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17 Best Healthy Freezer Essentials To Have On Hand

January 2, 2024
Kiersten Hickman for Clean Plates

I’m not kidding when I say I’ve spent the last year eating through the freezer aisle at my grocery store. No, I didn’t eat everything — that would certainly take longer than a year. Instead, I was on a hunt to find the best healthy freezer essentials to have on hand. I tasted a lot of different freezer foods to determine which ones are worth taking up space in your precious freezer. The kind of foods that make for easy healthy meals when you need something quick — whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a tasty mid-day snack.

When it came to choosing which freezer foods would be deemed the best essentials to grab, I went through a specific set of requirements:

  • Taste: First and foremost, the food had to taste good. There is a plethora of healthy frozen foods in the grocery aisle now, but that doesn’t mean they all taste fantastic. I’m not one to compromise on taste, so if it didn’t live up to my tasty standards, I didn’t include it.
  • Convenience: How much cooking did this item require? In my opinion, a freezer essential should help with throwing together quick, healthy meals. I wasn’t looking for simple frozen veggies or fruits that would be tossed into whatever I was cooking (even though I do love the ability to have those on hand from time to time). Instead, I was aiming for foods that are prepared that I can easily heat up and eat when the day is just a little too busy to cook something up myself.
  • Nutrition: We know foods that are high in saturated fats and added sugars aren’t the best for our health, so we aimed to avoid these types of items. While some of the items listed do have some of both (you can’t have a full freezer without dessert, right?), we did try to keep both the saturated fat and added sugar count at a limited amount, while also aiming for a cleaner list of ingredients.

So after a year of tasting through dozens of frozen foods, while keeping these three factors in mind, here are the healthy freezer essentials I now consistently stock up on.

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1. Good Food Made Simple Southwestern Veggie Frozen Burrito

I love throwing together a breakfast burrito in the morning, but typically during the weekday, I don’t have time for it. Good Food Made Simple offers up a variety of breakfast burritos to choose from that easily heat up in the microwave. I am a particular fan of the Southwestern Veggie Burrito, full of that plant-based power thanks to the black beans. Hat it up and enjoy it with a drizzle of salsa or if you have it.

Buy now: Good Food Made Simple Southwestern Veggie Frozen Burrito

2. Evive Smoothie Cubes

Smoothies already tend to be easy go-to meals when you need something fast, but having to still grab all of those ingredients can be time-consuming — especially when you have no idea what kind of smoothie combination you want to whip up. Evive makes it easy with their pre-made smoothie cubes. All you have to do is blend or shake them up with water or your favorite plant-based milk, and you have a tasty smoothie ready to go! Each smoothie type is powered up with gut-friendly fiber (hello, chia seeds!) and plant-based protein. I’m a particular fan of their Sapphire, which includes blueberries, bananas, and pineapple.

Buy now: Evive Sapphire Smoothie Cubes

3. Julian’s Recipe Cauli-Wafels

Who doesn’t love having a few frozen waffles on hand? While there are plenty to choose from, I’m particularly drawn to grabbing a box of Julian’s when I’m at the store. While these Cauli-Wafels are a bit smaller, I find them to be filling and tasty. They work for both sweet and savory breakfasts; my particular favorite way to enjoy these is by toasting up to and topping each Cauli-Wafel with a poached egg.

Buy now: Julian’s Recipe Cauli-Wafels

4. Veggies Made Great Superfood Veggie Cakes

I’ve been a massive fan of Veggies Made Great for a while now, especially their Superfood Veggie Cakes. They make for incredibly easy breakfasts or lunches, depending on when I need a meal quick. I like to heat up two and enjoy it at breakfast with fruit and a slice of toast, or at lunch with a massive leafy green salad. The cakes are made with a vegetable blend (including broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, red bell peppers, kale, onions, and zucchini), brown rice, and eggs.

Buy now: Veggies Made Great Superfood Veggie Cakes

5. Tyson Air Fried Chicken Breast Fillets

When the summer rolls around, there’s really only one salad I’m in the mood to make, and it always includes one of Tyson’s Air Fried Chicken Breast Fillets. I heat up one of these in the oven and then toss together a salad with arugula, halved cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan, olive oil, white balsamic vinaigrette, and a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. Then top with slices of the cooked chicken breast fillet!

Buy now: Tyson Air Fried Chicken Breast Fillets

6. Del Monte Veggieful Plant-Based Pepperoni Pizza Pocket Pies

Are you a big fan of microwave pizza pockets? They aren’t always filled with the best ingredients, but Del Monte makes one that is healthy and incredibly delicious. These pockets use a plant-based pepperoni helping to keep that saturated fat count low, while still providing you with 10 grams of protein with each pie. Pair with a big side salad and you have yourself a healthy lunch in a matter of minutes.

Buy now: Del Monte Veggieful Plant-Based Pepperoni Pizza Pocket Pies

7. Dr. Praeger’s Cauliflower Veggie Burgers

I admit, these burgers have been one of my healthy freezer essentials for over a year now. Ever since trying them when Dr. Praeger’s first launched their Cauliflower Veggie Burgers, I can’t help but always have a box on hand. These tasty burgers make for easy sandwiches at lunchtime, or can even make for a tasty burger wrap by simply slicing up the cooked patty. And while these burgers are made with cauliflower, the taste isn’t overpowering — each bite is well blended with satiating brown rice, quinoa, oat bran, zucchini, and fava beans to give it a well-rounded flavor.

