Baby meals

I’m one of those people who likes to have a tentative meal plan for the week. It makes it way easier to grocery shop, and since I’m usually frantically running around, if I have to plan and shop then cook at the same time….

well this is what happens.

cereal

Cereal in a mug happens 😉

[and is refilled again… and again….]

I do love my cereal, but it’s going to be important to get colors and nutrients in my diet when the little one is here. Pilot gets some paternity leave, and I’ll be off work, but even so, I have a feeling we’ll be too busy snuggling and staring googly-eyed at our little daughter instead of wanting to cook. (We’ll probably be dead tired, too)

We’re very lucky to be surrounded by my family and our squadron family during this time, and the military wives take great care of each other when one of us has a baby. I’ve written about it before, but we’ll each sign up for a day to take over a baby meal so that the new mom doesn’t have to cook. The baby meals don’t usually start until the baby is a couple of weeks old, so I’m thinking of making some freezer meals and stocking up on nonperishable snacks to have in the meantime. Bonus: when we have visitors, I’ll have a meal ready and will only have to heat it up.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

Butternut squash and goat cheese lasagna

lasagna (2) 

Chicken enchiladas

enchilada

Veggie burgers

burgers

Sweet potato and black bean chili

chili

All of them can be paired with a salad, and BOOM. Dinner is served 🙂

My little project for the next couple of weeks is going to be making a few meals to store in the freezer, and also making and freezing cookie dough to bake when I go into labor, + some macaroons to take to the hospital for the nurses.

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Did you make freezer meals to have after your baby was born? What was your post-delivery meal request? I’ve changed mine up a little since I can’t have smoked salmon. I just want a gluten-free veggie pizza and a giant green juice.

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67 Comments

  1. Amy on December 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Lucky nurses!

  2. Kat on December 2, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    That’s so thoughtful that you’re planning on bringing the nurses some treats! In between contractions: “DO…. YOU… WANT A MACAROON AHH!”

    • Raewyn on December 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm

      Bahaha, that made me laugh so much, Kat! I agree – that’s so sweet of you, Gina! 🙂

      Btw, CRAZY thing happened the other day. I dreamed you had the little lady!! It was so weird…I must have been visiting you bc she was a few weeks old. She was so beautiful, happy, and healthy, and it was stinkin’ cute because she looked like the Pilot! She had your coloring and dark hair though, and was appropriately wearing pink. (Pretty sure there were ruffles too. 😉 Anyhoo, it was really sweet and a very strong dream. Wanted to let ya know! 🙂

      • Fitnessista on December 3, 2011 at 2:12 pm

        that makes my heart so happy <3

  3. Cat on December 2, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    My sister in law is due today (!), and a few weeks ago she and I cooked up a bunch of freezer meals. We did a white chicken chili, a lentil/squash/winter veggie dish, minestrone and maybe one other thing I can’t remember. It was a fun bonding day for us too. Might be a good chance to invite some of your lady peeps over to help out!

  4. Meagan on December 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Just fyi, since I know you like spicy stuff: My mom ate a pizza with lots of jalepeno peppers right after giving birth and then she breast fed me and I got a pretty serious burn and had to go to the hospital. I don’t really know the mechanism for how spicy food can burn a baby through breastfeeding but it happened to me so just be careful with spicy stuff!

  5. Heather (Heather's Dish) on December 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    i have the same plan for when we’re closer to our little man being here in February – i can’t wait! but yes, having food that’s freezer friendly is going to be a huge plus. what are you thinking as far as how to store it in the freezer? are you going to get disposable pans or are you planning on using what you guys already have?

    • Melissa on December 4, 2011 at 4:46 am

      i would also love to know this. I’m not having a little one, but I want to start freezing-ahead & am a little confused on the storage front.

      • Fitnessista on December 4, 2011 at 12:11 pm

        i’ll probably use zip-loc bags for the soups and chilis, and for the casserole type dishes, use the pans we have (i have a lot of roasting dishes and cake pans), wrap in plastic wrap, then in foil

  6. Sarah on December 2, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    I went crazy making meals before my first. It was a big family joke for quiet awhile. I made turkey burger patties and froze them individually from a Martha Steward recipe. I made A LOT of them. My husband still can’t eat turkey burgers.
    It really helps to not be running to the store for stuff. But I did find that it was something people could do for me. Especially my dad who wasn’t extremely helpful with the baby.

