“Will that complete your order, ma’am?”
You did it again. The day raced by, and one thing piled on top of another. Before you knew it, there was no time to prepare a healthy meal. It would either have to be a drive-thru meal or a prepackaged frozen dinner. Of course, you know neither is good for you or your family, but what else could you do? While cooking healthy meals takes time, if you plan ahead, you can have healthy, homemade meals in the freezer and ready for a busy day.
Why are processed meals so bad?
These foods have ingredients that lead to an inflammatory response, a major contributor to all the conditions we see today. Eating a diet filled with sugar, flour, soy, GMOs, sucralose, and other artificial sweeteners never gives your body a break from harmful stimuli. It’s in a constant state of inflammation. That isn’t going to help after a rushed and likely stressful day!
Freezing meals in advance saves time and money and keeps you healthier. Once you throw one of those freezer meals in the oven, you can kick back and relax from the day.
HOW IT’S DONE
Planning ahead and freezing meals is an easy way to ensure you always have healthy options on hand. When you cook at home, you get to determine which ingredients you use, and you can make meals that are full of love.
Most of your favorite meals can be frozen. Make a double batch when already cooking to make the most of your time. If you’re making a crock pot meal, slice up extra ingredients and freeze them so you can throw them in a crock pot at a later date. You can also package up your smoothie ingredients to quickly throw in the blender before heading out the door.
How to do Freezer Meals Safely
When you prep your freezer meals, make sure they’ve cooled down before putting them in the freezer. Put them in airtight containers to keep them from getting freezer burned. You can test if a dish is airtight by putting some water in it, closing it up tight, and then turning it upside down. If the water doesn’t come out, it’s airtight.
Find some storage containers that easily stack in the freezer to optimize space. While some casserole dishes stack nicely, they aren’t airtight. If you plan to keep the food in the freezer for over a week, you will want to use something else. Avoid using plastic if you can. You don’t want petrochemicals to leach into your food over time.
Different ingredients will have different freezer lives, but you will generally be safe for taste and nutrients if you eat them within 4-6 months. Mark each container with an expiration date or a made-on date. When you’re ready to eat one of these freezer meals, thaw it in the refrigerator and heat it at the recipe’s temperature. (Mark the temperature and oven time on the container, too.)
The smaller the amount of food in a container, the faster it will freeze. A good rule of thumb is that food two inches thick will take two hours to freeze completely. Split up the food into different containers if needed. This also allows you to thaw and warm up only the amount you need—repeated heating and cooling isn’t good for food.
If you’re making multiple meals to freeze, chill them in the fridge first. This way, the heat from the dishes won’t increase the temperature in the freezer.
Freezer Meals Recipes:
Make your mornings so much better with these yummy pancakes. Pancakes are so easy to freeze ahead. This satisfying recipe is gluten and dairy free. Multiply the quantities so you have a few to eat and plenty to freeze.
Sweet Potato Chili
Chili is always a winner for freezing and is sure to warm your belly. This recipe is extra sweet and has plenty of Vitamin A from the sweet potato.
Black Bean Burger
No meat? No worries! This delicious vegetarian burger recipe will also make meat eaters happy. You can package them individually and use one at a time as needed, but the recipe is also enough to feed the whole family.
Sirloin Tip Roast
Cacao and sirloin? Absolutely! The richness of the cacao marries beautifully with the spices and brown sugar, giving you a roast with flavor that can’t be beat. Double this batch–one for tonight and one to freeze. Trust us!
Salmon Veggie Burgers
Get your veggies and your omega-3s in one delicious patty. The drive-thru lady is going to miss you. You won’t be thinking of how good these are for you, but your gut will thank you later.
Tasty meatballs! These are excellent alone or with organic Italian pasta sauce and baked spaghetti squash. Just slice the spaghetti squash in half, drizzle with olive or avocado oil, and bake at 375 degrees F.
Beef Stir Fry
This recipe for a one-pan meal will taste great later, too. We like to keep the dishes to a minimum when we can!
Cabbage has so many great health benefits. It is full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory qualities. It makes your belly happy! This recipe has your choice of roast added for protein and “staying power.” This soup is comfort food at its finest.
Peanut Butter Chicken
This yummy chicken recipe will taste great with your favorite vegetables. Roast some frozen ones, like broccoli or Brussels sprouts, in the oven while you fry these up.
Here’s an easy meal for people on the go. Do the prep work in advance so this meal cooks up fast at dinner time. Kids of all ages will LOVE these chicken strips.
Butternut Squash Quinoa Risotto
This sophisticated comfort food will remind you why you put in extra work to freeze those meals. You’ll love this easy, gourmet meal while you relax and enjoy it with a glass of organic wine.
WARM YOUR BELLY WITH FREEZER MEALS
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Freezer meals are also an excellent gift for someone having a baby, undergoing a medical procedure, or experiencing another life transition. They will know you were thinking about them and had their health in mind. These are also great meals for babysitter nights. That way you know exactly what your children are eating — even when you’re out of the house.
You won’t miss the drive-thru or those prepackaged frozen dinners. Before you know it, you’ll be both saving time and eating healthily by getting into the habit of freezing meals ahead. Just be sure to keep your allergies in mind. To get your food allergies tested and set your family up for even better health in the future, contact a Wellness Way clinic today!