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How to Meal Prep Before Baby
You have probably heard about how you should meal prep and have meals ready and waiting for you when you come home with your baby from the hospital. But, maybe you’re wondering how in the world do you meal prep for something like that?
Sure, you know it’s important; it’s on every list for ‘what to do before the baby arrives’. Just as what you need postpartum is on that list. But, how do you prepare meals for postpartum when you don’t know when exactly your precious one will come out? And, why is it so important, anyways?
This how to guide will show you exactly what to do to prepare meals for yourself and family before you give birth, so you barely have to think about it afterwards!
But, let’s start with why it’s so important.
Looking ahead into the future, but still suffering with MORNING SICKNESS? Check out What to Eat When You Have Morning Sickness All Day: 54 Ideas.
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Your Questions About Healthy Freezer Meal Prep Before Baby…
When should you make freezer meals before baby?
You should start making freezer meals for postpartum before you give birth. Ha, I bet you knew that.
But, seriously, there are variables to consider when prepping food for when the baby comes.
If you’re healthy and have no complications, or have a scheduled c-section, then start prepping meals a week or 2 before your due date. You should have your nesting energy by this time, as well, which will make it a ton easier for you to do so.
If you are high risk, or having multiples, then start prepping meals a 2 to 3 weeks before your doctor expects you to to deliver.
Or, simply get into the habit of meal prepping every couple of weeks during your pregnancy to save you time and energy throughout your whole pregnancy and postpartum.
And, be sure to check out these batch cooking tips to make the most of your time and energy!
How far in advance can you meal prep?
How far in advance you can meal prep depends on what you’re making and how you’re storing it.
If you’re simply meal prepping and storing food in the fridge, it’s only going to last 3 or 4 days, a week at most.
Meal prepping and freezing your food is what you’ll want to do when making food for postpartum.
Most foods will last about a month in the freezer, some even up to 3 months or longer.
It all depends on the recipe and how you store it or what you store it in.
What should I stock up on before having a baby?
Before having a baby, be sure to stock up on:
- basic foods (such as pantry staples and easy meals, like pasta)
- healthy freezer meals, ready to reheat and eat
- toilet paper
- baby supplies
- postpartum care items
- and more!
The Importance of Having Ready to Eat Meals
Have you ever been so exhausted that you don’t feel like cooking or baking?
If you’re currently pregnant, I bet you have!
And, what do you do when you’re too exhausted to make food and you don’t have anything in the fridge or freezer to just heat up to eat?
You probably go out to eat or call up your favorite restaurant that delivers. And, that’s nice, once in awhile.
But, if you have to do that on a consistent basis during the first 6 to 12 weeks of your newborn’s life, it’s not healthy, and it’ll end up being quite expensive!
It’s not just the exhaustion that’ll leave you short with wanting to cook, you now have another human being to care for who demands much your attention all day and night long.
Plus, if you’re planning on breastfeeding, you’ll get hungry A LOT! Honestly, I forgot how hungry you get while breastfeeding til I started breastfeeding my newborn again.
You’ll be wanting to eat every time you breastfeed.
That’s quite often. And, you know you want to be providing your newborn with the best nutrition you can; food you get when you go out to eat or get food delivered isn’t the most nutritious.
If, instead, you’re able to prepare a few healthy meals to keep in the fridge and many more healthy meals and snacks that keep well in the freezer, before your little one arrives, then you’re golden!
Use that nesting energy for more than just organizing your closets for the hundredth time!
Ways to Make Sure Your Have Ready to Eat Meals
Now that you know how important it is to have ready to eat meals, think about how you will have meals on hand when you and your family get hungry.
There are a few ways to ensure you can have meals to eat in minutes. Some of these ways are better than others, but these are what the choices boil down to:
- Ask for, or accept, meals made by friends and family
- Stock up on quick processed foods that will only take minutes to make (Not always healthy.)
- Order out or go out to eat (Not so easy to go out to eat if you have a fussy little one.)
- Meal prep! (Freezer meals work great.)
To ensure you get the nutrients you need to keep your energy up, and to stay healthy, your best options are to ask for and accept food from friends and family, or meal prep before your baby is born.
If you live near friends and family that love to cook and help out, then consider yourself very lucky. I still remember my grandma made a huge dish of spaghetti for us right after we had our second child; it lasted us a week, which was awesome, because that meant I didn’t have to worry about dinner for that week!
But, if you don’t like we didn’t with our third child, be sure to meal prep and have meals and snacks ready to eat before you come home from the hospital, if you opt for a hospital birth that is.
How to Meal Prep Before Baby
Step 1: Choose your meals
The best meals to choose are ones that can be frozen and then reheated easily. That way they’ll stay good for as long as they need to while you wait for your little bundle of joy to arrive!
If you choose to make meals that you can’t freeze and can only save in the fridge, make sure they’ll last up to a week.
You never know when your little one will come out or how long your hospital stay will be. No one likes coming home to food starting to go bad in their fridge!
Don’t forget to choose some healthy snacks and desserts that freeze well, too!
My favorite meal to freeze are breakfasts, that way I don’t have to cook when I wake up! I still make and freeze breakfast to make mornings easier for my growing family.
Step 2: Make a plan
Once you have all your recipes chosen, plan out how you will meal prep. Will you do it all at once in the same day? Or, spread it out and make a recipe or two a day until you go into labor?
It’s up to you, but when you know, be sure to do the following;
- make your grocery list
- know what equipment you’ll need to make the food
- how long the recipes will take to make or assemble
- the idle time in recipes that you could be using to start another recipe (such as time when a dish is baking)
- schedule when you’ll get it done
- make room in your fridge and freezer
Going through each recipe in your head and imagining making them while you’re still in the planning phase will help make it so you don’t forget anything that you need to do or make sure you have before starting.
Or, use these templates to actually write out all you need to do so you don’t have to cloud your memory with the steps of meal prepping!
If you have never meal prepped before, read this: How to prepare to meal prep: how to meal prep for beginners
Step 3: Gather ingredients and supplies
Go get your groceries and anything else you may need!
Other than ingredients, be sure you have the equipment you need to make them and freezer bags or containers to store them in.
There’s no use in choosing a no bake recipe that requires a food processor when you don’t have a food processor. And, you can’t make more meals or snacks than what you have to store them in, including the room in your fridge and freezer; so be mindful of that, as well.
Step 4: Make and store your meals
Once you have your plan, ingredients and supplies, get going on making your healthy meals and snacks!
Utilize time saving tricks in the kitchen to get more done faster, especially if you are trying to get it all done in a single day.
Starting with a meal or snack that bakes in the oven for a long period of time would be smart. You can then use the time that’s in the oven to start on another meal or snack, and keep going like that until all your recipes are complete.
To store your food, be sure to cool completely before placing in the fridge or freezer.
For baked goods, including muffins and pancakes, you should cool them completely, then place in the freezer on a cookie tray. Once completely frozen you can place them in a freezer bag or a freezer safe container.
Don’t forget to keep instructions on how to reheat your meals or snacks!
Enjoy your meals after your little one is born
Now that your little one has arrived and you’re recovering from childbirth, enjoy the food you prepped ahead of time.
Know that you’re getting the nutrients you need to heal and have the energy to care for yourself and newborn the best you can!
If you chose to store some food in the fridge before you gave birth, be sure to eat those meals first, before they go bad.
Otherwise, be thankful that you prepared food ahead of time and don’t have to cook or bake for awhile! Spend your time bonding with your baby instead!
Don’t Forget to Pin How to Meal Prep Before Baby to your favorite Pinterest Board!!