Frozen dinners, TV dinners, whatever you want to call ‘em—they sure are convenient! But, the sodium overload, sneaky sugars, inflammatory oils, and artificial food additives aren’t doing our bodies any favors. Instead, with just a little extra effort, you can create your own make ahead freezer meals at home!
As with most homemade meals, taking the time to meal prep frozen dinners for yourself pays off in major ways. You get to enjoy the convenience of a pre-made, heat-and-eat dinner, but made with wholesome, fuel-filled ingredients.
My make ahead freezer meals feature nutritious plant-based goodies like lentils, rice, and veggies—perfect for vegan meal prep! But, this is just ONE option. Get creative with your make ahead freezer meals!
TV Dinners vs. Make Ahead Freezer Meals
Whether you enjoy that store-bought frozen dinner in front of the TV or not, it’s still an ultra-processed, nutrient-lacking meal. Sure, there ARE some real foods used in frozen dinners. But, when you look at their LONG ingredients list, you need a magnifying glass to find them!
So, those few real foods are completely altered once they’re buried in food additives, preservatives, surprising added sugars, and sneaky sources of sodium. On average, a single frozen dinner can contain anywhere from 500 mg of sodium up to 2000 mg of sodium!
In your own make ahead freezer meals, you don’t have to worry about any of those additives! And, YOU get to customize your frozen dinners with the ingredients and flavors that you like.
I kept things extra easy and budget-friendly in my make ahead freezer meals by using already-frozen rice and veggies. And, I like to flavor my meals at the time of eating so I can have more variety. These only took a few minutes to put together, and each meal only cost me around $1.25!
Building Nutritious, Balanced Meals
Usually, store-bought frozen dinners that claim to be ‘healthy’ focus on keeping calories and fat low. But, almost everyone needs more than 200 calories for a nourishing, satisfying dinner!
Plus, it’s not just the number of calories that’s important, but more so the quality of the calories that you put into your make ahead freezer meals. The food that we eat affects every aspect of our health! And, our bodies need fuel from a healthy balance of macronutrients—carbs, proteins, and fats.
In my make ahead freezer meals, the lentils provide a hearty dose of plant-based protein, with a total of 15 grams per meal! Then, I’ve got rice as my whole grain, offering loads of fiber and slow-digesting carbs that help to keep blood sugar levels in check.
And, of course, no healthy meal is complete without a generous serving of veggies! Plus, that kind of variety in my make ahead freezer meals means more of the essential vitamins and minerals that my body needs.
Keep It Simple, Keep it Delicious
It doesn’t have to be complicated—real, whole foods are naturally nutritious! Explore different ingredients that YOU enjoy, and keep balance in mind. Put in the bit of effort now to prep your make ahead freezer meals, and you’ll be prepared with healthy dinners whenever you need them!
And, with this particular recipe for make ahead freezer meals, there’s NO thawing necessary. Go from freezer straight to microwave for quick and easy meal prep dinners!
Make Ahead Freezer Meals with Lentils, Rice & Veggies
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:30 minutes
Total Time:35 minutes
Yield:1 make ahead freezer meal
¾ cup frozen rice or quinoa
½ cup cooked green lentils
7 oz frozen vegetables (I used broccoli and cauliflower)
taco seasoning, to taste
whichever other seasonings you enjoy! (lemon pepper, etc.)
Choose a firmer variety of lentils, like green or brown. These will freeze better!
Bring salted water to a boil and add your lentils. Cover and boil for 2-3 minutes.
Turn heat down to medium and simmer until crisp and tender, about 30 minutes. (It’s okay to slightly under-cook because they’ll cook more when you re-heat them later!) Freeze cooked lentils on their own, or use to prep freezer meals.
Add cooked lentils, frozen rice or quinoa, and frozen veggies to an airtight container. Freeze.
When ready to eat, season meal as desired. I love to use taco seasoning, lemon pepper, or onion salt! Add a few tablespoons of water to meal to help it steam.
Microwave 3-5 minutes, until tender and warmed through.
Stir, serve, and enjoy! Top with sriracha or your favorite sauce.