Whether you just had a baby or you are running kids around, a prepared meal in a pinch is essential. Postpartum freezer meals are ideal because you can save money by buying items in bulk, save time by preparing foods in advance, save your sanity with a quick fix meal. In addition, when you create meals in advance you are likely going to eat healthier. When you wait until the last minute to determine what’s for dinner you will likely choose something that is fast and (potentially) unhealthy.
Not All Freezer Meals Are Created Equal
Just because you like a recipe does not mean it will make a good freezer meal. The following foods do not freeze will and should be avoided:
- Sour cream, mayonnaise, yogurt, and cream cheese all change texture after thawed
- Egg whites
- Pastas and grains become softer after freezing, be sure to undercook them before freezing
- Seasonings, onions, green peppers, herbs, and flavors should be added after thawed to avoid flavor changes
- Raw veggies will lose their crispiness when frozen, however, if prepared correctly they can be used for cooking or stews and soups
- Soups taste better when you freeze the components separately then combine when preparing the meal
Getting Started: Freezer Meals
It is never too early or too late to start – just plan it and do it! Start planning some meals and preparing the weeks leading up to your delivery. Most freezer meals can last several months when stored appropriately. Talk to your family about favorite meals, create a board on Pinterest, ask your friends for their suggestions. Once you have a solid list started begin to create your shopping list. TO maximize your cost savings, you want to choose recipes with the same base ingredients such as chicken or ground meat. In addition to your ingredients, plan for the items you need to store the freezer meals for after baby. These include: small and large freezer bags and permanent marker or labels.
Prepping Freezer Meals
While it is ideal to prep and bag all freeze meals in one sitting, if you have a newborn who is eating every 2 hours, or you have other kiddos under foot, it may not happen all at once. Give yourself patience and be sure to store your food appropriately when taking a break.
First step is to get all your ingredients together, slicing and dicing as much as you can. Then begin to assemble to meal according to the recipe. After placing in the large freezer bag, remove as much air as possible and label with recipe title, date, and any additional ingredients needed upon thawing.