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Healthy home cooking is the key to losing weight but it can be hard to have fresh ingredients on hand all the time, especially when you’re only able to get to the store once a week or less. Following on from our recommendations for fridge and pantry essentials, and the best dried and canned foods to keep in stock, here we have some of the items you should have in your freezer to make healthy home cooking so much easier!
In order to clear out space in your freezer, you’ll need to make sure that you don’t have any of these unhealthy frozen foods lurking at the back:
That low-calorie ready meal might look innocent enough but a quick look at the nutrition label and list of ingredients will confirm that it’s probably packed with sodium, sugar and additives – your top weight loss enemies! Ready meals are handy but you’re much better off making a big batch yourself and separating it into portions to re-heat later for a quick and easy meal when you’re pushed for time.
Ice cream in the freezer is the ultimate temptation! Treats like ice cream shouldn’t be on hand to binge on when you’re feeling peckish, so leave it at the store and save it as a treat worth travelling for and you’ll be less likely to indulge when you have a craving for some mint choc-chip.
Even if your frozen pizza does contain veggies, the cooking process will destroy a lot of the nutrition. Plus, like ready meals, frozen pizzas contain a lot of additives and chemicals which cancel out what little goodness is left anyway. If you really must, a fresh pizza is better, but the best option is a homemade cauliflower-base pizza topped with lots of veggies.
Lean beef is a great source of protein, which is essential for a healthy body to build lean muscle. However, the meat you’ll find in frozen burgers will be anything but good quality lean beef. The average frozen burger has around 10 grams of fat and is packed with sodium, not to mention that it’s very low in fiber as well, which means that it won’t be long until you feel hungry again.
Now that you’ve cleared out all that junk, you should have room in your freezer for these essentials which will always come in handy for healthy home cooking:
While fresh raspberries and strawberries are perfect at breakfast with cereal or yogurt, or just on their own for a healthy snack, they’re too good for a smoothie. Instead, buy packs of frozen berries to blitz in the blender with a splash of juice and some fresh fruits like bananas and kiwis which don’t freeze so well – plus the coldness of the berries means that you don’t need to add ice for a refreshingly cool smoothie.
Peas are really tasty, full of fiber and they’re great for adding to pasta dishes, stews, soups, curries, and salads. Frozen peas are much better for you than the tinned variety with far more vitamins, and far less added sodium, and in fact, frozen peas are even better for you than fresh peas. Fresh peas start to lose their freshness straight away and tend to be grainy and dull-tasting within 24 hours of being picked. Frozen peas are picked at the peak or ripeness so they’re a lot tastier and much easier too.
While you’ll probably have fresh bread in the kitchen most of the time, having a back-up of frozen bread can be really handy for healthy snacks like sliced avocado or poached eggs on toast. And, for those times when you don’t have anything in for breakfast and you have to rush to work, peanut butter on toast offers a good combination of healthy fats, fiber and protein to set you up for the day.
This is more of a lazy option since both are cheap and keep for a long time, but bags of frozen chopped onion and garlic can be real time-savers if you need to whip something up in a flash and want to add some flavor. And, pre-chopped onion saves you from all those tears too!
Frozen spinach is a freezer staple and a good value healthy option too. As it’s pre-chopped and blanched, it’s ready to add to all types of dishes, from curries to casseroles, and pizzas to pastas, and you can also use it in smoothies, sauces and even just to bulk up dishes with extra veggies for more filling fiber and nutrients.
Bulk buying lean meat such as chicken breasts and lean mince is a great way to save money, but it often leaves you with more than you need, so the perfect solution is to repackage enough meat for one meal into a freezer bag and transfer it to your fridge the night before you’re ready to use it.
Do you have these items in your freezer? Or are there any other items that are essentials in your freezer? Let us know by commenting below!