Having a well-stocked freezer certainly comes in handy when people are avoiding grocery stores. But having a frozen stash of food does not mean loading up on ice cream and frozen pizzas. It is completely possible to create healthy meals and eat well with the right choices.
Frozen food choices can be just as healthy as fresh. Fish is often frozen shortly after it is caught, and proteins and produce are often preserved at the peak of freshness. In most cases, the process of freezing does not negatively affect the quality of the food and may end up being a more economical choice to boot.
Here are some must-haves when it comes to having a perfectly stocked freezer.
ProteinFrozen Shrimp: Frozen shrimp is a must if you have a jam-packed week and need a lean protein that defrosts quickly. Choosing wild caught shrimp that is pre-peeled and deveined will save you even more time while fueling your body with important nutrients like DHA Omega-3 fatty acids.
Defrost them by dripping lukewarm water over them and then use them in a variety of dishes like tacos, stir-fry, and pasta.
Frozen grass-fed stew meat: Stew meat freezes and defrosts easily and is a versatile protein to toss into the slow cooker for a simple weeknight meal. Choosing grass-fed and organic meats allows for additional nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and is often leaner than grain-fed beef.
Frozen organic, free-range chicken thighs: If you have kids living in your home, chicken thighs are often a popular dinner choice. They are a yummy source of iron and choline, nutrients that are key in childhood development.
Choosing organic, free-range chicken thighs ensures that the chicken you are serving to your family is hormone-free and filled with only things that you want on your dinnerplate. Coat them in breadcrumbs and bake them for a crispy dish or use them in a stew for a more hearty choice.
VeggiesFrozen Riced Cauliflower: If you haven’t gotten on the cauliflower rice train yet, now is the time. If you are not familiar, riced cauliflower is exactly what the name implies: cauliflower cut to have the consistency of rice. It is often served in place of rice when people are limiting their carbohydrate intake or trying to increase their vegetable intake.
Keeping frozen riced cauliflower can be a time saver when you need a side dish on the table ASAP. Simply cook the “rice” in the microwave according to the instructions and you have an amazingly healthy accompaniment in minutes.
Riced cauliflower can also be added to smoothies for additional fiber.Frozen spinach: Dark leafy greens like spinach should be a staple in your freezer. Just make sure that there are no added ingredients. Spinach should be all that you get.
Spinach can easily be cooked with some olive oil and garlic for a side dish or tossed into soups or eggs for a nutrient boost.
Berry mix: If you haven’t tried frozen fruit before, know that while the consistency may be different than fresh, the nutritional content is extremely comparable. Frozen berries are often a fraction of the cost of their fresh counterpart, and the shelf life is much longer. Use them in smoothies, on top of oatmeal, or simply snack on them as an icy and sweet treat.
Frozen Quinoa or Brown Rice: Frozen grains that contain fiber like quinoa or brown rice can help save time and effort when time is not on your side. While boiling water and cooking grains is not difficult, it can take some time out of your day.
Many brands sell pre-cooked brown rice in the frozen vegetable aisle; however, you can simply freeze leftover rice you may have and save it for a rainy day.
Keeping a well-stocked freezer can help save you some time and effort when it becomes a “rainy day”. Taking advantage of services like Greensbury Subscribe and Save allows you to get automatic deliveries on high-quality proteins at a reduced cost without having to leave your home or needing to remember to re-order. A little pre-planning can go a long way.
Written by Lauren Manaker for Greensbury Market, Corp.
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian based in Charleston, South Carolina. She earned a bachelor's degree and master's degree in human nutrition and is passionate about helping people achieve their nutrition goals. She currently acts as a consultant, food blogger, and freelance writer for outlets including Eating Well and POPSUGAR. When Lauren isn't working, she is enjoying the outdoor life with her daughter, husband, and rescue-pup.