Another one for my soon-to-be-mamas (and because I’ll need to take some of my own advice on board soon!). What are some good freezer meals or snacks to have prepped before your little grub arrives? This one is obviously quite subjective, as it can not only be influenced by the season your bub arrives, but also your individual preferences. But I’m sure I’ve got some tips and ideas that you’ll love, regardless.
Firstly, timing. Timing is everything when you’re talking freezing food – freezer burn anyone?! I wouldn’t think about making ahead any meals until about 30+ weeks, as you don’t want your efforts to succumb to said freezer burn or end up forgotten at the bottom of the freezer because you made them so well in advance. Even if you end up being a few weeks early, you’ll have some meals ready to go if you wait until around 30+ weeks.
Secondly, you’ll need to think about ingredients that freeze well and those that don’t. Things like cucumbers, lettuce and raw potatoes are an obvious no-no. They go mushy when thawed – yuck! Egg based sauces (which you will be able to have as you’ll no longer be pregnant!) like mayonnaise will separate and curdle when thawed. Many dairy products go watery when defrosted. But; when I freeze something like a lasagne (either pre-cooked or after I’ve baked it, and mine has cream cheese and lots of cheese in it), I have no issues. Most snacks like muffins and bliss balls will freeze well too.
When it comes to main meals, unfortunately you might need to think about making foods that are relatively “bland.” I know. It doesn’t sound appealing at all, but trust me, you can still make some pretty tasty meals. And when I say “bland” I really mean things that aren’t rich tomato flavours or have lots of cruciferous (I love that word!) veges in it. Things like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage can be quite gassy for breast-fed babies and can cause upset tummies. Tomatoes too, as they’re quite acidic, can sometimes be unkind on little bellies. It’s totally up to you though; I found I didn’t notice a real difference with what I ate and how little grub reacted, but he had legitimate reflux and was on medication from about 8 weeks old anyway. Having said that, my freezer meals weren’t tomato based. I figured if I was going to the effort to make ahead some meals, I may as well make ones that are baby-friendly and then if hubby makes a spaghetti when grub has arrived, we can figure out if tomatoes are a no-go at that point.
So what meals would I make? Macaroni and cheese is a good one, and a great comforting food, no matter what the season! My mum also had a great chicken and bacon lasagne recipe, although it was quite time-consuming, so I won’t make it this time around with a toddler hanging about. I’m all about maximising the output and minimising the input! Curries are excellent, and something like a thai green curry isn’t tomato based. If you visit my website, you’ll get a link to this exclusive recipe of mine! It’s a winner for all ages, trust me. I would suggest a spaghetti sauce or a chilli as these are always good for the freezer. But they’re tomato based. So this time I’m going to make my creamed spinach and mince and we can have this over some pasta with a side of garlic bread. Delicious!
I don’t know about you, but I am a snacker anyway, and having done the breastfeeding thing once before, I knew I had to have some healthy snacks on hand. Three meals a day just doesn’t cut it! As I mentioned earlier, bliss balls and muffins freeze well. It also helps that I’ve got two yummy recipes that are both healthy too – here are the bliss balls and my grain-free muffins are seriously delicious and so easy to whip up. Tip: I add some dark chocolate chunks to “Mummy’s” version and man they’re good. This recipe will be coming to you guys in the New year! Biscuits are also a good one to freeze – these ban-anzac cookies are super.
I never really got in to the lactation cookie thing (I prefer a smoothie that I know is good for me and keeps me going for a good 3 hours or so, rather than chowing down on a whole lot of biscuits with added sugars). BUT, having said that, they would freeze well too. I haven’t come across a good recipe, but there are plenty out there.
Bread and loaves freeze well too. I’ve got a good grain-free bread recipe here that I always freeze, and my friend Nutritionist, Natalie Brady (read our interview with her here), has a great banana chocolate chip loaf that I know freezes well. I’ve made it a few times!
Lastly, be sure to label and date your food. Using those tin-foil dishes you can buy at the supermarket are good for meals and something like a Kai Carrier (much more environmentally friendly!) is great for freezing your snacks.
I hope this has been helpful! Let me know how you get on, I’d love to know.