Realistic Postpartum Meal Prep Plan
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Let’s be real. The idea of prepping meals ahead of time before baby comes is much easier said than done. I don’t know about you but when I’m in those final weeks of pregnancy the last thing my body wants me to do is to stand in the kitchen for hours cooking. Cue pain in feet, legs, hips, back…no good. However, once your sweet baby is earth-side you’re going to wish you had at least planned a bit since there isn’t a ton of time to cook between feedings, diaper changes, snuggles and your own personal recovery. I’m currently 38 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child so I figure this is perfect timing to develop a REALISTIC postpartum meal prep plan that will not only benefit my family but hopefully yours too.
This is what I came up with…
Make ahead and freeze:
Although my husband and I have planned ahead to figure out how to have him home for a bit longer this time (3 weeks vs. 6 days) I know that I will inevitably find myself alone with a baby (and likely a toddler) and need food that is ready to eat and extremely easy to prep (bonus if it can be consumed with one hand). However, I also know that I’m just not that mom (or dietitian) who has the energy or motivation to prep 21 postpartum meals at the end of my pregnancy. So I had to prioritize. I chose to focus on a couple of breakfast items, a killer snack option and then purchase several ready-made frozen foods to have on hand.
Currently in my freezer:
Freezer Friendly Breakfast Sandwiches by Emily Kyle, MS, RDN*
Freezer Breakfast Burritos by Jessica Penner, RD*
*(I slightly modified both of these to suit our needs and you can easily do the same!)
Smashed Tuna Sandwiches by Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD
The patties are in the freezer.
5 Ingredient Energy Bites by Chef Savvy
These energy bites are so yummy and easy to make! Recovering from delivery and nursing can make you super hungry so these little suckers do just the trick when I’m in need of a nourishing snack that will leave me full and satisfied!
Freezer meals I purchased from Trader Joe’s:
- Family Style Meat Lasagna (will pair with pre-mixed salad like the Broccoli and Kale Slaw Salad at TJ’s)
- Tempura chicken, brown rice, edamame, pineapple and broccoli
- Frozen pizza (Yup! No shame in my frozen pizza game)
- Pad thai single meals
- 3 x chicken burritos
- 2 x grass-fed ground beef (to include in instant pot recipe mentioned below)
Instant Pot Recipes
I LOVE my Instant Pot (affiliate link). It’s been a lifesaver during dinner prep with my toddler so I know it will be the gift that keeps on giving when I have a toddler AND an infant making their demands while I try to get food on the table. Here are the recipes that we’ll have set up on Plan to Eat. More on Plan to Eat towards the end of this article.
Oh my gah this pasta dish is SOOO easy and I’m telling you it is RESTAURANT QUALITY. You can also modify it in a thousand ways – you could do a non-creamy version or throw some zucchini and eggplant in there. The options are endless.
Instant Pot Classic Beef Chili
If it ever rains in San Diego this season, we’ll be whippin’ this sucker up for sure!
Instant Pot Artichoke Chicken Orzo
This one takes a tad more time than the others but it’s worth it!
Pressure Cooker Chicken Black Bean & Rice Burrito Bowls
We either top this with chopped bell pepper, cabbage, avocado and sour cream and include a side of chips OR use the filling to make burritos. This is great as a make-ahead and freeze meal, too!
Snacks to purchase ahead of time to stay on top of your and your children’s needs (if this isn’t your first rodeo):
- KIND Bars (affiliate link)
- Lara Bars (affiliate link)
- Trader Joe’s Almond Butter Granola (OMGGGEEEE this ish is a-ma-zing)
- Just Mango Dried Mango from Trader Joe’s (In addition to fruit leather and dried fruit bars I’m actually planning to include these as a snack early on in labor).
- Omega-3 Trek Mix from Trader Joe’s or this Omega-3 Deluxe Mix (affiliate link)
- Whole wheat crackers
- Cheese sticks
- Peanut Butter Pretzels from Trader Joe’s
- Plantain chips from Trader Joe’s
- Fresh fruit
Finally, the most important part of this entire meal planning process is our regular use of Plan to Eat – a software program that will seriously change your life (PROUD affiliate link). This program allows me to:
- Upload recipes from online or manually enter them so that they’re all in one place
- Create menus that I can save and re-use
- Generate shopping lists with the single click of a button!
Do you know what that means for postpartum meal planning? Once I make the menus, it’s done! I can generate and send that list off to my husband or another family member. I can even ask someone to use it to load into a grocery delivery system.
Use my referral link for a free 30-day trial. You can also request to be my “friend” and get access to all of my recipes and saved menus!
Even better? I have a FREE TRAINING that will teach you how to maximize the use of Plan to Eat! You’ll also be subscribed to my list
I combine my skills as a dietitian, meal planner for the masses, and experience as a mom, to help you use Plan to Eat like a pro! Once you’re on my list, you’ll also get plenty of resources for living well without being a slave to the scale.