Have you ever come home from a long day, anticipating the moment you can kick off your shoes and relax, then all of a sudden your stomach starts growling and you roll your eyes because you realize you STILL need to prepare dinner? I know that I have felt this low energy before as well as some of my clients. A question they usually ask is can they freeze meals and specifically what type of meals should get frozen. The answer is YES! You can absolutely prepare a freezer meal and there are two different methods you can use.
Freezer meals are extremely helpful for busy individuals. You can use them as a backup meal for that odd day you just did not fully prepare for, or they can be your quick go to meal. Unlike buying packaged meals at the store, which offer limited nutritional value, preparing your own freezer meals will help you and your household to eat a wide variety of healthy whole foods. An extra bonus is freezer meals can last 3-6 months helping to eliminate wasting of spoiled food.
Let us explore the different ways you can prepare your freezer meals:
- Cooked Freezer Meals: the way to prepare a cooked freezer meal is by cooking all food items thoroughly in advanced. Next, place the cooked meal in a freezer safe container and freeze. When you are ready to eat it, pull the meal out of the freezer so it can defrost. Once defrosted, all you have to do is quickly heat it up on the stove or in the oven and it is ready to eat.
- Non-Cook Freezer Meals: the way to prepare a non-cooked freezer meal is by combining all of the uncooked food items and ingredients into a freezer safe container to freeze the meal uncooked. When you are ready to eat it, pull the meal out of the freezer so it can defrost. Once it is defrosted, you are going to cook the meal thoroughly in the oven, on the stove, or in an instant pot to enjoy.
When you decide that you are ready to make your first freezer meal, follow these tips:
- Plan the meals you want to freeze and then list out the ingredients you will need to buy at the store. This will make for a seamless prep.
- Take one day from your schedule, whether its weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, to prepare your freezer meals.
- If you want to prepare a cooked freezer meal, do not overcook since you will be reheating once defrosted.
- Do not use the microwave to cook or reheat your freezer meals.
- Just to name a few, some of the recommended food items to freeze are pork, chicken, ground turkey, beef, beans, lentils, legumes, sweet potato, butternut squash, bell peppers, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, peas, snap peas, carrots, hearty soups or stews, stir fry, homemade sauces.
To get you started here are a few easy meal ideas but, do not be afraid to turn on the music, let the kids join, have fun, and explore more options:
- Potato Soup
- Chicken Fajitas
- Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
- Gluten Free Ground Turkey Casserole
- Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash
- Chicken Satay
- Pulled Pork
- Beef and Broccoli
- Vegetarian Stir Fry