Meal Prep

Self Quarantined? These Healthy Food Preparation Tips Will Save The Day

Because nourishing and comforting foods are a must during this time of shelter in place.

By: Rebecca Jacobs

During this time of self quarantine, and with many of us under a shelter in place order, food preparation may seem like the last thing on your mind. But, with healthy food choices comes improved mood and better energy levels. And, nutrient-dense foods fuel our bodies with exactly what they need to keep our health in tip-top shape. So, we’re sharing six healthy prepared food tips that can make eating healthy during self quarantine easier, more nutritious, and totally delicious. 

6 Easy Food Prep Tips

#1 Freeze Fruit & Veggies Like a Pro 

During a time where many of us are under a shelter in place order, finding ways to preserve the foods we have in the fridge is a great way to cut down on food waste, and limit how often we need to go out to the store. 

And, if you have a ton of fresh fruit and veggies sitting around, now’s the time to freeze it! Here are some tips on freezing fruit like a pro. 

  • Slice bananas before adding them to a freezer bag — this will make it easier to add exactly how much you want to a smoothie or protein shake. 
  • Freeze fruit & veggies separately — unless you are making a berry blend, freeze fruit and veggies in their own individual bags. This way, you’ll be able to pick and choose without having to pick through a bag of mixed fruits or vegetables. 
  • Freeze individual serving bags — if you know that you want to have a bag of blueberries to enjoy with your morning bowl of oatmeal, make individual serving bags to prevent having to defrost an entire bag. Same goes for things like peas, corn, and green beans. This will cut back on waste. 

#2 Get Smart About What Freezes Well & What Doesn’t 

While freezing food can help cut back on food waste, not everything freezes well. Here’s a breakdown of what gets the freezer green light, and which foods you should enjoy fresh and skip the freezer altogether. 

Foods That Freeze Well 

  • Broccoli 
  • Kale 
  • Spinach 
  • Bananas 
  • Grapes 
  • Berries 
  • Avocados 
  • Dark chocolate 
  • Herbs (see tip #5) 
  • Rice 
  • Broths 
  • Pancakes & waffles 
  • Muffins 
  • Casseroles
  • Chili 
  • Bread 
  • Beans 

Skip the Freezer on These Foods 

  • Potatoes 
  • Melon 
  • Apples
  • Grapefruit 
  • Celery 
  • Onions
  • Lettuce 
  • Soft cheese (like cottage cheese or crumbled feta) 
  • Mayo 
  • Cooked pasta 

#3 Use Labels When Freezing Food 

Using labels is a great way to make sure that you know exactly what’s in that freezer bag, and to also make sure that you’re eating food before it goes bad. 

When adding anything to the freezer, be sure to add a label and write the following:

  • The date you added it to the freezer. 
  • What it is (this is especially important if you are freezing something like a stir fry or leftovers) 
  • Shelf life — here is a great guide that breaks down how long things will last in the fridge and freezer. 

#4 Choose Healthy Comfort Foods That Freeze Well 

If you are looking for some healthy comfort food recipes that also freeze really well, some of the best picks include casseroles, soups, and stews. Use what you have in your pantry to whip up something like a beef stew, healthy turkey chili, or a dairy-free lasagna recipe. 

Check out our favorite healthy comfort food recipes that would all make delicious and healthy prepared foods to keep on hand during this time of self quarantine. 

#5 Enjoy All The Leftovers During a Shelter in Place Order 

After you make your favorite comfort food recipes, you’ll likely have leftovers. The good news is that things like casseroles and chili freeze really well. But, you can also enjoy leftovers from the night before as a healthy lunch before freezing them. This will make mealtime the next day easier and will also cut back on how much cooking you have to do. 

Anything you still have leftover can go in the freezer with a label, ready to reheat when you are in need of a nourishing meal. 

#6 Freeze Leftover Herbs 

Herbs make a great addition to healthy prepared foods, and you definitely don’t have to let them go to waste if you don’t have an immediate use for that whole bunch of basil. 

Instead, wash and pat the herbs dry. Chop and place them in a silicone ice cube tray (or whatever you have on hand). Cover with your favorite health oil (like olive or avocado) and freeze. 

Once the cubes are frozen, pop them out of the tray and store them in a resealable freezer-safe bag. Toss them into soups, stews, or whatever healthy prepared food you feel needs a boost of flavor! 

Healthy Prepared Foods Matter Even During This Time of Shelter in Place 

While it’s easy to let healthy eating fall to the wayside during periods of heightened stress, there’s truly no better time than now to focus on bolstering our diet with the food our bodies rely on to stay healthy! 

So, use these healthy prepared food tips to make healthy eating possible, even during this time where we may not be getting to the grocery store as often. It may make all the difference in helping you keep up with your healthy eating goals.