Food Preparation for Postpartum Ease
April 26th, 2017
There are so many things to think about and plan for when you’re having a baby. Baby names, getting your space baby-ready, choosing a doctor for your babe, making sure all the tiny clothes are washed and folded and organized by size… One thing that can be easy to overlook is thinking about and planning for how you’re going to feed yourselves once your babe arrives.
I know what you’re thinking. How hard could it be, right? You’re an adult, you’re capable. You’ve managed to figure out 3(ish) meals per day up until this point, so how different could it really be with one more tiny human in the house?
Well, it might be more challenging than you think to juggle the many needs of that adorable little person, the logistics of household life, plus your needs for sleep and healthy food!
The good news is that with a little bit of planning, prenatal cooking time, and some freezer space, you can build a pretty decent stash of nourishing meals and snacks that will save you that much needed brainpower and time in the postpartum time. Here are my top 3 tips for making it happen:
Freeze bulk quiche fillings.
1) Think big! If you are already planning to make a favorite recipe, double (or triple!) the recipe and freeze what you don’t need. You get multiple meals for just one messy kitchen.
You can freeze it in individual portions that are easy to pull out and pop in the microwave for a last minute meal or in larger, family size portions that will feed everyone for a more leisurely sit-down meal.
Most muffins, pasta dishes, broth-based soups, and meat-based dishes freeze and thaw very well, as well as cookie dough, quiche filling, mashed potatoes, and breads.
“The good news is that with a little bit of planning, prenatal cooking time, and some freezer space, you can build a pretty decent stash of nourishing meals and snacks that will save you that much needed brainpower and time in the postpartum time.”
2) Do the prep work ahead of time. One of my favorite tricks to stress-free mealtimes is prepping my ingredients in bulk. Cook large quantities of meat, grains, or even vegetables all at once and then freeze in quantities that make sense for your cooking.
My freezer is full of 1 lb. packages of cooked chicken, hamburger, and pulled pork so that I can pull them out and throw them into recipe with no fuss.
Likewise for 2 cup portions of cooked rice and quinoa. I wash, prep or cook, and freeze large quantities of produce when it is in season – shred up carrots, apples, and zucchini for use in baked goods through the winter, make applesauce, cook up and mash butternut squash, you get the idea.
Stock the freezer!
3) Keep track. You can have all sorts of food in the freezer, but it doesn’t do you any good if you don’t know what’s in there.
Every so often, I dig through, make a list of what we’ve got, and stick it on the fridge. Then, when I’m thinking about meals for the day or the week, I can just look at the list and know what’s available without having to dig.
I’ve also discovered that this helps to keep things from getting buried and forgotten because I cross things off the list as I use them.
As a bonus, here are a couple of my favorite recipes for stocking my freezer:
6 cups milk (any percent, throw some half and half or heavy cream in if you’re feeling fancy!)
4 cups shredded cheese, plus additional for topping (any variety you like, I like 1/2 swiss and 1/2 sharp cheddar)
2 T salt
1 T black pepper
butter or coconut oil, for sauteeing
2-3 onions, chopped finely
1-2 T minced garlic
2 large plastic tubs of greens (spinach, kale, chard, or any combo you like), chopped
deep dish pie crusts
Preheat oven to 350. Saute the onions, garlic, and greens in butter or coconut oil until tender. While the greens are cooking, whisk together the eggs, milk, 4 c. shredded cheese, salt and pepper. When the greens are cooked and cooled a bit, add them to the egg mixture and stir to combine. At this point, divide in 3(ish) cup portions. You can freeze the mixture in quart mason jars or other freezer-safe container. One 3 cup portion is enough for 1 deep dish pie crust. When ready to bake, thaw, pour into crust, top w/ 1/2-1 c. of shredded cheese and bake for 35-45 minutes or until cheese is golden and the center is no longer jiggly.
Everything But the Kitchen Sink Muffins
2-3 c flour, depending on how wet the veggies are
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup oat bran
3/4 cup ground flax
3/4 cup wheat germ
1 cup brown sugar
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1 T cinnamon (If using pumpkin puree, you can switch this to pumpkin pie spice and add a little ginger, clove, and/or nutmeg and allspice.)
1/2 lb. carrots, shredded or chopped fine (can sub for 1 c. pumpkin puree)
2-3 apples, shredded or chopped fine (can sub for 2 mashed bananas)
1-2 cup zucchini, shredded or chopped fine
1/2 cup raisins (optional, can sub for chocolate chips)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
3/4 cup milk (any kind)
2 eggs, beaten
1 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine milk, beaten eggs, and vanilla. Stir in fruit and vegetables. Add liquid ingredients to dry and mix just until combined. Stir in nuts and/or raisins. Bake 15 (mini muffins) – 25 (regular size) minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.