Frozen foods can have a bad reputation of being “unhealthy” or that it contains too many preservatives. Frozen foods are not “bad” or “unhealthy”. Frozen fruits, vegetables, and protein options can be just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts. Healthy meals with frozen foods can be great weeknight dinner staples and making cooking a breeze.
Purchasing frozen foods can save you money by reducing wasted or spoiled foods, and increasing their shelf life. Also, purchasing frozen foods can be as simple as fruits and vegetables. When selecting fruits and vegetables, select a variety or mixture. Produce with different colors provide many nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. For example, green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach have fiber, iron, and calcium. Similar to frozen fruits, veggies and raw protein options contain the same nutritional value as fresh options. You can use pre-cooked frozen proteins, just be mindful of additives such as sodium, msg, and saturated fat.
Quick Easy Meals Using Frozen Food
Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli
Try a traditional Alfredo pasta dish (my recipe uses spaghetti squash but can certainly use pasta) and enhance it with some frozen grilled chicken, broccoli and spinach. Including these vegetables increases the volume of food, fiber and nutrients. In addition, broccoli and spinach provide antioxidants. Use your choice of protein like chicken, shrimp, or salmon (all of these can be found in the frozen aisle too). Don’t overthink healthy meals with frozen foods!
Shrimp Fried Cauliflower Rice
Making fried rice or stir fry shouldn’t be viewed as “unhealthy”. Try to customize this dish by adding your favorite frozen vegetables and shrimp. For simplicity and ease, use a frozen stir fry vegetable mix and your favorite preferred protein source (could try frozen chicken, edamame, beef etc). You can use liquid aminos to cut reduce salt. If desired or needed, you can reduce carbs by substituting riced cauliflower for traditional rice or by doing a mixture of the two.
Tip: Include grilled pineapple to add a sweet and savory flavor to the dish! Try my chicken teriyaki bowl.
This Mexican style meal is delicious, nutritious, and saves you money and time! Use these tips to make a perfectly balanced weeknight meal. This recipe is excellent for meal prepping. For burrito bowls you can use store-bought frozen chicken breast or rotisserie chicken to save time. Frozen corn and canned beans are great staples to have on hand and provide high fiber carbs.
Salmon with Veggies and Frozen Sweet Potato Fries
Fish is a great source of healthy fats and protein. Protein and fat can help you stay satisfied after eating a meal. Costco has great single serving salmon filets that are delicious! Instead of fresh potatoes could always swap in frozen sweet potato fries and use a frozen vegetable medley.
Chicken, Rice, Green Bean Casserole
This recipe is simple and easy to make. You can use frozen chicken, broccoli, green beans, or cauliflower rice to a casserole dish. Tip: Use fat-free milk or low fat sour cream or cheese to reduce saturated fat. This meal is also great for meal prep and holds well after a couple days!
Spaghetti with Zoodles
Most people do not get enough fruit and vegetables in their daily diet. Use frozen fruits and vegetables to meet the recommended intake of 1 ½ – 2 cups of fruits and 2 – 3 cups of vegetables per day. Using frozen fruits and vegetables for smoothies is a great way to get the important nutrients your body needs. Use the generic recipe below to create your own fruit smoothie. Add chia seeds or flax seeds for additional fiber and omega 3s!
⅓ cup yogurt and preferred milk
½ tsp chia or flax seeds
1 cup spinach or kale
1-2 cups of desired fruits and vegetables
Add all of the ingredients into a blender. Add milk to reach desired consistency.
I hope these healthy meals with frozen foods help you create weeknight dinners!
Tips for Buying Produce to Make Healthy Meals with Frozen Foods
Keep versatile options on hand that are easy mix ins. For example riced cauliflower has a mild flavor and can be easily added into Asian and Indian dishes with rice!
Look for a variety of colors. Having multiple options of different fruits and veggies can help you meet your nutrition needs without having to wait for produce to be in season.
Check the packaging. The resealable bags are my favorite to keep foods from getting freezer burn. It may seem like common sense but make sure the bag of produce isn’t mushy or wet. The food should be firm and frozen with a properly sealed bag.
Read the labels. Some packages have the standards listed. For veggies, Grade A has the best color and tenderness, Grade B has a more mature taste, and Grade C are lower quality. For fruits, Grade A is near perfect, Grade B still has good quality, and Grade C is not as sweet and is less uniform.