    • Sara on December 3, 2011 at 6:21 pm

      When I had care of my baby niece, I got really good at online shopping. Leaving the house with a small baby requires so much preparation that I just preferred to do it in cases of dire necessity only.

  7. Laura @ Backstage Balance on December 2, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    You are so adorable to be prepping cookie dough to bake before you head to the hospital to give birth! Lucky nurses, indeed.
    I think it’s a great idea to prep frozen meals to pop into the oven or microwave. My parents relied on freezing extra meals when I was growing up to keep our busy family well-fed, but it’s something I’ve never really grasped the concept of. That, or I never have leftovers thanks to my 6’4″ beefy boyfriend!

  8. K on December 2, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Why can’t you eat smoked salmon?

    • Lisa on December 2, 2011 at 10:45 pm

      YEA why?

      And you can have veggie pizza and green juice now so why is it your “i haven’t been able to enjoy this for 9mos” meal?

      • Ashley on December 2, 2011 at 11:15 pm

        Veggie pizza and green juice sounds like the post-labor meal of champions to me!

      • Fitnessista on December 3, 2011 at 1:12 am

        I’ve enjoyed it often- it just sounds really good 🙂

      • Fitnessista on December 3, 2011 at 2:16 pm

        i just think it sounds really good! 🙂
        when i last posted about smoked salmon, quite a few people said that the bacteria can be transmitted to the baby if you’re breastfeeding. i’m going to wait on the raw fish until she’s at least a few weeks old and isn’t feeding quite so often

  9. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on December 2, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    “some macaroons to take to the hospital for the nurses” = Wow!!

    In between contractions to think macaroons or about baking for others (or in your 3rd tri to be baking for strangers…my hat is off to you!!!)

    I would encourage you to have things in the freezer but a wide variety and take it easy with spicy things, garlic, onions, notoriously “gassy” foods, i.e. beans.

    JUST in case you end up with a baby who’s really, really sensitive to flavors from your milk..I would have a variety of things, prepared in different ways. It would be a shame to bake/make it all and then have it be seasoned with something the baby is adverse to…not likely, but it can happen.

    Some people say, it doesn’t matter what you eat, the milk will be fine…in theory that may be true but in practice and reality, it sometimes does!

    🙂

  10. Maggie on December 2, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Make and freeze as much as you can! You will be sooooo thankful to not have to cook.

  11. Anna on December 2, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    I’ve never had a straight from the freezer meal before. I’ve always been too afraid that it would turn out strange. Please let us know how it goes and let us know which foods don’t taste great after a trip to the freezer.

  12. Rachel on December 2, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    You are the most prepared pregnant woman I’ve ever SEEN. Awesome. Also, you can’t have a green juice right now? And why no smoked salmon after the nugget arrives?

    • Raewyn on December 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm

      Is it be because you’ll be breastfeeding her right after birth? I know spicy food is a no-no when breastfeeding because the baby can taste it in the milk…

  13. Sara Grambusch on December 2, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Crock pot meals are going to be a good idea! Hopefully your body will crave things and tell you what it needs.

  14. Meagan on December 2, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    My friend group sets up a Care Calender and people bring by a meal on the schedule. My mom also came up and cooked us a few casseroles.

    And right after labor? I inhaled a foot-long sub sandwich in about 2 minutes. It was the best food of my life.

  15. Army Amy* on December 2, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    I was just talking to my mom today about how I’m so glad that I learned to freeze meals this year! It saves you a ton of time and effort. I don’t have a huge freezer, so I put things into plastic bags when I freeze them. This is perfect for soups and sauces. The plastic bags can fit anywhere in the freezer unlike a clunky tupperware container.*

  16. Amy on December 2, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I never stressed about food. I had lots of friends and family who fed me well. I just made sure I had plenty of staples before I went in to labor. Wheat bread, hummus, PB, jelly, eggs, cheese, pasta, sauce, lettuce, veggies, milk, cereal. Trust me…you will be too tired and too infatuated with your little girl to be worried about it the first couple of weeks. The first 3-6 weeks are when people seem to make/bring you the most meals. We froze some of those and had plenty to eat. It is a good idea to have a few things in the freezer, so you will be ahead of the game with a few frozen goodies!

  17. Amy on December 2, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Oh, and plus, all I seemed to want to do was sleep and eat sushi! =) I have 3 girls, so by the third, my husband just brought me home a variety of sushi on the way home at least 3 nights a week! =)

  18. Lauren on December 2, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    I definitely make weekly menus. Especially with a one year old, makes like a lot easier!

