Top tips for making healthy meals you can freeze
Batch cooking is easier than you think…
02 Apr 2020
Making big batches of meals that you can freeze is a great idea. It saves you time, money and means you always have some nutritious home cooking whenever you need it. Plus, it cuts down on food waste. Fast food doesn’t have to be unhealthy when you can just defrost, heat and eat!
If you’re new to making batches of food you can freeze, the temptation might be to do try and feed an army. But it’s best to do a meal with a few portions to get comfortable and fine tune the process.
Think freezer friendly
Burritos might be a favourite, but they won’t do so well after a freeze. Instead, think about preparing dishes that will still come out great after being defrosted and reheated. Soups, stews, curries and casseroles are a much better bet.
Make it easy on yourself
Big meals don’t need to be a big mess. Save yourself washing up pots and pans by using slow cookers and multi-cookers for stews, curries and casseroles. You can whisk yourself up a soup in a blender in a jiffy. In fact, there’s clever kitchen tech that makes healthy cooking easy. You’ll find some great ideas here.
Healthy meals often mean lots of veg. But chopping up a big batch of onion, peppers and carrots starts to lose it’s fun very quickly. Get yourself a food processor and you’ll whizz through it.
New to kitchen appliances? We’ve got a guide to food processors, mixers and blenders.
Think beyond shepherd’s pie for the 100th time. Have a look online for recipes and it’s amazing what you can make and freeze. Cheese and bacon scones? Souvlaki skewers? Smoked salmon souffles? Get that inspiration warmed up.
Why not try out the free Plan to Eat app? It’s got loads of recipe ideas made for freezing. Just tell it what you want to cook and how many portions and it’ll even give you a shopping list. You can also use it to keep a stock list of the meals you have in your freezer. Handy!
Don’t forget about pudding!
Freezing meals doesn’t just mean sensible and savoury. Did you know that cakes, cupcakes and muffins are freezeable too?
If you’re making a Victoria Sponge, cut it into slices first. That way you won’t have to defrost the whole thing just for one piece.
If you’re new to freezing and defrosting, be careful. While freezing is just about the best way to preserve food, heating up meals directly from frozen can be hazardous.
The best idea is to transfer food to the fridge for at least 24 hours before you plan to heat it up. Sounds like a lot of planning? You can always use the defrost function on a microwave. A lot of top models will weigh your food and know exactly how long to defrost it for - clever stuff!
Remember, that once you defrost a meal, you should never freeze it again. That’s why it’s so important to separate it into meal-sized portions.
Use freezer friendly containers
While it might be temping just to use that empty takeaway container, it’s not a good long-term solution. Thin plastic will crack when frozen, split and then you’ll have a mess on your hands when you come to defrost.
Ziplock freezer bags are great for freezing portions of fruit (for smoothies) or soups. Label them with a marker so you know what you’ve got. For other meals, it’s a good idea to invest in some sturdy Tupperware that is durable enough to contract and expand during freezing and heating. You can also put them in the dishwasher and keep reusing them.
Get a freezer that’s up to the job
There’s nothing wrong with the classic upright fridge freezer combo – but if you get into freezing meals in a big way, there are alternatives that may suit you better. Digging through drawers can awkward, so maybe easy-to-reach shelves in an American style freezer is more your thing?
And if you think you’re going to run out of space, why not go for a chest freezer? Looking to upgrade your cold storage, find out which fridge freezer you should buy.