Anna here, with some ideas about how to use your freezer to save time while making health meals. Using your freezer effectively is a great way to shift meal prep times to days when you can be in control, instead of having cooking control you. We looked for some unusual ideas that you might not have thought about – but could really make a difference for your family and you.
Some here are our favorite ten time savers using your freezer:
- Make extra when making a meal, and then defrost later. This idea is pretty simple – so simple that a lot of folks simply overlook it. If you make a few extra helpings of whatever meal you are having then you can save them and defrost for later. This idea requires relatively little advance planning, but can yield big dividends on a Time Crunch night!
- Once A Month Cooking (OAMC). This is one of the more intense freezer suggestions, but there are a bunch of websites and blogs devoted to this approach to meal prep. The idea is that you can spend one day a month cooking, and then freeze the resulting meals, and eliminate the need for substantial cooking time on a daily basis. There are a number of suggestions for how to do OAMC, but here is a good specific starting point, and here is another.
- Use frozen vegetables or fruit. Including more fruit and vegetables in your diet is always a good idea, but fresh fruits and veggies tend to spoil if you don’t use them quickly enough. Instead of fresh, you can try frozen – you can get almost all of the benefit of fresh, but save money because you don’t have to throw out the spoiled stuff.
- Set up a freezer group. Here’s a social way to try freezer meals: get a group of friends together to prepare and share freezer meals. There are a number of ways to arrange the work, but the key is that trying freezer meals together is more fun than doing it by yourself. Try this link as a starting point.
- Meal prep service. Sometimes, planning OAMC or freezer groups all by yourself can be overwhelming. Or maybe you just don’t have the time for the binge shopping that is involved. In that case you may want to consider a meal preparation service. Most meal prep services feature a central location where you can go to prepare the starting materials for your meals and then freezer bags the resuls to take home with you. Advantages: convenience, guidance from the prep service chefs, and a little social aspect if the service is set up as a class. Disadvantage: cost, because the prep service convenience comes at a price. Here is a link to a good starting discussion on meal preparation services.
- Try making frozen preps for smoothies. Healthy smoothies or green smoothies are all the rage. You can prepare the ingredients ahead of time to shorten the actual prep time when blending the smoothies. Check out this link and this link for suggestions on how to do this. BTW, we’re big fans of Sally at Real Mom Nutrition. Check out her site for some terrific ideas about how to help your kids with their healthy eating habits!
- Frozen breakfasts. No need to focus only on suppers when freezing meals ahead of time. You can save prep time in the morning by making or baking healthy breakfast foods and freezing them. Try this idea or this idea – or come up with your own!
- Mate freezer meals with your slow cooker. Want to maximize your time savings? Try preparing slow cooker/crockpot meals and then freezing them. Your prep time on the day of eating is limited to pulling something out of the freezer in the morning and then dumping it into your crockpot. By suppertime, you’ll have a great homecooked hot meal for the family. Check out this blog
- Use your freezer when preparing particular cuisines. You can use your freezer to reduce prep times for certain cuisines, such as Indian food, by preparing certain often-used ingredients and then freezing them. Here’s one set of suggestions for Indian food. But don’t stop there; you can think about other cuisines and how you can use your freezer to reduce or shift prep times to be more convenient.
- Mix freezer meals with fresh food items. You have to go all in with freezer meals. There is a growing movement of folks that combine home-made fresh and frozen. You can prepare some elements of a meal, freeze them, and then make other elements of the meal and refrigerate them rather than freezing. Here is one link where this approach is set out for you to follow.
So that is the Fabulous Freezer Ten Time Savers! You can explore some of these ideas, and other helpful hints, in the Time Crunch Hot Tips while playing Fitfunner (check out the Kids’ Health section.
As always, we close by inviting you to check us out at www.fitfunner.com, the online home for guilt-free gaming for Great Moms (and Great Dads and grandparents too!). Please let us know your thoughts about Fitfunner by email at info (at) fitfunner (dot) com – we love to hear your feedback!