Healthy Tip: Frozen Lunches
Frozen lunches and canned soup are great ways to eat healthy during the weekdays. Most people do not have the time to wake up early and prepare a healthy lunch before work, so frozen meals offer health, convenience, and are generally cheaper than buying lunch every day.
The biggest problem with pre-made frozen food bought at a grocery store is the amount of sodium in each meal. Even in healthy frozen meals, such as those from Lean Cuisine® can contain up to 700 mg of sodium. Those trying to eat healthy should not consume more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day.
A great way to create even healthier, and more cost effective meals, is to create your own frozen lunches, which can even save you about $60 a month! Set aside a day a month for cooking meals in bulk, and then freeze and label them so you have a variety of nutritious, low-budget meals to eat all month long.
Some tips for making your own meals include:
- The containers you use to store your meals in should be both microwave- and freezer-safe. Both glass and plastic may work well, if they meet these standards
- Before portioning out cooked food into containers, allow it to cool completely first and always leave extra room at the top of to allow for expansion of the food during freezing.
- Foods with high moisture content (such as soups) tend to freeze better than drier foods.
- Vegetables should be slightly undercooked to prevent them from becoming mushy when you reheat them.
- Completely cool hot food before freezing it to prevent the growth of bacteria. Bacteria can grow when the outside of food freezes while the inside remains warm.
Try to stay away from foods that do not freeze well such as egg- and cream-based sauces, instant rice, salad, stuffed poultry, hard-cooked eggs and fried foods.