Monday, September 5, 2016

{mama hood mondays} my postpartum meal prep + what has worked well for us

i've been doing lots of little preparations around our homestead for the upcoming arrival of our first little one. it has been exciting and fun, but also a bit of work. i'm grateful to do it now, hoping that it will support our first few weeks/months of figuring out this new little person that is making our family bigger and better.

one area i decided to be intentional about was our food. this included a big pantry overhaul as well as stocking our freezers with easy to reheat meals. my husband is planning on taking on more of the meal prep especially during my early weeks of healing and i wanted to make it easier on him since he too will be trying to spend as much time with the baby as well as adjusting to being a working dad after his paternity leave.

A few things that worked well for us:

+grilling double - part way thru our third trimester we started grilling double hamburgers and chicken breast solely to put them in the freezer. we love to make a lunch salad meal by putting a grilled hamburger patty or chicken breast on top of a salad. no bun needed, good veggies and protein. we knew this would vastly help us in the lunches department. and it isn't that much extra work if my guy is already grilling.

+selecting certain foods to wrap individually - sometimes making freezer portions is tricky! so a few foods i decided to embrace the unknown and wrap a them individually, especially things that we might use for just one lunch here or there. {this was hard for me due to accepting the responsibility of extra trash, but throwing out that extra food for the times i thawed too much would also be greatly disappointing}

+making "one handed snacks" - making and freezing quick snacks was something i thought would be extremely helpful in those first few weeks of getting time with just me and baby. making granola bars and muffins was one way i thought i could probably grab a quick snack without a ton of hassle. i enjoyed trying out this recipe for the granola bars. and i think these oat cakes are to die for {on a few i pressed chocolate chips on top for a little extra treat on a rough day}

+making our "family newborn menu" - i thought it would be necessary to keep track of the foods we have. partly so i didn't make only pasta based dishes for our freezer, but also to help us when selecting something to eat on a tired "momma and papa can't do this now" kind of night. we know we need to eat, and we need to sleep. so we are trying to make those two things easy to approach {did i tell you we put our guest bedroom downstairs?! i'll be comfortably napping on both living floors of this house for sure} to make a "menu" i used a newsletter template from my computer's pages program, popped in a few of our food photos and listed food by meal and instead of a price i marked if it was saved in the kitchen or cellar freezer. printing and posting on our fridge made it feel like we could "order" something quickly and get to reheating and eating. our plan is once we know we are out of a food we will cross it off the menu.

+planning for flexibility - we made several ziplocs of cooked protein that could be served on a bun or with noodles or a salad. we also have meals that can reheat straight from the freezer incase we need a quick dinner because someone didn't think about dinner with enough time to defrost something.

+ this website ::New Leaf Wellness:: was a HUGE help! there are plans for preparing several crockpot meals for the freezer at once... including a shopping list and easy to print recipes. i highly recommend checking it out!

+ using ziploc bags really saved room in our freezer - also, i read {in this post} to use parchment paper to line casserole dishes that way once the food cooled the parchment could lift up and slide into a ziploc... saving your casserole dish for continued use in the kitchen! i love this idea!!!

how about you? any bulk food prep tips to share?

have a great day, friends!

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