Whether you’re about to be a new mum, or are welcoming your second, third or fourth little one to the family, it’s always good to be prepared with some make-ahead frozen meals for your first week of newborn parenthood.
Cooking up a storm on the first night as a new parent might not be the first thing on your to-do list, but a batch of homemade, ready-prepared meals can make those early days so much easier. After all, in chaotic times, who doesn’t want to skip the stress of food shopping, cooking and doing the dishes?
Not only is homemade freezer-prepared food much more nourishing for you than a takeaway, preparing your own food is much cheaper – and it tastes so good!
We’re sharing our best freezer-friendly and make-ahead meals and snacks to nourish you postpartum, along with some tips to bear in mind. Prepare a few of these meals in advance and you’ll be thanking yourself later!
- Mums are HUNGRY after they’ve given birth. Just like during pregnancy, mums tend to eat more than usual, so make sure that your meals and snacks are adequately sized for a hungry tum.
- During breastfeeding, babies may react badly to certain foods. Or they could be allergic, so try to plan some meals that don’t include common food allergies for little ones. These include: dairy, eggs, nuts, wheat, fish and more.
- Similarly to during pregnancy, Mum’s taste buds may change after giving birth, so be sure to include a variety of foods for a diverse palate.
- A great piece of advice is to prepare foods that you liked towards the end of your pregnancy as your taste buds shouldn’t have changed too much since then. You want the foods to be nourishing and healthy, but you also want to make sure that you actually want to eat them.
- Be wary of dairy: dairy is a highly common allergen as many babies younger than 4 months are sensitive to the protein found in milk. So when you’re preparing your postpartum meals, try to include a wide variety and make sure to include some dairy-free options, just in case!
Most foods can be frozen but some freeze better than others. Here are our top 6 recommendations for meals that are that are easy to prep and even easier to eat.
- Comfort food: You just can’t beat a soothing bowl of comfort food after the arrival of a newborn. Wind down with a hearty slow cooked sausage casserole or a creamy homemade lasagna and spend any calm time you have relaxing rather than slaving away in the kitchen. Warm up with a veggie chilli or fill hungry tummies with a scrumptious spag bol, a guaranteed crowd-pleasing plateful.
- Healthy/light options: A wholesome bowl of soup will satisfy your hunger in a flash. Served with some delicious sourdough buttery bread, you just can’t go wrong. Alternatively, a chicken or vegetable stew is another light option that will nourish your body instantly.
- Veggie, vegan options: Don’t worry – the choices are endless if you follow a plant based or vegetarian diet. Vegan soups, bean and pepper chillis, quorn lasagna and even curries are just some of many meat-free meal options for parents who don’t eat meat or want something more environmentally friendly. Pack yourself full of the good stuff with these nutritional veggie and vegan recipes and you’ll soon feel the benefits.
- Bulk cook options: Anything you can bulk cook is great for freezable meals. Endless pasta dishes in your freezer – what’s not to like! Shepherd’s pies, bologneses, chillis and beef or vegetable stroganoffs are just some of the many options that you can bulk cook and then freeze straight away. You’ll have meals for days and won’t even have to think about turning on the oven.
- World foods: To spice things up a bit, perhaps try a different cuisine to the one you’re used to. You never know, your taste buds may have changed during pregnancy and the Thai green curry that was once far too spicy for you, might now be your favourite dish. Curries, moussakas or even a paella are all great options for some more exotic freezable meal options.
- Pastry: For both sweet and savoury recipes, you can’t go wrong with puff pastry. Buy some from the local shop, wrap it in clingfilm and you’re all set to freeze. You can then make a good hearty chicken and mushroom pie, a salmon en croute, an apple pie or another delicious dish from the puff pastry. The options are endless!
…And then there are foods that aren’t so freezer-friendly! If possible, avoid freezing the following foods:
- Fried foods – these tend to become soggy and no one wants that!
- Anything with mayo – the liquid and oil both separate once thawed and it all goes horribly wrong, so avoid freezing mayo at all costs.
- Creamy foods – these tend to separate when frozen, so when they defrost it won’t be pretty.
- Vegetables with high water content (for example raw tomatoes, cucumber or fresh lettuce) will wilt when defrosted.
These tasty treats will mean you won’t have to do any baking during the first few days home postpartum.
- Lactation Cookies: Freeze these cookies once they’ve been fully baked and defrost at room temperature for the best results. These sweet treats are very tasty and they should increase the supply of breast milk, so both you and your little one will be happy.
- Almond Butter Cookies: For a vegan option first bake, then freeze some tasty almond butter cookies. They can last up to 3 months and should be defrosted at room temperature.
- Banana Bread: You can freeze this delicious treat any time after it’s fully cooled and once it’s defrosted at room temperature, you can snack away.
We hope our freezer-friendly recommendations make your return home after giving birth simple and easy. Try a few of our suggestions out and let us know which is your favourite!
My 1st Years x