It’s not easy to get dinner on the table every night but fast food, restaurant fare and take-out are usually high in calories, sodium and saturated fat and low in nutrition—definitely not a healthy choice for you or your kids.
When you have a few healthy essentials stocked in your freezer however, you’ll stress less, save money and eat healthier.
Here are 10 foods you should keep in your freezer at all times.
My daughter eats a banana for breakfast every morning except that is, when brown spots start to appear and they become a bit mushy. Instead of tossing them however, I peel the them and pop them in the freezer.
Frozen bananas are great for smoothies, banana bread, in place of oil in baked goods or as a healthy, non-dairy ice cream.
If you often find yourself without any vegetables but you can’t make it to the grocery store, always keep frozen vegetables on hand.
Frozen vegetables are picked at their peak freshness and flash frozen so they may be healthier than fresh varieties. In fact, a June 2017 study in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis found in some cases frozen produce is more nutritious than fresh that’s been stored in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Frozen vegetables can also save you time washing and chopping and they can be steamed in 10 minutes.
I rarely purchase herbs because most recipes call for only a few sprigs and the rest ends up getting tossed.
A better way is to wash and store leftover herbs in the freezer and then use them as needed.
When bread is on sale, stock up and store it in the freezer to prevent it from getting moldy and stale.
When life is hectic and weeknights get busy, there’s nothing wrong with grilled cheese or eggs and toast for dinner.
5. Veggie Scraps
An average family of four in the U.S. wastes about 25 percent of the food they buy.
Suffice to say some of that is the food picky eaters refuse to eat but some of it probably is wilted vegetables and veggie scraps.
Instead of tossing sad vegetables, store carrot peels and ends, celery ends and leaves, and mushroom stems in the freezer until you have enough to boil down into a vegetable broth you can use for soups and stews.
6. Beans and legumes
On Sunday, I make a large batch of lentil stew and freeze a portion to be used for lunches or dinner. Beans and legumes are high in fiber, protein, B-vitamins, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc.
Reheat beans and legumes in the microwave or on the stove. Add beans to stews, soups or tacos.
At $3.99 on average for a pint, berries can get expensive. Yet strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are high in antioxidants and fiber and some of the healthiest types of fruit you can feed your kids.
When you spot berries on sale, stock up and freeze them or purchase frozen berries that you can use in smoothies, baked goods and fruit popsicles. Your kids might also enjoy eating frozen berries straight out of the freezer as a snack.
Peas are high in fiber, protein, potassium, vitamins A, B6, and C as well as iron and magnesium.
Peas make a great first food for babies and are versatile in any dish. Puree them into a soup, add them to rice dishes and stews or serve them as an appetizer when your kids beg, is dinner almost ready?
Nuts are an excellent source of protein, fat and heart-healthy fats and make for easy, convenient snacks for kids.
Since nuts can go rancid however, if you buy them in bulk, which is usually cheaper, you can freeze them so they’ll stay fresh.
Fatty fish like salmon, sardines and halibut are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids so having them on hand will ensure you’ll always have a healthy meal.
A bag of shrimp is also an easy and healthy go-to meal, it defrosts quickly and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Pair fish with vegetables and rice, add to a stir-fry and serve leftovers for lunch.
What foods do you keep in your freezer? Let me know in the comments.