A few key items are always on hand in my freezer. Why? Because it makes creating a meal or a snack in a hurry so much easier! The following are my Freezer Staples along with a few snack and meal ideas to incorporate these foods.
Bananas. This is the easiest one! We often will have a few bananas the kids won’t eat because they are “brown.” Rather than try to convince them they, in fact, are still edible, I simply save them for smoothies. First, I remove the peel (This is imperative! If you don’t, you will freeze your fingers off trying to peel them while frozen). Second, I cut them in half for easy storage. I then store a couple in a plastic bag until I am ready to use them. They make a smoothie super creamy and I use them for a base in most of my recipes.
Blueberries or Cherries. Same premise: I can throw them in a smoothie and it mixes into creamy goodness. Sometimes, I use frozen blueberries and cherries in oatmeal, in yogurt and on top of cereal. My little people also just love frozen blueberries and cherries as a quick snack (Caution: their little fingers turn blue, along with anything they touch. So it is a messy snack).
Spinach. My secret ingredient to sneaking vegetables into the kids’ meals! The beauty of the frozen version is that you can keep it for a long period of time. I’m sure we’ve all had a bag of spinach go bad; it’s just infuriating! You can toss a few tablespoons of frozen spinach in so many things and no one will notice! Sneaking greens in your food has never been so easy. Some items I sneak frozen spinach into: pasta sauce, breakfast casseroles, muffins, meatloaf and of course smoothies. See my favorite recipe below!
Green peas (sweet are best). Why? My kids will eat them, and they have amazing benefits! Peas are a source of vitamins C, A, K, some B vitamins and choline. They also contain minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.
Edamame. I will eat edamame before, during, and after every meal. Edamame is a soybean. It contains protein and fiber. You can zap them in the microwave for 30 seconds, add some salt, and have a quick snack in about a minute. I’ve been known to drizzle some sriracha on top as well.
- ½ frozen banana
- ¼ cup frozen spinach
- ¼ cup frozen blueberries
- ¼ cup frozen cherries
- ½ cup milk (or almond milk to make a bit more sweet)
- 1 ½ tablespoon peanut butter, almond butter or ¼ cup nuts
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (optional)
Blend until smooth, adding additional liquid if needed.
About the author: Kate Collins is a registered dietitian, Oklahoma City mom of three and author of the blog The Dietitian Diet. Because she’s struggled with weight herself, she takes a practical approach to helping her clients and readers maintain a healthy lifestyle and believes in balance.