or canned spinach based purely on the texture of this plant. Although experts say that boiled spinach may be better for you than it is raw, it’s far easier to coax a child into eating a salad prepared partially with spinach leaves and lettuce. In fact, don’t even mention what is in the salad for the thought of eating spinach may be more than the child can bear.

2. Desserts - A great deal of families will often have a desert after dinner. Instead of preparing a sugar-loaded treat, why not prepare something along the lines of pineapple or strawberries? Many fruits can easily be substituted for deserts simply because they are naturally sweetened. Not only can fruits be used to sooth the sweet-tooth in your family, but they are very healthy most of which containing anti-oxidants, vitamin C, and a great deal of other physical benefits.

3. Soda Pop - Soft drinks should be viewed more as an uncommon treat for the family instead of a staple. If your family simply has a hard time of letting go of flavored drinks with meal time, why not try offering flavored waters? Brands like Mio can add a variety of flavors to water without adding saturated fats or calories to the drink. In fact, a slice of orange or lemon in the water can make the drink look fancy while flavoring the beverage.

4. Barbeque - One of the best ways to prepare meats is by throwing it on the barbeque. When you’re cooking on the grill, you don’t use methods in which to prevent the meat from sticking to the pan such as butter or sprays. Fats and greases drip off of the meats decreasing the amount of these that your family will consume. This is aside from the fact that barbequed meats have a flavor to them that simply can’t be duplicated.

5. Cereals - One of the reasons why most households has a box or bag of cereal in the cupboard is because of convenience. It is quicker to allow your family to quickly fill up a bowl than it is to prepare a nutritious breakfast. Try to make time to prepare eggs, wheat toast, and orange juice for breakfast. The proteins themselves will help the family feel better throughout the day.

Having healthier habits doesn’t have to mean that more money is spent on items you need in order to promote this lifestyle. In fact, a great amount of eating healthier shouldn’t cost you much, if anything at all. Growing your own fruits and vegetables can be accomplished year round if you set up your own indoor kitchen garden. By reusing the seeds from most of them, you can create a continuous flow of edibles within the home that are as natural as you can possibly get them. Enjoy the “fruits” of your labor.

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @

Molly Green Magazine: Molly the Beauty Queen

Molly is wearing her beauty queen hat this month!



This month, Molly is all about beauty! With summer in full swing, we tend to have more time to enjoy the outdoors and slow down a bit. Part of that slow down can mean a bit more time to focus on our beauty routines. This does not have to be expensive! Let Molly Green show you how to enjoy beauty treatments on a budget!

Learn to be comfortable in your own skin, find out the best foods to eat to maintain a healthful glow, find out how to save on dental care, have fun yet frugal family summer adventures, and be ready to make a new fabric flowers to decorate your beautiful head of hair!

Look for all of these topics and many more-

  • July has some fun holidays! Alayna Cann reveals some tasty sounding holidays!
  • Patricia Hunter addresses a topic vital for all of us- being comfortable in our own skin. Start with this article before you move on in this issue!
  • Having some fun money can help to relieve that entitlement mentality. Amanda van der Gulik gives you some tips to help your children not fall into the entitled trap when it comes to money!
  • Did you know that your pantry is loaded with beauty treatments? It sure is! Molly shares how to pamper yourself from head to toe using products from your pantry and kitchen!
  • Julie Nott shows you how to spruce up your home on a budget with five super simple ideas!
  • Beauty starts from within. Rhonda Barfield shares the foods and drinks we should include in our diet to keep us beautiful from the inside out!
  • Rebecca Bostwick shares her frugal beauty basics, encouraging you in keeping your hair trimmed to simple uses for olive oil, clay, and even a banana!
  • In Something Old, Something New, Sharon White turns everyday items into decorative fabric flowers
  • Are you looking for some family fun this summer? Look no further than Julie Nott’s article this month sharing frugal family adventures!
  • Brenda Tate shares how to do your own manicure at home, saving money, but also spending some quality time with your daughter!
  • Rhonda Barfield shares her book review for 3 Minutes to a Pain-Free Life.
  • Molly and Midge tell us how being frugal to live can equal being free to give.
  • This month’s Tip of the Month is all about using dental schools to save on this needful personal care. Read along as Rhonda Barfield shares her experience in using dental schools for her dental care.


