Let’s chat FROZEN FOODS!!! Why frozen foods? Well, my guess is, as a fellow former athlete, you’re pretty busy. Okay, maybe a lot busy. And that means you may not have tons of time to meal prep/cook every single day. I feel you! And, I’ve got good news. You don’t have to!
As a dietitian and fellow former athlete, one of my favorite hacks to making quick, delicious, and nutritious meals is to use frozen foods! Now, I’ve got to be honest…frozen foods tend to get a bad rep. But they really shouldn’t! They can absolutely be part of a health-promoting diet. And also save you time (and money) when making meals.
Sharing with you my top 5 favorite frozen foods to keep on hand! Plus some of my favorite ways to use them in delicious (and nutritious) meals. Because eating shouldn’t be stressful! And it doesn’t always need to be complicated either!
- Frozen Waffles: I LOVE keeping frozen waffles on hand for quick meals, snacks, pre-workout fuel, you name it! One of my favorite ways to use frozen waffles is in what I call “waffle bowls”. Toast up some waffles and throw them in a bowl. Add in Greek yogurt and peanut butter for more protein and fat. Top with berries, and enjoy! This is a great option for breakfast, or even as a midday snack. I also love to simply eat the waffles by themselves as a quick pre-workout snack. Most frozen waffles are simple carbohydrates, which is the perfect option for pre-workout fuel!
- Chicken strips: not just for the kiddos…chicken strips are arguably one of my regular grocery list items! Chicken strips often catch some shade for being processed and unhealthy. But the truth is, they are a great way to quickly and easily boost protein in a meal! And boosting protein helps to balance blood sugar, optimize metabolism and stabilize mood (win win if ya ask me). Sure, different brands offer different things. I do tend to opt for choices that are more natural. A personal brand favorite of mine is Perdue. But overall, chicken strips are a great way to keep quick protein on hand. My favorite use of chicken strips is in salad. Air fry chicken strips, cut them up, and throw them on top of any salad! Add some crackers or chips for carbs, and you quickly have a balanced meal. No defrosting necessary!
- Frozen fruit: FRESH OR FRUIT?!? Why not both?! Frozen fruit is the ultimate hack to saving money AND boosting nutrient rich foods into your daily eats! Frozen fruits are actually picked at peak ripeness, which means you’re getting the fruit at its most nutrient dense stage. I love having frozen fruit on hand. Some of my favorite ways to use frozen fruit are in smoothies, on top of oatmeal (they warm up and melt in), on top of pancakes/waffles, or warmed up and drizzled with chocolate!
- Frozen veggies: along the same lines as frozen fruit, frozen veggies are a must have freezer food! How many times have you bought veggies with every intention of eating them…but then end up with an entire container of rotten spinach…? Been there. I love frozen veggies to not only avoid ending up with rotten veggies, but also to use in meals for a quick nutrition boost! Need ideas on how to USE frozen veggies? I got you! Throw frozen spinach or broccoli into tomato sauce for a pumped-up pasta meal. Use frozen chopped peppers in scrambled eggs or on top of tacos/quesadillas. Add frozen broccoli to a baked potato and add cheese, plain greek yogurt and bacon for a loaded baked potato! The options are really endless when it comes to frozen veggies!
- Frozen pizza: yes…I am a dietitian. And yes…I am recommending you keep frozen pizzas in your freezer! BEAR WITH ME and keep reading friends! You’ve made it this far! For starters, all foods can fit into a health-promoting diet! You don’t need to fear processed foods OR convenience foods! Even frozen pizza! What I love about pizza in general is that it’s already an optimized food! Carbs, fats, and protein! I love to optimize pizza even further by adding some veggies for something a little fresh! Either a side salad (or maybe some frozen broccoli!)
Nutrition doesn’t need to be complicated. It doesn’t need to be 100% fresh and homemade all the time. It CAN utilize convenience and frozen foods and still be nourishing, health-promoting, and enjoyable. Add these to your grocery list next time you’re headed to the store so you’ll always have quick and easy options on hand to keep you fueled for life after sport!
Looking for more support?
Check out THE FUELED FORMER ATHLETE ACADEMY and learn how to FUEL your body for life after sport!