I'm not a big freezer meal prep kinda gal. it's just Lu and I and neither of us travel too much for work, so there's never a reason to really have an arsenal of freezer meals. I love to cook fresh foods and I hate eating the same thing twice in a week. having said that, there have been a few times I've been just too exhausted to cook and I haven't wanted to order something unhealthy and I've found myself thinking, "I wish I had frozen leftovers I could defrost!"
the #1 piece of advice I got from friends was, "prep your freezer!"
although I live in an area that has services that deliver you food (Seamless) and will literally pick up anything anywhere and bring it to you (Postmates), that can lead to spending much more money than necessary AND unhealthy choices. plus, sometimes you just don't want to wait - you want the food now! that's where the freezer comes in.
we're very blessed that we have a grocery store in our actual apartment building, so I'm sure I'll be sending Lu down there to get last minute groceries, like fresh avocados, fruits, almond milk, and items like that. but for the meals, I want to have a good freezer worth of at least two weeks of meals, for when the sleep deprivation is at its highest!
ALSO, we're lucky that my mother will be with us for the first couple of weeks, so she'll be cooking for us, leaving leftovers in the fridge, and helping us stock our freezer a bit more when she leaves. I love her cooking and I'm so happy she'll be helping us through these beginning weeks. and to those who have asked, we are not having a baby nurse or doula.
freezer prep meals/foods
daily harvest smoothies
smoothies are a great way to sneak in nutrients throughout the day, if I am too busy to eat (I've heard that's a thing!) or want to start the morning off with a bang or have a healthy late-afternoon boost. I'm a huge Daily Harvest fan and drink their smoothies all the time, topped with granola, nut butters, coconut flakes, and chia seeds. what I love about Daily Harvest is that they come pre-portioned out, all you have to do is add a liquid (I use almond milk). I tend to also add things like collagen powder to my smoothies for an extra protein boost.
TIP: use code INSPIRALIZED for 3 free smoothies with your order! order here.
green giant riced cauliflower
I've been using Green Giant's Riced Veggies for a few months now, and they're HUGE time savers, so I'm looking forward to having them on hand for post-baby. they make a variety of 'riced veggies'. just defrost and you're ready to make a healthy, low-carb rice bowl.
I've been told that cauliflower can make babies gassy from your breastmilk, though, so I'm going to try it out in the beginning and see if affects the baby. hopefully it doesn't, because I can make easy meals like burrito bowls (top the cauliflower rice with canned beans, avocado, salsa, and lettuce) and defrost some of my meals and serve it on top of the rice for fuller meals.
veggie burgers & buns
when all else fails, make a veggie burger. it doesn't get any easier than this! I like to top my veggie burgers with lettuce, tomato, avocado and if I have time, caramelized onions. I enjoy them in a lettuce wrap or my favorite frozen buns by Ezekiel brand. I will serve them with whatever veggies I have on hand or just make a side salad. this is a great meal idea for lunch, when I'm home alone, because it's minimal prep and is nice and hearty. who doesn't love a burger?
- ezekiel buns (you can find at Whole Foods)
- dr. praeger's veggie burgers (you can find at Whole Foods)
- hillary's veggie burgers (you can find at Whole Foods)
meatballs & sweet potato noodles
can't go wrong with turkey meatballs and sweet potato noodles! since zucchini noodles are so easy and can be done in seconds (and can't be frozen), I'm opting to freeze sweet potato noodles so that I can just toss them in a non-stick skillet and sauté them to go along with some frozen turkey meatballs. I'll make the meatballs and then when I go to make the meal, I'll heat them up with a jar of tomato sauce (I love Victoria Fine Foods or Rao's). quick and easy 10 minute dinner!
I'll be making shredded chicken (using boneless chicken breasts) and freezing it unseasoned, so that I can use it in a variety of different dishes. one of my favorite ways to use shredded chicken is to add it to a soup with spiralized veggies (like a chicken noodle soup), or warm it up with a jarred tomatillo sauce and serve it in a burrito-bowl style meal, or toss it in a salad with avocado and chopped veggies. the chicken's also great to put into a pita with some hummus, cucumbers, avocado, spinach, and tomato, for a quick lunch!
fully prepped freezer meals
here are the meals that I plan on having prepped and in my freezer over the next 2 days, in preparation for the baby:
- vegan quinoa chili
- turkey bolognese (to serve with zucchini noodles or sweet potato noodles)
- chicken sausage and butternut squash lasagna from Inspiralize Everything
- lentil and string bean curry (great to serve over brown rice, spiralized rice, or the green giant riced veggies)
- golden beet arroz con pollo
and that's what I'm packing my freezer with!
unfortunately, I have a pretty tiny freezer, so I don't have much room. as we go through the meals, I'll hopefully have a day or two to meal prep while the baby's sleeping!