If your maternity leave is short or you plan to eat out regularly, then 10-20 freezer meals should do the trick. But if you have more time before the baby comes or if you plan on eating at home most of the time, then 30-50 freezer meals might be more suitable for your family. No matter how good your support system is, it can seem overwhelming to care for a new baby and your own needs. One thing that can help make the transition easier is having freezer meals ready to go. Here’s what you need to know.
Why Make Freezer Meals?
Freezer meals are an easy and convenient way to quickly get dinner on the table during those first months with a newborn. Having healthy, homemade meals prepped in advance that you can just thaw and throw in the Crockpot or Instant Pot will save you time and energy in the kitchen. Plus, it’s a great way to save money since you won’t be tempted by takeout or convenience food.
What Types of Freezer Meals are Best?
Our database has a great selection of easy freezer meal recipes that you can make ahead when preparing for baby. (Sign up to get full access to our recipe database and more!)
Soups and stews are a great choice because they freeze well and taste just as good—or better—after being frozen. Casseroles and pastas also freeze well and are easy to reheat quickly in the oven or microwave. Meatloaf, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, chili, shepherd’s pie—the possibilities are endless! Use high-quality ingredients so your food will still be tasty after being frozen.
How Many Freezer Meals is Enough?
It depends on how much time you have before the baby’s arrival and how often you plan to eat out or order takeout in those first few months with a newborn. If your maternity leave is short or you plan to eat out regularly, then 10-20 make-ahead freezer meals should do the trick. But if you have more time before the baby comes or if you plan on eating at home most of the time, then 30-50 freezer meals might be more suitable for your family.
When Should You Start Making Freezer Meals?
Ideally, start making freezer meals 2-3 months before your due date so you have plenty of time for prep. This will also give you extra breathing room if the baby arrives earlier than expected!
Tips for Prepping Freezer Meals
Making freezer meals doesn’t have to be complicated! Here are some tips for prepping them quickly and easily:
• Use recipes that don’t require too many ingredients; this will save time when shopping for groceries.
• The best freezer meals are the ones you will eat. Don’t cook stuff you don’t like. Chicken pot pie, enchiladas, and mac and cheese are all nutritious comfort foods you will be thankful for when you are cocooning with baby.
• Double up recipes like soups or casseroles so that there is enough in one batch to serve leftovers the next day.
• Label each dish with its cooking instructions (cooking times vary depending on what type of dish it is), so it’s easy to find what you want later on when looking through the freezer. And don’t forget to include the prep date so that you know when you have to eat them by. I recommend printing these labels on computer paper or water-resistant stickers and taping/attaching them to your bags PRIOR to meal prep.
• Make sure to use high-quality freezer bags or airtight containers; this will prevent any food from going bad during storage in the freezer!
• Take advantage of slow cookers; they’re great for making big batches of soup without having to stand over a stove all day long!
• Don’t forget about breakfast foods; having some breakfast burritos or French toast casserole prepared ahead of time will help get those early morning feedings off to a good start!
How Many Freezer Meals is Too Many?
Can you ever have too many hearty, delicious freezer meals? Everyone has different needs depending on their lifestyle and preferences. If you have prepared well, then take a break when the baby arrives. Otherwise, you may end up with too many meals piling up in the freezer for you to be able to eat before the expiry date!
With that many meals, you may want some tips on organizing your freezer.
Enjoy Your Time With Baby!
Although preparing freezer meals ahead of time can help make life easier while adjusting to a new baby around, don’t forget that this is such an incredible milestone in life too! Take some time away from prepping food so you can rest up for all those sleepless nights ahead—you deserve it!