See why homemakers love Molly Green Magazine—see what’s inside!


 Click here to view a sample!

True beauty comes from within but who doesn’t like to look their best on the outside without spending a fortune doing it?! Frugality and Beauty go hand in hand in this month’s issue of Molly Green Magazine. Learn ways to save money on manicures, beauty treatments that are right from your own pantry, and much more. Molly Green Magazine is sure to help you have a beautiful smile all the way to the bank!

~ Laura Williams

Project Manager: Dena Wood, Becky Gustafson.
Contributing Writers: Laurie Bostwick, Rebecca Bostwick, Alayna Cann, Patricia Hunter, Inger Koppenhaver, Julie Nott, Brenda Tate, Amanda van der Gulik, Sharon White
Publication: 2013
Pages: 39
File Size: 7.2 MB

Need to economize? Subscribe to a Molly Membership!

For only $3.85 a month (cancel any time!) you receive not only the monthly Molly Green Magazine, but also much more!

Purchase NOW!

Every month, Molly has a wealth of information and support to share in one easy-to-read, handy resource! Discover for yourself all of the exciting and imaginative ideas Molly has to offer—ideas that could save you big money and needless headaches!

You’ll glean some of the best inexpensive ideas and projects for everyday living that you can find and be inspired to be self-confident, creative, and resourceful too.

For just $4.95, download this Molly Green Magazine now!

Or become a monthly Molly Member and subscribe for only $3.85 per month!

Sneak Peek Monday~ HALF OFF SALE!

Are you new to gardening? Would you like to make homemade cleaners but don’t know where to start? This 2009 back issue is FULL of handy tips to help you along. Gardening Basics and Natural Cleaners is on sale NOW for only $2.50, today is the last day to receive this back issue at this discounted price. Have you ever seen inside one of my magazines? Take a SNEAK PEEK HERE to see some of the frugal goodness we packed into this issue!

Over 35 pages of information & support for an incredibly low price! A small price to pay compared to the great benefits you’ll receive and the money you’ll be saving once you dig into this E-Book! Buy this E-Book today for ONLY $2.50!

Molly members already have this magazine in your member page! Simply click the “Molly Members” tab above, log in, and search out February 2009.

If you’re not a Molly member, check out everything you receive and sign up now on our SUBSCRIPTION PAGE!

Works For Me~ Making Almond (or Rice) Milk

Many of us (or those in our families) are on allergy friendly diets. For one of my children, we need to use almond (or rice) milk in place of “regular” milk for allergy reasons. Making diet adjustments like this doesn’t mean you need to spend big bucks buying specialty milks (drinks). It’s easy and VERY cost effective to make almond or rice milk at home!


To begin you simply need a blender, some almonds (or white rice), a strainer, some cheese cloth and a storage container for your milk. THIS SITE shares instructions on how to make your own rice milk (and chocolate flavor too!). It also tells you how much you will save by making your own versus buying it (I think you’ll be shocked at the savings!). Do you like Vanilla flavored rice milk? No problem! Check out THIS SITE for tips on how to add vanilla.

Almond milk is just as easy (and fun)! I use about 1 cup of almonds to make about 1 gallon of almond milk. Be sure to soak them for a good 6-8 hours before you begin. THIS SITE has a yummy recipe for delectable homemade almond milk. Did you know you can sweeten your almond milk with dates? THIS SITE incorporates the use of dates, take a look!

Have you ever made your own rice or almond milk? What’s your favorite flavor? Vanilla? Chocolate?

Guest Post — Healthy, Frugal Eating Tips


Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The first wealth is health.” We couldn’t agree more, and so we’re here to guide you in the direction of a few healthy, frugal eating tips. Healthy eating is a priority for more and more households. Information about food allergies and food processing has led many a mom to take control of grocery shopping with new determination.

One thing that has not changed is the desire to shop economically. Whether eating gluten-free, going organic, or tweaking an existing diet, there are several strategies that work for all to keep costs down.

