Having a smart freezer stash of some of the best healthy frozen foods can be a great safety net for super busy days—or weeks when you can’t make it to the grocery store. Here are my go-to family-friendly frozen foods.
Best Frozen Foods
You certainly don’t need to keep all of these frozen foods on hand, but having a few of them ready for quick meals, daily cooking, or even backup in case illness keeps you at home for an extended period can help. I love how frozen foods are processed at their peak ripeness, so frozen produce is often better-tasting than what we can find fresh.
And frozen foods can be so helpful either as full meal options or just components of the meal. There are plenty of options from store brands to name brands that can be prepared in the oven, microwave, or put right into the blender.
Read on for my picks for the best frozen foods for families to make quicker work of meals and snacks.
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- Frozen diced avocado: This is great to blend into smoothies or to thaw as an easy finger food for babies.
- Frozen berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are perfect for smoothies, muffins, oatmeal, and more.
- Frozen mango: This makes smoothies super creamy, and you can also let it thaw and serve it to the kids like you would fresh fruit.
- Frozen pineapple: We love this in smoothies and we also let it thaw and eat it as a snack.
How to Use Frozen Fruit
I love keeping frozen fruit on hand to add to recipes and to thaw and serve to my kids like I would fresh fruit. The chart above has my preferred ways to use the 10 most common kinds of frozen fruit. This is how I prefer to use frozen fruit; you may have different thoughts on what’s best to use with each method and that it’s 100% OK! This is meant to give you options and help you in feeding your kids food they’ll want to eat.
Thawed frozen pineapple and mango are usually really good in flavor and similar in texture! I like frozen raspberries almost thawed completely, but not so much that they get super mushy. Babies and 1-year-olds (some of them anyway) may be fine with eating thawed berries and peaches, though the texture may be too soft for the preferences of older kids. With frozen bananas, let them thaw before baking with them.
TIP: You can freeze almost any fruit, though you’d still want to follow the chart above for the best ways to enjoy it from frozen.
Best Recipes for Frozen Fruit
These are my favorite easy recipes for using frozen fruit both for the kids and food for the whole family.
These are my favorite frozen vegetables to keep on hand so they’re easy to prepare right when you need them.
- Frozen broccoli florets: For a simple side or to add to pasta, stir fries, or soup.
- Frozen greens: Blend frozen spinach or kale into smoothies, Spinach Pancakes, or Spinach Banana Muffins.
- Frozen cauliflower florets: For a simple side or to add to pasta, stir-fries, or soup. You can also blend them into smoothies and use in cheese sauce for mac and cheese.
- Frozen green beans: For a simple side or to add to pasta, stir-fries, or soup
- Frozen ginger: Store a knob of fresh ginger in a small freezer bag and grate on a microplane, still frozen with the skin, into stir-fries to add flavor.
- Frozen peas: A staple to use in pasta or as a simple side dish.
How to Use Frozen Veggies
Cooking with frozen veggies is a great way to offer up nutrition and not worry about the produce going bad. They contain the same (if not more) nutrients as fresh since they’re preserved at the time of peak ripeness, and they are usually very easy to use. Our go-tos are frozen broccoli, corn, cauliflower, riced cauliflower, cubed sweet potatoes, peas, and sliced pepers.
Best Recipes for Frozen Vegetables
Here are some of my best kid-friendly recipes that work well with frozen veggies.
Frozen Bread and Carbohydrates
- Frozen muffins: Stash half of a batch of muffins into a freezer bag for use in future weeks.
- Freezer waffles and French Toast
- Frozen bread: For toast, sandwiches, and French toast.
- Frozen rice and quinoa: You can buy fully cooked whole grains (such as white rice or brown rice) in the freezer aisle or you can cook it, let it cool completely, and freeze in a container or bag to use in future meals.
Frozen Meat and Poultry
- Frozen ground beef, burger patties, or other cuts of beef
- Frozen chicken tenders, thighs, or breast
- Frozen breakfast sausage
Frozen Prepared Foods
- Frozen burritos: I like the Amy’s brand Cheese and Bean Burritos.
- Frozen meatballs: Make them homemade or pick up a bag at the store. Simmer in sauce and serve in sandwiches or with pasta.
- Frozen chicken nuggets make a fast protein option and are great with Caesar Salad.
- Potstickers, fried rice, fish sticks, mac and cheese, bean or cheese enchiladas, pizza, lasagna … all great options for fast meals.
You can find my full guide for Freezing Food for more ideas.
It also helps me to think through my pantry and pick up a few extras to have on hand as well. Here’s my guide to family-friendly pantry staples.
What do you like to keep in your freezer? Comment below so I can add your ideas to my list!
This post was first published March 2020.