Everyone talks about meal prepping as if it’s the answer to all of our problems. Heck, I preach it to all my friends. It’s basically the best thing ever.
Making food in large quantities, and then freezing meal-sized portions for later, is the answer to my busy days. When I’m between work and class and need something for dinner, I don’t have time to cook up a fresh nutritious meal. Instead, I reach into my freezer and take out soup, stew or another meal I’d recently cooked up. Even better, when I’m looking for a mid-day snack, some of the best options can be found in my freezer! Granola bars, energy balls, muffins – you name it, it can be frozen and thawed/reheated for enjoyment later.
But leftovers and frozen snacks don’t have to be tasteless and boring. What comes out of your freezer can be tasty and nutritious if you know what to make. Here are five foods that are great to prep ahead of time, freeze, and reheat when you’re hungry:
If you’re anything like me, you overestimate the ingredients in soup. Every single time I put in too many veggies and could probably open up a soup kitchen. Luckily, I am able to freeze a few meals and enjoy them at a later date. My favourite soups for freezing/reheating are blended and creamy soups. They reheat easily and evenly, and keep a great flavor. My go-to? A coconut curry soup with sweet potato, carrots and red lentils – can’t go wrong!
2. Energy balls.
I would label 2015 the year of the energy balls. With so many recipes online, it’s easy to find something you’ll like. Feeling like a snack? Put down those chips and munch on a few of these instead. Be sure they are filled with good fats and protein to keep you satiated, and you will only need a couple of them to take away your hunger. I typically make these nut butter energy balls – they’re filled with protein from hemp hearts, almond butter and peanut butter.
3. Stews and casseroles.
Basically anything coming from your slow cooker is great frozen and reheated. All the flavors are perfectly blended together, and they stay that way even as leftovers. On Sundays, I will sometimes run a separate meal in the slow cooker just for freezing. My favourite slow-cooker meal is a vegetarian chili – yum!
4. Beans and chickpeas.
Wait, what? Yep – while it may not be a meal on its own, I love to cook dry beans and freeze them in single-serve portions. If I need a bit of added protein to my meal, I can take out the frozen beans and reheat them. It’s a super easy way to get protein – especially if you’re a vegetarian or vegan.
If you’re looking for a mid-day pick-me-up, muffins are a great option. Find yourself a healthy recipe (try for less sugar and gluten-free), and bake yourself a batch of treats. During those extra-busy days, take out a muffin out to thaw, or nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds. Seriously, what is better than a warm, comforting muffin? Especially when you know it’s loaded with goodness, and can be ready in 30 seconds?
Do you meal-prep? What do you like to make?