There are a few frozen food hacks that can improve your lunch. Freezing a water bottle to serve as both an ice pack and cool refreshment is one, and freezing soups, yogurts, and even smoothies so they don't slosh around is another — but what about foods you can pack completely frozen that will thaw to eat by lunchtime? Here are 10 frozen foods you can pack for lunches without thawing.
Pack frozen fruit in its own container or section of your lunch box to keep its juices from leaking onto other food. Top yogurt or oatmeal with frozen fruit and it will thaw to perfection by lunch. Afraid of mushy fruit? Sprinkle the frozen fruit with a little bit of sugar (or maple syrup) and the results will remind you of those juicy fruit cups we all loved as kids.
Frozen waffles are fully cooked, which means there's no reason they have to be toasted for lunch. Pack some peanut butter or yogurt for spreading and dipping on your defrosted waffle at lunch time.
Frozen Waffle Taste Test: We Tried 6 Brands and Here's Our Favorite
Corn, peas, edamame, or even a vegetable medley are perfect for packing right into your lunch box. You can throw frozen vegetables onto green salads or mix them into bean, grain, or pasta salads to add some color to your lunch.
4. Cooked Shrimp
The benefit of frozen cooked shrimp is that the shrimp is usually steamed before flash-freezing right after its caught, meaning there is no additional fats or flavors added to the shrimp. Top cold soba noodles with frozen cooked shrimp or add them to pasta salad. You could even pack some cocktail sauce and enjoy shrimp cocktail for lunch — fancy.
Get a Recipe: Cold Noodle Salad with Creamy Peanut Sauce
5. Mini Muffins
Freezing bread products for lunch keeps them firm enough to avoid smashing in your lunch box during your commute. You can bake and freeze your own muffins or freeze your favorite muffins for lunches and snacks. Keep them small to defrost in time.
Freezing yogurt cups (or making your own yogurt cups and freezing) is a great way to chill your lunch and avoid any yogurt-related disasters like, say, a leaky lunch box that left a yogurt trail from the front desk to your cubicle (not that I would know or anything).
Freezing sandwiches keeps them from getting smushed, mushy, or torn apart in transit. You can make a big batch of sandwiches and stash them in your freezer to last all week. Peanut butter and jelly freezes incredible well, if that's your jam (or jelly).
Get the Tip: Freeze PB&J Sandwiches to Enjoy Later!
Obviously, freezing soup for lunches keeps the soup from spilling and keeps your lunch box cold, but you'll still have to reheat it to enjoy warm at lunchtime. Consider packing your favorite cold soups frozen instead. Don't forget that you can also freeze your favorite deli soups instead of making your own.
9. Dips and Dressings
Freeze those packets of dressing, hummus, and guacamole to ensure they are still chilled for lunch. Also consider packing and freezing homemade dressings to keep them from leaking all over your lunch box.
10. Pasta Salads
Pasta salads freeze and thaw incredibly well. Freeze them in shallow containers (or even flat in a zip-top bag) to make sure they freeze and thaw quickly. Pack a little extra salad dressing, as freezing and thawing tends to make the pasta a bit drier.
Get Inspired: 11 Easy Pasta Salads with Only 3 Ingredients
What are some of your favorite frozen foods for lunches? Any other frozen food hacks we should know?