Do you plan on prepping some freezer meals for after baby's arrival?
If not, you should. Because having food already prepared, or mostly prepared, and ready to eat, is invaluable during those early months after birth.
Below are some tips, tricks, and a few recipes to get you started today.
Freezer Meal Safety
~Freezer foods must be stored at zero degrees Fahrenheit or below, in order to retain the food quality present at storage time.
~Foods should be thoroughly wrapped or sealed to be airtight.
~Foods should never be thawed on the counter, or in hot water.
~When defrosting frozen food, plan ahead and thaw in the refrigerator where it will remain at a constant temperature. At 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
~Any bacteria present at the time of freezing will hibernate while frozen. Foods should be processed and cooked properly immediately after being completely defrosted.
Freezer Meal Storage Timeline
Note: The below can stay frozen safely for up to a year. BUT, the quality and texture of the food will deteriorate after the below mentioned time frames.
~ Raw Meats (Including Beef, Chicken, Pork, Lamb, Venison)- 4-6 Months
~ Cooked Meats - 2-6 Months
~ Soups and Stews- 2-3 Months
~ Baked Goods (Including breads, muffins, cakes, cookies) - 1-3 Months
Foods that DO NOT Freeze Well
~ Leafy Greens
~ Cream Cheese
~ Raw Potatoes
~ Dairy Based Soups, Stews, and Casseroles
Prepared Foods That DO Freeze Well
Note: Cook these foods PRIOR to Freezer Storage
Uncooked Freezer Meal Suggestions
~ Raw meats that can easily placed in a crock pot or instant pot to cook.
~ Store bought frozen veggies that can be prepared within minutes.
~ Dump Bag Meals (Pinterest is LOADED with recipe ideas)
Other Meal Prep Tips
~I would recommend not starting to freeze meals, until you are in your late second trimester, into your third, due to storage recommendations.
~ When you enter the third trimester, double, or triple batch any meals that you may already be preparing during the week. Then simply freeze what is left. If you are already making a mess, take advantage of that.
~Set aside one day a week in your third trimester to batch cook and freeze. If you dedicated one day in your third trimester, to prepping 3 meals, you would have 36 meals ready by the time you reached 40 weeks.
~Mason jars are great for freezing soups.
~Foil containers are great for casseroles. Just place the food in them, and wrap thoroughly with plastic wrap and/or aluminum foil.
~Freezer bags (disposable and reusable) are great for meats and baked goods. Just get as much air out as possible.
~Label what your food item is on the container. And the date you prepared it. Calculate the suggested storage time, and write it on the container as well. That way you do not have to figure out if the food item is still good or not with a sleep deprived brain.
Note: These recipes will need to be cooked BEFORE freezing.
~Breakfast Burritos- https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-freezer-friendly-breakfast-burritos-234556
~ Creamy Chicken and Potato Soup- https://thedefineddish.com/creamy-chicken-and-potato-chowder/
~ Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon and Apples- https://www.paleorunningmomma.com/butternut-squash-soup-bacon-apples/
~ Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas- https://www.thisfarmgirlcooks.com/sheet-pan-chicken-fajitas/
~ Loaded Veggie Turkey Meatballs- https://savorylotus.com/loaded-veggie-turkey-meatballs/
Muffins and Breads
~Einkorn Pancakes- https://www.farmhouseonboone.com/einkorn-pancakes
~ Blueberry Muffins- https://bakerbynature.com/healthy-greek-yogurt-honey-blueberry-muffins/
~ Oatmeal Muffins- https://vintagekitchennotes.com/easy-moist-oatmeal-muffins-recipe/
~ Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins- https://simplyhomecooked.com/banana-chocolate-chip-muffins/
Happy freezer meal prepping!
P.S. All of the recipes in my "A Nurturing Postpartum Recipe Bundle" are freezer friendly!
Click HERE to get your copy today!