Planning with your Freezer

No matter which diet you choose to follow, planning ahead is going to be the key to successfully sticking with the food changes you make. Start by making meals on the weekend so that the meals you have during the week are easy to heat and eat. This practice of meal planning will be a consistent action you need to take each week so that you are not caught off guard with, "what do I eat" or "oh yeah, we have a lunch-in today, soooo what can I eat here?" Planning ahead to avoid these situations is the goal of meal planning/meal prepping. What about those other meals (breakfast and dinner)? This is where I suggest putting your freezer to work. When you have more time, make yourself some time-saving cooking hacks that can be frozen and pulled out when needed. Here are some time-saving hacks:

>Mince garlic and sauté it with some butter until it starts to brown, then remove it from the heat. Let the sauté cool then fill up an ice cube tray with the sautéed mixture. (I suggest the silicone ice cube trays to make the frozen garlic cubes easier to pop out.)

>Tomato paste drops. These are simple storage savers for all the best home cooks. Simply put two tablespoons of tomato paste on a silicone baking sheet (repeat this until the sheet is full) then place the baking sheet in the freezer until frozen. The tomato paste will be frozen into little mounds or rounds. After frozen, you can put these in reusable freezer bag. Just take them as you need them.

>Stock supplies. If you are the person who wants to make as much from scratch as you can, then you should think about making and keeping your own stock on hand. I suggest making one quart batch of chicken, beef, and vegetable stock every other month. You can keep these in a few quart freezer bags that can be pulled out at any time. To reduce waste, I suggest on keeping your carrot butts, celery ends, and onion tops and bottoms. Keep these scrap pieces, and then add them to a gallon reusable freezer bag you can fill up over time. Place in the freezer when not being filled. Use this as a vegetable based when you are ready to make your next batch of stock.

>Veggie sauté kits. In a reusable freezer bag combine cut up vegetables with your choice of oil and spices then then place in freezer and remove when ready. This way all you have left to do is cook the mixture.

>Chop up and freeze extra zucchini or yellow squash as an alternative to ice cubes that can be used to thicken a protein shake.

>Buy in bulk and freeze in normal portion. Items such as ground beef, whole pork loin, chicken thighs in larger packs, etc. You can save money by buying in bulk, then bring that bulk food home, portion it out to normal amounts used for your meals, and freeze it in these portion sizes. This way you have the food needed on hand and you can take out what you need. All these freezer tips center on using portion sized freezer bags, which can be a waste that builds. But there are some cool products out there that can cut down on plastic waste. Using reusable freezer safe Ziploc baggies is a great option. Check these out:

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