A few months ago, we covered malnutrition, its causes, symptoms, and a few tips on preventing it. Some of those tips included using a grocery or meal delivery service, becoming educated on nutrition, even having someone bring over meals or groceries. We now have another trick to avoiding malnutrition, and it is already in the home. It’s the freezer.
Why the freezer?
Freezing food helps keep it longer. One of the signs of malnutrition was expired foods in the fridge. Keeping foods in the freezer helps them last longer, saving money on groceries and saving on food waste. This is especially helpful for foods that perish relatively quickly – this includes fruits, vegetables, and meats. Notice something about all of these foods? They are HEALTHY. They are packed with vitamins and nutrients needed to stay healthy.
Another benefit? A stocked freezer helps keep healthy food on hand in case there is an emergency, inclement weather, or illness that makes a trip to the grocery store impossible.
How do I benefit the most?
Pack your (or a loved ones) freezer with frozen fruits and veggies. These can last a long time in the freezer and are a much healthier option than canned produce, which sits in sugary syrups and high-sodium preservatives. Many frozen veggies now come in packaging that steams the food as it heats up in the microwave. Frozen fruits are great tossed in a smoothie that can be boosted with protein powder, supplements, and healthy foods that may not taste so good on their own.
You can also make an entire meal, seal it up, and leave it in the freezer until you are ready to enjoy it. No, I am not talking about those pre-packaged freezer meals at the grocery store. Steer clear of those, which are typically high in fat and sodium. Instead, make your own (or make some for your loved ones). There are a number of freezer meal recipes online. There are even places that host freezer meal workshops. In one hour, you could easily have 10 meals prepped and ready for the freezer. When you are ready to eat them, you simply take them out of the freezer and heat them up. It’s a nice, home cooked, healthy meal without all the work. These have become especially popular with soon-to-be moms, who know they will have their hands full with a newborn and not be able to cook a nice meal every night.
What about freezer burn?
Freezer burn is a sign of air getting into the packaging. While it is safe to eat food that has freezer burn, it may not always be tasty. Make sure you put your food items in a well-sealed container. When it comes to freezer meals, I usually double up on Ziploc bags for mine. I also tend to use Tupperware that includes tops that are latched or screwed on, instead of those that pop on with a little bit of pressure.