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Your freezer can aid in better health

It can also save you time. 

We live in a fast-paced world, juggling multiple things at a time: work, care of loved ones and social events/obligations. It's natural to view cooking as one more thing to juggle. You may feel that you don't have time to cook and then rely on convenience foods too often; whether that be eating out, take-in, frozen and/or boxed foods.

These food options tend to be excessive in sodium, simple carbohydrates and heart damaging fats (saturated and trans). It's not a bad thing to have these options occasionally, but most Americans tend to rely on these options at least 50% of the week, which causes an imbalance in our diet. This imbalance can aid in developing health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and increased weight.

So, to make healthier foods more convenient for you, I've listed some ways you can use your freezer to help you.

Meats. Meat takes the longest to prepare of any food group. Tip: when you grocery shop, pick up a family pack of lean meat such as boneless/skinless chicken breast, season with an all-purpose seasoning, then cook to your preference. Once the meat is completely cooled, package in 1-2 lb. portions. You can use for future use in a quick soup, casserole, or in a sauce to go with pasta. Or you can just defrost and use it in a wrap or on top of a salad.

Rice. Whole grain rice, such as brown rice, is a great option to have as a side or in a dish. Yet, it's whole grain and it takes longer to make (up to 45 minutes). If you make a whole batch, you can freeze it in 1-2 cup containers (after completely cooled) and use it in soups or stir-fry.

Fruits. If you're not sure if you can eat all your fresh fruit before it goes bad, try freezing it! Cut up any kind of fruit and place it in a single layer on parchment paper. Then place it in a freezer for at least 4 hours. Once it’s all frozen, store in gallon freezer bags for future use. I use just the frozen bananas with no ice. It makes the shake thicker!

Beans/legumes. These are an excellent source of plant-based protein that is non-fat and high in fiber. If you have leftover beans, you can just place in the freezer for future use in soups, casseroles and wraps.

I hope you found some simple tips on how to use your freezer to help you cut down on time in the kitchen!

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