When it comes to food, frozen sometimes gets a bad rap. But healthy frozen meals are not only achievable, they’re easy to make! In fact, they provide a convenient and affordable way for families to have a better diet quality.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to compromise taste. There are so many choices for simple freezer meals, you’ll have many opportunities to find something you like. Let’s get to it.
14 Healthy frozen meals to try
In this list, we’ll give you some easy recipes to try because making your own food is still the best way to meet your dietary needs and taste preferences, whether you intend to freeze them or not. But since we recognize that not everyone has the skill, or maybe you even think, “I hate cooking!” we have some ready-to-heat options as well.
1. Freezer bag chicken fajita stir-fry
Get the chicken fajita stir-fry recipe courtesy of the Food Network Kitchen. It’s easy to prepare. You may also add other ingredients, like chili flakes or mushrooms, according to your taste.
It makes for an easy weeknight meal as well. To have enough for easy freezer meals, simply double the recipe. Freeze the leftovers, and voila, you’ve made dinner for two nights.
2. Stamp-of-approval spaghetti sauce
This spaghetti sauce recipe from Taste of Home is easy to make and has received lots of praise for its flavor. It’s truly one of those classic freezer meals. This recipe can be frozen for up to three months. But surely you’d have eaten it by then.
As always, add ingredients as you like and tweak the recipe to your taste. You can also try swapping the ground beef with other proteins, such as ground turkey. Serve it with spaghetti, as a sauce for lasagna, or eat it with salad.
3. Freezer bag chicken primavera
With little prep time, this chicken primavera recipe from the Food Network kitchen gives you a flavorful chicken and vegetable meal. It’s another easy freeze recipe you can try out without spending a ton of time cooking.
Simply follow the directions for prep, freezing, and thawing. Although it calls to pair it with a baguette, you can also serve it with pasta or rice.
4. Golden butternut squash and chickpea curry
If you’re looking for a sweet and savory flavor, try this butternut squash and chickpea curry from the Full Helping. It’s one of the best healthy frozen meals that is easy to make ahead.
The instructions say it can be frozen for up to six weeks. The recipe also offers many ideas to play with the ingredients. So you can substitute, swap, or add in different vegetables. Go try it, it’s one of the best frugal meals.
5. Easy homemade lasagna
Try this freezable and easy-to-make homemade lasagna for the ultimate comfort food anytime you want it. A combination of pasta, cheese, bubbly tomato sauce, what else can you ask for?
You’ll love this recipe from the Happy Money Saver. Visit her website for the step-by-step process with photos.
6. Freezer meatballs recipe
Meatballs are always a favorite with kids and adults alike. You can eat them on a sandwich, serve them with pasta sauce, or just by themselves.
For an alternative to store-bought, try this easy freezer meatballs recipe from The Forked Spoon. It’s another delicious recipe and you can make the meatballs and freeze them raw until you’re ready to eat them. Or cook them first and then freeze them.
7. Darn good chili recipe
I’m always looking for a good chili recipe, so I’m excited for this one from Tasty. More so because I can just toss all the ingredients in the crock pot. Who doesn’t love crock pot cooking with only 15 minutes of prep time!
Like all the recipes mentioned in this article, you can freeze this recipe either cooked or raw. Mix all raw ingredients in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze. Then, thaw and cook the meal in a crock pot. Make sure to label the bag with the appropriate cooking time.
8. Life-changing Instant Pot beef stew
Do you like having a comforting and hearty stew on chilly fall and winter days? Then, you’ll love this beef stew recipe from Pinch of Yum.
Plus, you can make the stew in an Instant Pot or slow cooker. It doesn’t get any better than that.
You could freeze this stew before or after it cooks. Follow the instructions for the freezer meal version. If you’re freezing leftovers, store them in a freezer-safe container or bag, and it should keep for up to six months.
9. Creamy homemade chicken noodle soup
Soups are versatile meals you can have as a snack, lunch, or light dinner. You can also pair it with a sandwich or a salad for a hearty meal. With this homemade chicken noodle soup recipe courtesy of Tastes Better From Scratch, you can have tasty and filling healthy frozen meals in a pinch.
Make sure to use full-fat ingredients if you’re making the recipe to freeze so your soup retains its consistency. You can leave the noodles out or cook them a little firmer.
