Pick Your Healthy Freezer Cooking Diet
‘Tis the season….for throwing out the cookies and making goals to eat healthier in the new year! Everyone’s goals look a little different. Maybe you have a lot to lose, or maybe it is just holiday bloat. You may not have any specific numbers in mind because you are just looking to deal with a food sensitivity, cut out sugar, have more energy, or just improve wellness overall. At any rate, having a meal plan is the surest way to succeed.
If you are a new reader just getting started or an old reader wanting to switch menus, we thought it would be helpful to give you a breakdown of how we choose recipes for our different menus, so that you can make an informed choice as you meal plan this year. We will also provide a few recent examples of recipes that have been featured on each menu. Best of all, if none of these is just perfect for you, you can now SWAP recipes from one menu to another. If you are curious about Paleo but have always used the Traditional menu, swap out a few recipes this month just to see how you like the Paleo recipes.
As you read through these, remember that we are all at a different points along the road in our journey to health. Choose what works for you, and don’t feel guilty for not doing more or smug for doing more than others. Let’s also make it our goal to encourage one another this year!
Traditional Menu is exactly what it sounds like. It is the original OAMM menu, where it all started with a typical family trying to save time and money by cooking at home more, eating out less, and improving family life with more meals together around the table. It may not stand out among some of the stricter diet menus we offer, but don’t minimize the value of making one simple change to cook at home and to eat together. These meals are also lower in sodium and preservatives than you will find in the box kits at the grocery store, in the freezer aisle, or in the drive thru. The meals chosen are easy to prepare, family friendly, and include everyday ingredients.
For those of you looking to eat foods that your grandmother would recognize as food (a la Michael Pollan), this menu is for you. You may spend a little extra time cooking since we recommend that you cook some ingredients from scratch (baked goods, stocks, sauces, spice mixes, etc.), but we know you will appreciate being able to pronounce every ingredient. On this menu we like to mix family favorites (sometimes adapted with whole grains or natural sweeteners) with a few more adventurous dishes that highlight seasonal produce or exotic spices.
- Slow Cooker Beef Burritos (with homemade Flour Tortillas)
- Chicken Potato Bake with Bacon
- Bacon Broccoli Quiche (with homemade Foolproof Pie Crust)
This menu is tailored to the average individual or family who has to remove gluten and/or dairy from their diet. You will see some special gluten free baking ingredients and dairy substitutes, but other than that, you should have a simple grocery list. The bulk of the menu is comprised of naturally GFDF ingredients such as meats, eggs, rice, quinoa, and produce.
- Cashew Chicken Stir Fry
- Pumpkin Nutella Muffins (with Homemade GFDF Nutella)
- Double Decker Chipotle Bean and Turkey Tostadas
If you are unfamiliar with this “caveman” or “primal” diet, it is part Whole Foods, part GFDF, but then it goes a step further. Paleo features “hunter-gatherer” ingredients such as meat, eggs, seasonal produce, nuts, and natural sweeteners. What you won’t see on the paleo menu: grains, soy, dairy, legumes, sugar, or processed foods. There are varying degrees of strictness among those who have a paleo lifestyle. Our monthly menus follow the basic rules, but we have several menus (May, October, and Mini) that adhere to the rules for the Whole30.
You may be reading through all of these “diets” (really most of the menus above are more of a lifestyle change than a diet) and wondering, what about counting calories? Well this is the menu that reduces fat, counts calories, and tallies points (Weight Watchers). The diet menu was the first first specialty menu offered at OAMM for those who loved our Traditional freezer cooking offerings, but wanted to lighten up their meals in the conventional sense. Whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy, and vegetables are featured.
- Parmesan and Herb Stuffed Chicken
- Mock Lean Cuisine Philly Steak and Cheese Panini (from our Better Than the Freezer Aisle series)
- Harvest Risotto
You guessed it – no meat to be found on this menu! Instead you will see a variety of grains, beans, and seasonal produce, and the occasional meat substitute. There are usually a few vegan recipes on each menu, but if you are looking for a completely vegan menu, see our mini menus from November and July and the full October 2013 Menu.
Some of you know that we recently changed our name from “moms” to “meals.” We are so excited about the diversity of our growing community, but there are still a lot of you out there (and on this side of the screen) who have kids in your life. And we all know that sometimes it is nice to just cook something we know they will like. These menus range from purees, to finger foods, to lunch box meals. For those who have committed to cooking homemade baby food or keeping your your kiddos out of the cafeteria line this year, please explore the variety found in our archives and look for new mini menus to publish periodically.
Finally we come to mini menus – the shortened version of our full length menus that cover a wide range of diets (there are minis for each of the diets listed above). Mini’s are perfect for the cook who is new to freezer cooking, short on time, short on space, or just wanting to stock the fridge for a special occasion or season. For example:
- Stock up on breakfast items (Paleo, Traditional, Diet)
- Stock up on seasonal produce or meat sales (Healthy Harvest, Pumpkin, Apple, Ground Beef)
- Special Occasions (Date Night, Holiday, Cookie exchange)
- Seasonal Meals (Back to School, Grilling, Camping, Lent)
- Side Dishes to accompany your favorite freezer meals (July, December)
- Also look for special diet menus and a new themed series of minis in 2014!