Before I had kids I barely used my freezer – a tray of ice, the odd tub of ice cream and a pack of frozen peas was about all you’d find. It was only once my kids started school that I discover the time-saving benefits of freezing, especially when it comes to packing a healthy, whole foods lunchbox. With a good freezer stash of food, I can pump out a couple of packet-free school lunches in less than five minutes.
As it’s that time of the year when parents are backpacking lunches, I thought I’d share some of my Top 5 favourite freezer friendly food ideas to help you to pack a nourishing, delicious school lunch in a matter of minutes.
- Cooked meat
A good quality protein really helps to keep my kids focused and energised throughout the school day. As I like to avoid processed meats in my kids’ lunchboxes, I dice and portion leftover roast, barbecued or grilled meats and freeze them to use in sandwiches, sushi or fresh spring rolls. Also, check out my meatball recipe – it’s great for the freezer too.
Instead of buying bread with preservatives to extend their shelf life, buy a good quality additive-free bread and freeze it.
- Baked goodies
When I bake healthy treats for my kids (cakes, biscuits, crackers, slices and muffins), I always make a double batch and freeze them in large airtight containers. This means I only bake every 2-3 weeks and the freezer is always filled with homemade nourishing snacks to grab and go. They can be packed from frozen.
- Yoghurts, smoothies and chia puddings
These can all be frozen in little cups or refillable food pouches and packed in the lunchbox. By morning tea or lunch they will be defrosted enough to eat.
- Leftover soups, curries and casseroles
These can all be portioned and frozen to heat up and pack in a thermos flask for lunch (we do this a lot in winter).
The fruit and vegetable component of my kids’ lunchboxes is often the only part of their lunch that I prepare in the morning. Now my kids are old enough to pack their own lunch, the freezer has become even more important in helping them to choose healthy options to fill their lunchbox.
I hope this has given you some inspiration to start using your freezer and pack a nourishing, whole foods lunch for your kids.
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