    Def have everything you need. I stocked up on Lara bars, coconut water, frozen fruit, etc. Stuff that won’t go bad. Frozen meals are great those first few weeks!

  19. Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile on December 2, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Sometimes cereal in a mug is better than in a bowl. Not sure why! 😀 Everything looks awesome!

  20. kaila@ healthy helper blog! on December 2, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Definitely sounds like a good idea! And all those sound like perfect meals to pop in the microwave for a little defrosting!

  21. Mary on December 2, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    A friend made me pumpkin curry chicken and it was so delicious…I still think about it sometimes.

    A good tip post delivery is to drink a lot of water…if you picture the amount of water needed to make bottles for baby, that (and more) should be the increase over your normal water intake. Every time I would nurse, I would down a bottle of water!

    • Fitnessista on December 3, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      that’s an excellent tip! thank you

  22. Ashley on December 2, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Definitely let us know if you wind up baking those cookies between contractions!

  23. Laura J. on December 2, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    From the way you’ve talked about your family, I bet they’ll be bringing you meals the day you guys get home from the hospital 🙂

    • Fitnessista on December 3, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      haha you’re right

  24. Karin on December 2, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    I was famished after delivery, so my husband brought me a Chiptole Burrito. (it was about 2 hours later). But, I know a woman who had a natural childbirth at home. We watched the delivery on DVD (my preg yoga class), and she was eating pizza about 15 minutes after giving birth. We couldn’t believe it, but she said, she was famished.

  25. Jessica@Fruit and Veggie Tales on December 2, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    It is so essential to have some meals in the freezer and you will definitely need more than you think you’ll need! I would do a double batch of whatever you can because if you go past 40 weeks or if you are just too plain tired after 37 or 38, you may need to break into your freezer stash. It might be a good idea to have some snack type things to freeze also…..muffins, energy cookies/bites, fruit plus greens already dosed into individual bags for smoothies (that way the Pilot or your mom can just throw something in the blender without having to ask you how to do it or what you want.) I always labeled my meals with instructions on how to cook them too, just in case I wasn’t the one reheating it! Breastfeeding and post-partum recovery is some serious business! I always eat more when breastfeeding than when pregnant, and am sooooooooo thirsty! You will really love having meals ready to go! Veggie Pizza and green juice is a fantastic recovery meal, it actually sounds good now! lol My recovery meal was coconut water and a chocolate-banana smoothie. (It was 5 in the morning!) Have fun doing your freezer meals!

  26. Jessica@Fruit and Veggie Tales on December 2, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Oh….and when you do the meals that have g-free noodles, you need to really, really undercook before freezing. The thawing and baking process really softens them up and they can get super mushy. I’ve never tried it, but I wonder if you could use uncooked brown rice noodles, freeze and then they would cook in the oven? Hmm, may have to try that out…

    • Fitnessista on December 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      if you do, let me know how it works!

  27. Amy on December 2, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Recipe for the lasagna please!!!! It sounds delish.

    • Fitnessista on December 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      it’s from cooking light 🙂

  28. Amy on December 2, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Recipe for the lasagna please!!!! It sounds delish.

  29. April on December 2, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Do you know how lucky you are to have the squadron wives to bring you meals? I know you know it and I think it is the BEST gift you can ask for. The help I appreciate most is a home made meal as that is the one thing that has gone out the window these past 5 weeks:- Enjoy all the cooking I applaud you for being so motivated in your third tri!!! And you are so sweet to be bringing the nurses treats:)

  30. Andrea of Care to Breed on December 2, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    You’ll need late night snacks. Breastfeeding makes you super ravenous, and at 12 am, 3 am, and 6 am, the last thing you’re going to want to do is heat up a plate of food. Granola bars, carrot sticks, etc. are the way to go. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep with a Larabar hanging out of my mouth a few times in the beginning 🙂

  31. Kate on December 3, 2011 at 12:12 am

    I had toast with marmite, and a cup of tea after my boy was born! Very very ordinary, but at the time oh so delicious. We kept lots of fruit, muesli bars etc in the house in the early days. I’d often get desperately hungry mid-feed and need to have a munch while my boy was nursing.

  32. Tess on December 3, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Why can’t you have smoked salmon?! When/if I eventually have children, I imagine that’s the food I’ll miss the most…please don’t tell me there’s an extra delay on being able to eat it again.

