Well, i’m officially at that uncomfortable, sometimes I get winded folding laundry, difficult to drive, can’t eat big meals stage of pregnancy. (*Update.. at the time I wrote this, this was the state I was in, but now that I am finally finishing this post and publishing, I’m comfortable, full of baby snuggles and a little low on sleep 😀 )
I’m 37 weeks along and making all the final preparations to the nursery, getting the car seat properly installed, organizing our hospital bag, putting together swings and washing burp clothes. With all that, I was feeling pretty productive, but then visions of tubberware neatly filled with pre-cooked chicken and veggies ran through my head. OMG… I had not planned for the ONE THING I actually know how to do already (i’m sure breastfeeding will be super easy.. right?) prepping healthy meals ahead of time!
I realized I had yet to make my postpartum meal prep plan or begun making things to have handy in the freezer. Though it sounds great now to have a ton of wonderful friends and family bringing you food, I know that will not last forever. So I want to get a head start and prep some things to have handy once that gravy train (pun intended) stops rolling through!
Since this is my first kid, I can only GUESS as to how life will change (scroll to the bottom of this post to see my update from 3 weeks postpartum). I fully anticipate needing to do a lot more planning ahead for just simple grocery trips or Target runs, but ya girl doesn’t really know what she’s in for LOL. So I’m not going to rely on having tons of fresh produce at my disposal all the time.
Between worrying about if I will need to make something called a “pad-cicle” and how the heck I’m going to keep a tiny human alive, having all these things listed below already made and ready to just reheat will be a life saver… or so I think right now.
P.S. if you’re reading this and you’re a new momma or even an empty nester, I’ll take all the advice and suggestions I can get. So please leave comments and advice below for me! It may come in handy during a 2AM feeding one day in the future.
So before we get into all the things i’m going to make ahead of time to freeze for easy postpartum meals. Here are a few reasons why I selected these items:
-they freeze and reheat well
-you can freeze them individually for easy solo meals or reheat them all for the entire family
-they are versatile. You can enjoy them on salads, in pasta or mix with a few other pantry staples for healthy but super easy meals.
-they pack a lot of protein in without adding too many extra carbs
Here’s what I will prep ahead for easy postpartum meals:
1.Salmon Patties (package these and freeze individually for easy protein to go on salads or for dinners) Recipe Linked Here
2.Pre-Marinated Chicken for roasting (pre-marinate the chicken and freeze to be an easy meal to throw in the oven without much fuss) Recipe Linked Here
3.Roasted Sweet Potatoes (an easy side dish to reheat for dinner or use in a quick hash with some eggs for a protein-packed meal)
4.Stuffed Peppers (you can package these individually & easily reheat for a single meal or for multiple people) Recipe Linked Here
5.Roasted Brussel Sprouts (an easy side dish to reheat for dinner) – On a baking sheet, toss on your cleaned, halved brussel sprouts. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and maybe a little balsamic vinegar or dijon mustard for a different flavor profile. Then toss them around in the seasonings, pop in your oven at 400 degrees and allow to roast for 15 minutes, stir, then pop them back in the oven for another 10 to 15 until tender!
6.Pre-made Birch Benders Waffles or Pancakes (sometimes you just need a sweet snack to get you through the day or these are delicious for breakfast too) – I made some and then put them in ziplock bags and froze them for quick and easy breakfasts! This has proven to be my favorite meal prep item because we have had so many wonderful friends and family bringing us dinners, but we have been on our own for breakfasts!
7.Smoothie pouches (cut up banana, strawberries, spinach & any other fruits I want to use and measure them out for easy smoothies)
8.Turkey Meatballs (reheat for an easy spaghetti dinner or enjoy by themselves) -there are plenty of great pre-made meatballs, but I prefer to make my own because they are easy and SO DELICIOUS.
Recipe Linked Here (coming soon)
9.Skinny Taco Lasagna (easily reheat for dinner) – After you make this, I would either cut it in half to freeze or cut it in individual squares and wrap them in foil for easy individually portioned meals.
