Freezer meals for new parents
The transition from pregnancy to motherhood can be challenging to say the least. You are going from only having to worry about you and your spouse to also caring for a new baby who isn’t always capable of communicating what they need.
It can be very stressful indeed. On top of that, all of you need to eat too! If you’re breastfeeding, skipping meals won’t really be an option.
Fixing meals was one of the most daunting tasks for me as a new mother. I was working full-time, I wasn’t sleeping well, and I frequently lacked the energy to do much more than order takeout. Let’s not talk about the first few weeks postpartum! I couldn’t manage to take a shower every day let alone attempt cooking a meal. Then I found out I had a dairy allergy baby (something we can talk about later).
If I didn’t have a supportive extended family during this time, I’m not quite sure I would have survived. Luckily, they took care of me in those early days, bringing me meals and providing much-needed advice on how to make the motherhood gig easier.
One of the most valuable pieces of advice I received was the idea of making postpartum freezer meals. This is something I wish I would have known about while still pregnant but something I was still able to pull off with help even after the baby was born.
Let me just say, learning about freezer meals after baby was a game changer for sure. It saved my sanity!
Whether you’re a single mom or have a larger family to feed, freezer meals are highly versatile and can be adapted to what’s fresh and in season. Today, we’ll explore the basics of freezer meals as well as some of the best freezer meals for new moms.
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Benefits of Freezer Meals
- They Save Time
When you prepare freezer meals in advance, you don’t have to spend much in the way of prep time besides the actual cooking process. Usually, all of that takes place in the oven. So there’s nothing for you to do except set a timer and be ready
- You Spend Less Money
Preparing meals in bulk will save you money in the long run, and it helps you avoid the extra expense of takeout.
- They’re Customizable
Whether or not you have special dietary needs, you can still find freezer meals to fit your needs.
Freezer Meal Basics-What You Need
The best thing about freezer meals is that you don’t need any fancy equipment. For most meals, you’ll just need:
- Aluminum foil pans (for casseroles, enchiladas, or lasagna recipes)
- Quart-sized freezer bags (for single servings)
- Gallon-sized freezer bags (for crockpot recipes or soups)
- Cutting Board
Foods That Freeze Well vs. Foods That Don’t
Not all foods are created equal when it comes to freeze-ability. Here’s a list of the most common foods that freeze well, as well as ones that don’t. For a more extensive list, check out Lauren Grentman’s 83 Foods to Freeze or Foods Not to Freeze.
Best Way to Thaw Freezer Meals
Thawing freezer meals isn’t rocket science, but you want to make sure that you’re preparing them safely. The most common methods of thawing freezer meals are:
In the Fridge:
If you’re in a rush, thawing in the fridge probably won’t be your go-to method. It takes longer than the other 3 methods we will be discussing, typically takes 24-48 hours, but it is also the safest method. By thawing in the refrigerator, your food never drops below 40 degrees. According to WebMd, once your food drops below 40 degrees, you enter the danger zone where bacteria can start to grow. You definitely don’t want that!
Cold Water Method:
This works well for sauces, soups, and marinated meat. Just make sure that the container or bag is sealed well, and check every 30 minutes to ensure you don’t leave the freezer meal in the sink for too long.
Proceed with caution here. It’s best to thaw out your crock-pot meal in advance, but if you forget, it should be fine to dump ingredients in and go. Check the recipe to see what’s advised, and always cook for an additional few hours to ensure everything is thoroughly done.
In the microwave:
Most microwaves come with a defrost button. You just have to pick what it is you’re trying to defrost. It’s perfectly safe to use but the downside is that your food may not thaw evenly.
When to Start Making Freezer Meals Before Baby
I know what you’re thinking!
Don’t worry, I’ve created an entire pregnancy checklist for you so you’ll know what you should be doing when.
But, if you’re like me, you’d like to know what you need to do NOW! My advice is to get started as soon as possible in your 3rd trimester. According to Good Housekeeping, freezer meals are good for 4-6 months so that would give you plenty of time to use your meals.
You don’t want to wait too late into your third trimester because your baby can decide to come early or you may find you just don’t have the energy. If you get started in early in your third trimester, you’ll still have at least 3 months to devour your creations.
Best Freezer Meals For New Moms
Casserole Freezer Meals
Soup Freezer Meals
Slow Cooker Freezer Meals
Keto/Low Carb Freezer Meals
Frequently Asked Questions on How to Prepare Freezer for Postpartum
Why should you make freezer meals?
Your postpartum period can be very unpredictable especially if this is your first baby. You’re going to be exhausted as you adjust to being a new mom or mom to another baby. Preparing freezer meals before the baby arrives takes a huge burden off of your plate. Now you don’t have to figure out what to eat, spend a bunch of money on take-out, or even find the time to make said dinner. Making freezer meals during your pregnancy is one thing you’ll definitely be glad you did!
How Many Freezer Meals Should You Make Before Baby?
Make enough meals to get you through at least the first 4 weeks, also known as the fourth trimester. This way you’ll have time to adjust to being a new mom and will have started to create a routine.
Things you need to consider do you and your family like leftovers, how many days in a week can you eat the same thing, how many meals do you need to cover a day.
If leftovers aren’t a problem, make 2 freezer meals for each week, 3 if you need to cover the weekends too. That leaves you making 8-12 freezer meals before the baby comes.
It’s not as daunting as it sounds. You can always make 2 of whatever you’re cooking and then freeze the second meal. You’ll have more than enough postpartum freezer meals in no time!
Postpartum Freezer Meals
You have a lot of postpartum freezer meal ideas to keep you busy in your third trimester and eating well after delivery.
Which of the best freezer meals for new moms are you going to prepare first?