Just because the freezer aisle at the grocery store is full of crappy processed foods doesn't mean your own freezer has to be. Instead, stock it with homemade meals that require only a little prep work.
Carve out an hour or two on a Sunday to cook and store these make-ahead meals so you have a bunch of healthy options that can be reheated in minutes.
We've got you covered with freezer meals that take care of breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week long.
1. Freezer-friendly bagel bombs
“Bagel bomb” doesn't exactly sound like a healthy breakfast, but these homemade stuffed bagels (yes, you read that right) deserve a spot in your freezer. Not to mention: They're only 240 calories each.
Craft the bagels from ready-made pizza dough. You can customize the filling, but do try the everything topping. It just says “bagel.”
2. Breakfast quesadilla with cheese, spinach, and white beans
Upgrade your breakfast quesadilla with this easy, freezer-ready version. It comes packed with protein thanks to the beans and cheese. Plus, a serving of veggies first thing in the a.m. is always a good idea.
3. French toast casserole
All the French toast flavor without the stovetop flipping? Sign us up. Not only is this casserole simple to make, but there's finally a use for that stale loaf of bread you forgot about.
4. Scrambled egg muffins
How cute are these? And they're even more clever: These egg muffins are foolproof. Fill muffin tins with torn bread, ham, and cheese and pour eggs over them.
After baking, you can freeze them in plastic or glass containers and then zap them in the microwave for about a minute to heat.
5. No-bake chocolate peanut butter breakfast bars
It's never too early for chocolate. These grab-and-go breakfast bars are loaded with oats and chock-full of healthy fats. Place a sheet of parchment paper between bars and pop 'em in a zip-top bag when freezing - it'll make pulling out a single bar a breeze.
6. Cheesy breakfast casserole
This make-ahead casserole is a good choice when you're entertaining. The combo of potatoes and bell peppers adds color and a healthy dose of veggies.
Plus, it keeps in your freezer for up to 3 months, so you can be ready whenever you have unexpected company for brunch.
7. Portable breakfast sandwiches
These portable breakfast sandwiches are a go-to for people who always spend mornings on the run. The egg crepes take just a few minutes to cook.
Then assemble your sandwiches and wrap them separately for the full Starbucks experience - without wasting those add-up dollars.
8. Vegan pizza pockets
These are like leveled-up Hot Pockets. Feel free to get creative and load 'em up with your favorite toppings. Substitute real cheese (if the vegan stuff isn't your thing) for a vegetarian freezer meal.
When they're done, pop them in the freezer to enjoy a portable meal any time.
9. Four-ingredient crunchy chicken nuggets
This is the ideal way to please your inner child, while the adult in you will like knowing what's actually in these nuggs. Use breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese for a crunchy coating. Pair them with sweet potato fries or a side of veggies.
10. Microwaveable pasta lunch packets
At 24 cents per serving, these microwave pasta packets give new meaning to “cheap and cheerful.” Luckily, these handy little wallet-pleasers taste good too. Add a fresh salad for a healthy meal that won't break the bank.
11. Vegan freezer burritos
This vegan take, which calls for a chickpea and red cabbage scramble, brown rice, and vegan cheese, definitely beats commercial burritos from the supermarket freezer aisle.
Toss one of these frozen burritos in your bag, take it to the office, and pop it in the microwave. Beep, beep, beep: Lunch is ready.
12. Primal Buffalo chicken stuffed sweet potatoes
Baked sweet potatoes are spiced up with Buffalo chicken and a tangy cheese sauce. Freeze individually and take 'em out any time your taste buds are looking for a little zing.
13. Freezer-friendly baked ziti
Pasta is the ultimate comfort food, and this recipe will comfort a crowd.
The secret to this baked penne is the ricotta cheese filling in between the layers of pasta. You can even add some vegetables (spinach, zucchini, or mushrooms) to increase the nutritional value.
14. Stuffed (taco) shells
These stuffed shells are an Italian-Tex-Mex mash-up. They're brimming with ground meat cooked with zesty taco seasoning and corn-and-black-bean salsa. You can make a big batch of these babies and then heat up individual shells as necessary.
Top with fresh cilantro to brighten the flavors.
15. Baked broccoli macaroni and cheese
This make-ahead freezer meal is perfect for when you're in need of comfort food. And with the addition of broccoli and whole-wheat pasta, this mac and cheese is sure to become your new freezer fave.
Although this recipe calls for low-fat milk, we prefer to use whole.
16. Slow-cooker chicken fajitas
This dinner couldn't be easier. Throw ingredients in a slow cooker, cook, and store the delicious fajita filling in the freezer for when you need a weeknight dose of Mexican spice. Serve in whole-wheat taco shells or over brown rice or cauli rice.
17. Slow-cooker veggie lasagna
Slow cookers make it easy to throw together a hearty meal. It's even easier when you've got a freezer full of individual servings of veggie lasagna waiting for you.
And this lasagna tastes even better reheated - plus, it beats staring at a takeout menu for 10 minutes trying to decide what to eat.