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Making healthy freezer meals has never been easier, and it is a fantastic way to save time! Here are 30 of our favorite make-ahead dinner recipes.
To make a quick and easy, healthy dinner, simply prep the ingredients and freeze them. Then, the night before you want to serve the meal, transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw. As a result, you will be able to make a healthy dinner for your family with very little effort!
Tips To Make Freezer Cooking Faster & Easier
1. Plan out your freezer recipes
To make the freezer cooking session a breeze and streamline your process, it’s best to first plan which recipes you want to freeze, how many batches of each one you can prepare during your session (whether that’s half a day or a full day), and what groceries you need after you look through your pantry & fridge.
2. Don’t overdo it
When you are first starting out with freezer cooking, choose only 1-2 recipes, and batch cook 2-3 batches of each, or more, depending on how much time you have. It’s super easy to prep several batches of the same recipe all at once.
3. Choose easy recipes & dump-and-go recipes
The goal of freezer cooking is to make cooking easier so you can get dinner on the table faster and with less effort. I recommend choosing simple and easy recipes when you batch cook and assemble freezer meals.
Also, choose one or two dump-and-go (or no-cook recipes). Depending on how much time you have, you can also batch assemble only no-cook recipes.
4. Grocery shop ahead of time
Before you start your batch cooking & assembling session, it’s best if you buy all your groceries the day before so you are prepared and not in a hurry.
5. Batch prep, cook & assemble
When I batch cook freezer meals, I like to chop all my vegetables, take out from the pantry & the fridge all the condiments I will need, and take out all of the tools (bowls, measuring spoons & cups, appliances, bags, freezer storing containers etc.) I will be using. Use appliances and tools, like a food chopper or processor, to make prep work go faster. Shred meat with these claws. Lastly, I prepare the meat and portion it if necessary and keep it in the fridge until I need it. This saves you time in the long run and keeps you organized. (Use appliances and tools, like a food chopper or processor, to make prep work go faster. Shred meat with these claws,
After you have done all the prep work, cooking or simply assembling the no-cook recipes is quick & easy. Buy bag holders, or place bags in a large bowl to help keep them standing up while you add ingredients during the assembly.
If you precook the recipes before you freeze them, make sure they cool down before you place them in freezer storage containers/bags.
6. Utilize your Slow Cooker and Instant Pot
It goes without saying that the slow cooker and the instant pot are perfect helpers in the kitchen when it comes to freezer cooking.
You can cook a meal in the slow cooker while you cook another one in the oven, on the cooktop or in the Instant Pot. This way you can cook several recipes at the same time.
7. Store in appropriate containers
I like to portion out each meal in a container that holds enough for dinner and leftovers for the next day. It’s very convenient to have food not only for dinner but also for lunch the following day. It saves me time for not cooking for lunch, saves me money from not eating out and helps me eat wholesome homemade food. Use packaging that is durable, water-proof, leak-proof, and resistant to low temperatures.
8. Label everything
Don’t forget to label each container with the name of the recipe, any thawing instructions or cooking instructions if necessary. Also, write down the date when you cooked and froze it. You can try using freezer labels too. (Label the bags before you add the food!)
9. Keep a freezer inventory
I like to keep an inventory list of my freezer meals as well as different meat cuts, poultry, and seafood I store in my freezer. You can cross off each meal or meat when you use it and always have a good idea of what is available.
How Long Do Freezer Meals Last
To get the longest life out of your healthy freezer meals, you will want to follow the tips below. By doing so, your meals will keep well in the freezer for 3 to 4 months!
How To Thaw Frozen Food
The best and safest way to thaw frozen food is very simple. However, to prevent any possible risk of food contamination, it is important to follow these important food safety tips:
- Never thaw frozen food at room temperature. Instead, place frozen foods in the refrigerator to thaw. If you are thawing any type of meat, poultry, or fish, place the bag of frozen food on a small sheet pan or in a bowl. This way, if the bag leaks, you will prevent the food from contaminating any other fresh food in the refrigerator. You need about 5 hours per pound.
- Keep the frozen food in a sealed bag or closed container. Again, this will help prevent cross-contamination with other foods in the fridge.
