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What are Freezer Meals?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 16, 2024
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Freezer meals can refer to two different things: meals that one makes in larger batches, then freezes, or pre-made meals that may be purchased at the grocery store. Regardless of the type of meal, freezer meals can be very convenient and easy to just put in the microwave, or warm up on the stovetop for dinner. It may also be nice to make a number of meals that can be frozen for a friend or family member who is going through a difficult time and may not be able to cook.

Some people find that the best way to make freezer meals is to make large batches of a favorite meal, then divide it up among smaller containers. This works well for many different foods, including soups, meats, vegetables, and even some pasta dishes if they are made with sauce. Desserts such as cakes and cookies also generally freeze fairly well. Some people try to cook only a few times a month, in order to buy food in bulk and save money and time.

Freezing the meals in smaller, individual serving sizes, rather than large batches, makes it easier to take out one meal, defrost it, and enjoy it, rather than needing to defrost another large meal. It is important to use freezer meals within a few weeks to a few months of freezing. Though foods certainly keep for a much longer period in the freezer, they should not be left in the freezer for more than six months as a general rule.

Freezer meals that can be purchased at the grocery store are yet another option. These often require just a few minutes in the microwave, and come with a complete meal with a protein, vegetable, and starch, as well as a small dessert. These can be quick and convenient, but there are often some downsides to regularly eating this type of freezer meal rather than preparing "real" foods at home.

First, the sodium content in these freezer meals is often astonishingly high; in addition, they are often high in fat and preservatives, which some people try to avoid. As with most things, these freezer meals are perfectly fine if eaten in moderation, but it may be a good idea to try to make one's own meals some of the time, rather than always relying on those from the grocery store. Freezer meals from the grocery store should also not be kept in the freezer for months on end; eat them within a few months of purchase, and always date the package before freezing.

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Discussion Comments
By ddljohn — On Apr 30, 2011

I don't think it's good to keep those store bought freezer meals in the freezer after four months.

I tried to eat one that was from five months ago and it was completely iced over and it tasted weird from being in the freezer for so long. I couldn't eat it.

I wanted to put that out there because many of us buy lots of freezer meals and TV dinners when it's on sale but don't eat them right away.

By burcinc — On Apr 29, 2011

Freezer meals are awesome! I'm only one person and when I make a meal, it's generally too much for me. And I don't like to have the same meal two days in a row. Leftovers generally end up spoiling in the fridge and going to waste.

But if I freeze extra food the day of cooking, I can have it one week or two weeks later. I'm saving a lot of money this way. And we all have those days when we get home from work super tired and not in the mood of cooking. I don't like to eat out a lot either, so I'm really happy about my freezer meals.

By SteamLouis — On Apr 27, 2011

I heard that it is not good to reheat foods more than once. So I always keep foods in the freezer in small batches. If I take out a container of food, I always finish it up that day and never put it back in the freezer.

I think the reasoning for this is that when foods are heated, bacteria starts to grow. So heating, freezing and heating again can cause a lot of bacteria growth and might make the food spoil. It can make you sick and cause food poisoning.

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