We all want to eat healthy, but sometimes work, traffic, a hot date, volleyball practice, a late night or, gosh, I don’t know, life gets in the way and we find ourselves rushing around looking for our next meal.
Keeping a few basics in the freezer will ensure you won’t go hungry or head to the nearest drive through. By themselves, these frozen foods and ingredients may not add up to much, but toss ‘em together with whatever you’ve got hanging around in the pantry or the fridge and you’ll be on your way to a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner in no time.
15 Frozen Foods to Keep Handy
- Hamburger. If you are a meat eater, a single pound of hamburger is probably the most versatile thing you can keep in the freezer. Forget the patties and make a full-fledged meal with one of these 35 easy to make hamburger recipes instead.
- Shrimp. Did you know that most commercial shrimp is shipped frozen and then thawed for display? You might as well keep it on hand in your own freezer.
- White fish. If your fillet is to be baked, broiled, grilled or steamed, skip the thawing process and cook frozen; adjust the cooking time by a few minutes to ensure it is done.
- Chicken, beef or vegetarian sausage. For a no-fuss dinner, slice cooked sausages on the diagonal, toss with pasta, fresh chopped veggies and vinaigrette for one satisfying Big Ass Salad.
- French cut frozen green beans. Frozen vegetables contain less sodium then canned and are typically processed within hours of harvest so they retain most of their nutrients. This fancy cut bean is nice enough to serve to company in a pinch.
- Chopped spinach. The second vegetable to make the “must-have” freezer list is worth its weight in gold as a mix-in for soups, casseroles and crock-pot meals.
- Bone broth cubes. A little broth can do wonders for a meal. Substitute part or all of the water in a recipe with broth to give your meal a little extra kick.
- Pancakes. Who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner? Freeze your homemade pancakes or waffles and the next time you’re desperate for a hearty breakfast, lunch or dinner, you’ll be set. Serve with nut butter, real maple syrup and an egg or two.
- Bananas. If you went a little bananas with your last banana purchase, slice the surplus into ¼ inch coins and freeze in a single layer. When firm toss the slices in a freezer bag. Add to smoothies and oatmeal for a more satisfying breakfast or whip up a batch of healthy one ingredient ice cream the next time you get a dessert craving!
- Nuts. Most nuts will stay fresh for 1-2 years if stored in the freezer. Add to salads, muffins and stir-fry for a protein boost or grab a handful as a snack.
- Chocolate chips. Because you never know when there might be a chocolate emergency.
- Unsalted butter. At nearly five bucks a pound, buy butter on sale and freeze the excess. Even a pat or two of butter will add a ton of flavor to your meal. And if you are a baker, you’ll be set when you get that urge to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. (See above.)
- Bread. French toast for breakfast, Panzanella salad for lunch, meatloaf for dinner.
- Flaxseed meal. You’ll never run out of eggs with flaxseed meal in the freezer. Combine one tablespoon flaxseed meal and three tablespoons water as a substitute for each egg in a recipe. Let sit for five minutes and use in your favorite recipe.
- Store bought frozen meals. Yeah, I know this last one is a bit of a cheat, but frozen meals have come a long way since the Salisbury steak days. Choose a brand made with real food and make sure it has enough protein to keep you satisfied.
What’s in your freezer? —Karen