I know that especially in the early days after WLS portion sizes seem ridiculously low and you may lose the incentive to cook meals from fresh because of the leftovers. But what if they could be frozen away to provide a meal when you least feel like cooking and what’s more they will portion
controlled and measured for just your small appetite?
Many soups and starter type recipes plus main meals and entrées can be frozen successfully for eating much later down the line. Indeed I even recommend that it’s worth batch-cooking some dishes (like ragu) because they freeze so well, lend themselves to many uses, and can be labour intensive or have a long cooking time which isn’t sensible for very small portions. The idea is also to re-purpose some leftovers too so that your dish repertoire doesn’t become ‘samey’. So, for example, make a lasagne or vegetable bake with some leftover veggies and meat sauce or top a casserole/stew type mixture with say a little mash for a pie.
In the very early days I was so grateful for the few soups and blended meals I made for the fluids and soft food stages – 2-3 tablespoons of heaven! I would suggest to every pre-op patient to make a small batch of such foods for when they come home from hospital. No need to ‘fill the freezer’ to the top but just one or two can save the day, keep you motivated, nourished and on track! Here are some tips to get started …
FREEZING YOUR LEFTOVERS
Divvy up the food into individual servings. This is smart for a couple of reasons. First, it means the food will thaw and reheat faster and more evenly. Second, it’ll help with portion control! You’re basically making DIY frozen meals, snacks, and desserts for one. So great…
Always let the food cool to room temp before you freeze it. If you put hot or warm food in the freezer, it could increase the freezer’s temperature and partially thaw the foods around it. Not good. So always let the food cool completely before you put it in the freezer. BTW, portioning out those single servings will help it cool faster. In the very early days it may be wise to freeze food in ice cube trays since you’ll only need a couple (about 2-3 tablespoons per meal) and you can simply pop out as many cubes as you need according to food stage and appetite.
Wrap it up. The better you wrap your food, the longer it’ll last and the fresher it’ll taste. Plus, wrapping food keeps freezer burn at bay. For handheld items, securely wrap each one in plastic wrap; then transfer them to a sealable plastic bag or freezer-safe container, remove as much air as possible, and seal. For everything else, use a freezer-safe sealable container; if you plan on using the microwave to reheat the food, make sure it’s also microwave safe. Pick one that’s a little larger than the food itself; food can expand when it freezes and can bubble up when it’s reheated.
When it’s time to thaw, you’ve got a couple of options. Your best bet is to transfer the food to the fridge the night before you plan to eat it. Then just reheat it once you’re ready to eat. But if you want to eat it ASAP, use the thaw setting on your microwave; remove any plastic wrap first, and make sure the container is microwave safe! For meals and soups (anything not handheld), vent the lid.
What to freeze. Meat, poultry, fish, baked goods, soups, and stews all freeze really well. Meatloaves, casseroles, and burger patties work too.
What not to freeze. Unfortunately, veggies with high water content (like spaghetti squash and zucchini) don’t freeze or reheat well. But don’t rule out cauliflower rice — it freezes great!
Recipe Tips. We test many of our recipes for freezability – if you see this * Suitable for Freezing icon then go ahead safe in the knowledge that recipe will freeze fine.
Some information courtesy of Hungry Girl