Meal Planning Made Easy: Freezing Leftovers
Part of my weekly meal planning strategy is to have a few backup meals at all times in the freezer for nights that I know I won’t have time to cook. I often have at least 5-10 in the freezer ready to go. This meal prepping strategy will help with you do not have time to cook or if you hit the end of your weekly meals and get called into work or do not get home until late and it prevents you from cooking. This way I don’t have to worry about running to the grocery store while I am hungry or stopping for fast food on the way home. Both can result in a disaster to your weight loss and maintenance.
I prefer to have a few emergency meals in the freezer. Normally to accomplish this, I just make a few extra servings a couple times a week. You have to choose foods that both freeze and microwave well. I put them in weight containers or zip baggies that are freezer friendly. I put each serving into Ziploc freezer bags or freezer-friendly containers. I usually label them with the recipe name and date. I keep the calories content and reheating instructions in a food journal.
Some meals do not respond well to freezing and microwaving. I find that chilling them before freezing works best. Some meats taste funny if microwaved and some vegetables turn to mush if frozen. If you choose well, your recipes will turn out better. Chilli, casseroles, grilled chicken, lasagna, meatloaf, meatballs, pancakes, pasta, rice, sandwiches, soups, stews, stirfry, slow-cooked meats, and waffles in sauce all turn out well frozen and microwaved. Burritos, tacos, and enchiladas will work out well, but I recommend that you reheat the meats and then assemble them after reheating. You need to choose a good storage container. I used black prepping containers or ziplock freezer bags. Remove as much air as possible and leave room for expansion.
The bottom line: Freezing some leftovers will allow you to have meals ready to eat when you are running late or do not have time to cook. These extra servings will help you stick to your plan and avoid poor decisions on the run.