Freezer meal making is so exciting to me; I’m truly passionate about it. And as someone that has, since the birth of my first, made over 10,100 meals (and that is a conservative estimate!), I think I’ve tried just about every trick in the book. Even now, with 6 kids that I homeschool (meaning I’m making 3 meals a day, 5-6 days a week!) — I keep coming back to the lifesaving, timesaving, peace-filling nature of
These have made my life easier, especially life with littles — postpartum life — doula/postpartum placenta services life, and — a life that wants to bless others (serving through taking someone a meal — and not having to think twice about it!).
The reasons to meal plan for the freezer are abundant. But the ways to go about it, outlined in the 1st and 2nd posts, might be a little daunting. I wanted to give my very favorite approach in this last (at least for now) post in this series, as well as offering an option for those who’d like some additional coaching through the process (read ’til the end to find out about that) …
My favorite easiest method that is time and budget conscious is that of, quite simply, doubling whatever you’re having for dinner (or breakfast, or lunch!) and putting the extra in the freezer.
To make it do-able, I suggest:
Start around month 7 of your pregnancy, choose one night where you’re going to make a double batch of one meal. Eat one, put the other in the freezer.
If you extrapolate that out, and say you do this for 10-12 weeks, that means you have about 2 weeks of meals in your freezer! It didn’t make a huge impact in your budget, and you seamlessly wove it into your life. Good job!
But what if you’re reading this post and you’re at week 33, and still wanting those meals? Or, you have a toddler, and still want to learn more about easier living through planning meals?
My new holistic coaching opportunity might be the right fit for you.
I’ll work with you to determine:
- What do you like to eat?
- How many are you feeding?
- What allergies, intolerances, likes and dislikes are you dealing with?
- How many meals do you want to create?
- How do you want to cook them (crockpot, oven, skillet, microwave, etc?)
- Or, do you want to prep salads and to go lunches, or raw food items? (I have experience with that, too.)
- What is your budget?
Here is an example:
Enter my client couple (to see how this works!).
Step 1: What do you like to eat? My clients like chicken and (ground) turkey, and prefer not to eat much red meat. They like veggies, and prefer low dairy. Using some fun tools, including Once a Month Meals, Wildtree, and Pinterest to give them several options within their dietary needs and preferences.
Step 2: How many meals do you want to create? They’d love to have 12 meals ready when Little One arrives, and this is a great and very attainable goal.
Step 3: Tidy your freezer first – and make your first shopping trip there!
- Do you have a bag of frozen veggies in there? Random buns/bread, or odds and ends? Take a week to menu-plan from your fridge and freezer, so that you’ll have room for storage. You’ll end up with 7 – 10 frozen meals.
- Option: You can/should still do this if you have a deep freeze, but you might not feel the need to empty it out as much…
- If you have items in your freezer that will go into your meal creation process, keep those frozen. In general, you want to keep what’s already frozen FROZEN. If you buy raw, keep it raw until the process is complete, before putting in the freezer.
Step 4: Look over your options (this is getting fun!)
First, Once a Month Meals: I found recipes that would fit the bill for them, with their preferences, and preferred store, Costco. They might visit a second grocery store for smaller quantities of some items.
I chose the following 6 meals from Once a Month Meals that I thought looked delicious, were easy to prepare, and flexible for their family. I selected ‘Easy Assembly’ for every recipe, except the meatball recipe. Easy Assembly means – no cooking! Just into the freezer bag or container, and ready to freeze! I would hope they’d get one of these handy bag stands — makes it so much easy to fill multiple bags!
To get their goal of 12 meals, they’ll actually TRIPLE a few of the recipes! But, this will be easy peasy, as they are easy assembly, as I mentioned. I( always figure, as long as you’re making 1, might as well make 2-3!) I kept the serving size for 4, so they’d have ‘plan-overs’ = planned leftovers. There’s a little bit of everything: meatballs, crockpot meals, soups, burgers, pasta, and meatloaf! Comfort foods at their finest.
Recipe: Mama’s Meatballs and Gravy (swapping out the ground beef for turkey) – (dinnertime assembly/ eat 1, freeze 2.)
Recipe: BBQ Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken (GF/DF) (assemble in the morning. freeze 2, eat one for dinner)
Recipe: Veggie-Packed Slow-Cooker Black Bean Soup (assemble in the morning, eat one, freeze 2)
Recipe: Jodi’s Chicken and Noodle
s (dinnertime assembly – eat 1, freeze 1)
Recipe: Turkey and Black Bean Burgers (assemble any time of day – keep 1 portion to eat, freeze 2 portions)
Recipe: Italian Chicken Packets (assemble any time, keep 1 portion to eat, freeze 2 portions)
Recipe: Easy Turkey Meatloaf (make 1 to eat, 1 to freeze) **Note: I would definitely swap out the veggie soup mix in this recipe with Wildtree’s All Natural, Preservative free option! Contact me to order that product at 10% off!
Cost: ~$16 for a month subscription to Once a Month Meals, plus ink for printing if you’d like to print recipes, lists, etc, and then groceries and supplies.
Second: Wildtree: Comfort Foods freezer kit is a great option that includes all their preferences. It features recipes that are ‘no-cook’, similar to the Once a Month meals option I selected.
If they wanted a ready-made option of a freezer meal kit, I found the one that worked best for them would be the ‘Comfort Foods’ kit, from Wildtree. This provides all the seasonings they’d need, plus a detailed shopping, prep, assembly, recipe, cooking, and side dish suggestion list! They could make 10 meals in about an hour or two, and then repeat to make 10 more meals at another time.
Cost: ~$80 for complete kit, plus groceries and supplies.
Third: Use Pinterest and Blog Posts!
This post by New Leaf Wellness is a great example of a go-to, and can be adjusted to fit their preferences (it doesn’t fit it perfectly as is, but has a lot of really great recipes). And again, these do not require cooking before freezing.
I hope I’ve shown you that freezer meal planning doesn’t have to be super time consuming, or costly. Again, I have a passion for helping people plan meals. Please drop me a line if I can help YOU to succeed in having a smooth postpartum! Contact me today!