Freezer Meals & How to Use them

Freezer meals are food that you prep ahead of time during meal prep and are placed in the freezer with the intention of using them when things are busy or unexpected issues arise. They can be a game changer for individuals and families who are just learning how to meal prep. Knowing you have a meal ready to simply be thawed and heated is comforting when you are running around for work, practice, and the other stresses of life.

Let’s walk through some of the FAQ’s about Freezer meals:

What can I NOT freeze?

While most things are fair game, there is a short list of things we’ve learned DON’T freeze well.

Turn Mushy

Turn Rubbery

Separate/ Curdle/ Watery

 

Bean sprouts

Hardboiled eggs

Egg based sauces

Cucumbers

 

Mayonnaise

Potatoes

 

Yogurt

Lettuce

 

Cream (cheese, sour & normal)

 

 

Cottage cheese (if not baked into recipe

 

Best practices?

While getting them read for storage, GET AS MUCH AIR OUT AS POSSIBLE! Don’t let the air sit in the bag or container while freezing as this will greatly diminish the keeping time of the food. It is also better for storage space to put them in the tightest containers as possible. Vacuum sealing can be a great option for those who have access or want to make the purchase.

How do I store them?

We don’t endorse any specific brands or products. The supplies we recommend are:

  • Freezer storage bags – the most common sizes are gallon and quart bags. There are reusable ones for sale as well to save money
  • Foil baking pans – just be aware of the weight of the food you put in them, no need to waste food by dropping it or having the pan break because of how heavy it is.
  • Plastic storage containers – these can easily be found online or in larger retail chains. The material it is made of can range from plastic to Pyrex or glass
  • Permanent markers – make sure you label what the food is and the date you made it so that you can keep track of which meals have been in there the longest for food safety.

Kitchen Supplies

(*Note - this is the same list we recommend for any meal prep)

  • 5-quart Slow Cooker
  • Insta-Pot – this is slowly gaining a cult following with our clients and there have been rave reviews so far.
  • Mixing bowls – Large ones recommended for big/multiple recipes
  • Measuring cups
  • Teaspoons and Tablespoons
  • Food Processor – makes things much easier for large meal prep
  • Blender – same as above and added bonus of shakes/smoothies
  • Cutting boards
  • Knives

How do I reduce the amount of or chance of freezer burn?

The most important thing, and we’ve mentioned it already, is minimizing air in the bag or container. Oxidation, due to air, is the biggest reason that freezer burn happens, so we want to avoid it at all costs so we don’t waste your time or money.

 

What is Freezer “Dump” Cooking?

This is where you take your meal / ingredients from the freezer and put them right into the slow cooker or InstaPot. This allows for quick easy meals that cook while you are at work, school, etc. and then you come home. We recommend that you portion out your meals, freeze them until you want to cook it, thaw it overnight in the fridge then put it into the crock pot the morning you want to have it for dinner. This is a great way to prep for long term success while still having the ease of freezer meals.

Example Freezer Meal:

https://ifoodreal.com/healthy-freezer-meals/

Take Home / FAQ’s –

Who can use freezer meals?

I recommend this for anyone who wants to work their meal prep. This is a great way to have an ace in the hole anytime things get crazy. Come home from a competition, vacation, or other reason you didn’t get to meal prep this week? No worries, simply pull out the meal from the freezer, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and then place it into the appropriate place to let it cook (crockpot, oven, stove, etc). This way you can just pick up where you left off next week and replace it with another meal.

When should I make these meals and how many of them?

Whenever you are meal prepping and have a little more time than usual is a great time to make 1-2 freezer meals for a later day. The only real determining factor for how many is the amount of freezer space you have. Having a large storage freezer can be a game changer, specifically for those of you with a larger family.

Take home message – this isn’t the ONLY way to prep, but hopefully it adds another tool in the toolbox for you to prepare ahead of time and make better long-term decisions. The goal of this is to use it to fill gaps in your food prep and eliminate the need to waste money and make poor food decisions due to a lack of time or planning.

Want to learn more about freezer meals and other ways to meal prep? Click Here to sign up with our Powell Performance staff today! 

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