Are you short on time?  Your freezer is your friend in the kitchen.

The freezer can save you time and money as well as keep you from wasting food.  Instead of filling your freezer with ice cream, chicken nuggets, and frozen hot pockets, fill it with healthy food that you can use to make meals quickly.  You can also freeze meals and have them ready to serve quickly, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Here are seven foods to keep in your freezer to keep your family healthy:

1.  Frozen fruit

If at all possible, purchase organic fruit.  Places such as Trader Joe’s have them for reasonable prices.  You can also purchase fruit when it is in season and freeze it yourself.

While fresh fruit is usually your best choice, frozen fruit has these two benefits:  it can keep much longer in its frozen state, and it has more nutrition than canned, dried, or even sometimes fresh fruit (unless you buy it locally and in season).

You can use frozen fruit to make smoothies as well as to top oatmeal, pancakes, or waffles.

2.  Frozen vegetables 

Frozen vegetables are excellent for soups and for roasting.  Again, unlike fresh vegetables, they will keep in your freezer for months without going bad.

3.  Frozen soups

When you make soup or stew, make a double batch and freeze half of it.  You will have your own convenience food without all the added chemicals of commercially canned soups.

4.  Freezer meals

Frozen meals from the store are high in sodium, and from my experience, not very filling!  You can make an extra meal once a week or have a freezer cooking session to fill your freezer with healthy ready-to-eat meals.  These can include pancakes, waffles, chili, stews, casseroles, and more.

5.  Cooked meat 

Meat is the part of the meal that takes the longest to cook.  By having a few pounds of cooked meat in your freezer, you can shorten your cooking time considerably.  You will also be less tempted to just go out to eat.  Ideally, remove it from your freezer to the refrigerator that morning.  If you have a pressure cooker, the meat can be ready to eat in less time that it would take you to drive to a restaurant.

6.  Meat from a farmer

The best place to purchase meat is directly from the farmer.  You can make sure it is organic and comes from a reputable source.  You will save money and help a local business.

7.  Homemade breads

While homemade breads are best fresh, the next best thing is to have a loaf in the freezer in case of an extra busy schedule or illness.  You can make breads very inexpensively and have the convenience of them at home rather than needing to make an extra trip to the store to buy bread with questionable ingredients.

What healthy foods to do keep in your freezer?  Please share in the comments below!