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Go Deep (into the freezer) for Balanced Meals

The freezer can be your best friend, no matter how busy, no matter the budget.

For 32 years, March has been celebrated as Frozen Food Month, and the chilly winter weather is a perfect backdrop to talk about why the freezer can be your best friend, no matter how busy, no matter the budget.

1. Frozen makes stocking up on sale items easy. If you are overscheduled and in a hurry, keep your kitchen stocked with ingredients from all five food groups to help ensure everything you need for a meal is on hand. Plan your shopping with what’s on sale at your favorite store so your freezer is full.

2. The choices here can be just as nutritious as fresh. Many people don’t realize that fresh, frozen, dried, canned, and 100 percent juice all count towards fruit and vegetable servings for the day. A bonus here is that frozen is ready to cook and eat.  Prep time is reduced and there is less food waste because the items in the bag are trimmed, washed, and ready to prepare.

3.  Full freezers at home help keep freezers running efficiently. Many of us are interested in “going green” and making changes at home to save money, including changing light bulbs and other simple tips. Keeping your fridge and freezer full not only helps your meal planning, but helps with energy use, too.

4. A well-stocked freezer helps people get through unanticipated bouts of bad weather. Stocking up on shelf stable and freezer items is something we all do in bad weather. Keep this practice in mind year ’round to help ensure balanced meals are easy to create no matter the schedule (or weather).

5. Busy schedules and smaller households benefit from freezer finds. Frozen foods are a wonderful choice for portion control as well as using groceries wisely with busy work or travel schedules.

Fresh produce is a wonderful choice but must be used immediately.  Because of the ability to store food longer in the freezer, these items become a great way to ensure that essentials like fruits and vegetables are always on hand.

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.