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Meal planning is the only way we get decent meals in this house, otherwise, we don’t have time and we end up buying takeout!
For us, meal planning and prep helps to keep us on track with eating healthier meals, reduces our food bill and results in less food waste so it’s an all-round better option but that being said, meal planning can be overwhelming for beginners. Deciding to meal plan is a big step and can take some getting used to but your freezer is going to become your best friend! You may find it beneficial to invest in a freezer chest if you are a larger family as cooking things in bulk can take up a lot of space but we have a normal size freezer for the three of us that suits us just fine.
It can be tricky at first to know what items can be frozen and still taste ok so I thought I would devise a list of everything I have tried so far to determine what items to freeze in your meal prep journey.
We can’t always have fresh veg because sometimes it goes bad before we have had a chance to cook it up and obviously frozen vegetables are still good for you and having them on hand will make soups, salads, and stews easy. Our current favorites are:
- Sweet Potato (already peeled and chopped)
- Green beans
Consider adding chopped celery, carrots, and corn for easy and fast recipe ingredients. In some cases, you may not need to defrost them before cooking either, for example, I add them straight to stews, soups and casserole without defrosting.
Fruit is my favorite thing to freeze since it makes for easy frosty smoothies in the morning which are a big hit around here! If you are looking into making smoothies then check out my Week’s Worth Of Healthy Smoothie Recipes. or my Cherry & Chocolate Protein Smoothies. I have generally found that most fruits freeze well except peaches which go a bit funny unless they are blended first, although they are okay for a couple of days.
Since fruit thaws rather quickly, you won’t need to worry about defrost time for your meal and for smoothies it is fine to blend from frozen as long as you add some liquid so you don’t ruin the blender blades. You can use a bag of frozen strawberries to pair with organic yogurt for an easy breakfast on the go, or use berries and bananas for fruit smoothies.
Use freezer bags and fill with a combination of several of these ingredients:
I like to use pineapple, spinach, bananas, and strawberries for the boys and blend it up with coconut milk or water and enjoy.
When you buy meat in bulk, you can save money and start your long-term meal plan, it is one of the ways I save money on food and eat healthy when I am broke! I like to divide my meat portions up and put them into boxes in the freezer so that it is easy to take out only what I need, whether that’s steak, chicken breasts or pork chops and it makes them easier to separate and neater to store!
Garlic Lemon Chicken Pack:
An easy meal idea is to fill a freezer bag with chicken breasts, lemon juice, and fresh garlic! When you’re ready to eat, simply defrost, bake or cook in a skillet or on the grill. While some research shows that acidic marinades don’t do well in the freezer, I have not had that issue since I usually freeze things for no longer than a month.
Soup and Chili Ingredients.
Create your chilis and soups ahead of time with a freezer bag and your favorite ingredients. They can lay flat in your freezer so they do not take a lot of space, and you won’t have to measure and prep when it is time to cook! On your meal planning day, add your favorite chopped vegetables and other soup/chili ingredients to a freezer bag already portioned out. When it is time to cook, all you need to do is remove the bag from the freezer, add to a cooking pot or slow cooker, and get ready to enjoy!
Make it easy on yourself by creating freezer packs to simplify your meal planning process. Whether you need breakfast on the go or a hearty dinner dish, freezer packs can help you in a hurry.
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