Freezer Unfriendly Foods
- Fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce, will become limp and soggy when thawed.
- Cooked potatoes develop a gritty texture when frozen and they don’t hold their shape and texture.
- Gravies and sauces thickened with cornstarch or flour will separate during the freezing process. You can freeze an unthickened sauce, and then add thickeners after thawing.
- Fully cooked pasta may become mushy and overcooked once reheated. Slightly undercook pasta before freezing it.
- Some dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, sour cream, and light cream, will separate when frozen.
Best Healthy Freezer Meals
To make browsing these recipes as easy for you as possible, you will find them broken into categories, as follows:
- POULTRY (chicken and turkey)
- VEGETARIAN & VEGAN
Healthy Beef Dinners
Although beef is typically higher in fat and calories than other proteins, it can still be part of a healthy dinner.
To ensure that your freezer meals made with beef are as healthy as possible, choose cuts that are at least 90 percent lean. According to the Cattleman’s Beef Board, lean beef options include:
- Ground sirloin
- Sirloin tip side steak
- Top round steak
- Strip steak
- Flank steak
Beef Freezer Meal Recipes
- Sous Vide Steak Recipe
- Swedish Meatballs
- Beef Mexi Rice – Eating Richly
- Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup – 90/10 Nutrition
- Instant Pot Philly Cheesesteak – Carrie Elle
- Southwestern Hamburger Soup – Flour on my Face
Healthy Freezer Meals – Pork
As is the case with beef, healthy freezer meals can also be made using pork. The leanest cuts of pork are the loin and tenderloin.
- Lemon Basil Freezer Meal Pork Chops – The Delicious Spoon
- Ham and White Bean Soup – Delicious Meets Healthy
- Southwestern Pork Stew – Flour On My Face
- Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas – Bowl of Delicious
- Creamy Ranch Pork Chops – 90/10 Nutrition
- Pork and Cranberry Stuffed Peppers – Happy Body Formula
Make Ahead Chicken and Turkey Dinners
Out of all of the healthy freezer meal recipes on the Interwebs (and there are plenty of them!), the most popular are made using poultry. This is primarily because white meat chicken and turkey are lean proteins. But also, because poultry is the most budget-friendly. You can typically make at least 3 meals from a small turkey.
- Curried Pineapple Turkey Rice Bowl – The Gracious Pantry
- Smoky Mexican Pulled Chicken – Bowl of Delicious
- Healthy Mexican Chicken Casserole – Eating Richly
- Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken – Delicious Meets Healthy
- Low Carb/Keto Buffalo Chicken Meatballs – Wholesome Yum
- Salsa Chicken Slow Cooker Freezer Meal – Flour on my Face
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos (Clean Eating) – 90/10 Nutrition
- Freezer Chicken Tenders – The Lean Green Bean
- Paleo Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas – A Clean Bake
Healthy Freezer Meals – Seafood
For the most part, fish and shellfish are healthy in and of themselves. The key to creating healthy freezer meals with them is to avoid the use of heavy breading. And of course, baking and broiling are healthier ways to prepare them than deep frying.
- Slow Cooker Salmon with Creamy Lemon Sauce – Diethood
- Shrimp Stir Fry Freezer Meal – The Schmidty Wife
- Easy Salmon Patties – Champagne Tastes
- Asian Salmon Burgers – The Roasted Root
- Gluten Free Fish Casserole – Recipes from a Pantry
Vegetarian + Vegan Freezer Meals
When it comes to meatless healthy freezer meals for dinner, the protein typically comes from ingredients such as tofu, lentils, and quinoa. These recipes are delicious, nutritious, and incredibly easy to make!
- Black Bean and Quinoa Veggie Burgers – Peas and Crayons
- Vegan Black Bean Soup – I Heart Vegetables
- Instant Pot Moroccan Chickpea Stew – Recipes from a Pantry
- Bean Burrito Casserole Freezer Meal – Honey and Birch
- Dump and Bake Ravioli Casserole – The Seasoned Mom
- Vegetarian Freezer Enchiladas – Delicious Obsessions
Use the tag #DeliciousMeetsHealthy when posting a picture of your recipe, and make sure to follow @deliciousmeetshealthy on Instagram!