Having a smart freezer stash of some of the best healthy frozen foods can be a great safety net for super busy days—or weeks when you can’t make it to the grocery store. Here are my go-to family-friendly frozen foods.
Best Frozen Foods
You certainly don’t need to keep all of these frozen foods on hand, but having a few of them on hand for quick meals, daily cooking, or even back up food in case illness keeps you at home for an extended period can help. I love how frozen foods are processed at their peak ripeness, so frozen produce is often better tasting than what we can find at the grocery store.
And frozen meals can be so helpful, either as full meal options or just components of the meal. There are plenty of options these days from store brands to name brands that can be prepared in the oven, microwave, or put right into the blender to prepare.
Read on for my picks for the best frozen foods for families to make quicker work of meals and snacks.
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- Frozen diced avocado: This is great to blend into smoothies or to thaw as an easy finger food for babies when thawed.
- Frozen berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are perfect for smoothies, muffins, oatmeal, and more.
- Frozen mango: This makes smoothies super creamy and you can also simply let it thaw and serve it to the kids like you would fresh fruit.
- Frozen pineapple: We love this in smoothie but also we let it thaw and eat it as a snack.
How to Use Frozen Fruit
I love keeping frozen fruit on hand to add to recipes and to thaw and serve to my kids like I would fresh fruit. The chart above has my preferred ways to use the ten most common kinds of frozen fruit. This is how I prefer to use frozen fruit and you may have different thoughts on what’s best to use with each method and that it’s 100% okay! This is meant to help give you options and feed your kids food they’ll actually want to eat.
Thawed frozen pineapple and mango are usually really good in flavor and similar in texture! I like frozen raspberries almost thawed completely, but not so much that they get super mushy. Babies and one year olds (some of them anyway) may be fine with eating thawed berries and peaches, though the texture may be too soft for the likes of older kids. With frozen bananas, let them thaw before baking them.
TIP: You can freeze almost any fruit, though you’d still want to follow the chart above for the best ways to enjoy it from frozen.
Best Recipes for Frozen Fruit
These are my favorite easy recipes for using frozen fruit both for food just for the kids and food for the whole family.
These quick stove top Cinnamon Apples cook in under 10 minutes, are perfectly tender, and can be served with or without added sugar. They’re a delicious snack or topping for yogurt or oatmeal—and they taste like apple pie filling!
We like these apples warm or cold out of the fridge, so see what your kids like best!
Transform fresh or frozen berries into the yummiest Blueberry Sauce to top oatmeal, pancakes, and yogurt. It’s ready in under 15 minutes and can even be frozen for easy meal prep!
Transform fresh or frozen berries into the yummiest Strawberry Sauce to top yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, and yogurt. It’s ready in under 15 minutes and can even be frozen for easy meal prep!
Refreshing, simple, and ready in minutes, this Mango Sorbet is a seriously delish recipe to share with the kids. You don’t need an ice cream maker and yet, it’s perfectly creamy! Plan to serve right after making.
Make a batch of the easiest Banana Ice Cream to share with the kids with just two ingredients and the creamiest texture! It takes about 5 minutes, there are easy ways to customize it for your preferences, and it is just so good.
This tastes best with raspberries that taste good to you, so taste one before you start! (See the Notes for suggestions on what to do if they’re a little tart.)
This quick and easy Blueberry Banana Smoothie is a great option for breakfast, snack time, or even dessert. (Frozen banana will create a slightly thicker smoothie, so if you plan to serve this through a straw, I recommend doing either frozen blueberries OR bananas, but not both. See the Notes at the end for more tips.)
With just 3 ingredients and no churning or special methods required, this Blueberry Ice Cream is a fast treat that always hits the spot.
With an easy method, full-fruit flavor, and endless variations, these Fruit Popsicles are refreshing and delicious for any age.
These are my favorite frozen vegetables to keep on hand to make it easier to make them right when you need them.
