I have spent the last 5 years telling my clients, soon to be parents, to prep meals for postpartum and I am taking my own advice. Postpartum it is hard to feed yourself in the huge transition with a new baby. Sleep deprivation, new roles and learning your baby is a lot of work. Not to mention the endless laundry and keeping up with basic hygiene. Not all new families have loved ones and friends near by that can drop off food regularly. If your anything like me, I have pretty high standards for food quality and it isn’t an option for us financially or nutritionally to eat out.
I am lucky to have family and a few close friends locally who would bring by foods that we can eat, and I wouldn’t feel bad sending them a specific recipe or telling them our restrictions. With that said, I know we still need to feed ourselves most of the time. I meal prep weekly, nothing too crazy because we like to switch it up and I mostly do it to budget and have healthy food on hand, so we don’t get overwhelmed with making dinner or having lunches for the next day. The easiest way to meal plan/prep is to know your key words to search on Pinterest. Yes, I LOVE PINTEREST!! I have food boards, and a lot more birth/postpartum inspirations so feel free to go check out my pins/boards. Follow me on Pinterest
I simply search Primal or Paleo when looking for recipes. I will also search Vegan Keto as that will give you whole foods/plant based high fat options. The goal postpartum is lots of fiber (think veggies/quinoa/sweet potatoes/GF oats) LOTS of healthy fats (coconut oil, avocado oil, animal fats, nuts/seeds) and protein (clean sources of meats, avocado, chia seeds, nuts/seeds, nut butters, clean protein/collagen power). For baby’s digestion keep your diet gluten free and dairy free specially at first. I am pro gluten free for pretty much everyone! As a nutritionist I don’t see the evidence or need for it. Just too processed and yucky! If you must, go organic flour so that it doesn’t contain folic acid. As far as dairy. Most people don’t handle it well. If you do tolerate dairy make sure its quality, organic/pasture raised, grass fed. Goat dairy and local raw diary are great options too. In general dairy gives babies gas and why add to what is already a hard process for them as their bodies learn to digest?
Moving on! I did some Pinterest searching and found 2 bloggers that had great options for Paleo meals. I knew I wanted a few breakfast dishes, a few just meat (so we could make them into tacos/bowls/add veggies), a few soups for fall and a few casseroles we could easily just rewarm and eat with nothing else needed! I picked 9 recipes, printed them all.
Here are 2 blogs that have great tips for freezer meals!
Recipes I chose:
Slow cooker meat/meat only dish-
I personally chose a lot of recipes that called for veggies we had from our garden and lots of eggs since we have chickens. This made it much more cost effective for us. I also have a lot of spices on hand because we pretty much only eat at home, so I didn’t have to buy spices!
I went to Costco for the meat, it is the cheapest option for Hempler’s bacon, organic chicken and grass-fed ground beef. We got our pork sausage and pork roast at the local butcher. Like I said we had all the eggs and spices along with the zucchini, peppers and squash. My list was short and sweet, so I just went to our local grocery store for the other ingredients. I made a grocery list by category; meat, veggies and pantry (canned foods/other ingredients).
I suggest 2 crockpots, a Dutch over, 2 sheet pans, a large frying pan, gallon size freezer bags, 3 Quart size canning jars (or you can use baggies that stand up) and the best tool we had was my mom’s vacuum sealer! You could also just do double freezer bags or glass Tupperware. If you are not concerned about aluminum foil or plastic, many blogs suggest the disposable cooking trays or plastic storage containers. I personally wanted to make sure we had each meal divided into servings so vacuumed sealing each serving made most sense. You could also get quart size freezer bags for each serving and then place the whole recipe into a larger freezer bag.
I started by baking all the spaghetti squash and butter nut squash in the oven. Then I put both crock pot meat dishes in. Once those were both in I started the meat balls, then the meatloaf muffins. Once those were going I started the casserole and frittata meats. Once those were cooked the squash was done and I was able to assemble the casseroles and frittatas and cook those either on the stove stop or over. Last was the soups!
Before you store anything make sure they all cool completely. DO NOT blend the soup until it has cooled, you will get burned. I put the butternut squash in quart mason jars with ¾ space at the top of the jar for expansion once frozen. I put them in the fridge over night to make sure they were fully cooled and then put them in the freezer with loose lids the next morning. Once they are frozen tighten the lids.
Have people help you. My mom and her partner came over to help and my husband stepped in when I needed to take breaks since I am 9 months pregnant. People want to help, have your mom come or your best friend! It is was more fun and faster with multiple people! Establish your tribe and let them help.
Finally, storage organization was important to me. We have a 7 cubic feet chest freezer. It came with a small bin. In that small bin we have our garden veggies vacuum sealed. Essentially lots of squash and zucchini. Once I have breastmilk to store I plan to keep my breastmilk in this smaller organizer and move the veggies below. By that point I hope to have a few more bins, probably from the dollar store to stack things better and to use the depth of the freezer more efficiently. The other bin we have in there has all the baked goods I have made in the last few months. When I make breads, muffins or desserts I always freeze half. They go back before we can eat them all and in preparation for postpartum I wanted to have things we could defrost, and I could stuff in my face while breastfeeding! I have a few blogs up for yummy treats that are still “GOOD” for you.
At the bottom of the freezer are all the meals. The Chicken Fajitas had too much liquid in them to vacuum seal, so we put them in glass Tupperware. The Butternut Squash soup was put into canning jars and then the rest of the meals were vacuum sealed into servings sizes for the 2 of us, labeled and then then put into a gallon freezer bag to keep organized. Since we will be eating these meals in the next 2 months they will all be nice a fresh to re heat/warm whenever we need them!
HAPPY PREPPING MAMA'S!
I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator and Primal Health Couch. Essentially I am a women's health nerd. I have struggled with Autoimmune issues for the last 10 years, and more recently fertility issues. This along with my birth work, has driven me to self research. I have added a blog to my site in hopes of giving resources to clients or those interested in these topics. I would love feedback and comments.
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