There are lots of ways to prepare for welcoming a baby into your home. Attend childbirth or adoption classes. Decorate the nursery. Create a baby registry. But there’s one thing that’s often missed that pays huge dividends: making freezer meals. Far too few do this but those that do will tell you that they are so glad that they did! I’m 3 months into being a new mom and haven’t had to make a dinner meal yet unless I wanted to/had time to. This equals less stress + healthier eating + saving money (if we didn’t have freezer meals to pull from we’d be eating lots of take-out to survive those early weeks). If you are expecting a little one, here’s some tips in getting your freezer stash started:
1. Buy a separate freezer. The freezer part of your fridge will likely not cut it. If you can’t afford to have a chest freezer you can still make meals that will fit in your fridge freezer (just not as many).
2. Start early. I’d recommend start as soon as possible on freezing meals. I was shocked to learn that food that’s properly frozen/sealed can last for years in your freezer and still be safe to eat. For freshness sake, I’d recommend eating your frozen meals within 6 months of making them.
3. The easiest way to start building up your freezer stash is to make double of whatever you are cooking for dinner and freeze half of it. Even if dinner turned out to be only so-so, you’ll be glad you have a meal option later when baby is here!
4. Plan a freezer food party with some friends. It helps if one person is willing to organize it and others show up and help split the cost. For the freezer party that I went to, one girl organized all of the recipes and did the shopping (amazing!). We each did some of the food prep at home and then got together (i.e. I chopped 30 green peppers ahead of time). The husbands came along and chopped raw chicken while watching the football game. We ended up spending 5 hours together and made 5 different meals for the crock pot (we froze everything raw). In that one afternoon, I walked away with 30 crock pot dinners to freeze and use later. 30! Tip: stick with one type of meat for a bunch of different meals. And we couldn’t have made that many meals without the guys help!
5. Don’t make the mistake that I did and only make dinner meals. I really could have used frozen snacks in those early days with a newborn (such as muffins). Make a variety of foods in addition to having your dinners taken care of.
Final tip is to label everything: what the food is AND the date that it was made. I kept a paper list of everything so I could send my husband down to the basement with what needed to be eaten next (we ate items in order that they were made). Oh and freezer bags worked well for both seal/freshness and space saving as you could flatten the meals out and stack them on top of each other.
I’m sorry that I don’t have recipes to share right now. My friend was in charge of the recipes for our freezer party. If I can get my hands on those, I’ll share them!
I can promise you that if you decide to make meals to freeze before your little one arrives that you won’t regret it. Well, maybe you’d regret if it there was a power outage and you lost all your food. ha! But that’s not going to happen 🙂 Put away a freezer meal a week and you’ll be so glad that you did. Bon appetite!