60+ Healthy Freezer Meals for Busy Moms (+ All About Freezer Cooking)

freezer meals

With two part-time jobs, three small kids at home, and a home to manage, I know the life of a busy mom and the struggle to feed everyone healthy, homemade meals.  It’s easy to slip into fixing the family unhealthy convenience foods. Let’s face it.  Making dinner with a whiny toddler on your leg or while breaking up fights between the kids isn’t exactly fun. That’s why my friends and I started doing freezer meal cooking in a Freezer Club in 2007 and never looked back. Freezer meal cooking has transformed the way we grocery shop, cook, and eat. Preparing healthy freezer meals saves us money, cuts down cooking time, and helps us eat wholesome, delicious meals at home regularly.

I’ve had so many people ask me over the years to share our favorite healthy freezer meal recipes and how to start a Freezer Club. So, all our secrets are here in one post now. Let’s start at the beginning…

What is freezer meal cooking?

Freezer meal cooking is simply planning meals ahead of time that can be easily frozen for later use. This can mean doubling a recipe you intend to cook for that day and freezing one of them for later. Or, this can mean cooking and swapping freezer meals with friends in a Freezer Club.

Why cook freezer meals?

Freezer meal cooking is a great strategy for saving money, saving mom’s sanity, and feeding our families nutritious home-cooked food.

1 – By meal planning and buying in bulk, you’ll see your grocery bill go down significantly. Plus, for us, knowing I have ready-to-go meals within reach keeps us from spending money by eating out.

2 – You’ll also cut down on your prep and cooking time each month by preparing the same one or two meals in a large batch.

3 – If your Freezer Club is committed to a “real food philosophy” likes ours (see “What makes for a healthy freezer meal?” below), you’ll be giving your family a wide variety of wholesome, nutrient-dense meals and NOT processed junk.

4 – A bonus to freezer meal cooking is that it’s easy to have meals on hand to take to new parents or someone in need.

What is a Freezer Club and how does it work?

A Freezer Club is a small group of friends (anywhere from 2-8 people ideally) who commit to cook freezer-friendly meals for one another each month. Freezer Club has been such a huge help to our family for seven years now! To learn more, read my detailed post called How to Start a Freezer Club. I share all about how a Freezer Club works and how to start your own.

What makes for a healthy freezer meal?

In these 60+ freezer meal recipes below, you’ll see Thriving Home’s REAL food philosophy represented. We aren’t about eating low-fat foods or cutting out food groups. We’re about cooking tasty homemade food and eating it in moderation. We’re about cooking with as many unprocessed, organic and/or local ingredients as possible and including a variety of:

By simply making homemade meals for your family, you are cutting out loads of sodium, sugar, and harmful trans-fats that come from fast food and frozen pre-made store-bought foods. We’ve completely changed our diet since making freezer meals.

What kind of containers do you store freezer meals in?

I mostly freeze meals in BPA-free Glad Ovenware containers. They stack nicely in the freezer and the food pops out easily into an 8×8 casserole dish when ready to cook. Freezer bags work well for some foods, like meats in marinades and soups. I’ve also seen glass Pyrex 8×8 casserole dishes with lids that stack well and work in the freezer. Be sure to let your foods cool completely before putting them in plastic containers, to avoid chemicals being released into your food.

The most important tip to remember when freezing food is that exposure to air makes food go bad in the freezer. So wrap your food up tight with plastic wrap or foil and make sure as much air is out of the bag or container as possible. I often put a layer of plastic wrap around a cooled casserole and then snap on the lid and even tape down the lid.

How do I defrost freezer meals? How long can I safely freeze a meal?

Many of you have asked the best way to defrost frozen foods and how long foods last in the freezer.A reputable and helpful resource is the USDA’s suggestions and guidelines for Freezing and Food Safety here.

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60+ Healthy Freezer Meal Recipes

Below I’ve listed some of our favorite go-to freezer meals to get you started. Unless stated otherwise, the dishes below should be frozen after cooking or baking.  Many of these recipes have freezer directions within the post, as well. Feel free to comment if you have a question and I’ll try to get back to you ASAP. I’ve cooked most of these multiple times and/or use them regularly with my family.

*Below indicates my personal favorites.

Beef

Breakfast

Casseroles

Chicken


Misc

Pasta and Pizza

Pork

Seafood/Fish

Slow Cooker Recipes

Soups

Vegetarian

Note: Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock in soups.

* Indicates my personal favorites.

Free Printable Menu Planner

Here’s an easy way to get started on saving money and eating healthier–download our free printable menu planner!

menu planner

Check out our Recipe Index for TONS more healthy, kid-friendly meals and snacks.

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freezer meals