Do you like to eat well in the sense that you want your food to be delicious and nutritious? I think most people would answer “yes” to that question. Is it challenging to provide meals that fit the delicious/nutritious definition for yourself and/or your family members? Most of us would have to answer “yes,” at least some of the time, because we all know life makes many competing demands of our time.
Since food is our medicine, in that a healthy, balanced diet is a significant part of the prescription for optimal health and well-being, it’s important to eat well as regularly as possible (and because there are many definitions of a healthy diet e.g., vegan, vegetarian, paleo, low-sodium, dairy-free, etc., it can be helpful to experiment with different dietary approaches to find which ones help you thrive). With a little forethought and planning, it isn’t hard to feed yourself properly even if you don’t consider yourself a chef or feel that cooking is your second nature.
It will come as no surprise that the way to ensure healthy, tasty meals grace your table is to start making some meals ahead of time and storing them in your freezer, fridge or pantry. Then, when time is pinched or energy is low, you can draw from your ready-made larder to provide nourishment. I discovered the joy of make-ahead meals in the past year since becoming an empty nester. After decades of providing made-from-scratch meals for our family of three (my two sons and me!), I’ve been happily liberated from kitchen duty to some degree. Embracing the make-ahead mentality, I now prepare recipes that yield 2-4 servings. I enjoy one serving of whatever I make immediately and then I freeze the rest for future meals.
There are many benefits to this do-ahead endeavor. Besides saving time in the kitchen, a little meal planning and pre-production can help you: adhere to a food budget, save money by buying bulk ingredients, cater to different dietary needs and offer more varied vittles (yes, variety is the spice of life!). Also, you’ll be less tempted to cave into eating less healthy fast food or highly processed frozen meals since the healthy, ready-made ones will be waiting for you. If you have questions about what foods freeze well, types of containers to freeze in and so on, the book, “Can I Freeze It?” can help answer all manner of questions related to freezer meal-making.
March is National Nutrition Month, a time set aside by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) to educate about and campaign for conscious, healthy eating. Here at DBRL, we will help champion the cause by hosting Freezer Meals and More. During this program, members of the local AND chapter will be on hand to provide samples of tasty and nutritious make-ahead snacks and discuss food defrosting safety tips. If you are looking for inspiration in this vein, I hope you can join us.
While reviewing the resources on this topic at the library, I found “Slice and Bake Cookies.” In all my decades of cooking and baking I’ve never tried preparing cookie dough to freeze. Now I want to add this to my repertory. It will be nice to have a log roll of dough stashed in my freezer to raid and bake when a sweet tooth comes to call. I think I’ll start with this recipe, since I’m a gluten-free gal. Bon appetite!