When stored in an airtight container, the meal should keep for up to six months.
10. Amy’s Kitchen Pad Thai
Pad Thai is one of those meals that are easy to make but, at the same time, easy to mess up. Boil the noodles too long, and you’ll end up with a mushy pad thai. You have to be careful not to overcook the veggies as well.
That’s why Amy’s Kitchen Pad Thai is a great alternative when you have a craving for the dish but don’t have the time to cook. Amy’s Kitchen offers over 250 vegetarian-friendly frozen meals, many of which are gluten-free and made from organic ingredients.
11. Tortilla crusted fish
If you love a good seafood dish but don’t have the kitchen skills to attempt making frozen meals using fish, try the Tortilla Crusted Fish by Lean Cuisine.
The package contains tortilla-crusted Alaskan Pollock with a mix of corn, poblano peppers, and rice in sour cream sauce. The product has received many great reviews, and it’s an easy, affordable way to add fish to your diet.
12. Chicken tikka masala with basmati rice
Saffron Road is a company known for making tasty and healthy frozen meals free of GMOs, artificial ingredients, and hormones. Many of their frozen products are also vegan, vegetarian, and certified halal.
13. Korean-inspired beef
Healthy Choice is one of the most affordable brands producing healthy frozen meals. Even though prices can vary depending on where you live, most of their items cost between $3 to $5 per serving.
The company also specializes in making frozen products that are free of artificial ingredients. One of their best-reviewed items is this spicy treat, the Korean-Inspired Beef bowl.
14. Lightly breaded chicken breast chunks
Having kids in your house means having chicken nuggets in your freezer. Because no matter what healthy, elaborate meals you put in front of your kids, they’ll ask for chicken nuggets at least one night a week.
Anyway, serve them the Just Bare Lightly Breaded Chicken Nuggets with a side of carrots, celery, or steamed broccoli and call it a day. You can get this brand from Costco, and they’re known for making frozen products with no preservatives and no artificial ingredients.
Expert tip: Start small when making frozen meals
In your first attempt to make frozen healthy meals, start small. Your first try could be doubling your family’s favorite pasta sauce or soup recipe for dinner and freezing half for another night.
Learn what works best for your family lifestyle and taste preferences. Maybe you like having pasta meals once a week, so you’ll know to always have sauces in the freezer.
Once you get the hang of putting together easy freezer meals, you may work up to batch cooking several recipes in one afternoon.
Benefits of buying or making easy freezer meals
There are many benefits to making healthy frozen meals at home, including easier prep time for busy days and a longer shelf life by putting food in the freezer.
It’s also an easy and affordable way to include items from every food group in your cooking. Frozen meals are a great alternative to fast food for busy families and new moms.
Additionally, frozen food also helps reduce waste and helps you if you’re trying out a money saving challenge. If you’re throwing out uneaten fruits and vegetables regularly, consider buying frozen fruits and vegetables.
At times, they have more vitamins and minerals because freezing preserves nutrients, and they’re picked and frozen within hours to lock in all the nutrients and flavor.
How to make healthy frozen meals at home
Below are some tips on making and preparing simple freezer meals for those busy days when you don’t have the time or the energy to cook.
Include healthy frozen meals in your meal plan
It’s easier to make frozen healthy meals at home if they’re already part of your budget meal planning. This way, you can get your grocery shopping on a budget done in one go. Meal planning also allows you to schedule batch cooking or meal prepping.
Following a meal plan also makes it easier for you to make your favorite healthy frozen meals. Simply double or triple the recipe, eat a portion for dinner that day and store the rest.
Lastly, check your freezer before you create a monthly meal planner to make sure you eat what you have. The Food and Drug Administration says food is safe to keep indefinitely at 0℉, but quality decreases the longer it’s in the freezer.
Pick the right recipe
Unfortunately, some recipes can’t withstand freezing and defrosting and retain their flavor.
For instance, pastries or creamy sauces don’t make easy freezer meals.
So, try lasagna, hearty soups, stews, casseroles, chilis, sauces, and burgers instead. Cookies, muffins, and slices of bread can be easily frozen as well. The recipes don’t have to be complicated either, choose ones with little prep time.
Store frozen healthy meals using the right supplies
When making freezer meals at home, it’s important that you have the right supplies to store them. Otherwise, it would be a waste if the food gets freezer burnt and doesn’t retain its flavor and nutrients.
