Freezer meals can be a huge help when you are trying to eat healthy, whole foods. All of us tend to make poor food choices when we are rushed, tired, or feel like the drive-through is our only option.
Learn how to power through an afternoon of freezer meal prep and you will be armed and ready for even the busiest weeknight. And if you are a newbie to freezer meals, with a few tricks up your sleeve I bet you will find it easier than you think to plan meals ahead and have healthy food always on hand.
Preparation, organization, and recruiting a helper is key to making the process fast and easy. Here are my top 7 tips for making healthy freezer meals in a flash:
1. Start with just 1 or 2 meals
Don't go overboard on your first round. Choose one to three recipes you know your family will enjoy and make double or triple batches. As you get used to the process you can make more of a variety at one time.
2. Prepare ahead of time
Gather your recipes and make a grocery list by doubling or tripling the ingredients you need. I prefer to do this the day before so I'm not dedicating too much time to this process all in one day. It's also an opportunity to save some money and buy your ingredients in bulk.
3. Set up an assembly line
Set up stations for washing, chopping, mixing, and seasoning. Start with vegetables and end with meat to keep your workspace sanitary. You will also end up with a lot fewer dishes and utensils to wash when you finish.
4. Cool food before freezing
If any of the ingredients are cooked before freezing, be sure they are cooled completely before putting them in your storage containers. The best ways to store meals is in glass containers or flat in plastic gallon storage bags (I like to double bag just to be safe).
5. Label everything
A month from now you may not remember what's left in your freezer or how long it's been there. Be sure to label each meal with the date it was prepared, the contents, and how to prepare it (ex: bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes).
6. Create a meal plan
Your meals will keep in a regular freezer for up to 3 months. . .But don't forget about them! Each week, make a meal plan that allows you to utilize a freezer meal. This also helps in remembering to move the food to the fridge the night before to thaw.
7. Recruit helpers
Kids are a great help when it comes to freezer meal prep. Little kids can fill bags, older kids can help chop and prepare, and at any age, they can start doing dishes. Better yet, gather some friends to divide and conquer. This way you can make more meals and divide among your families.
Bonus Tip: I highly recommend upbeat music and occasional breaks for impromptu dance parties. I mean it's the weekend, so have some fun with it!
Be sure to follow us on Facebook, because on Friday I will be sharing one of my families favorite freezer meal recipes.