Healthy eating can be more simple than you might think. Planning is a huge part of making healthy eating a success. One way to plan ahead is to have healthy foods pre-cooked and stored in the freezer. Here are six foods to cook in bulk and freeze for later.
Use these foods at a later time for last-minute dinners or for meal prep sessions when you don’t have a lot of time.
What are the benefits to cooking in bulk for later? Cooking foods in bulk can save you time later on. If you want chicken burritos for dinner, then you don’t need to bake the chicken because it is already cooked and in the freezer!
You can also save money by buying things like meat in bulk and keeping cooked portions in the freezer. If you find a good deal of meat then buy a bunch and keep it in the freezer!
Make sure to freeze these food items properly. Allow them to cool completely before placing in the freezer.
I also suggest using freezer zip-top bags, rather than just regular zip-tops to help prevent freezer burn. I keep quart and gallon size freezer bags in my kitchen to store a variety of items.
On that note, measure foods before freezing in 1-2 serving portions. If you need enough for more people, then pull out extra baggies!
When ready to thaw, defrost items in the refrigerator or in the microwave.
Make sure to write important information on the freezer bags. I suggest writing what is in the bag and the date. If I portion out chicken by weight, then I’ll add the weight too.
Here is an example of cooked quinoa that I labeled before putting in the freezer.
Now, here are the six foods I cook in bulk and freeze for later. Keeping these foods already cooked in the freezer allows me to throw together quick meals in a matter of minutes.
Chicken breasts and chicken thighs are a good source of protein. Plus, chicken is a great food for meal prep! Cook chicken in bulk to use for last minute dinners or for meal prep sessions that are tight on time.
Freeze cooked chicken in individual freezer bags with 3-4oz servings or freeze in one large bag and pull out the portion you need later. I prefer freezing cooked chicken in 4oz portions, so that I can grab one to use for dinner or meal prep without having to weigh it.
I actually will portion out the chicken in smaller freezer bags, then put all those small bags into one large bag so they all stay together.
Make burger patties using lean ground beef, chicken or turkey. Then cook them and store any leftovers in the freezer for later! Burgers defrost just fine in the refrigerator or by heating them in the microwave.
It is nice to be able to pull out a few burgers from the freezer to use for meal prep once in a while. If I don’t want to make both chicken and beef in one weekend, then I’ll cook chicken and pull a few burgers out of the freezer! Plus, ground beef is expensive. You can save money by buying it in bulk!
I like to put a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between burgers before freezing. They won’t stick together if there is a that separation. You could also individually wrap each burger in plastic wrap, then store them all in a freezer bag.
Meatballs are very similar to burgers and it works great to store them in the freezer. Make meatballs in bulk during one meal prep session and freeze any unused ones for later!
Make meatballs using ground turkey, chicken or beef and once cooked, freeze in re-sealable freezer bags. Pull a few out for dinner or add a few to your prepped meals. They thaw in the refrigerator fairly quickly or heat them in the microwave.
Rice is a great food to keep in the freezer. I cook big batches of brown rice occasionally, then portion it out into 1-2 cup servings and freeze in re-sealable freezer bags.
Sometimes even 10-minute rice seems like too long of a cooking period. Have rice already cooked and ready-to-eat by keeping it in the freezer.
Once cooked, allow the rice to cool and spoon it into freezer bags of any size. Remove all the air from the baggie, pat flat and stack in the freezer.
When you are ready to use it, allow to thaw in the refrigerator or defrost in the microwave.
Just like rice, cooked quinoa can be stored in the freezer. If you plan to cook 1 cup of quinoa for dinner, then double or triple that and keep the leftovers in the freezer!
Quinoa does thaw out nicely and you can’t tell it was even frozen!
I suggest storing cooked quinoa the same way as rice – in freezer baggies patted flat! It makes it so easy to stack and save space in the freezer.
I can’t even explain how nice it is on a cold winter night to have soup in the freezer, ready to be heated up and eaten!
Canned soups are great, but you don’t get to control what ingredients are in them! Make a large pot of soup (on the stove or in your slow cooker) and freeze it in individual servings.
You can store soup in plastic containers, but I suggest using freezer baggies.
Just like rice & quinoa, pour 1-2 servings into a freezer bag, remove the air and set flat on the counter. Place the soup in the freezer so that it is as flat as you can make it. Once it is frozen, it can easily be stacked with rice, quinoa, other soups, etc. If you can’t find a place to keep it flat, then place on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Once frozen, remove the cookie sheet and stack the soups.
Those are the six foods to cook in bulk and freeze for later. Keeping healthy foods that are ready-to-eat in the freezer allows you to throw together meals in no time!
Next time you are cooking one of these foods, cook extra and freeze some for later!