As I was preparing to have my first baby, I read about moms who made freezer meals ahead of time so their family wouldn’t have to worry about cooking right away. I immediately loved this idea and started researching meal ideas on Pinterest and various blogs, and gathered a few that have now become staples in our home! I also want to preface this post by saying I do not consider myself to be that great of a cook or someone who enjoys spending a lot of time in the kitchen…so if I can meal-prep, you can, too!
What You’ll Need
- Aluminum foil food containers with lids- These are ideal for casseroles, and can even be re-used.
- Quart and gallon-size freezer bags – These are great for crock-pot meals, muffins, cookies, sandwiches, and snack mixes.
- Plastic wrap or foil – Great for wrapping sandwiches to keep everything together, or for wrapping the top of casserole dishes.
- Glass or plastic containers – These are great for pre-made soups, smoothies, applesauce, etc.
There are a few things you’ll want to consider when putting together your baby meal-prep plan. First, how much freezer space do you have? We invested in a large upright freezer a few years ago because we freeze a lot of items from our garden. However, if you’re working with the freezer portion of your refrigerator, you’ll want to see how much space you can set aside for meals.
Are you making meals just for you and your partner, or do you have other kids to feed? The first time around I only had to worry about my husband and myself, but now I’m meal prepping for baby number two and we’ve got a toddler who seems to be constantly eating.
Lastly, you’ll want to consider if it makes sense to only meal-prep dinners, or if you should throw in some breakfast, lunch, and snack items. I am doing all of the above this time. With having a toddler to care for, plus a husband who is busy farming on top of working his day job, I want to prep as much as possible.
Some of my Favorite Recipes:
Breakfast Meal Prep
For the below recipes, you make them ahead of time, put into freezer bags, and then just heat up right before you want to eat them.
Lunch Meal Prep
Cheese & Meat Sandwiches – This is as simple as it sounds. Top some sandwich buns with your preference of cheese, and lunch meat if you’d like, then wrap in plastic wrap or foil and put into freezer bags. You can also add other toppings as long as they aren’t oily. I learned the hard way that mayonnaise does not freeze and thaw well– what a mess!
Dinner Meal Prep
Prepare & Bake Later
The key to these types of meals is making them up until the point of putting them in the oven, but instead, you put into foil containers in the freezer. Just make sure you write the instructions on top for how long to cook at what temperature!
Make and Heat Later
These are fully cooked recipes that you can put into freezer-safe containers and then just heat up later.
Prep, Freeze and Put into Crockpot Later
I love these meals because you do all the prep ahead of time – cutting up potatoes, veggies, etc – and then toss everything, including spices and sauces into a freezer bag. Just make sure you write the instructions on the bag for how long to cook the meal in the crockpot!
Snacks & Other Ideas
Protein Bites – This is probably my favorite go-to freezer snack. They are so simple to make and you can even play around with the recipe. Here’s the recipe I typically use:
- 1 cup dry oats
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ⅓ cup honey
- ½ cup ground flaxseed
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix everything together and let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for about a half-hour, then roll into balls and put into freezer bags. Some other options for this recipe include using almond milk, almond butter, collagen, or superfoods powder. The key is just to get a “cookie dough” consistency.
Banana Oat Muffins
- 2 large ripe bananas
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 large eggs
- 2 ½ cup oats
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp cinnamon
Mix all together in a blender and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
Smoothies – This is another snack that you can easily adjust to your liking, plus smoothies are great for breakfast and lunch, too! Here are some of my smoothie must-have ingredients:
- Spinach or kale
- Bananas (these really help cover up the taste of the greens!)
- Almond Milk
- Frozen fruit (blueberries, mangoes, strawberries, pineapple are all great!)
- Chia seeds
- Peanut butter
I like to freeze my smoothies in mason jars, or even recycled pickle or jelly jars!
Snack Mix – This time around I am even freezing my own snack mix: peanuts, walnuts, pecans, raisins, and chocolate chips. Snack mix does stay fresh for a couple of months in tightly sealed containers at room temperature, but since I prepped a little early I decided to throw my mix into the freezer.
These are just some of my family’s make-ahead meal favorites, but there are so many more online if you search for “freezer meals.” And of course, all of these tips can be used for regular meal-planning, not just for when baby comes!