Your freezer is an invaluable resource for storing delicious and healthy foods to have handy for last-minute meals and snacks.
The freezer is also a great location for stockpiling those frozen fruits and vegetables that go on sale at your local grocery store.
But… before restocking your freezer, take inventory now. Discard unrecognizable items, foods with freezer burn, old food, and unhealthy food.
Buying healthy foods for your freezer helps you to cook healthy, eat healthy, and live well.
Here are seven foods to keep as a back-up in your freezer.
1) Whole-Grain Bread
The staff of life is such a daily staple that running out often means a special trip to the grocery store. If you always keep a few loaves in the freezer you'll never run out again. Frozen sliced bread can be toasted without thawing. If you want a regular sandwich the slices thaw in just minutes on the countertop.
2) Frozen Fruit
This is just as nutritious as fresh – and it’s perfect for smoothies and desserts. Use frozen fruit instead of fresh fruit and you won't have to add ice to your smoothie. Shop for frozen fruits when it’s off season to stock up and save money.
Nuts add a nice crunch to salads, vegetable side dishes, and desserts when used in moderation, but they can go rancid fast. Storing them in the freezer helps keep them longer as well as keep them out of sight if they are too much a temptation to have on hand.
4) Frozen Vegetables
While just as nutritious as fresh, frozen vegetables are super convenient. With ready-to-steam bags, all you have to do is take them out of the freezer and put them in the microwave for a couple minutes. No washing, prepping or cutting -- a real time saver.
5) Frozen Chicken Breasts or Fish Filets
A full variety of meats store well in the freezer and are at your disposal for a fast, filling meal in no time. Freeze fish and other perishable meat items immediately after purchase to keep them fresh-tasting come mealtime.
6) Vegetable Protein Burgers
These nutrition-packed patties are full of flavor and healthy ingredients. Simply heat in the microwave and enjoy as a snack. They even come in vegan varieties and different flavors. For you meat-eaters who get the craving, look no further. These are delicious and hearty and pack just 100 calories or so per patty. Just be sure not to go overboard with toppings.
7) Shelled Edamame
You can now find these soy kernels in the freezer case of just about any supermarket. Microwave or boil them for a few minutes and serve them lightly salted. These buttery soy kernels are nutritious and surprisingly fun to eat. Kids love them, too!
Rebecca Mohning is a Registered Dietitian and an Exercise Physiologist who believes that we can change our metabolism and achieve optimal health through proper nutrition and regular exercise. She has a Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's of Science in Dietetics from Iowa State University. She is a certified Personal Trainer by the American College of Sports Medicine. She specializes in weight management, performance nutrition, and eating disorders.