How to stock your freezer for Macro Success: The Do’s, Don’ts and How To’s.

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Having a stocked freezer sets you up for macro success! Whether you’re not feeling inspired to cook, coming home from a trip, or haven’t made it to the grocery store to make dinner, having those freezer meals readily available can make all the difference. If you’re ready to start building up your freezer stash, we’re here to help!

DO: stock up freezer with healthy ingredients

Whenever I make a grocery order, I always think about how my freezer stash is doing. If it’s getting low, I always add in a few of the following, so after a busy weekend or weeknight, I always have some options to help me stay on track with hitting my macro RX:

  • Frozen fruit — great addition in smoothies, a topper for oatmeal, a yogurt parfait or when you need some additional carbs at the end of the day to hit your carb goal. My favorites are blueberries and raspberries (hello fiber!); I’ve found the most cost-effective is buying a large bag from Walmart or Costco.
  • Frozen Veggies — Frozen steamer bags make veggie consumption so easy nowadays. There are a variety of options; my favorites: 
    • Normandy-Style Vegetable blend (Costco sells 5.5 lb bags of this!)
    • Stir-Fry Vegetable Blend (another great Costco find!)
    • Riced Cauliflower
    • Green Beans
    • Broccoli Florets (I’ve found I need to be picky on brands for this; some of the generic brands give you tiny florets and they’re not as yummy as other brands)
    • Frozen Corn: A great addition to taco bowls. I love Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted corn. If you eat dairy, please be sure to check out their Mexican Style Roasted Corn
  • Carbs: Rice, Sides, etc! — I love having several side dishes in my freezer at all times. It makes whipping together a meal pretty easy. My favorites have been:
    • Steamed rice packets: I have found these 8-oz microwavable pouches at Walmart and LOVE them. They are certified gluten-free also:  Grain Trust Jasmine Rice, Grain Trust Brown Rice, Grain Trust Hibachi Fried Rice. Coach Chelsea loves the frozen jasmine rice packets from Trader Joe’s. 
    • Stir-Fried Noodles
    • Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocci
    • Trader Joe’s gorgonzola gnocchi, pesto linguine & fettuccine alfredo are Coach Chelsea’s family’s favorites
    • Siete Brand Cassava Flour Tortillas – Coach Lindsay & Virginia eat gluten-free and these are a staple to keep in their freezer. Most grocery stores carry them.
    • Bread, rolls & buns! With some additional care (keep reading for my tips on how to properly freeze). Coach Virginia will freeze her homemade sourdough bread & Coach Laura loves keeping David’s Killer Bread in her freezer (5g fiber per slice!). I always keep several loaves of gluten-free bread in my freezer. 

DO: Freeze leftovers

This has been my secret weapon during my postpartum macro journey. I will often double a recipe — ESPECIALLY when it’s a family favorite — and portion it out and freeze for leftovers. Coach Lindsay’s favorite recipes to freeze are: SFM Sloppy Joe’s, SFM Coconut Chicken Curry, SFM Mississippi Chicken & SFM Cajun Dirty Rice (A Ninja Insider exclusive recipe). Read on below how to properly freeze leftovers. Cool meals/foods COMPLETELY  before storing in the freezer! 

How to properly freeze leftovers: 