    • Fitnessista on December 3, 2011 at 2:14 pm

      on my last post where i mentioned it, many people said you still need to avoid raw fish while breastfeeding because the bacteria will be transmitted to the baby. so i think i’m definitely going to enjoy it, but when she’s a little older and not feeding quite as frequently so my body will have time to process it

  33. Ali on December 3, 2011 at 1:27 am

    I think you are very wise to cook in advance! You are going to be so busy with the new little one to want to do any cooking! Are you going to make or purchase your baby food when the baby transitions to solid?

    • Fitnessista on December 3, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      make 🙂

  34. Katheryn on December 3, 2011 at 2:11 am

    I didn’t have meals in the freezer after my first. That was okay though since it was just the two of us, I had family nearby and loads of friends that dropped off meals. After #2 I was much more prepared and had lots of meals and treats in the freezer since I had a 3-year-old at home too. #3 will be born in May and I think I need to have a whole freezer ready and stalked up for a month worth of meals.

  35. Carrie on December 3, 2011 at 2:39 am

    Such a great idea…your goat cheese/butternut squash lasagna, I have drooled over that one before lol…it’s so great that you have the squadron wives and friends/fam close by! Cook and freeze is always an awesome plan. I do that often when my work schedule gets crazy too…

    I have yet to become a Mom but a friend of mine post-delivery requested that I drive to a nearby Ale House and get shrimp, nachos, and…watermelon. She was STARVING… Cold peel n eat shrimp with Old Bay. My husband and I went and got it so that Mommy and Daddy could be with the baby…what Mama wants, Mama should get!!! 😉

  36. Ser on December 3, 2011 at 8:10 am

    I did freezer meals before my last baby was born, and those, combined with dinners from friends, lasted me a month. It was awesome. A tip (since someone asked if you would freeze in disposable pans): line the same rectangular or square baking pan with foil or parchment and then freeze the meal. Once it is frozen, pop it out, put it in a freezer bag, and throw it in the freezer. They are uniform for freezer storage and you can cook each meal in the same pan that you froze it in.

  37. Katie @ Pop Culture Cuisine on December 3, 2011 at 8:11 am

    I had every intention of making freeze ahead meals, but then just never got around to it. In hindsight it actually worked out fine because my mom made us a few dishes to freeze and eat the week after our little girl arrived, as well as people from our church brought us at least one meal a week which we would eat off of for a few days. All in all, it worked out great! And looking back, we were so involved with getting everything right taking care of the little one, meals for us sort of were the last thing on our mind. One request I did have immediately after she came was a Jimmy Johns sub, I know not the healthiest, but having given up deli meat during my pregnancy I was certainly craving one!!!

  38. Kim @ girlevolving on December 3, 2011 at 8:50 am

    The few weeks before the baby I just doubled my dinner recipes – we ate half and I froze half. It was way easier than preparing separate meals to freeze.

    However, we have yet to thaw a single freezer meal (Leo is now 3.5 months old)! I’ve found that making dinner with a baby isn’t really that hard (I work full-time as well). When I make soup I make a GIANT pot of it so we can have leftovers for lunch the rest of the week. It honestly hasn’t been as difficult as I expected it to be!

  39. Allison on December 3, 2011 at 9:58 am

    When my momma was pregnant with my younger brother, she made some frozen meals that we [my relatives in town] could just pop into the oven, but Thanksgiving was also the day after so it was the first Thanksgiving that I remember and I was super scared of the bird, ha!

  40. Megan on December 3, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Go light on the dairy! It will probably be not-so-bad to use a casein free goat cheese in these meals, but they still have lactose- One of the most common problem causing foods in newborn baby infants. To make it easiest on you, choose foods that are the most gentle on her little tummy. Here is a post for you. To be safe you could make meals based on these ingrediets at first. Or, at least tuck it in your back pocket for if you have a fussy, not sleeping or gassy (or all the above) baby: http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2009/05/nourishing-new-mom.html

    BUT, that said, everything you have thought about making sounds DELICIOUS and very nourishing 😉

  41. Minta on December 3, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I think having a couple of meals in the freezer (things Daddy, yours or the baby’s, can finish off and serve) is a great idea. To be honest, though, in the first two weeks, I never sat at the table and had a proper meal. I had frozen meals and a few friends brought some early on, and my husband and I ate from them, but it was never a “meal” it was more like “the baby’s asleep, let me shovel down two or three bites while deciding whether I need sleep or a shower more.” I wish I had stocked up more on the snacks. Something I could eat while nursing. Because in the beginning it feels like that all you do. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome and it goes quick and when your baby is a toddler, that you planned to nurse forever, who only wants to nurse first thing in the morning, you would totally trade back. But, it’s intense in the beginning and eating is way low on the totem pole. After my hubs went back to work there were lots of days I didn’t eat the whole time he was gone.

