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15 Recipes to Simplify Freezer Meal Prep

15 Recipes to Simplify Freezer Meal Prep

Successful and consistent healthy eating often comes down to planning and smart prepping. But that doesn’t mean it’s only for the kind of hyper-organized person who has reminders set on their phone or picks up their dry cleaning!

Whether you’re super on top of your schedule or more of a last-minute impresario, a freezer meal prep plan is an easy way to save time and money — especially if you cruise the Trader Joe’s freezer aisle regularly.

When done correctly, freezer meal prep means you can savor slow-cooked flavors and wholesome ingredients at times when your schedule calls for a fast-food pace.

For more healthy meal preps and recipe ideas get started with Openfit for free today!

Here are some frozen meal prep ideas to keep on ice:

 

1. Make-Ahead Smoothie Packs

freezer meal prep- frozen fruit bags

Smoothies are a delish way to start your day, or a healthy midday snack. Food blogger and cookbook author Jessica Merchant shares her time-saving hack for preparing on-demand smoothie packs — and getting the ratio just right. However, we’d improve on her basic concept with reusable, sandwich-size silicone food bags from Stasher, because sustainable meal prep is a hot trend.

Get the recipe at How Sweet Eats.

 

2. Make-Ahead Freezer Steel-Cut Oats

freezer meal prep- oats

A warm bowl of steel-cut oatmeal has a wonderful, nutty texture, but most of us don’t have a half hour to commit to slow simmering a batch before work. Texas-based food blogger and cookbook author Samantha Skaggs cooks up a pot of porridge and then freezes it into “pucks” or individual servings you can microwave. Sub in low-fat milk and leave out the maple syrup for healthy tweaks on her recipe.

Get the recipe at Five Heart Home.

 

3. Breakfast Pizza

freezer meal prep- breakfast pizza

You might have grown up and gotten wiser, but that doesn’t mean you don’t occasionally crave a slice of pizza for breakfast. We’ve given this collegiate staple a nutritional makeover that delivers on protein and veggies with all the cheesy goodness of a classic pie. Plus, you can freeze it for those days when adulting is overrated.

Get the recipe at Openfit.

 

4. Breakfast Burrito

freezer meal prep- breakfast burrito

There’s something deeply satisfying about rolling up a batch of breakfast burritos and freezing them. For our freezer-friendly recipe, the trick to preventing soggy tortillas is allowing the filling to cool slightly. Then wrap each burrito in a layer of parchment paper and foil and freeze. We’re calling them breakfast burritos, but there is no rational reason you couldn’t nosh on one for lunch or even dinner.

Get the recipe at Openfit.

 

5. Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal Cups

freezer meal prep- cranberry pecan cups

If you struggle with time management in the morning, these oatmeal cups will be your new best friend. Bake them when you have a spare moment, and then stash them in the fridge until you need a quick, light breakfast as you run out the door. And if cranberries and pecans aren’t your jam, try these other baked oatmeal cups that are made with raisins and walnuts.

Get the recipe at Openfit.

 

6. Freezer Meal Beef Stew

freezer meal prep- beef stew

Stews and soups are the gold standards of freezer meal prep, whether you’re prepping and freezing the ingredients to toss into an Instant Pot and speed up dinner — or fully cooking a recipe and dividing it into freezable containers for lunch.

This recipe from Pinch of Yum only has six ingredients. Just measure them out, pre-chop fresh veggies and beef, and freeze in a bag or container.

Get the recipe at Pinch of Yum.

 

7. Healthy Freezer Italian Meatballs

freezer meal prep- meatballs

Balancing nostalgia for your nonna’s home cooking with the demands of a busy millennial schedule, Seeded at the Table‘s Italian meatballs are pure convenience. The recipe combines low-fat turkey and beef with seasonings that you roll into meatballs and freeze raw. And when you’re ready to cook them, you can just pop them into the slow cooker without needing to defrost them!

Get the recipe at Seeded at the Table.

 

8. Instant Pot White Bean Chicken Chili

freezer meal prep- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

You can have our Instant Pot White Bean Chicken Chili on deck for anytime you’re craving its smoky blend of spices and hearty protein. Simply freeze the cilantro, cubed skinless chicken breast, and chopped veggies, and then thaw and follow the recipe when you’re ready. Alternatively, you can make a big pot and freeze individual portions for the perfect lunch or dinner.

Bonus: This is a Sugar Free 3-approved recipe!

Get the recipe at Openfit.

