Why You Should Make Your Own Wholesome Freezer Meals

Longtime readers know I always like to say that the key to avoiding processed food is planning ahead, and I’ll admit that my backup freezer is often an essential part of that equation. But even if you don’t have an extra freezer, making better use of your existing freezer (do you really know what all is in there?) could make real food much more realistic. And by that I mean getting dinner on the table fast!

“Freezer cooking” is really not a new term, but when it’s used, probably many of you think of all things casserole-y. Casserole recipes often include those condensed cream soups and other processed foods that we’re all trying to avoid, which is why I’m excited to share some up-to-date tips and advantages of homemade freezer cooking in today’s sponsored post, inspired by our longtime partner (and friend!) Once A Month Meals. They’ve got great advice on how to pull together a variety of wholesome freezer meals that will be ready in a jiffy on those busy week nights or when you just don’t feel like cooking (it happens to the best of us!).

Why You Should Make Your Own Wholesome Freezer Meals on 100 Days of #RealFood

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What is Once A Month Meals (OAMM)?

In a nutshell, OAMM helps you fill your freezer by creating monthly menus out of seasonal recipes that you cook all in one day. You can read our review of their service here.

OAMM gives you all of the resources to make this experience easier than you may think; sure you will have to spend extra time on your cooking day/weekend, BUT there are lots of benefits to be had by cooking ahead of time:

  • Control the Ingredients
    This is a big one. Not only can you be selective about what ingredients you include, but more so about what you DON’T include. Substitute whole grains where white pastas and such may have otherwise been used; choose local/grass-fed meat, organic vegetables, and natural sweeteners instead of the alternatives.

    Often times if you were to select a frozen meal, even from a trusted store (like Whole Foods Market), they will include a laundry list of ingredients that simply are not necessary. By preparing your own wholesome freezer meal, you’ll know exactly what is going into it and where it is from, and I guarantee it will taste much better. Plus I know that those who have family members with food sensitivities or allergies are singing the praises here. It’s easy to remove gluten, dairy, nuts and other allergens. They even have a handy-dandy Allergen Menu.
  • Control the Packaging
    In an effort to reduce waste and also keep your food free from potential environmental contaminants, you can choose to freeze your prepared foods in glass, reusable foil pans, or bags (which do stack nicely and allow for use of lots of nooks and crannies).
  • Control the Portion Size
    Have you ever noticed how expensive frozen meals really are? To feed a family, you almost need to buy quite a few for one meal! When you make your own, you can adjust the quantity accordingly. I often like to double recipes (while I’m at it) just so that I have more foods I can stash in my freezer. They make great additions to my girls’ lunches and are also fantastic to pull out in a pinch. On the flip side, if you are only cooking for one or two people, OAMM makes it easy for you to cook and package single servings, too. For those watching portion sizes, this can also come in handy.

Special Offer

Once A Month Meals is offering a discount for 100 Days of Real Food readers (you!) which expires on 4/20/2015. The code is “100DAYS” and it’s good for 25% off the initial purchase of a membership (monthly or yearly).

A Few “Freezer Cooking” Recipes (to get you started!)

Why You Should Make Your Own Wholesome Freezer Meals on 100 Days of #RealFood

Top 10 Recipes (in no particular order)

  1. Copycat Amy’s Kitchen Mattar Paneer
  2. Copycat Kashi Soaked Multigrain Waffles
  3. Copycat Trader Joes Chili Lime Chicken Burgers
  4. Copycat Kashi Lemongrass Coconut Chicken
  5. Copycat Smart Ones Fire Roasted Vegetable Soup
  6. Copycat Amy’s Mexican Tamale Pie
  7. Mock Annie Chun’s Asian Chicken and Noodle Bowls
  8. Creamy Tomato Soup
  9. Family Approved Skillet Mac and Cheese
  10. Crispy Coconut Chicken Strips

Have you tried freezer cooking yet? We’d love to hear your comments and tips below!

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but 100 Days of Real Food will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us spread our message!

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29 thoughts on “Why You Should Make Your Own Wholesome Freezer Meals”

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  1. helloo!!Lisa

    I just love these suggestions.

    It’s just me and my wife and I am only now feeling like a life of restaurants and quick meals is not really for us.

    We live in a country where restaurant life is fairly normal.
    As an experiment, I will try all the meals .

    Its time to start making new meals
    So excited to try everything!

  2. This was really helpful. I’ve been interested in OAMC but didn’t want “a can of this plus a package of that”, so thank you for the info. Can’t wait to try some of the recipes!

