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It’s easy to cook healthy meals when your freezer is stocked with these foods.

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Cooking healthy and affordable meals is easier when you already have the ingredients you need in the house. A freezer that is well-stocked with nutritious, easy-to-prepare foods is one way to ensure you can always whip up a quick and healthy meal. Of course, you’ll also need a few pantry staples.

Don’t skimp on nutrition when you’re short on time or your fridge is less than full. With these foods in your freezer, you won’t go hungry. You also won’t regret what you put in your body when those hunger pangs strike. And as an added bonus, you’ll save money instead of turning to take out, again!

Here are 6 types of frozen food to keep on hand:

      1. High-quality protein. Healthy meals start with high-quality protein. Stock your freezer with whatever your protein of choice is—white meat chicken or turkey, fish or lean meats. If you prefer plant-based protein, keep veggie burgers, meat substitutes or edamame in your freezer. Pre-cooked beans and lentils can also be frozen and easily thawed.
      2. Veggies and fruits. As long as you choose packages with no added sauces, sugar or salt, frozen veggies and fruits can be as healthy as fresh produce. Plus, they’re easier to use since they’re already cleaned and sliced, diced or shredded. From stir-fries to smoothies, there are loads of healthy meals you can make in minutes when your freezer is loaded with frozen produce.
      3. Whole grains. Cook up a batch of rice, quinoa, farro or your grain of choice, portion it out and freeze for a quick accompaniment to any meal. Freezing whole grain bread allows you to grab a slice or two whenever you need it. This stops you from tossing bread that quickly goes bad or eating too much of it so it doesn’t go to waste.
      4. Nuts. To keep nuts fresh, freeze them for up to six months. This helps you save money because you can buy nuts in bulk. It also ensures that you always have a healthy snack on hand when you need it.
      5. Herbs. If you love the taste of fresh herbs but hate that you throw out more than you use, freeze them. You can snip the leaves and freeze in olive oil or water in ice cube trays or keep them in a tightly sealed plastic bag. They won’t look as pretty as fresh when you use them, but you’ll still enjoy their taste.
      6. Leftovers. Instead of having to cook every night, make a double-batch of healthy meals that freeze well, such as soups, stews and stir-fries. Then just defrost and heat when it’s time to eat.

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Date Last Reviewed: January 12, 2022

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Jane Schwartz, RD

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