    Now, on the subject of cooking for guests… if anyone shows up at your house in the first month and does not bring food, they should be promptly sent away! Even my evil, rude, crazy-pants MIL knew to bring food (the good stuff, too, not drive though crap) every time she visited.

    You’ve probably read this in proper books written by experts who know what they’re talking about and are not random internets, but take it seriously… EVERY TIME YOU START A NURSING SESSION, GET A LARGE GLASS OF WATER. Nothing makes you thirstier than hearing someone else drink all of the fluid from your body.

    OK, last thing, then I promise to shut up. Food plan on baking for the L&D nurses. We brought food and those nurses LOVED it.

  42. Lindsay on December 3, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    With breastfeeding I have to be careful what I eat. No onions, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, tomato or tomato sauce, spicy, beans, caffeine including chocolate. But I have te happiest baby ever who never cries and I think me watching what I eat plays a large part so she never has gas and sleeps amazingly! Trust me, nothing is worth having a fussy baby! Once she is a couple more months I’ll introduce those foods back I like I did with my older daughter. But just a forewarning with what meals you make. And I ate all those foods while pregnant fine but the baby still can’t eat them.

  43. Sara on December 3, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    “a gluten-free veggie pizza and a giant green juice.”, and champagne, right? 😀

    • Fitnessista on December 3, 2011 at 6:52 pm

      haha PLEASE

  44. Tierney on December 3, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Oh my gosh! You have to view this birth story slideshow. I came upon the link and watched it and these images are some of the most beautiful I’ve seen. (And she uses the “Capri” song ;o)
    http://www.bobbiandmike.com/blog/index.php/augustbirthstory/

    • Fitnessista on December 3, 2011 at 8:03 pm

      watching it now 🙂

      • Fitnessista on December 3, 2011 at 8:03 pm

        thank you for sending this!

  45. Madeline (Food Fitness & Family) on December 3, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    My mom and I made a ton of freezer meals and I am so thankful we did! 8 weeks in they are all gone now haha. I will be honest though … Emmalyne is such a good baby and I still found myself cooking dinners. It made me feel good. BUT I incorporated the freezer meals into my weekly meal plans so I didn’t have to cook every night.

    You’ll definitely be glad you had them ready 🙂

  46. Maggie on December 4, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    I just caught up on your postings from the week, and “freezing cookie dough to bake when I go into labor” made me laugh out loud. That is the most thoughtful/ambitious/hilarious comment I’ve ever heard with respect to a mom-to-be’s labor itinerary. Ha! I can just imagine the pilot rushing home to drive you to the hospital and you yelling “no, we can’t go yet, the cookies are still in the oven!”. So simultaneously funny and sweet.

    Also: I’m in medical school and we’re learning about nutritional recommendations/requirements during all stages of life….so I learned something that surprised me- nursing mothers need to increase their caloric intake by 500-1000kcal/day (75-85 kcal/100ml breast milk), which is among the highest energy requirements of all healthy human life stages! This is compared with only 100-150kcal increase per day required during pregnancy. Made me think mothers are even more amazing than I already did! Anyhow I thought I’d share- I imagine you’ve likely already discussed these thing with your midwives, but I thought of you and that you might find it as interesting as I did!

  47. Jess on December 5, 2011 at 7:48 am

    We did freezer meals too. I was also planning on one last big shopping trip but I went into labor early! Luckily my husband took a few weeks off and was able to do the store runs.

    My first meal after delivery was a turkey sandwich from one of my favorite local shops. I had been craving it for MONTHS. It was amazingly delicious.

  48. Shan on December 5, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    I haven’t read all the responses so I apologize if I am repeating what’s already been written, but I froze a ton of meals and it was a lifesaver. The one thing that I didn’t do and really wish I had, was more baking. Nursing makes you famished and healthy muffins, granola bars, etc were often consumed in the middle of the night! The first couple of weeks are exhausting and although you probably cannot imagine skipping a meal right now, I found that as soon as my baby girl arrived, I was so busy/tired that I would forget to eat! If it weren’t for my hubby and mom shoving food in my face, I would have starved! Snacks and finger foods are essential!

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