- Frozen broccoli florets: For a simple side or to add to pasta, stir fries, or soup.
- Frozen greens: Blend frozen spinach or kale into smoothies, Spinach Pancakes, or Spinach Banana Muffins.
- Frozen cauliflower florets: For a simple side or to add to pasta, stir fries, or soup. You can also blend them into smoothies and use in cheese sauce for mac and cheese.
- Frozen green beans: For a simple side or to add to pasta, stir fries, or soup
- Frozen ginger: Store a knob of fresh ginger in a small freezer bag and grate on a microplane, still frozen with the skin, into stir fries to add flavor.
- Frozen peas: A staple to use in pasta or as a simple side dish.
How to Use Frozen Veggies
Cooking with frozen veggies is a great way to offer up nutrition and not worry about the produce going bad. They contain the same (if not more) nutrients as fresh since they’re preserved at the time of peak ripeness and they are usually very easy to use. Our go-tos are frozen broccoli, corn, cauliflower, riced cauliflower, cubed sweet potatoes, peas, and sliced pepers.
Best Recipes for Frozen Vegetables
Here are some of my best kid-friendly recipes that work well with frozen veggies.
Roast a bag of frozen broccoli to make cooking easier and serve up the most delicious side dish. This is particularly great topped with grated Parmesan cheese!
Perfect for dipping and dunking veggies, this recipe makes enough for 2-3 servings, so you can store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat it for 15-30 seconds in the microwave to serve. You can also toss any leftovers with pasta for a quick and healthy mac and cheese.
Use as much cauliflower as you need to feed your family. Store any uncooked florets in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
This bright green pesto is cheesy and mild, making it a perfect sauce for a quick dinner of pasta and peas!
You can use ABC pasta, orzo, pastina, or ditalini—or any other very small pasta shape in this Alphabet Soup recipe. And you can start with fresh or frozen veggies. See below for options.
With a quick cooking time and streamlined technique, this Rice Noodle Soup is full of flavor and an easy family meal.
Made with mostly pantry and freezer staples, this cozy Macaroni Soup is easy and flavorful—and so nourishing. I love to make this with elbows, but other small pasta shapes such as wagon wheels would work well, too.
Choose one veggie to add from the flavor options below according to what you have on hand or what your family likes best.
We like these dipped in sour cream guacamole, salsa, or Cucumber Sauce.
The serving size for baby food can vary widely based on the age and appetite of the baby, so follow baby’s cues for being done—they will close their mouth and/or turn their head or start to fuss. End the meal when you see those things happen.
Frozen Bread and Carbohydrates
- Frozen muffins: Stash half of a batch of muffins into a freezer bag for use in future weeks.
- Freezer waffles and French Toast
- Frozen bread: For toast, sandwiches, and French toast.
- Frozen rice and quinoa: You can buy whole grains including fully cooked rice (white rice or brown rice) in the freezer aisle or cook it, let it cool completely, and freeze in a container or bag to use in future meals.
Frozen Meat and Poultry
- Frozen ground beef, burger patties, or other cuts of beef
- Frozen chicken tenders, thighs, or breast
- Frozen breakfast sausage
Frozen Prepared Foods
- Frozen burritos: I like the Amy’s brand Cheese and Bean Burritos.
- Frozen meatballs: Make them homemade or pick up a bag at the store. Simmer in sauce and serve in sandwiches or with pasta.
- Frozen chicken nuggets make a fast protein option and are great with Caesar Salad.
- Potstickers, fried rice, fish sticks, mac and cheese, bean or cheese enchiladas, pizza, lasagna …all great options for fast meals.
You can also find my full guide for Freezing Food for more ideas.
It can also help to think through your pantry and pick up a few extras to have on hand as well. Here’s my guide to family-friendly pantry staples.
What do you like to keep in your freezer? Comment below so I can add your ideas to my list!
This post was first published March 2020.