Buy now: Dr. Praeger’s Cauliflower Veggie Burgers

8. Snow Days

Sometimes I just have a craving for pizza bites, and Snow Days is completely changing the game in this freezer category. While they offer traditional pizza flavors like Cheese and Sausage, I’m particularly a fan of their Buffalo Chicken and White Veggie. Plus, it’s hard to not want to snag a few bags at a time when I can get 20% off every order thanks to my WellzyPerks membership!

Buy now: Snow Days, Variety Pack

9. reHarvest Provisions Smoothie Pops

When the apartment is sweltering hot in the summertime and I just need something cold to cool me down, these smoothie pops are an immediate go-to snack. They are low-calorie and they aren’t too sweet, with only 3 to 7 grams of natural sugars; no added sugars at all. Each smoothie is a simple blend of fruits, veggies, and other natural ingredients to give it some nutritional power — like chia seeds and flaxseeds.

Buy now: reHarvest Provisions Smoothie Pops, Multipack

10. SeaPak Garlic Butter Shrimp

While I find all of these healthy freezer essentials to be helpful on busy days, it’s the dinner foods that I really take advantage of. Because at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is spend a long time in the kitchen cooking a meal. This package of SeaPak Garlic Butter Shrimp is one of those life-saving items. The shrimp are coated in a tasty garlic butter sauce, so when you saute the shrimp in a pan, the sauce slowly melts as the shrimp cook. Toss some cooked linguini or zoodles into the sauce with the shrimp and you have yourself an easy pasta dish for a crowd! Plus, this box comes with two pounds of shrimp, so feel free to just cook up what you need and save the rest for another meal another time.

Buy now: SeaPak Garlic Butter Shrimp

11. Banza Plain Pizza Crust

The frozen pizza aisle is no joke. There are certainly a lot of options to choose from, but quite honestly, I’m a big fan of just buying a plain crust and making my own. Sure, it’s a bit more work compared to a normally frozen pie, but this allows me to make the exact type of pizza I want. I can choose whether I want red-sauce pie or a homemade cashew cream sauce, then toss on any leftover vegetables I have in the fridge before giving this a quick cook in the oven. The crust is full of protein and fiber thanks to the chickpeas.

Buy now: Banza Plain Pizza Crust

12. Del Monte Veggieful Southwest Riced Cauliflower

This could make for an easy side at dinner, but honestly, I enjoy using this riced cauliflower as a filler for my homemade burritos and tacos. Whether I’m cooking up some taco meat or scrambling up some eggs for breakfast, I like to heat this riced cauliflower and toss it into the tortilla as well, making my meal even more satiating with extra cauliflower, beans, and corn.

Buy now: Del Monte Veggieful Southwest Riced Cauliflower

13. Gardein Teriyaki Chick’n Strips

While this pack of Gardein Teriyaki Chick’n Strips is meant to be for, well, “teriyaki chicken,” It’s not exactly why I like to use it. This is just tasty when I want a plant-based chicken to toss into a meal. Unless I’m looking for teriyaki chicken, I tend to just toss the packet and use the chicken in a meal — like a quick plant-based tikka masala or fajitas.

Buy now: Gardein Teriyaki Chick’n Strips

14. Real Good Food Co. General Tso’s

As for real chicken, I’ve become quite a fan of Real Good Food Co. this year. Their General Tso’s chicken is one of my favorites to top on homemade stir fry or fried rice. The carbohydrate and sugar count are kept low thanks to a sweetener blend made up of ethanol and monk fruit extract, while still providing a whopping 21 grams of protein per serving.

I also discovered that Real Good Food Co. Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets are great to have on hand when I simply have a craving for crispy chicken. These chicken nuggets are still kept incredibly low carb (only 4 grams per serving) but are still deliciously crispy and satisfy my craving every single time.

Buy now: Real Good Food Co. General Tso’s

15. So Delicious Salted Caramel Cluster

Unfortunately, this was the year that I discovered I am lactose intolerant. As a self-proclaimed ice cream expert, I was crushed to learn that the reason I was having sharp stomach pains all the time had to do with my consumption of dairy…sigh. So I started tasting different dairy-free ice cream alternatives in the store, and my favorite pint by far is the So Delicious Salted Caramel Cluster. I’ve discovered that a cashew base tends to be the best in terms of dairy-free ice creams, and this particular brand (and flavor) does it extremely well. Their Salted Caramel Cluster is addicting, full of crunchy chocolate-covered nuts and thick caramel swirls.

Buy now: So Delicious Salted Caramel Cluster

16. Veggies Made Great Double Chocolate Muffins

While these muffins technically could also serve as a breakfast, I find that they satisfy my craving when I am searching for a chocolatey dessert. It’s kind of like biting into a warm chocolate lava cake with those melty chocolate chips, and pairs perfectly with an afternoon cup of coffee or tea.

Buy now: Veggies Made Great Double Chocolate Muffins

17. Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars

I can’t finish up my list of healthy freezer essentials without including one of my all-time favorites; Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars. These bars are all around 100 calories, coming in all kinds of clever flavors blended together with gut-friendly Greek yogurt. I am particularly obsessed with their Fudge Brownie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Black Raspberry Chip. But honestly? You can’t go wrong with any of their flavors — they’re all so good.

Buy now: Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars

Read next: 8 Frozen Foods at Trader Joe’s Nutritionists Love to Buy

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