Are you ready to commit to meal planning and freezer meals as a lifestyle? Want tips on freezing everything from lemon juice to steak dinners or wondering if you can freeze eggs in the shell (spoiler: they explode, so best to cook them first!)?
Popular blogger Robin Donavan answers all these questions about the freezer meal prep life in her cookbook, The Healthy Make-Ahead Cookbook: Wholesome, Flavorful Freezer Meals the Whole Family Will Enjoy.
There are a lot of good basics in this cookbook, along with some popular recipes. The author provides multiple meal prep ideas to help you shave time off your cooking, from freezing small amounts of pesto or fresh herbs to complete meal plans.
If you’re brand-new to freezer meal prep, we prefer the free classes through FreezerFit. There are entirely free cooking classes you can take to learn how to prep healthy meals for the freezer, plus free printable recipes and a shopping guide to get you started on freezer meal ideas. There are even classes for vegan and keto cooks!
Who Is This Freezer Meal Cookbook For?
If you’re new to freezer meal prep and want a good tutorial along with some unique recipes, the Healthy Make-Ahead Cookbook: Wholesome, Flavorful Freezer Meals the Whole Family will Eat is a good place to start.
The first half of the book is purely instructions on how to do freezer meal prep. It has some great basics if you’re new to freezer cooking, like what kind of freezer meal containers to use and general safety guidelines when freezing and thawing food.
People on gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo diets will appreciate being acknowledged in this cookbook. Any recipe that is compatible with those diets – like baked sweet-potato fries -has a color-coded note at the top.
There are also a LOT of seafood recipes, which can be great for those looking for lower-fat or heart-healthy recipes, but maybe a turn-off for people who really can’t stand the smell of fish or don’t like the higher price tag cooking with seafood brings.
This cookbook does a good job of providing meal prep recipes for different-sized groups. They work well when just cooking for one person or if you want to meal prep for a family.
Who Is This Cookbook NOT For?
If you need to keep careful track of the nutritional makeup of your meals for health reasons, this cookbook doesn’t provide that information for you with each recipe. This makes it tricky for people who are trying to eat low-calorie, low-sodium, or other special diets. This was surprising since the title is the Healthy Make-Ahead Cookbook
Some of the recipes in this cookbook will be compatible with Whole30, Keto, or paleo diets, especially since there are gluten-free, paleo, and dairy-free notes included on some of the recipes. Many of them will require additional adaptations to make them work for specialty lifestyles though.
While there are some photos of the food in this cookbook, it’s not an every-page deal. This is not for those people looking for a coffee table book – it’s a bit more practical than that.
The Healthy Make-Ahead Cookbook in a Nutshell
This book of freezer meal prep ideas is divided into two sections. The first part outlines the basics of freezer meal cooking – freezer meal prep containers to use, safety guidelines, and how to budget time and money to prepare your meals.
The second half of the book is the healthy meal prep ideas for the freezer – about 100 different recipes, divided by Meats, Seafood, Sides & Snacks, and Kitchen Staples (think homemade sauces and condiments, like pesto).
There’s a little more variety here than in a lot of freezer meal ideas cookbooks, with recipes like ginger shrimp cakes and slow cooker maple mustard chicken adding some flavor diversity that you don’t see in a lot of cookbooks – without getting too exotic for the average cook.
Our Verdict: The Healthy Make-Ahead Cookbook Review
The Healthy Make-Ahead Cookbook encourages readers to buy healthier ingredients in the first place, to result in healthier meals. This is definitely a solid strategy and one of the major benefits of learning how to do freezer meal prep.
Each recipe in this book can be prepared to be served immediately, or there is a separate set of instructions included to freeze and prepare later.
If you want to learn how to prep many freezer meals at once so you always have a solid variety of food in the freezer, we recommend the FreezerFit method. Rather than just freezing one or two meals here or there, this method shows you how to prep up to 10 meals in just one hour, using an efficient preparation method.
Not sure? You can check out our complete review of FreezerFit here.