If you are a busy family with active kids you need these 10 foods in your freezer for quick healthy meals.
I tend to “freezer plan” more than “meal plan”. At any given moment I can produce a meal for 5-10 people that includes protein, vegetables and grains but doesn’t include french fries, chicken finger or hot dogs. Usually in under 20 minutes. And that is a good thing as these days as my house is slowly being taken over by kids racing off at 4pm to 2-4 hour long dance or gymnastics practices and groups of teenagers ‘popping over’ at dinner time.
I love my huge freezer. I make sure it is well stocked and I have a few handy “go-to” meals that can be made in a flash “to-go”. I am not saying I never resort to frozen pizza and burgers (because trust me we do), but for the Monday – Thursday crazy busy sports nights in our house, I try to feed my active kids healthy meals and I rely on the freezer for inspiration and healthy options ready in a hurry.
10 Foods You Need In Your Freezer for Quick Healthy Meals
Cooked Chicken or Turkey
Buy pre cooked strips of just chicken (not to be confused with breaded chicken strips) or a huge box of chicken breasts and cook the whole thing and freeze. Same with turkey, buy it pre cooked or buy ground and cook a few packages at a time. Then freeze in family or single meal size ziplock bags. The key is having cooked lean protein on hand to add to anything and make a meal in a hurry.
USE to Make: Enjoy chicken with any sauce and a side of rice and veg or add ground turkey to pasta, chilli, tacos, canned soup or tortillas for quick quesidillas.
Another great protein to have on hand. Shrimp will cook up quickly in a bit of butter and garlic. Buy raw or fully cooked shrimp, in shells or not, both are ready in a flash.
USE to Make: Add to whole grain noodles and a side of green beans or broccoli with alfredo sauce or serve over a bed of rice with your favourite cajun spice. Make into kebobs, top a coconut or creole soup or create quick seafood enchiladas.
Sole, another great protein, is an excellent very fast cooking fish due to is thin size. Top with lemon and ground pepper or salsa. Or dip in whole grain bread crumbs (another freezer staple – dry and crush the stale ends of your bread to make your own crumbs and store in the freezer) for home made fish ‘sticks’ that take less than 20 minutes from start to cooked.
USE to Make: Breaded Fish fillets, or homemade fish tacos. Serve with a side of coleslaw or mashed potatoes.
I buy the biggest bag of frozen peas, corn, green beans and broccoli so I always have a vegetable to serve with dinner. Very little of the nutritional value is lost in freezing vegetables and they heat up super fast, plus are a great to addition to any pasta, canned soup, side dish or main event.
USE to Make: Everything more nutritious. Add frozen vegetables as a side dish to everything or include in pasta sauces, add to canned soup, or use to mix in rice, quinoa or withe canned black beans or chick peas
Pasta – Filled with Cheese or Meat
Look for ravioli, tortelinni or other frozen pasta that is filled with protein and then all you need to do is boil water, add a sauce and you have a meal. Toss in frozen veggies (see above!) for the last 2 minutes the pasta is boiling and you are done in a flash.
USE to Make: Great on its own with a little sauce. Cheese and meat filled pasta can also be added to soup or used in place of noodles for baked mac n cheese (see cheese sauce recipe below).
I started when my kids were babies, pureeing vegetables to make their baby food and I still have pureed squash, spinach, zucchini, cauliflower stored in snack size ziplock bags in my freezer. For those times you don’t want a vegetable ON the side, I put the vegetable on the INside.
USE to Make: This mac n cheese recipe uses frozen pureed squash, these brownies use spinach and carrots, or you can add pureed zucchini to punch up the vegetables in a pasta sauce, chilli or pizza topping.
Whole Grain Bread
I always store bread in the freezer and by making sure it is whole grain the kids get a huge amount of fibre and some protein from sesame, flax or sunflower seeds when they whip up a simple slice of toast.
USE to Make: Add grains and protein to grilled cheese or a tuna melt. Even peanut butter and toast on whole grain bread becomes a complete meal if you add a glass of milk and somehow work in a few carrot sticks.
This Mac n Cheese Sauce
My kids love Mac n Cheese but long ago I ditched to box variety and started making this recipe. It is so super simple to make and so very healthy. Made with real milk, real cheddar cheese and a pile of pureed squash, then served over whole wheat noodles and you have a kids meal made in heaven.
USE to Make: Don’t stop at mac n cheese, make lots of this sauce ahead and freeze in batches and you can add to pasta sauces, use to top chili or as a dip for carrots or fries!
Frozen fruit is just as important as frozen vegetables and protein in our freezer. Big bags of frozen strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mangos and peaches make sure that we all can grab a healthy protein smoothie – kids too – any time of the day and be well fed.
USE to Make: Straight from the freezer and add to yogurt, cereal or snack on as is on a hot day for a refreshing snack. Or, make any of these smoothie recipes with a good quality protein powder for a meal on the go.
These Oatmeal Pancakes, Whole Wheat Waffles
Breakfast is boring. Kids eventually get bored of cereal and toast, so we try to make big batches of these Whole Wheat Waffles or these Oatmeal Pancakes full of fibre, fruit and protein and store in the freezer so the kids can pop in the toaster and have a great breakfast on a busy school morning.
USE to Make: Breakfast, snack, or even dessert – good anytime.
Use simple foods in your freezer to have go-to meals ready when you are busy and kids have activities to get to. Short on time doesn’t have to mean short on nutrition.
What are your favourite freezer foods?
PIN this to your Quick Healthy Meals or Freezer Meals Pinterest Board for inspiration on busy nights.