Get friendly with your freezer
Everybody’s got one, but do we all use our freezers to their best advantage? It’s an often-overlooked corner of the kitchen, but when used correctly, your freezer can help you make healthy, budget-friendly meals even on your busiest nights. Best of all, it’s the perfect place to store leftovers, make-ahead meals and big-batch cooking.
There is a misconception that frozen fruits and vegetables aren’t as good for you as their fresh counterparts. While there can be a small nutrient decrease in some frozen produce, it is generally every bit as good for you as fresh. Studies have shown that frozen produce is very nutritionally similar to fresh, in part because frozen foods are left to ripen and are picked at their peak of freshness.1
That means that your freezer is a great place to store nutritious raw materials for soups, stews, casseroles and desserts. As an added bonus, frozen fruits and veggies can often be much cheaper than buying fresh.
Check out these links to sites that have amazing recipes. Some are raw meals you prep and freeze in freezer bags and cook later, others are fully cooked meals that happen to freeze and reheat really well. Either way, your freezer will be stocked with healthy, delicious food your whole family will love!
Make-ahead freezer meals (uncooked)
Happy Money Saver – Recipes for 50 freezer meals you can make in one day
Thirty Handmade Days – 31 crockpot freezer meals
New Leaf Wellness – 8 crockpot meals you can make in 35 minutes
Precooked freezer meals
Freezing tips and rules for safe food handling
Just like any kind of cooking and food prep, it’s important to practice safe food handling and hygiene when preparing freezer meals. For tips on making both cooked and uncooked freezer meals, including safe handling and reheating, visit New Leaf Wellness and Lauren Greutman.
Aside from the cost savings you can enjoy by buying in bulk, freezer meals are a huge time saver. Yes, you still have to prep (and cook, if you’re making precooked meals), but you can do that work when you have the time and energy. Seniors and people with some disabilities often don’t have a lot of physical energy by the time they need to start making dinner, or they may be in more pain than they are earlier in the day, so prepping and cooking when you feel rested and well is a wonderful way to do it.
Don’t forget that freezer meals are also wonderful to drop off when someone is ill or recovering from surgery, or if they have just suffered a loss or welcomed a new baby into their home. Everyone loves a home-cooked meal they didn’t have to prepare, after all.
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