freezer meals
budget nutrition

This One Simple Thing Will Save You Money & Time in the Kitchen!

When I talk with people about eating healthy, they usually bring up one of two issues: it’s too expensive, or it takes too long.

While it’s true that “health foods” can be expensive, or eating healthy may mean a little more time in the kitchen, I’ve found one thing that helps. Each time I make a big batch of something healthy, I freeze the extra!

How Freezing Food Can Save Money

Skip the Food Waste

I was talking to a friend the other day who explained her issue with leftovers. With just herself and her husband eating food, sometimes a single recipe will last them for several meals. At this point, they either get tired of it or forget about the food altogether — until later on when they discover stinky leftovers in the fridge.

Sound familiar?

So what can you do? While one solution would be to make smaller batches of food, that means extra work for less food. So I usually opt to package up the extra and throw it in the freezer!

If you put it away before you forget about it, you’ll be able to actually make use of that food. So by freezing the leftovers, this means less food that gets thrown out — and less money down the drain!

Skip the Expensive Freezer Meals

Sometimes in the name of convenience, people buy ready-made meals to keep on hand in the freezer. While there may be some healthy options, often these meals are extra processed with lots of sodium and added sugars. What’s more, these store-bought freezer meals don’t come cheap! For example, a single serve Stauffer’s lasagna costs about $3.50 without tax. Or if you’re trying for a healthier option, a single serve Lean Cuisine herb roasted chicken also costs about $3.50 without tax. On the other hand, if you freeze some extra coconut curry lentils from Budget Bytes, you’re only paying about $1 per serving. So freezing some extra food will let you have healthier options for less money!

How Batch Cooking Saves Time

If time is one of your biggest obstacles to healthy eating, batch cooking may be part of the solution! Batch cooking, or cooking food in large batches to save some for later, means you only spend a little extra time for a lot of extra food. When you package up and freeze the extra, you’ll have an easy meal on hand. Just pull it out to thaw or reheat, and voila! You have a healthy, ready-made meal for those busy nights.

I’ll add a little caveat here. With my most recent pregnancy, I kept a frozen pizza or two in the freezer for nights when I didn’t feel up to cooking. Is it the worst thing in the world to eat a store-bought frozen meal on occasion? Of course not!

But if you’re able, cooking a little extra on one or two nights a week can give you the convenience of a freezer meal without the extra calories and cost.

Freezer Friendly Food Ideas

Initially, one issue I faced with freezing food is that much of the food I eat includes fresh produce — not the best for freezing. But over the years I’ve discovered a few ideas for healthy, freezer friendly food.

Freeze Soups

Soups freeze really well! Just thaw and add a little water or broth upon reheating. Here are some of my favorites:

Freeze Components

While some dishes don’t freeze well (think tacos or pasta), you can freeze components that will make life easier. Keep some tortillas and prepped taco filling in the freezer, then all you have to do is add the fresh toppings. Or freeze some extra pasta sauce and cook some noodles from the pantry to go with it! We also love freezing veggie burger patties (with parchment paper between each), which are great to pull out and put together with some toppings. Here are some things we use regularly:

Freeze Extra to Save Time & Money!

If you’re looking to eat healthy but you don’t have lots of time, try doubling a recipe and throwing some in the freezer! And if you typically spend money grabbing fast food or buying frozen meals, try the convenience of a frozen home-cooked meal! Freezing the extra can save you money and time in the kitchen as you try to fuel your body with healthy food.

What’s your favorite freezer meal? Share your ideas in the comments!

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