  • Have the right supplies! Properly storing foods can help reduce and eliminate freezer burn and oxygen getting to your food. 
  • When freezing foods in freezer bags:
    • Always label the bags with the recipe name, date & cooking instructions BEFORE you fill the bag with your food/meal!
    • Squeeze as much air out of the bags as possible. This will help keep the foods fresh and limit the change of freezer burn.
    • Freeze the bags FLAT to save room in your freezer.
  • Freezing Casseroles:
    • My preference is a disposable aluminum pan. I love taking a recipe my whole family loves, like the Tuna Casserole & freezing a few different sized portions. 
    • Once the casserole is cooled to room temperature, wrap with 1 or two layers of plastic wrap. Then wrap with aluminum foil. Label foil with name, date & cooking instructions.
    • Reheating: You can start reheating from frozen, it will just take longer (up to an additional hour). Make sure to take plastic wrap off before putting it in oven. I prefer to start reheating the casserole with the foil loosely wrapped on top, and take off for the final 10-15 minutes of cooking time. 
  • Freezing breads, rolls, muffins
    • For rolls & muffins, wrap individually with plastic wrap.
    • For loaves of bread, wrap the entire loaf with plastic wrap. Then place the wrapped loaf back into the original bag (this step is not necessary, I just like to do it so you have the nutritional information for the future!), and place into a freezer bag. If the loaf doesn’t fit in a gallon bag, I will use a jumbo 2.5 gallon storage bag
    • Defrosting: When short on time, I will defrost in the microwave. Wrap roll/muffin in a paper towel, and cook for 30-45 seconds. If I have more time, I will wrap item in a towel and leave it on my kitchen counter to get to room temperature. 
  • Homemade Pancakes & Waffles
    • The next time you make homemade pancakes for breakfast (Kodiak Cakes are popular here in SFM & the macro world), double the batch & freeze extras!
    • After pancakes are completely cool, layer pancakes between sheets of waxed paper — this step is necessary so you don’t end up with a big frozen stack of pancakes! 
    • Waffles: freeze the same way as mentioned above. For defrosting, I will typically microwave for 30 seconds & then pop in my toaster oven to finish cooking. This ensures they stay slightly crispy.
  • Stews, Soups, Beans, etc:
    • The container you choose comes down to preference. Like I mentioned above, I prefer to use the Ziploc Twist ‘n Loc containers and Mason Jars. 
    • Whichever container you use, make sure adequate head space is left – fill only ¾ of the way full

Other Freezer Hacks

  • Freeze family favorites. In my house, we love taco bowls so it’s a no-brainer to freeze additional seasoned ground meat. I will also freeze homemade black beans & cilantro lime rice for easy taco bowls. 
  • Invest in a deep freezer. My family purchased one 5 years ago and it’s been so helpful
  • Keep a list of what is frozen in  your deep freezer. Keep it up to date by crossing off items when you take them out of your freezer.
  • Freeze small portions! I love using my 8 oz mason jars & Ziploc Twist ‘n Loc  to freeze small portions of my meals. Having a small container of shredded protein makes for a quick taco bowl. 
  • “Waste not want not!” – before throwing out overripe bananas, dice up and freeze for smoothies
  • Dice up extra veggies – When Coach Laura & myself dice up onions, carrots & celery for Coconut Chicken Curry, we will measure out extra portions and freeze for future meals. 
  • Mashed Potatoes: Use an ice cream or cookie scoop (one with a wire spring that pushes contents out) to portion out pre cooked mashed potatoes & sweet potatoes. Scoop out potatoes onto a waxed-paper lined cookie sheet. Pop in the freezer; once frozen, transfer to a storage bag. To serve, reheat in the microwave.

How to properly defrost meals:

  • In an ideal world, you’d pull your meal out of the freezer the night before & let it defrost overnight in the refrigerator. I like to put a towel under my container to collect any condensation. 
  • For a casserole or pasta dish, remove the lid/foil/plastic wrap that was on the meal in the freezer. The lid/plastic wrap may have frozen condensation, which, when melted, will add additional water and moisture to your meal. Cover the meal with a fresh lid or new sheet of aluminum foil. Place the dish in the refrigerator to thaw slowly overnight.

Reheating Meals:

  • You will want to make sure that all previously cooked foods are reheated to an internal temperature of at least 165°F. You will also want the food to reach 165°F within 2 hours. If you know it won’t, consider reheating in smaller batches to speed up cooking time. 
  • To reheat frozen foods without defrosting first, you can bake at 350 °F for almost double the original cooking time. Cooking at a higher temperature will NOT result in a faster cooking time! Doing so will just cook and burn the outside before the inside is completely thawed.
  • To reheat foods in the microwave, cover with a microwave-safe wrap and vent to prevent steam buildup. I prefer to use a clean kitchen towel (I love Clean Mama Bar Mop Cleaning Towels). Microwave until your food/dish is steaming and hot (another time you’d want to check if it’s 165°F). I will typically stir several times during the microwave process.

Some safety tips:

  • Reheat to an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Eat foods within 3 months; this is more for the quality of food than the actual food safety.
  • If storing meals in a deep freezer, you have 6 months.
  • Never put glass from the freezer directly into the oven.
  • Never refreeze foods that have been previously thawed
  • When using a slow cooker, thaw completely before cooking or you run the risk of food poisoning

Stay Fit Mom Freezer Friendly {Macro Friendly} Recipes

Click HERE for the full list of 30+ Macro friendly Freezer friendly recipes!

The next time you go to make a Stay Fit Mom Recipes favorite, make a double batch and freeze for your next meal to save you loads of time!Check out our cookbooks to find even more easy freezable macro meals!

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