If you are working on cutting meal prep and cook time down for busy nights in the week, your best bet is to keep frozen foods on hand so you can whip up a hearty meal in no time. And that means you can also save time and energy by forgoing those extra trips to the grocery store—something that isn’t super encouraged during the recent COVID-19 outbreak especially.
Not only do frozen foods have a longer shelf life, where they can last up to months and years even, but also they can make meal prepping in the week way easier, since you know what you’ll be eating and have it right inside and ready at home. Whether you are simply re-heating and digging in, or letting something thaw a bit to then cook, you will save valuable time and effort in the kitchen. (Always helpful, right?)
Here are the best frozen foods to keep on hand and in the freezer so your meal planning is simple throughout the week!
Instead of cooking rice from scratch, which can take some time, you can use frozen rice and keep it in the home throughout the week for easy meals. Frozen rice is ready in just a few minutes, and it has the same nutritional value as those whole grains that are made traditionally—which can also cost you 30-45 minutes easily. Keep frozen grains on hand to go with stir-fry, in grain bowls, or as a side for meat or fish.
Don’t want rice or are low-carb? Go for cauliflower rice instead or even zoodles (zucchini noodles), which cut down the carbs and can be frozen easily for quick, simple and versatile meals.
While you can get fresh broccoli or Brussels sprouts, frozen veggies have a longer shelf life to avoid food waste, and they can taste just as good. What’s more, they are easy to cook within minutes and they even have the same (or greater) nutritional quality than fresh ones. And they will be less expensive at store, especially if the ones you are choosing are not in season.
Want to make a smoothie or post-workout recovery shake? You can grab some frozen fruit from the freezer and blend it up with a protein powder of choice, some milk or yogurt, and any other fun add-ins, like nut butter, seeds, and veggies. Go for berries, mango, kiwi, watermelon, or any other fruits that you cannot get enough of.
And if you want an added cognitive, fat burning, or post-workout recovery boost? Add in some MCT oil or coconut oil powder, which can provide a good dose of fats. These would be great in a green and nutty smoothie with a small serving of berries for sweetness, where it is appropriate for keto dieters.
Frozen Filets of Fish
Instead of getting fresh fish, you can easily get frozen filets of fish to stock in your freezer and cook for meals throughout the week. Many stores even offer single-serving filets, packs of four to twelve that have around 4-6 oz. filet pieces so they are set for easy portion control. Then add in seasoning, sides, sauces, and anything else you want to dress them up!
Greasy pizza from a pizza shop can be high in fat, carbs, and calories, as well as sodium, but a clean thin crust pizza that has nutritious toppings, like veggies, such as spinach and mushroom, can be an easy option for a fast meal right when you need it. So, keep healthier pizzas in the freezer to cook on a whim—you can also save and re-heat to enjoy later in the week if you do not finish the whole thing or are eating the pie alone. And you can add on more toppings too, like extra veggies or some meat, like diced grilled chicken, for more protein.
Ground Meat or Burger Patties
Ground meat is easy to keep in the freezer for last minute meals, like Sloppy Joe’s, meatballs or patties, Bolognese, or Shepherd’s Pie. And since the ground meat texture holds up nicely in the freezer, you can keep it on hand year-round for easy meal planning. There are so many ways to use ground meat in recipes too, so you can create a whole week’s worth of meals with it.
As long as you keep these basics in the freezer, you can have an instant meal—no problem. And you’ll pack in tons of nutrients to better your mind and body or recover after a workout. Use your imagination to have fun with the extras—toppings, sauces, spices, and more.