One of the seemingly daunting tasks folks who want to eat healthier tend to face is freezing. For the modern family today, freeze-able foods make life easier. However, it is possible to still eat healthy even when you have little time to put into cooking. That said, here are 13 healthy foods you can pop in your freezer and later thaw for an easy, quick addition to your meals:
1. Make Friends with Fruit
Since fresh fruit is healthy and almost all of them can be frozen easily without sacrificing nutrients, you may want to consider making them your BFF. One perk you can take advantage of is that if you choose to buy ahead of time, freezing will allow you to enjoy fresh fruit year round.Some great freeze-worthy options to choose from include bananas and berries, such as blueberries, strawberries and black berries can be stored in air-tight bags and frozen. The berries can be stored for up to three months.
Vegetables are a staple in any health-conscious person’s diet. However, vegetables require some preparation to freeze. For instance, vegetables of the green variety such as string beans, broccoli, leafy greens, okra and asparagus need to be blanched (boiled or steamed, but not fully cooked) before freezing. Blanching basically stops the decaying process, meaning it inhibits the enzymatic activity, and prevents your vegetables from tasting funky later.
Some of the easiest to prepare vegetables include squash, beats, okra, peas, brussels, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, cauliflower, artichoke, carrots, peppers, rhubarb, bean, spinach and sweet corn.Cooked vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes and sweet potatoes can also be frozen, and even pureed then frozen for use in soup and sauce dishes later.
So toss up a tasty vegetable soup, perfect for fall weather.Vegetables you plan to eat raw, on the other hand, aren’t suitable for freezing. So perhaps plan your salads as you go. This still leaves you with a large variety of different recipes.
Since we’re already talking vegetable soup, keep in mind that you can whip up your favorite soup or stew recipe and freeze a batch for that day next week when you’re overworked and totally not up to playing the role of Martha Stewart. Who can cook every single night anyway, right?
Even nuts can be preserved by way of a freezer. Having nuts on-hand means an even wider selection of meals, especially snacks and breakfast foods since nuts are both filling and a good source of protein.
Surprised you, did I? As long as they’re well-protected and sealed in a Zip-Loc or two, most breads will last you a good month or two, at the least. This includes muffins, rolls and most any other bread-based product you can think of.
6. Herbal concoctions
Thanks to Pinterest, many of us learned that we can freeze our favorite herbal mixtures by mixing them up with olive oil, then pouring it into an ice-cube tray. Then, whenever a recipe calls for your famous herb & olive oil blend, simply remove a block from the pre-made ice-cube tray and toss into the skillet… or whatever.
This is a personal favorite. If you love pancakes, but never seem to have time for making them in the mornings (hey, who are we to judge for over-sleeping,) then here’s your little piece of heaven. Plus, it’s a good excuse to have pancakes for dinner — just fry up extra, toss in the freezer and enjoy the bliss of waking up to pancakes the next morning.
Don’t let your pumpkin decor go to waste after Halloween. Simply slice it in a few halves, bake in a pan of water until a fork can go in the flesh and pull out easily. The skin will peel right off, and you’ll be able to chop it into smaller slices for pureeing once it’s been baked until the skin browns a little. Freeze the puree for up to 12 months. Believe me, I’ve had two pumpkins taking up large amounts of space in the freezer since last Halloween! It’ll make a great pumpkin pie, if anybody gets a wild hair to actually create one.
9. Salsa and other dips
If you love salsa and chips, or other dip requiring appetizers, you’ll be pleased to find that most dips and salsa are freezer friendly. If you make homemade salsa, save a jar for later by making use of your freezer. This is also a handy technique for a quick, party appetizer. You know, when you have unexpected guests.
See, who said you had to sacrifice variety and taste when preparing for future meals? Just make sure the foods you freeze are bought fresh so that they store longer without losing so much of their nutrition value.