In an ideal world we would shop once a week at the local fresh food market, plan our meals in advance and always take our lunch to work.
In reality things are rarely this perfect and as such your freezer can play a significant role in helping you to eat well on a daily basis no matter how busy you are. The nutrient quality of frozen vegetables is only negatively affected when we overcook them
Here are the foods you should always keep a supply of in your freezer to guarantee you always have stocks on hand to eat well.
1. Frozen fish
Forget old school fish fingers of the 1970s. There is now a large range of frozen fish options including salmon and barramundi minus the heavy sauces that can be quickly grilled or steamed for a quick and easy dinner. If you do prefer choose crumbed or battered fish varieties aim for packaged options that contain less than 10g of total fat per 100g.
The nutrient quality of frozen vegetables is only negatively affected when we overcook them, as a number of vitamins can leach out when they are exposed to hot water.
For this reason, lightly steaming or stir frying your frozen vegetables is the best way to retain as many nutrients as possible. Individual packets of frozen vegetables are also a great addition to lunch to make sure we are getting a couple of cups of veggies at both lunch and dinner.
While you may still link frozen berries to a health scare a year or so back, generally speaking frozen berries, or any frozen fruit, is exceptionally handy to keep on hand. Berries are particularly nutritious and can be added to baking, smoothies, yoghurt or enjoyed as a snack and are often a fraction of the price of seasonal fruit.
4. Homemade stock
Stocks can be used in a variety of meals to add a much needed flavour boost to stir fries, soups and protein based dishes and as many commercial options are packed full of salt, making your own and freezing it in larger batches makes sense both nutritionally and economically.
Not only does bread freeze well but you will be surprised how handy it can be to keep some good quality bread on hand for late night sandwiches, the forgotten lunch sandwich or for toast on a busy morning when you forgot to pick up a loaf the night before.
6. Frozen meals
This one may surprise you but a simple frozen dinner that contains some roasted meat and vegetables is a hundred times better than your standard take away meal. Look for options with fewer ingredients, and that have a significant amount of meat and vegetables as many of the pasta and rice varieties contain very few veggies or lean proteins. A healthy frozen meal can be a nutritious light dinner or filling hot lunch choice for a fraction of the price of a food court or fast food meal.
One of the best thing to freeze, a large batch of veggie-based soup can be stretched over many meals and freezes well. Great as a filling lunch, light dinner or snack when you are especially hungry, soup is not only low in calories but can be a great veggie-rich addition to any meal, especially when made using minimal added salt.