10.Momma’s PB-Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (making some muffins ahead of time to be able to grab out of the freezer, pop in the microwave and enjoy as a healthy snack)
Recipe Linked Here (coming soon)
Other things I will stock up on ahead of time:
- Blue Diamond Almond Milk Unsweetened Vanilla (this can stay in the pantry until ready to refrigerate)
- RX Bars
- Quinoa frozen pouches – I love the Path of Life products, which you can get at just about any major grocery store
- Tessemae’s Pantry Dressings (they have a longer shelf life)
- Justin’s Almond Butter
- Good Pop popsicles (because I love a good popsicle as a snack)
- Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi (saute, spritz on some lemon and enjoy.) Recipe Linked Here
- Rolled Oats – any type of oat is really good for breastmilk supply
- Banza Chickpea Pasta – because a warm bowl of pasta is a super easy dinner and this chickpea pasta packs extra protein & fiber, which is good for breastfeeding mommas
This seems like a lofty list to start with, but i’m motivating myself by remembering how important is to stay healthy and nourished once baby is needing ALL your attention.
The journey through pregnancy has been humbling for me. I am always so hard on myself and how my body looks and feels. Knowing how hard it has worked over the last 10 months to grow a tiny human, I have a new found respect for all it can accomplish. Honestly… I know that sounds cheesy but it is true.
I can honestly say that i’m excited to start losing weight and feeling physically stronger again, but I am thankful for everything my body has done up to this point and i’m sure i’ll be even more impressed after birth. Stay tuned on that one.. still no signs of baby boy making his entrance yet.
If you have any other ideas for things to make ahead of time or stock up on, please let me know! I’m all ears and want advice and tips!
Update Post Baby:
Now that our little man decided to make his appearance 2 1/2 weeks early, I have had some time to evaluate and really see what I would add to this post. Truth be told, I was planning to publish this post the day our little guy decided to make his entrance, so that’s why i’m updating with some advice post-baby!
Here are 5 tips from the postpartum side of things:
- Start Your Prep Early: As I said above, our little guy came early, so I wasn’t able to make all of the above items ahead of time. Note to self, start on this postpartum meal prep plan around 32-33 weeks at the latest. Just to give yourself grace and time to get it all done and frozen! I started at 36 weeks and that was a little too late for my very pregnant self to get it all done!
- Breakfast & Lunch- Don’t Forget Them: Wait.. what is this three meals a day thing? Since birth (going on 3 weeks postpartum right now) I have not consistently eaten breakfast or lunch AT ALL. So in my meal prep advice, I would make more breakfast & lunch items ahead of time: like a batch of my Pumpkin Spice Fall Fat Bites for a quick grab and go nutrient boost or my 30-Minute Creamy Cauliflower Soup for a nutritious and easy lunch.
- Oatmeal…stock up: If you’re planning on breastfeeding, oats are good for breastmilk supply! I wish I would have known this ahead of time because I would have stocked up on oats. That way you can make yourself oatmeal, overnight oats, oat protein bites and so much more.
- Dairy and breastfeeding: So, my little man has recently developed some bad gas. I can’t pinpoint that dairy plays a role in causing it, but I also can’t rule it out. Since dairy is the only proven food that can possibly affect baby through breastmilk, I would caution you on prepping too many meals ahead of time with a bunch of dairy. Just in case… you can always add a sprinkle of cheese later if this isn’t a problem for you!
- Freezer FTW: We have been very lucky with so many sweet friends and family bringing us dinners since our little guy was born. So you may not be chowing down on all this meal prep right away, which is why most of the items I recommend are going to be kept in the freezer OR they have a long shelf life. Maybe i’m the only weirdo, but I HATE wasting food..it makes me cringe. So weird, I don’t know why, but it just does. So the freezer will be your bestie in the first month postpartum, then all these wonderful items you’ve planned out and frozen will be what you turn to for quick and healthy meals.