  3. I love this post and couldn’t agree more…avoiding processed foods is so important. I have four kids under five and although it’s tough, we try to make as many meals at home as possible. The freezer is your friend!! Thanks, Lisa!

  4. Can anyone tell me how the cost is for the menus? Does this process save very much on the grocery budget once you start to use it regularly? We already eat a whole food diet and eat dinner at night nearly every night, it would be nice to not spend so much time int he kitchen each night, to have a plan and to save MONEY if possible! What has been the experience from anyone who has used this program for a while?
    Thank you !

    1. If you subscribe to the yearly plan and use the discount code it works out to $6.19 or $10.63 per month depending on if you subscribe to the basic or pro plan.

      1. Thank you for the replies……I meant the grocery prices for using the menus……. not the plan itself! Thanks again

      2. Hi Noelle,
        They have a lot of recipes available for free so you can try and see the cost. We’re truly pinching every penny so they are too much for us but I think most of my friends would save money. I use cookkeepbook.com to find recipe costs.

        Good luck!

  5. I love the idea of freezer meals. About 4 years ago we embarked on cutting out processed foods. We followed all your suggestions and really transformed our eating. I would bake 100 of your pumpkin muffins at a time! :-) Our daughter was then diagnosed with celiac. Now our family really struggles to have anything on hand. I feel like I am making every meal from scratch every day. We can have absolutely no gluten in our house so we all eat gluten free. I have some really good cook books but I will admit its SUPER hard! Love your blog and LOVE your cookbook we still use all the gluten free recipes :-)

  6. I LOVE Once A Month Meals- I have had an annual membership for the last 2 or so years and have found it to be a great resource for meal prepping/stocking my freezer. They are also advocates of whole food (it was actually through their site that I discovered 100 days of Real Food); however it’s important to note that the every recipe is not centered around real food. There are several menus put out each month to meet the needs of all kinds of cooks- traditional, diet, allergen friendly, paleo, etc.- but one is a whole foods menu. So, you will find processed ingredients in some recipes (although not in the ones Lisa has recommended in this post). One thing I love the most is that they often provide ways around the processed food- such as their excellent recipe for condensed soup (I can’t believe anyone would buy the stuff in the can after tasting how good it is homemade). I have found great whole food recipes for other kitchen basics as well- enchilada sauce, stock, taco seasoning, and tons of others. Before anyone gives Lisa any grief about recommending a site with recipes that include condensed soups- please do some research and give Once a Months Meals a chance!

  7. I just looked at the Shepherd’s pie recipe too – it also contains condensed soup. I am surprised that your website is promoting this service that uses these ingredients.

    1. My apologies – I see what line you guys are talking about. To be honest I thought our editor deleted that line (for the reasons you mentioned), but clearly there was an error on our part. It is gone now!

  8. I was really excited for this post, but am a bit disappointed. One of the first things you mentioned was recipes WITHOUT cream based soups and the first recipe I click on (“Real” Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole) calls for 2 different types of cream soups. :/

    1. I just looked at the line you mentioned again and I honestly thought our editor deleted it (exactly for the reasons you mentioned), but clearly there was an error on our part. It is gone now!

    2. You can make your own cream sauce or soup by making a regular cream sauce (4-4-2 which is 4 Tablespoons fat, 4 Tab. flour of your choice & 2 cups of your choice of milk) along with extra ingredients. If you are making Cream of Mushroom-make your 4-4-2 and add fresh sliced mushrooms; if you are making Cream of Chicken-make your 4-4-2 and add chopped chicken pieces; and so on… This is not that hard to do.

  9. The Real Chicken Brocolli Rice casserole contains 2 kinds of condensed soup. How can this be a healthy make over and “real” food?

    1. I also want to mention that I just looked at the recipe line you are talking about, and I honestly thought our editor deleted it (exactly for the reasons you mentioned), but clearly there was an error on our part. It is gone now! The top 10 recipes at the bottom were the ones I was referring to in my email today.

  10. My husband works really weird hours and has constant access to junk food. When he is home with me, he’s usually not hungry. I want to try freezer cooking, but I worry that I’ll be the only one eating it. Any tips?

    1. Freeze containers in an individual serving size. That way you both can eat it when you want to and if you are both home, then just heat up 2 servings!

    2. Miriam- Freeze containers in individual servings. That way you both can eat it when you want to and if you are both home, then just heat up 2 servings!