 

9. Homemade Vegetarian Chili

freezer meal prep- vegetarian chili

Plant-based spins on classic recipes are one of our favorite cooking trends of the moment — add in the element of time-saving convenience and we’re already ordering the ingredients for this must-make recipe. With rich flavors even carnivores will appreciate, Cookie and Kate‘s Homemade Vegetarian Chili has black beans and pinto beans instead of meat for a soul-warming bowl perfect for kickoff. You can make a batch and freeze single-size servings for work lunch or dinner. Total touchdown.

Get the recipe at Cookie and Kate.

 

10. Slow Cooker Chana Masala

freezer meal prep- chana masala

For a homemade (and healthier) riff on one of our favorite TJ’s frozen meal options, this recipe from Two Sleevers is a vegan Indian dish featuring chickpeas in a “gravy” or sauce made with onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and spices. According to recipe creator Urvashi Pitre, the flavors of this freezer-friendly recipe get even better over time, but it tends to thicken, so you may need to add some water to reheat.

Get the recipe at Two Sleevers.

 

11. Freezer Meal Spicy Sweet Potato Peanut Stew

freezer meal prep- sweet potato stew

The bright colors of Pinch of Yum‘s Spicy Sweet Potato Peanut Stew are Instagram-worthy, and no one will blame you for snapping a shot of this productivity high point. For a shortcut to this delicious meal prep recipe, store the bulk of this recipe’s ingredients, pre-chopped and ready to go, in your freezer. Then, you can add in the kale and peanuts after it’s cooked.

Get the recipe at Pinch of Yum.

 

12. Crock-Pot Taco Soup

When your schedule is spiraling out of control, meal prep can make you feel grounded and well-nourished. Upgrade Taco Tuesday with a savory soup made from lean ground beef or turkey. You can either freeze the ingredients to make later or make the soup and freeze in portions.

Get the recipe at Sweet Peas and Saffron.

 

13. Chicken and Veggie Freezer Packs

freezer meal prep- chicken and veggies

Chicken and vegetables are the ultimate go-to for a healthy meal that balances lean protein and nutrients. For an ingenious way to make a tasty meal in minutes, food blogger Layla Atik marinates boneless, skinless chicken breast slices with a medley of fresh veggies, including broccoli, peppers, and zucchini, and stores them in freezer-safe bags for a super-simple skillet or grilled meal.

Get the recipe at Gimme Delicious.

 

14. Seriously Good Vegetable Soup

Freezing fresh vegetables can help keep them at their peak freshness, so stock up on your favorite seasonal picks while they’re at their prime! Cookie and Kate’s vegetable soup recipe combines spices and seasonal vegetables for a filling meal loaded with vitamins.

Get the recipe at Cookie and Kate.

 

15. No-Bake Energy Bites

gingerbread balls- inside

Even a healthy meal prep recipe list can include dessert! These gingerbread cookie balls only have eight ingredients, they’re vegan, and they don’t require any cooking! Just roll up them up and store them in your icebox for a healthy snack that can save your sweet tooth in a pinch.

Get the recipe at Openfit.

 

How to Make a Freezer Meal Prep

If you’ve got a few spare hours over the weekend, it’s the perfect opportunity to knock out a few healthy recipes you’ve been wanting to try. Freezer meal prep is especially efficient in bulk, where you use an Instant Pot, Crock-Pot, or other pressure cookers and slow cookers. They can also work well for big stove top pots.

There are two main strategies when it comes making meal prepped dishes that involve your freezer:

  1. Prepping and freezing ingredients so they’re ready to be cooked at any moment.
  2. Fully cooking a meal and freezing it in convenient, portion-sized containers.

Neither is necessarily better than the other — the kind of recipe will dictate which option is best. And keep in mind that freezer-friendly meals don’t just work for dinner. There are tons of great options for breakfast and lunch, and even snacks!

How Do You Store a Freezer Meal Prep?

Thankfully, the options for meal prep freezer containers have come a long way since Tupperware parties. You can buy ones designed to store, cook, and reheat meals in, as well as ones with sectioned dividers for simplifying freezer meal prep.

For utmost convenience and streamlined cleanup, we recommend using reusable containers made from BPA-free plastic with tight-fitting lids that are dishwasher- and microwave-proof.

 

simplify freezer meal prep pin image

cemile kavountz

About

Cemile has been a freelance writer for more than a decade, writing about everything from style icons to fancy sinks. She studied at Boston University, and has written for New York magazine, GQ, Travel + Leisure, Women’s Health, WIRED, Food + Wine, Surface, Fortune, and Entertainment Weekly. Follow her on Instagram

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