Have you vowed that you need to eat out less and save money? Eating at home starts with being prepared in the kitchen, here are some freezer food tips for your next shopping trip.
When it comes to eating at home, the freezer is your secret weapon.
However, it’s all about having the right foods in your freezer that make it easier for meal prep, on-the-fly dinners, and reduced food waste that translates into dollars saved. Here are a few freezer staples that will make your life a bit easier:
1. Chopped spinach
Defrost and press out the excess liquid. Add to meatballs, burgers, or meatloaf for added moisture and an extra serving of leafy greens.
2. Ground meat of choice
Tip: Buy extra grass-fed ground beef when it is on sale and keep at least one one-pound package in the freezer. Don’t forget to defrost in the fridge overnight!
3. Mixed berries
Great in oatmeal, atop yogurt, or used in smoothies (my favorite). However, they aren’t always cheap – consider purchasing at Costco, Target, Aldi, or Trader Joe’s for the best prices.
4. Brown bananas
Tip: Be sure to peel BEFORE sticking in the freezer. Cut into 3rds or 4ths and put in a gallon freezer bag. These are great for smoothies or breakfast scrambles.
5. Spiralized carrots
These get their own category because they are totally worth the trip to your closest Trader Joe’s. Cook and mix with pasta, mix in greens, add olive oil and some cheese, then top off with marinara sauce.
6. Broccoli or vegetable blend
Steam-in-the-bag varieties cost too much and aren’t necessary. Consider getting the cheaper bags and steam in the microwave: Put the vegetables in a microwave safe bowl, cover with a little bit of water and put a plate or plastic wrap over the bowl, microwave for ~3 minutes, drain. You can also throw them in a cast iron and roast them with some olive oil. They are always a great addition to pasta or grain of choice, or added to egg bakes.
7. Seafood (such as salmon and shrimp)
While fresh is delicious, frozen is so much easier and requires less planning. Defrost in the fridge overnight or run under cold water for rapid defrost, then cook like fresh.
8. Meat or vegetarian patty of choice
Frozen beef, turkey burgers, or veggie patties are great ways are perfect protein sources for when you need a quick meal.
9. Rice or quinoa
This one will not save you money, but sometimes that just doesn’t matter. Cooking from dry on the stove yields more and costs less, but also takes more time. Many stories carry plain packages or boxes with 3-4 approximately 2-serving packets that you can simply microwave.
Final fun fact: Frozen veg and fruit are just as nutritious as fresh (and sometimes more so) because they are frozen soon after harvest and do not go through the long shipping process that fresh does. Produce can lose nutritional value over time, so buy local when possible and take advantage of your cheaper frozen options when appropriate.
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: DANIELLE MACINNES
Courtney Ferreira, MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian based in Baltimore, MD with a passion for helping individuals reach their health and wellness through flavorful whole foods and freedom from counting calories, fat, and minutes on a treadmill. For more insightful tips on living your healthiest life, visit Courtney at the RealFoodCourt.