Getting ready for your baby’s arrival? Here are some healthy meals and snacks that you can prep and freeze in advance to make those first few weeks a bit easier!
Holy cannoli, I felt like baby girl was going to be here any minute back in August, but now it’s really here! I’m 39 weeks so she might make her arrival at any second. Besides working my buns off to get ahead on blog content so you all won’t miss me while I’m on maternity leave, I’m also prepping my freezer so Isaac and I have plenty of meals and snacks when we get home from the hospital.
This is similar to my meal prep philosophy, but for my baby prep I am focusing on breakfast, dinner and snacks. In general, I can throw together a healthy lunch pretty quickly or eat leftovers, but if I don’t have breakfast or snacks ready to go, I tend to reach for less healthy choices. Same goes for dinner… I know that if we don’t have something planned, we’ll end up ordering takeout or swinging by one of our local go-to spots for a prepared meal, so I’m getting ahead of the game!
Since we don’t know exactly when baby girl will arrive and because I don’t want to head to the kitchen to meal prep when I feel the first contraction (LOL can you imagine? I’m not that much of a meal prep lover…) I am mainly focusing on making things that I can prep in advance and freeze. We don’t have a huge freezer so I’m also just planning out ideas of items that I want to keep on hand for easy meals and snacks.
Luckily, we live in an area where we can get groceries delivered so I know we will continue doing that as well. I already place an order each week for recipe testing, but I feel like online grocery shopping is going to be my BFF once the babe arrives.
Here’s my Pre-Baby Meal Prep Plan
Since I was already writing ideas and figuring out my meal prep strategy for when the baby arrives, I figured it would be helpful to share it here for those of you who are expecting as well. I could also see these ideas being helpful for someone who is planning to have a surgery or knows that they have an extremely busy time coming up in their life. Meal prep like this can be a game-changer!
Breakfast Meal Prep
Baked Oatmeal Cups – I love all my baked oatmeal recipes so I’ve made one full baked oatmeal recipe to freeze, but want to know what is even more convenient? Baked oatmeal cups. That’s right, you can prep baked oatmeal in muffin cups and then freeze them! I’ve already made a couple different flavors to freeze — the blueberry oatmeal cups and the apple oatmeal cups. When I want to enjoy one for breakfast or a snack all I have to do is take it out of the freezer the night before (or thaw in the microwave). I love these toasted in the toaster oven and topped with a little nut butter.
Egg Cups – Like baked oatmeal cups, these are made in a muffin tin so they’re already portioned out and easy to freeze.
Granola – Storing granola in the freezer will allow it to stay fresh and extra crisp for a few months. I made a batch of hemp granola and have it frozen in 1 cup servings so I can take it out as needed and pair it with yogurt or chia pudding for a quick breakfast.
In addition to the freezer meals, I’ve been brainstorming other breakfast ideas that are quick and easy to prep, but don’t require freezing. These are things that I can easily throw together and eat with one hand (apparently this is really handy when you have a newborn). Some ideas include:
Overnight Oats– I’ve made these so many times, I can basically make them in my sleep! I love these as a quick breakfast option because they’re so easy to prep the night before, but you can also double/triple the recipe to make a big batch that will last all week.
Chia Pudding – With such simple ingredients and minimal prep work, I know that chia pudding is something I’ll easily be able to prep for breakfast (and snacks) once the baby arrives.
Smoothies – I’m going to make sure that I have all my typical smoothie items on hand, including frozen fruit (and veggies), protein powder, chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc. I’m sure I’ll have this health nut smoothie on repeat. I didn’t plan this far in advance, but you could also make and freeze smoothie packs that you can simply dump into the blender with liquid!
Snack Meal Prep
Protein Balls – Did you know that protein balls and energy balls can be frozen? That’s right, those protein packed snacks can be prepped ahead of time and put in the freezer to last for months. I am going to make a bunch of these protein balls before baby comes so I have a good variety of snacks for the first few weeks.
Lactation Cookies and Lactation Bites – Earlier this fall I developed recipes for healthy lactation cookies and lactation bites to help with milk supply for breastfeeding. We tested around five batches so I have two freezer bags of these ready to go.
Trail Mix – If you know me you know that I love to snack on trail mix, so I’ll be sure to make a few batches of homemade trail mix ahead of time. Trail mix lasts a long time in the pantry so I can easily make a couple big batches in advance. Lately I’ve been loving dried mango so I think I’ll make this mango curry trail mix and my pizza trail mix.
Granola – Luckily granola can easily work for breakfast or a snack so I’ll have granola on hand for snacking as well.
Fresh Snacks to Have on Hand
In terms of perishable snacks that I plan to keep on hand, here’s what I’m thinking:
apples or bananas and nut butter
hummus and veggies (buy them pre-chopped for ease)
For dinners, I want to make a variety of meals that we can easily heat up without any extra prep or thought. Isaac actually knows his way around the kitchen, but I know we’ll both have to adjust to taking care of a new human in our home, so I’m doing my best to keep meal prep simple for both of us!
There are two types of freezer meals when it comes to dinner: you can prep the entire meal, bake it, let it cool and then freeze it OR you can meal prep the meal, freeze it and then bake it for the first time when you’re ready to enjoy it. I personally prefer the second option – the textures and flavors are usually better – but there are some cases where it makes sense to prep and freeze the full meal.
Black Bean Soup – Soups are such a great option and this black bean soup is delicious and freezes well. I already have a bag of it in the freezer.
Falafel – These baked falafels are super easy to whip up and can easily be frozen.
Black Bean Burgers – Of course you can buy packaged frozen veggie burgers, but I love making my own and freezing them. For these black bean burgers I would recommend cooking them, letting them cool and then freezing. For reheating, let them thaw in the fridge and then reheat on the stovetop or in a toaster oven.
Teriyaki Chicken – I’m going to prep all the ingredients (raw chicken + the marinade) in a freezer bag so I can thaw and toss this in the slow cooker for an easy meal.
Egg Casserole – Egg casseroles and frittatas can be frozen for 2-3 months. I might freeze these in individual servings so they’re easy to thaw and reheat when we need them.
Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas
Pasta with Sauce – This is a pantry staple recipe that we fall back on when we’re in need of a quick and easy meal. I like to keep the pantry stocked with a couple packs of dry pasta and a couple jars of sauce. I really like using legume-based pastas for extra protein and that way I don’t feel the need to add an additional protein source. Lots of times I’ll just roast broccoli to pair with the pasta and we’ll top it with a little cheese.
Cauliflower Fried Rice – I always have a couple bags of cauliflower rice and stir-fry veggies in the freezer so whipping up cauliflower fried rice is a breeze. The only other things needed are eggs and ingredients to make the sauce, like tamari and sriracha.
Breakfast for Dinner – Whenever I have no idea what to make for dinner I know I can fall back on breakfast for dinner. Usually I’ll just cook up 2 eggs and make a batch of roasted sweet potatoes to have on the side or make a slice of avocado toast with 2 eggs.
Stir-Fry – Sometimes I’ll follow a recipe for this, but it’s essentially just veggies, protein of choice and teriyaki sauce (homemade or store-bought) stir-fried. Serve over whatever rice you like.