12 freezer-friendly hacks to up your meal prep game (and fight food waste)
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Meal prep is something we could write about All. Day. Long. We’ve talked about pantry staples, one-pot meals, and must-make leftovers recipes. We’ve even created a Wholesome Culture Meal Plan because we’re so obsessed with all things related to maximizing our meals (and simplifying the prep).

But one of the humble superstars of the meal prep world is the FREEZER! If you use your freezer strategically,  you can stock up on yummy dishes that last way longer than they do in the fridge. And freezer-friendly meals help ensure you have good, balanced dishes in a pinch without resorting to stale cereal.

So whether you’re looking to fight food waste or eat more nutritious meals, these 12 freezer-friendly hacks will take advantage of your freezer and turn it into the meal prep game-changer it was meant to be!

12 freezer-friendly hacks to up your meal prep game (and fight food waste)

1. Fill up your freezer

We used to be slightly embarrassed by our super stuffed freezers… until we learned that a full freezer is actually a good thing. Here’s why: when your freezer is full, it makes it easier to keep everything cold because the packs of frozen food keep each other chilled out (which also means less energy is required). So don’t be shy when it comes to those bags of frozen blueberries and peas — they’re good to have handy! 

2. Freeze fruit (especially bananas)

Frozen bananas are magical ingredients. First, they make smoothies super creamy and spoon-able. Plus, they can be used to whip up healthy desserts like this “nice” cream recipe. (Just remember to peel the banana before you freeze it.)

Mixed Berry Vegan Nice Cream from the Wholesome Culture Cookbook
Mixed Berry Vegan Nice Cream from the Wholesome Culture Cookbook

Frozen fruit also lasts up to nine(ish) months in the freezer, which means you’ll have more time to eat your food before it goes bad compared to letting it sit on the countertop or in the fridge. And if you ask us, we think some fruit tastes even better frozen (frozen grapes = mini popsicles). Pro tip: to prevent berries or fruit slices from clumping together in the freezer, first freeze the fruit on a baking sheet and then transfer the pieces into a bag. 

frozen grapes

3. Cool cooked foods before freezing for an hour (or two)

Cooling food for 1-2 hours BEFORE putting it in the freezer is important for two reasons. 1.) The hot food can warm up the other food in your freezer, which is potentially unsafe. 2.) The hot dish can be a hub of illness-causing bacteria.

4. Make extra batches of soup to freeze for later

Making homemade soup involves lots of chopping and ingredient shopping, which is why we like to make double the batch. That way, we can store the extra in the freezer and have a meal ready to go for another day. Pro tip: avoid freezing soup with pasta (pasta isn’t the most freezer-friendly ingredient).

We love this vegan lentil soup from Vegan Richa that’s loaded with protein and nutrients, and requires only about 10 minutes of prep. 

5. Create your own frozen meals

Prepping meals and plopping them in the freezer is a beautiful way to always have something ready quick without sacrificing a homemade meal. All the flavor with none of the mess! 

Veggie Burger
Ultimate Veggie Burger from The Wholesome Culture Cookbook

One of our most loved freezer-friendly dishes is our Ultimate Veggie Burger recipe from The Wholesome Culture Cookbook. And here are 11 more of our favorite homemade freezer-friendly meals

6. Freeze your breakfast

We know it can be a struggle to set time aside for eating breakfast — let alone preparing it. So take the prep out of the picture by freezing grab-and-go breakfasts in advance. 

From breakfast burritos, to oatmeal quinoa cookies, to pre-portioned frozen oatmeal — there are lots of simple ways to ensure you eat something without having to set your alarm any earlier than it needs to be. 

7. Freeze herbs & vegetables

Like fruit, herbs and vegetables have a way longer lifespan in the freezer than anywhere else. We rinse, chop, and dry them in advance, so it’s extra easy to use the ingredients in dishes like our Ultimate Buddha Bowl. Having healthy and nutritious ingredients ready to go also prevents us from reaching for a protein bar for dinner (again).

8. Stick pantry essentials in the freezer

We used to be super hesitant about buying loaves of bread and lengthy baguettes until we learned how freezer-friendly they are! Same goes for nuts, grains, flour, cooked rice, cheese (both dairy and non-dairy), chocolate, and ginger.

But we should also mention there are some things you should not freeze:

  • Water-based vegetables (like cucumbers, tomatoes, and iceberg lettuce)
  • Fried foods
  • Raw potatoes
  • Puddings, custards, etc.

9. Avoid freezer burn with airtight seals

The best way to avoid freezer-burn is to use wraps and sealed bags/containers. We like Etee food wraps, along with Ziptop Bags and Stasher Bags.  Note: if you’re using bags, be mindful to push air out. 

Tip: use clear containers as much as possible to give yourself a visual reminder of what’s inside, so you’ll be less likely to forget about your food. But be careful using some glass containers, which can potentially crack in the freezer. 

10. Don’t forget to defrost 

Certain baked goods are exceptions to this, but with most foods it’s ideal to defrost the food in the fridge the day before you’re cooking it or run it under cold water until it’s defrosted. This process of defrosting helps fight the growth of bacteria.

11. Label

Have you ever been guilty of forgetting about leftovers in your freezer for years? We know we have! To avoid this, make an inventory list of what’s in your freezer — so you remember what you already have and avoid cluttering the space with doubles.

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Do you open the Tupperware cabinet and pieces come flying out at you? Chances are you have more than you need. Logic would tell you that twice as much means it’s easier to get a storage container when you need it but logic is wrong! Twice as much means it’s harder to find what you need, when you need it. – So, how much do you need? It depends 😉 Every family’s needs are unique. To find your magic number, try the tip from above. Too chicken to purge it…put it in a bag in the garage and you’ll see in a few weeks that you aren’t missing it, then donate✌️ – Confession time!!! How much Tupperware do you own? I’ll tell you how much we own in comments! – – – – #getorganized #tiptuesday #tuesdaytip #tuesdaytips #organizingtips #organizingideas #organizedhome #organizeyourlife #organizationideas #homeorganization #clutterfree #homeorganizing #organizinghacks #organizedmom #kitchenorganization #storagesolutions #tidyingup #gettingorganized #stayorganized #gettingstuffdone #homeprojects #organizedlife #organizing #organize #organizer #homeorganizer #bostonmom #howihome #declutter

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And if you want to be a freezing pro — include the date of when you made the dish/the expiration date.

12. Ditch the boxes

If you’re tight on freezer space, consider ditching the clunky boxes of frozen food. We like to tape the cooking instructions/expiration date directly onto the package, but you could also write a note or even take a picture on your phone.

Are you on a mission to meal prep? We’ve got you covered!

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