If you want to prepare meals but have VERY LITTLE freezer space, you need to get creative!
Many of us meal preparation queens on our Healthy Mama Food Lovers Facebook Page seems to make a lot of meals to pop in the freezer. But if you don’t have a large (or second) freezer, you may have thought it wasn’t for you.
Well think again! Here are 11 helpful tips for those of us with small freezers that won’t fit many containers of pre-made meals.
11 ways to prepare meals when you have a small freezer
1. Make salads to last a week
Christine Jones shares her advice on making salad for the week – just keep anything ‘wet’ out of it and add it when it’s ready to serve.
“I do salads in bulk for the week, I make about seven and put them in separate containers. No tomato and no dressing and they will last the whole week, just keep them in the back of the fridge.”
2. Get breakfast sorted in one sitting
We often don’t think about preparing meals for breakfast, but when mornings are busy, it can be very helpful to ensure you don’t miss a meal.
Try to make a batch Choc Berry Chia Pudding or a some of the Gluten Free Breakfast Granola (photo above) to keep on hand for the week.
3. Meal prep lunch for the week and store in the fridge
Ebony Featherstone does it, and doesn’t it look nice? You can make one meal for the week or two and mix it up.
Ebony says, “This is chicken with brown rice cooked in coconut oil with steamed broccoli. The top is yogurt mixed with cumin, paprika and curry powder.”
4. Meal prep snacks for the week and store in the fridge
Samantha Lee Gaskin says, “I make Zucchini and Bacon Slice (recipe from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge) for my children’s lunch boxes for the week.”
And Stacey Beale agrees, saying, “I’ve found that some of the Healthy Mummy recipes keep really well in the fridge, like the healthy chocolate Know-Bix Slice (pictured above) and the chocolate berry peanut candy cups – they don’t take up much space.”
5. Meal prep your dry smoothie ingredients
Cassy Browne knows how to make her Healthy Mummy Smoothie even faster.
“I make ziplock bags of all my dry ingredients for my smoothies (smoothie mix, protein powder, nuts, chia seeds, coconut etc.) so all I have to do in the morning is empty them into my blender, add then the milk and fruit/vegetables.”
6. Prepare and pound your mince before you freeze it
Cassy Browne shared this great tip. Rather than freezing packets of minced meat, she first takes the meat out of the container.
“I prepare the mix for burger patties, put it in a ziplock bag and flatten it before I put it in the freezer to save space. And it has the added bonus of defrosting faster too.”
This burger is a recipe from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
7. Use glass jars in the freezer door for rice
Use ALL the space in your freezer, including the door! Cassy Browne does this by cooking rice and then freezing it in individual portions in a jar.
Then you can just defrost in the microwave and reheat to steam to serve.
8. Flatten your leftovers in ziplock bags
Michelle Scowen always doubles her family meals so she can freeze one to use later. But instead of using bulky containers that won’t fit in a small freezer,
Michelle says, “I freeze the second one in a labeled ziplock bag, making sure it freezes flat so it stacks easily. I never use the plastic containers because you have all the wasted “air” space in each one, plus they are more expensive than bags.”
This is the Red Fish Curry of the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
9. Chop your meat ready to go before freezing
Instead of freezing those bulky packs of steak or chicken breast, try this.
Thea Gibb says, “I cut up all my meat into portions for meals and place them in labeled plastic ziplock bags. Not only does it save time at night, but I don’t have to wash a cutting board every night that has had raw meat on it.
“Then you can just grab a bag of chopped chicken to make your healthy stir fry.”
This one is a Lemon Chicken Stir Fry from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
10. Cook and freeze only the main component of the meal
Don’t have room to freeze an entire meal? Why not just make and freeze the main element of it? Shayla Kuczer does this when she makes things like chicken schnitzels that can be frozen.
“Then they only need to be partially defrosted and placed straight in the oven for 30 minutes or until cooked, eat with a quick salad or steamed vegetables.”
Try us Homemade chicken nuggets for this tip.
11. Make a triple batch of one key meal component
We moms love a thing bolognese (especially with all those hidden veggies), and it’s so versatile to turn into other meals. Try making a big batch of bolognese (the slow cooker is ideal for this) like Stacey Beale does.
Stacey says, “I make a kilo of ground beef in bolognese with lots of vegetables and tomatoes and it’s enough for 3 meals for 2 adults and 2 children.
“We eat it with pasta one night, then the next time I add peas and make a pumpkin and sweet potato mosh to make it a shepherd’s pie. Other times I’ll use it as a base for a lasagna (add some kidney beans to stretch it if needed) or it can also be made into a pasta bake.”
As if these are not enough ideas for your Bolognese, we have more HERE.
For more meal prep tips – download our FREE Meal Prep Guide + Recipes.
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