FROZEN FOOD TIPS: CLEANING OUT YOUR FREEZER
Today we will be discussing frozen food tips and freezing meals tips, and we will be organizing your freezer. The goal is to transform through both your external and internal environments for a deep transformation. You may be overcoming an entire life of programming around body image, eating and dieting. Our goal is for you to take excellent care of your body, feel great about how you look, and never mentally obsess (diet) again.
FREEZING MEALS TIPS: ORGANIZE YOUR MEATS
Here is our first of the frozen food tips: If you are anything like the average household, you have a few packages of unlabeled mystery meat in your freezer, along with year-old ground beef, an entire turkey you got from your company last November, and half a package of boneless chicken breasts with as much ice as chicken.
While some meats can last up to twelve months in the freezer, you will want to plan on using them within three months as a general rule.
In my cooking, I try to use fresh meat whenever possible without freezing it. If I only shop once a week, however, the meat I use at the end of the week usually needs to be frozen. Because of this, I prioritize recipes that use chicken breasts and fish at the beginning of the week. I find the texture of chicken and fish changes the most when it has been frozen.
Take out all mystery meat and all undated meat in your freezer, and throw them out immediately. If you have labeled meat in your freezer that is less than three months old, place it in a freezer bag and label the bag with the use-by date: three months from when you put it in the freezer. Put all of your meat in one bin or on one shelf in your freezer.
ORGANIZE VEGGIES & FRUITS
There are several veggies that I keep on hand and use in many recipes. Spinach freezes well and is often easier to cook with than fresh spinach. I also always have frozen peas in the freezer.
In the fruit category, I have frozen cherries on hand to add as dessert toppings, as well as frozen peaches, blueberries and strawberries for my kids to make shakes.
I recommend as a top frozen food tip: throw out any half-full bags of fruits or veggies if they have been in there more than a year. Consider dumping all half-full bags into clear freezer bags so you can easily see the contents and the amount in each bag. Label each bag with the expiration date (about a year after purchase). Organize the fruits and veggies separately in a bin or drawer.
Another frozen food tip: Whenever I cook soups, stews, chili or casseroles I usually double the recipe and freeze the second batch. Soups and casseroles freeze so easily and make an easy real-food meal when you don’t have time to cook. Soup generally freezes for about three months, while casseroles can be frozen for up to six months.
I recommend as a freezing meal tip to go through any home-made leftovers in your freezer. Throw out anything that is unlabeled. Consider purchasing glass rectangle bowls with lids for freezing. You can label them with masking tape, or just dry-erase marker on the lid.
MORE FREEZING MEALS TIPS
When you start the Eat Well program with Card Salad, you won’t have any reason to eat frozen meals. However, many households use quick freezer meals as their dinner staple. Whether that means chicken nuggets, pot stickers, coconut shrimp, frozen lasagna, or TV dinners, you have probably not used much of your freezer meals since you started cooking.
Here’s a frozen food tip: If you start the Eat Well program, this food will sit for months in your freezer, and you will be ready to throw out anything you no longer eat. Feel the resistance of throwing out all of that expensive food, remember that it is breaded and fatty and filled with preservatives, and then do it anyway. It is easy to hold on to the food you used to eat because of economics and waste. When I am stewing in a save-or-toss decision I usually ask myself: if this were on the shelf at the store today, would I buy it? If the answer is no, you can throw it out.
SAVING STARVING CHILDREN: A STRANGE FROZEN FOOD TIP
Growing up, you may have heard from your parents that you shouldn’t waste food while there are starving children in the world. While starving children truly is a terrible problem and something that we should all care deeply about, it has nothing to do with you eating every scrap and morsel of food in your freezer.
You eating poorly won’t help starving children. You eating poorly won’t help landfills. You eating poorly won’t help itinerant farmers. You eating poorly helps no one. Your body doesn’t need to be the ground where you fight injustice in the world.
Feed yourself really good foods so that you have energy and health to fight those injustices!
If you are following the Eat Well program, or if you are eating real foods you cook at home, you can also feel good about your daily cooking habits. This eating lifestyle leaves very little food waste, very little packaging to throw out, and much less money spent than on prepackaged foods. Cooking real foods is better for you physically, better for the environment, and better for your budget.
As my final frozen meal tip, I recommend that you review your freezer one more time. If you held on to that ten pound bag of breaded chicken nuggets because of guilt, I invite you to revisit that decision. Act as if YOUR HEALTH was the top priority in your life.