For this, you’ll need heavy-duty aluminum foil, thick freezer bags, and foil baking pans. You can also look for freezer-safe metal or glass baking pans and reusable freezer bags if you’re interested in how to live sustainably and want to create less waste.
In addition, get masking tape and a marker or pen to label your jars and freezer bags. Don’t rely on your memory, it could and will fail you. Write the name of the dish, the date of preparation, and any reheating instructions if needed.
Schedule meal prepping
Meal prepping means organizing your food to make it easier for you to have food at home, readily available. It could involve chopping vegetables, batch cooking, or putting together simple freezer meals.
Scheduling meal prepping on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon can save you time on busy weeknights. Not to mention that it helps you save money on your grocery bill.
With a little bit of time, planning, and preparing your menu for the week, you minimize waste and eat healthier too. Make meal prepping part of your daily routine schedule!
Make sure you have all the ingredients
Whether you’re batch cooking or putting together raw ingredients for healthy frozen meals, make sure you have everything you need before you start. You also don’t want to freeze recipes with missing ingredients.
It won’t really help you in the future to be running to the grocery store in order to make your freezer meal. That’s why it’s best to create a meal plan before you go grocery shopping.
What to look for when buying ready-made frozen healthy meals
Not all frozen foods are created equal, but there are a lot of healthy options available now. So, here are some guidelines you can use when shopping in the frozen food aisle.
Choose nutritious packaged meals
When buying frozen meals, check the nutrition facts labels. Preferably, look for healthy frozen meals that have adequate nutritional value.
Choose meals with lower saturated fat and higher fiber, vitamin, and mineral content. Avoid those that have added sugars, sauces, and salt.
Remember to consider the serving size as well. If the entire package is equal to two servings, it means you’re actually eating double the salt, sugar, and saturated fats listed.
Go with less sodium
Sodium generally adds flavor and improves the texture of our foods. It’s also used as a preservative. That’s why it’s present in packaged and prepared foods like canned soups and frozen meals.
But most people can benefit from less sodium in their diets. The American Heart Association states reducing sodium intake by just 1,000 mg per day can significantly improve blood pressure and heart health. Hence, it’s best to choose products with the lowest amount of sodium you can find.
Check the ingredients list
Most of us have jam-packed schedules that don’t leave much time for cooking. But we also want the cheapest meals that are also healthy. The good news is there are many food companies stepping up to the plate.
Many are coming up with frozen healthy meals with fresh ingredients and less sodium. So, make sure to compare the Nutrition Facts label and check the ingredients list of the products you buy.
What are the healthiest frozen dinners to eat?
The healthiest frozen dinners to eat are the ones you make at home. When you make your own food, you have complete control over what goes into it.
You can use fresh ingredients and put less sugar or salt than what the recipe calls for. You can also add more veggies or even substitute rice and pasta with whole wheat options.
However, as mentioned there are frozen meal products prepared with organic ingredients and less sodium. You can also find meals specifically for people with diabetes or additional dietary needs, like vegan or gluten-free.
So, you can still find healthy alternatives to cooking at home. Just make sure you read the ingredients list and understand the nutrition label.
Is there such a thing as healthy frozen food?
Yes, fortunately, there is such a thing as healthy frozen food, as many food companies are responding to consumer preferences. You can find frozen products at the grocery store made with organic ingredients and less saturated fats and sodium.
Not to mention, you can ensure you’re living a healthy lifestyle with what you eat by making your own at home with the ingredients that you choose.
What foods are easiest to freeze?
The foods that are easiest to freeze include meats, seafood, fruits, and vegetables, which can all be kept in the freezer for long periods. You can also freeze cooked rice, corn, quinoa, and beans.
Additionally, you can preserve fresh herbs by putting them in ice cube trays with some water. Once frozen, store the herbs in a freezer-safe bag, and they’ll be good to use for a year.
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Simplify your dinners with healthy frozen meals!
Deciding what to make for dinner every day can be tiresome, let alone making meals after a full day of work and wrangling kids.
But a little bit of meal planning and prepping means you can still eat affordably and healthily even when you don’t have the time and energy to cook. Start living consciously and saving more, and improve your dinner options with easy freezer meals!