  1. Plan, Plan, Plan – Meal planning saves both money and time, and it makes eating healthy easier! First, take inventory of your pantry and see what needs to be used right away. Then create your meals for the week. Creating meals around what needs to be eaten first means less waste and fewer unnecessary purchases at the store. Make your list based on your meal planning and start checking it against the weekly coupons offered. Most stores provide online options for coupons and weekly specials and many will honor competitor coupons.

  2. Eat Naturally - Fresh fruits and veggies will always be an enormous part of any healthy eating plan, and there are tricks for keeping costs low. Keep a chart of what is in-season and try to buy as much of that as possible. Get familiar with The Dirty Dozen (foods to always buy organic) and the Clean 15 (foods that tested low in pesticides). Don’t forget about frozen choices; frozen fruits and veggies are a great addition to a well-stocked pantry.

  3. Supersize it – Buy in bulk whenever possible. This means stocking up on Buy-One-Get-One-Free items or shopping at wholesale stores for specific items. Another option is online retailers like Amazon, where organic and gluten free products are often on sale.

  4. Make Your Own – Want to reduce the amount of processed foods eaten or need to eliminate particular ingredients? Making foods from scratch is an easy way to eat healthier and save money. Look for free recipes for Gluten Free cooking and to discover new combinations for those in season veggies. And don’t forget options that can often double or triple a recipe and freeze some for later.

  5. Grow A GardenPlanting even a few herbs or vegetables can produce big results. A family garden gives the opportunity to cut out pesticides as well as plant what will inevitably be eaten. Even without a yard, several plants like tomatoes and cucumbers can be grown in pots and do well virtually anywhere. Look for resources to help maximize square footage and tips for canning, freezing and preserving so that the savings keep going after the garden ends.

Eating healthy and living frugally can work together. Although it takes a bit of time and effort, the end results of a balanced meal and balanced checkbook are well worth it.

About the author: offers free website coupons, coupon codes, promotions, product specials, sales, and any other type of information to help consumers get the best deal on what they are looking for. The Savings Blog offers savings tips, shopping news, savings tutorials, store reviews and tips for bargain hunting.


Cooking With The Kids – Healthy Fast Food Substitutions at Home


Do your kids love fast food? Do you wish they would choose healthier options?

Healthy Food Choices Made Fun

As a family, you might try to spend time together in the kitchen. You could teach kids easy, new ways to eat some of their favorite foods or even let them help prepare nutritious meals and then celebrate with a family picnic. To help promote a more active lifestyle you might like to go for a walk or on a nature hike after the picnic, play soccer, or Frisbee. The key is to make it fun, from the beginning of food preparation, to eating the food and finally to fun, family time afterward.

Fast Food Recipe Options

Here are a few alternatives to some of the most loved fast food choices:

  • Breakfast Tacos or Soft Tacos– Use a whole wheat tortilla and fill with a choice of fillings like scrambled egg whites, turkey sausage, turkey bacon, low fat mozzarella cheese, fresh vegetables, and salsa.
  • Individual Pizza– Using a whole wheat tortilla as the pizza crust, top with pure (seasoned) tomato paste, low fat mozzarella cheese and any fresh vegetable desired.
  • French Fries– Let the children help slice sweet potatoes. Toss the slices in a Ziploc bag with a little olive oil. Seal the bag and let the children shake it to coat the fries. Place the fries on a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven, 450°F for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Mashed Potatoes– Try mashed cauliflower. Boil the cauliflower, drain the water, and mash and stir until it is the consistency of homemade mashed potatoes. Instead of butter, consider flavoring with low-fat or fat free sour cream, low-fat mozzarella cheese, and chives.

Make dietary changes slowly and expect to see gradual results. The kids may not like the changes at first, take one step at a time. Make each step fun and get the kids involved. The more they help prepare the foods, the more likely they are to eat and enjoy the new foods.

Fast Food at Home – Making it Fun

What are you doing in your home to help your kids make healthy food choices? Have you discovered a fun, new way to make their favorite fast foods? Please share with us!

For more Works For Me tips, visit We Are That Family.