On Friday, I shared my pre-baby freezer cooking plan. Although we haven’t had a chance to break into any of it yet (obviously), I am already excited about where this is going. I think this is really going to make my life easier in the post-baby weeks, and I might even try to keep up with it, to some extent, after baby is here!
Here’s the thing. I have a few small problems when it comes to real food:
- Everyone gets hungry and nothing’s ready. A couple days a week I work until 1 PM and I need lunch immediately upon coming back. Other times I am just busy with other projects on the blog or around the house or we’re due at church, and it gets late before I realize it. So this results in making fussy, starving children wait longer…or grabbing something less-than-healthy.
- I don’t keep up with “ingredient prep.” There’s nothing worse than having a solid plan, then realizing I never did get those tortillas made and into the freezer! Suddenly I have nothing for the meal. See situation #1, this does not go well.
- My family eats a lot. What might be a stock-up batch for some families is an average day’s meals for us. My kids demolished 14 muffins for breakfast on Saturday between the three of them. Just the kids. The three-dozen batch I had made and hoped to last four days (and that was with me eating them, too) would barely last two. It’s easier to just make bigger batches all at once…really big batches. It’s far less annoying than having to make “something else” several times a day or listen to the kids whine about how hungry they are!
I’m guessing I’m not alone in at least some of those issues, especially the first one. How many times has lunch or dinner somehow sneaked up on you and left you wanting to run for a frozen pizza stashed in the back of your freezer…or order one from the local pizza place? Done too often, these things can wreck your family’s health, and certainly your budget as well.
Freezer Cooking to the Rescue!
I resisted freezer cooking for quite a long time because I do not like premade, reheated meals very much. I like my meals to be fresh. That was great when I had just one kid and lots of time to cook…or even two kids. It was okay when nobody had any dietary restrictions that made cooking tricky. But now? My husband’s grain-free, I have to be really careful about soaked grains for the rest of us, and a lot of meal components take 12 – 24 hours to prepare. By the time I realize I don’t have what I need (“I forgot to soak beans last night!”) it’s too late.
This has often resulted in “snacky” dinners, which are not always bad (kids usually get cheese cubes, some leftover meat, and some fruit — but I often end up with pretzels or something not-so-great). Those can get expensive sometimes…and they aren’t always so healthy.
With freezer cooking, you can put a lot of great meal components into your freezer so that several meals are 10 – 15 minutes away. Even the fussiest, hungriest children can be bought off with a banana or a slice of cheese for that long!
Right now, I have components for:
- Pita pizzas
- Taco salad
- Chicken nuggets
These meals can be pulled together in minutes. Literally, I have the bread, shredded cheese, sauce, everything ready. All I need is a few minutes to put it together and heat it up and we’re good. I also have quite a bit of canned and fresh fruits and vegetables around to give the kids while they wait. Problem solved!
So how does this make you healthier?
Fewer Snack Foods
When you have healthy meal components around, you’re not as likely to fall back on pretzels, veggie chips, fruit (which is great in moderation), and other less-healthy options. Real food snacks can be great, absolutely, but sometimes you need to get some real “meals” into people.
Less Temptation to Eat Out
It’s so easy to say “Tonight’s our compromise night!” and head to a restaurant or order a pizza. You may not feel very well after doing this, and it will be expensive. If you know that dinner can be pulled out of your freezer in 10 minutes, you’re less likely to want to give up and get take out.
Less Temptation to Buy Convenience Foods
Some families like to keep cans of pre-made soups or other meals on hand, or a few frozen pizzas in the back of the freezer. Or, if they’re trying to save some money, they’ll run to the grocery store to pick one up (instead of the local drive-through) when they can’t think of what else to make. Having dinner in your house cuts this down too.
Helps Families Adjust to Real Food
Some families really enjoy eating out, because they are used to how quick it is and they like the taste. If you are overwhelmed by all the changes and extra work in the kitchen, you are likely to break down when your plan falls through and your family is bugging you to just get fast food, mom. But if you have quick, healthy, tasty options on hand, your family will eat out less, adjust to eating at home, and enjoy the food you’ve prepared. Over time they may come to prefer the homemade options!
If you’re sold on trying freezer cooking, your next question may be “What containers do I use to store this food in the freezer?” In some cases, plastic bags are fine — just cool the food completely before putting it in. I do use these for breads because the plastic isn’t going to hurt them.
What if you want to store soups or sauces, though? Bags for those are messy. Hard plastic dishes can contain BPA and other chemicals, which will leach into these foods. Disposable aluminum options really are not any safer.
ESP ~ Essential Safe Products has the answer. They have a variety of safe food containers, including glass, stainless steel, insulated, and BPA-free plastic options. In addition to food containers, they also carry lunch boxes and snack bags (reusable), stainless steel water bottles, safe cookware, and more. If there’s anything you need for the kitchen, you can probably find it here!
Try these glass containers, or these stainless steel containers for soups and sauces. There are these neat glass baking dishes with glass lids, too. Don’t forget the stainless steel lunch options!
ESP has offered a $50 gift card for one lucky reader to get some safe food storage containers! Enter below on the Rafflecopter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway will last through Friday, 2/8 and the winner will be announced on Monday, 2/11. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents over the age of 18.
What safe food containers do you or would you like to use?
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