December 12, 2008

Frugal Friday - Lunch help wanted

When Mr. Right and I pledged our love, our lives, and our bank accounts to one another a little over a month ago, we had the discussion about finances. I spend $60 a month or so on fast food. Its quick, its yummy, and its my habit. Added up over the year, that's over $700 of burgers and fries!

Lest ye worry I'm eating my family out of house and home, my hubs also wastes about $60 a month - on smokeless tobacco (referred to around here as "dip"). Starting out we both pledged to curb our habits and save our month budget $120.

Of course I'm doing slightly better than him, which is to be expected. Last time I checked the grease Mickey Dees cooks their fries in doesn't have a highly addictive drug added too it (but I do question the drug-like properties of their Cokes).

After about a week of eating a mish-mash of leftovers, my low blood sugar got the better of me. Yes I said some not nice things to my hubs. Don't judge - crankiness is an official side effect of Hypoglycemia.

Wanna here something crazy? All that fast food was good for me. Maybe not my heart and my thighs, but the protein in the burgers played and important roll in keeping my blood sugar where is supposed to be. (Naturally fasting I'm around 40-50 range. Normal people should be around 70-100)

So I need some ideas. I'm sure most of you frugal bloggers have been packing lunches for ages. What are some high protein/low calorie (I don't wanna get fat because I stopped eating fast food) items that I can through together for my lunches?

Check out Frugal Friday for some great ideas on saving money by doing things smarter!


  1. I don't have any advice, but I also have hypoglycemia and I,too, have done the burger thing! It's how I survived college! I did start eating just the meat, no bread, and a salad instead of fries. I've tried and tried to come up with healthy and cheap lunches and I wish I could tell you I have, but I haven't! Sorry! :)

  2. My daughter struggles with this, too. She uses the glycemic index of foods to help her choose her foods. Some ideas:
    cabbage rolls, ground beef, cabbage, tomato sauces
    snacks of olives, pickles (read labels, some have added sugars)
    she eats lunch meat spread with mayo, between two pieces of lettuce.
    meatballs (from scratch)
    stir fries (from scratch) using vegetables that have a lower impact on blood sugar (no root vegetables, but plenty of things like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and lentil sprouts.

  3. This is a post I wrote recently about an easy lunch to make ahead, freeze, pop in the oven for 30 minutes and be ready to take to work. My husband says they still taste good even when he doesn't get to eat them hot from the oven.

  4. Beans are so yummy!! I love black beans all whirled up in the chopper and spread on bagels or English muffins.

  5. If you have access to a microwave it makes it easier...these are some of the things I take:

    Baked potatoes with cheese (complete protein, although Potatoes aren't great for gi)

    Home-made lunchables- bits of meat, cheese, vegetables, dip


    Cuban black beans and rice

    Soup with cheese on the side

    Yoghurt/granola bar/nuts

    sliced vegetables, exotic cheese -Port Salut is great with red peppers, goats cheese is awesome with cucumbers mozerella with basil and cucumbers

    Hardboiled eggs/deviled eggs with some of the above

    I find that things go much more smoothly if I try to think of lot of snacks that go together-focusing on lunch as a meal just makes it too elaborate. I also make it a point to think about lunch and buy food for it at the supermarket instead of just presuming I will figure it out.

  6. Do you like Mexican food? Something really easy and pretty cheap I do sometimes for my husband is too roll up some tortillas with black beans, cheese and if I have some on hand, I add chicken. Mix in some garlic, onion, chili, and onion seasonings and just microwave. Yum!

  7. You might try cooking up a roast, or a chicken or turkey on Sunday, then slicing it up for the week. Get yourself some yummy rolls or good bread, some good condiments (like dijon mustard) and some lettuce and tomatoes. Prep it all at once and put the different foods in baggies. Then, each day, you can make up a quick but delicious sandwich. Or you could make a salad with slices of meat and cheese in it. If you do all the work in one afternoon (and really, it isn't that much work), it will be as convenient as fast food.
    I hope your husband works at quitting the yucky smokeless tobacco, so that he's around for you for a long time!
    PS...I agree with Jamie on Mexican food. Tortillas rolled up with goodies inside are easy and delicious!

  8. It sounds like you need to have high protein lunches. Does it work if you eat things like eggs, cheese, beans or peanut butter? You could make up a large batch of black bean burritos and freeze them. Then grab one for your lunch. When I make them I put 4 cans of black beans, large can of diced tomatoes, can corn, pack of spanish rice, onions and jalepenos in a pot and cook for a few minutes. I then put a scoop in a tortilla (whole wheat is best) and top with a thick slice of cheese.

    Other than that, lunch meat sandwiches with cheese will have a good bit of protein.


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