One of the very best things I did for myself before giving birth was prepping a ton of food, popping it in the freezer, and reaping the glorious benefits of my actions. When I arrived home from the hospital, I was too sore/tired/delirious to even think about what my next meal was going to be. Because I had planned ahead, I was able to grab whatever sounded good to me at that moment from the freezer, throw it in the oven, and love that I barely had to move to enjoy a home cooked meal. I prepped about 10 different dishes before my little guy made his debut into the world, but listen well – I urge you that if your freezer is bigger than mine (which I bet you anything it is), make AS MANY pre-baby freezer meals as you possibly can.
I cannot stress this enough.
You might be thinking, “oh, but I have family who will cook for me,” or “I’m superwoman and will be able to cook a gourmet dinner as soon as I’m back from the hospital.” I do not doubt that you’re superwoman. In fact, I know you’re superwoman because your body just gave birth to an actual human being. BUT – Trust me: making pre-baby freezer meals are going to make your life so much freaking easier.
During my pregnancy, Juan and I got in the bad (or amazing) habit of ordering take-out. In my first trimester, I was getting sick too much to even think about eating ( cooking was definitely out), so ordering take-out meant that Juan didn’t have to cook just for himself. In my second trimester, I was tired and in a super busy time at work that take-out just made sense. Then, in my third trimester, I could hardly get off of the couch, much less grocery shop and play chef.
Knowing that our bank account and waistlines were taking a hit with all of the take-out, I knew that once we had our baby, Juan and I needed to stop the take-out madness. This realization is what made me search the internet for freezer meal recipes and shop for all of the ingredients on Amazon Fresh (because who can get their 39 week pregnant butt to the grocery store??). Then, because she is an angel, my mom accepted my invitation to come to my house a few days before my due date to help me with my meal prep marathon.
Of the 10 freezer meals I made, some were hits and some were complete misses. I actually made double pans of a few of the recipes and now, four months later, one of the second pans of one of the “misses” still sits in my freezer, gathering freezer burn. To help you avoid having to waste your money and time, then suffering through an unpalatable dinner, I’ve listed my favorite pre-baby freezer meals here below!
Before starting your prep, be sure you are all stocked up with these freezer storage necessities:
And now, without further ado, my top 5 pre-baby freezer meals!
Chicken Taquitos from Living Well Kitchen
I wish I had made multiple batches of these bad boys. They were the perfect lunch/dinner that I could grab with one hand while feeding baby with the other.
Breakfast Sandwiches from Fifteen Spatulas
Breakfast is often overlooked in the fine art of meal prep. Since babies have minds of their own when it comes to sleeping (or not sleeping), you need all of the protein you can get in the morning after a long sleepless night. These breakfast sandwiches were so easy to throw into the microwave for 30 seconds. Also, I felt slightly much better about my choice to eat them than the multiple donuts that pregnant Rachel ate every weekend. But just slightly.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole from Gimme Some Oven
This is my goto recipe. Pregnant. Postpartum. Single. Dinner Party. This dish is so luxurious and simple that I find myself making it multiple times a month. It also lasts for quite a few meals. I have made my own tweaks to the enchilada sauce, adding some brown sugar and chipotle peppers in adobo – but there is truly no way you could mess this recipe up. It is incredible.
Chicken Pot Pie from Meal Planning Magic
Ah, good old comfort food. Coming home from the hospital is such a strange time. You are in pain, an emotional wreck, and all of a sudden have this tiny stranger in your house that is depending on you for everything. I cannot think of a more appropriate time for comfort food. This chicken pot pie froze exceptionally well and felt like a warm hug when I ate it.
Baked Ziti from The Pioneer Woman
This sauce tasted like it had been simmering on the stove for hours and hours. It was so flavorful and it took all of my pregnant willpower to put this meal into the freezer and not eat it all up right then and there.
Lactation Cookies from How Sweet Eats
Whether you are planning to breastfeed or not, these cookies are MAGICAL. I made a batch pre-baby and ended up using the little energy I had after my little one was born to make more batches of these every couple of weeks. Do they work for lactation? Who knows. Are they insanely delicious? YES. Will I continue to make them long after nursing? ABSOLUTELY.