Meals to Make and Freeze Before Your Due Date
In the weeks before your due date, it may seem like the to-do list is miles long. Of course, that’s nothing compared to the demanding schedule that faces parents of newborns. Make things gentler on yourself and your family by preparing and freezing nutritious, filling meals ahead of time. That way, no matter how exhausted you get taking care of the new baby, you’ll be well-fed. And, you can use would-be cooking time to enjoy the new family member!
If this is your first time preparing freezer meals, keep these tips in mind:
· Store food in a container that is as close to airtight as possible.
· Disposable aluminum trays, sealed with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, are great for casseroles and pasta dishes.
· Sealable, plastic freezer bags or Tupperware containers work for soups and stirfries.
· Don’t forget to label your meals, especially if you’re making a bunch.
· When you’re ready to eat your freezer meals, you probably want to thaw them in the fridge overnight before heating them up in the oven or on the stove.
And remember, you can also do yourself a favor ahead of time by enlisting a postpartum doula. We can help you with meal prep, washing dishes, doing laundry, changing diapers, and more.
Now, onto the meal ideas!
First, the classics.
There are certain make-ahead freezer meals that any list would be incomplete without. You can’t go wrong with:
· Lasagna, which is so hearty and comforting. Try Happy Money Saver’s Homemade Easy Lasagna [http://happymoneysaver.com/homemade-easy-lasagna-recipe/], but consider layering in some frozen spinach to add a dose of iron.
· Chili, as long as you keep it on the mild side. Real Simple’s Sunday Night Chili [https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/sunday-night-chili] will give you that classic Southwestern taste you’re craving.
· Tuna noodle casserole, which can be such a hit with kids. Consider adding some peas and carrots to Better Homes and Gardens’ Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole [http://www.bhg.com/recipe/cheesy-tuna-noodle-casserole/].
· Mac and cheese is another kid-approved dinner. Toss in some veggies before freezing if you like – broccoli, peas, spinach, or any other favorite. Try William Sonoma’s Make-Ahead Macaroni and Cheese [https://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/macaroni-and-cheese-fmf.html].
Soups and stews can warm and comfort a stressed out new parent, but beware of too much dairy or potatoes – those ingredients don’t freeze well. Instead, try:
· Lentil soup for something as simple as it is nutritious. The Kitchn offers a great Red Lentil Soup [http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-red-lentil-soup-recipes-from-the-kitchn-212392] recipe.
· Spring veggie soups may be a better option if your due date is during the warmer months. Eating Well offers a tempting Garden-Fresh Asparagus Soup [http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/252785/garden-fresh-asparagus-soup/] recipe.
· Meatball soup is so filling and soothing. Try Community Table’s 30-Minute Light Italian Meatloaf Soup [https://communitytable.parade.com/26603/donnaelick/light-italian-meatball-soup/] for a quick and healthy version.
Vegan and vegetarian freezer meals.
There are plenty of great meat-free recipes that do great in the freezer, too! See how you like:
· Broccoli Quinoa Casserole from Eat Good 4 Life [http://www.eatgood4life.com/broccoli-quinoa-casserole/] for a hearty yet healthy option.
· Butternut Swash Black Bean Burgers from Jerry James Stone [http://jerryjamesstone.com/recipe/spicy-butternut-squash-black-bean-burger/] are one of many freezer-friendly veggie burgers.
· Or, Kale and Quinoa Minestrone from Cooking Classy [http://www.cookingclassy.com/kale-quinoa-minestrone-vegan-gluten-free/] is vegan and gluten-free.