A well-stocked freezer may seem like an afterthought when it comes to meal planning, but let me assure you that learning how to stock your freezer well is an essential step in becoming a skilled meal planner.
While your pantry can only hold shelf-stable foods, your freezer can keep fresh foods fresh for several months. This allows you to have plenty of healthy meal options on hand without constantly running back and forth to the grocery store.
Plus, your freezer can hold all kinds of “plan B” meals for those weeks when your meal plan just doesn’t work out. (Yes, this WILL happen, even to the best of meal planners.) Stock your freezer well so you’ll never be stuck with nothing for dinner again!
Below is a list of ideas for how to stock your freezer. While you should probably have at least a few items from each category stored away, the foods you choose are entirely up to you and should be based on what your family eats. After all, the best meal is the one you’ll actually make!
Foods to Buy & Freeze
Meats & Seafood
Ground meat (beef, chicken, turkey, pork)
Fish filets (salmon, tilapia, cod, etc.)
Fruits & Vegetables
Frozen (or fresh) berries
Frozen green beans
Frozen sweet potato fries (I love Alexia sweet potato fries!)
Whole grain flours*
*These foods can be kept in your pantry. However, they have a tendency to go rancid quickly so should be stored in the freezer once opened unless they’ll be used right away.
Foods to Make & Freeze for Easy Meals
Grains & Dough
Other cooked whole grains (quinoa, farro, etc.)
Black bean burgers
…And so much more!
A note about organization
Sometimes the hardest part of freezer storage is simply getting all of the awkwardly shaped containers to fit! Here are a few simple tips to help you organize your newly stocked freezer.
- Use labeled containers to store groups of foods. These bins from Target fit perfectly in my freezer.
- Lay ziploc bags flat as they freeze so they can be easily stacked.
- Freeze foods in reasonable serving sizes for your family. For example, if you have a 3 pound package of ground meat but you usually only cook one pound for a meal, divide the meat into individually wrapped 1 pound servings before freezing.
- Date and label everything. There’s nothing worse than having to throw food out because you have no idea what it is or how long it’s been there!
As you can see, your freezer is actually your best friend when it comes to meal planning. Learn how to stock your freezer well, and you will never be without a dinner plan again.
Check out these other posts from the How to Meal Plan Like a Dietitian series:
- How to Meal Plan Like a Dietitian in 6 Easy Steps
- Expert Advice on How to Find the Best Healthy Recipes
- Everything You Need to Know About Creating a Meal Schedule
- Practical Ways to Make a Better Grocery List
- How to Stock Your Pantry Like a Dietitian
- 6 Brilliant Meal Prep Secrets to Save You Time in the Kitchen