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How to Set Up a Healthy Freezer

0 6 months ago

Save time with this system for a healthy freezer stash

Imagine a tidy freezer that had single servings or family sized portions of tasty meals you would feel good about or that you could grab in a pinch. Think about how it would feel to have clearly labelled ingredients to toss quickly into a recipe or add to a lunch box. An organized freezer can help you minimize food waste, reduce spending, reduce meal preparation time and lessen weekday stress. If you currently have a freezer but frequently lose or forget things or want to figure out some healthy ingredients and meals to put in your freezer, then this article is for you.

As a Dietitian for over 20 years, I’ve noticed our most successful clients achieving the best success don’t necessarily have more time or knowledge, they have clear systems built for speed and repetition. One of the systems that can greatly help with meal planning success, especially for time-crunched families, is to understand not just what to put in the freezer, but how to set it up.

I’ve struggled over the years to figure out the best way to organize freezer space. It hasn’t always been pretty but I’ve learned a few practical things along the way. If you currently have a freezer but frequently lose or forget things or want to figure out some healthy ingredients and meals to put in your freezer, read on.

Storing food in the freezer | safefoodThree categories of foods for a freezer stash

1. Single foods for adding to supper recipes

  • Frozen vegetables (such as peas, corn, spinach and mixed veggies)
  • Purchased frozen diced avocado
  • Purchased frozen edamame or black beans
  • Pre-cooked or leftover canned beans, lentils or chick peas
  • Shredded cheese
  • Chicken breasts, thighs and fish fillets
  • Raw or pre-cooked meatballs, ground meat or poultry
  • Purchased or pre-made veggie burgers, lean beef or bison burgers
  • Pre-sliced and/or marinated meat, poultry or seafood
  • Frozen, peeled shrimp and other seafood
  • Pizza crusts or ready-made dough
  • Fresh pasta, tortellini or perogies
  • Pre-cooked rice, barley, quinoa and other grains
  • Pre-chopped fresh herbs (such as dill, parsley, rosemary and oregano)
  • Pre-chopped minced garlic or whole ginger which can simply be grated
  • Leftover wine and stock
  • Diced fresh or roasted red peppers or canned chipotle peppers

2. Full ready-to-eat meals

  • Options: single servings, full family-sized portions or some of each
  • Soup, chili or stew
  • Casseroles, cabbage rolls, enchiladas, taco meat
  • Pasta sauces such as tomato meat or lentil marinara sauce
  • Pre-cooked protein, cooked grains and blanched vegetables

3. Single foods for adding to breakfast, lunch and snack meals

  • Frozen fruit (such as berries, mango and pineapple)
  • Freezer smoothie packs
  • Leftover waffles, French toast or pancakes
  • Sliced bread, bagels and buns
  • Muffins, sliced loaves, pre-cut energy bars or cookies
  • Single slices of leftover pizza
  • Pre-cooked steel cut oatmeal or baked muffin tin oatmeal

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