As I started making my list for freezer meals (and baked goods, let's be honest) that I wanted to begin preparing before my third baby arrives, I thought I might as well share here as well in case anyone else in on the hunt for nutritious yet delicious food to nourish yourself and your family during the 4th trimester.
My family has food allergies and intolerances, and the recipes included here reflect that. We first began eating this way after my first child starting displaying symptoms of food allergies as a breastfed infant (he's now 6). We went through an elimination diet with the help of the wonderful lactation consultants at public health and were able to determine that he reacted to cow's milk, wheat, and eggs. MAJOR DIET CHANGE. But years later, I can tell you without a doubt that it was worth it. Our breastfeeding relationship survived and thrived, and we all adapted to our new "limitations." I for one was surprised to discover that I actually felt a lot better - apparently I had low-lying intolerances to wheat/gluten and dairy as well. While this won't be the case for everyone who goes through an elimination diet or changes their diet to benefit their nursling (cow's milk, eggs, and wheat are fairly common irritants for newborns, as are caffeine, chocolate, and soy), I am here to attest that with the right support, you won't feel deprived in the slightest.
BROWNIES | gluten-free, dairy-free
Not normally a nutritious food, right? Enter Elana's Pantry. Though these are chocolate, they boast an amazing balance of protein, healthy fat, and carbs that make them (an incredibly satisfying) power food, especially for those middle-of-the-night nursing-induced ravenous hunger attacks. Made with high-protein almond butter rather than flour, these are my absolute favorite, especially when made with dark cocoa powder and dark chocolate chips. They also turn out great with flax "eggs," if those are out of your diet.
PALEO PORRIDGE | gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free
There are a number of "n'oatmeal" (faux oatmeal hot cereals that are grain-free) and paleo porridge recipes out there, and they are surprisingly filling, nutritious, and delicious. My favorites can be found on The Spunky Coconut blog as well as Elana's Pantry - the recipes are a mix of unsweetened coconut, dates, raisins, seeds, nuts, etc. Kelly of the Spunky Coconut's new book, Easy Paleo Meals, also has several recipes and tips for preparing your porridge in advance. Before baby, I like to prep the dry mix and divide it into individual portion sizes in small mason jars that I stick in the freezer until I'm ready to throw them in the blender with boiling water to transform into creamy hot cereal.
KALE TART | gluten-free, dairy-free
This is a recipe included in Elana Amsterdam's book, The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. I highly recommend purchasing this slim volume - I love Elana's recipes because they're simple and easy to prepare, don't require any weird ingredients (no xanthan gums or a million strange flours required), and always turn out. I really wish we'd discovered it when we first had to go gluten-free! At any rate, this kale tart is one of my favorite recipes in the book. It's got both your veggies and protein in one dish, works great as a side or as a vegetarian entree, and have I mentioned that it's delicious?
BONE BROTH & SOUP
I have to admit, I'm new to an appreciation of bone broth. I just didn't know what it was until recently! But since learning about it and experiencing its benefits (and deliciousness) firsthand, it's something I want to always have on hand. There's nothing better by the mugful when you feel you might have a cold coming on, when you're worn down (...and who would feel that way postpartum?...), or when you feel like you just need a little extra umph in the day's nutritional intake - and, of course, it's the best base for soup there is. We absolutely love our Instant Pot pressure cooker for quick bone broth - two hours and it's done! - and I love the tutorial on Nom Nom Paleo that details her foolproof method for delicious broth in the Instant Pot. I believe it's in that same post that she talks about her favored method for storing her broth - she freezes it into "pucks" in silicone muffin molds and then puts them in ziplocks, so she can grab 1/2 cup portions and reheat whenever needed.
ALMOND BUTTER FREEZER FUDGE | gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free
These are amazing little fat bombs, quick to grab for blood sugar boosts, super refreshing on hot days in particular, and surprisingly delicious in light of their limited ingredients. Check it out on the Detoxinsta's site.
SWEET POTATO STUFFING | gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free
This is a dynamite dish for dinner, but in all honesty, it's pretty much my favorite breakfast ever, especially if you throw a few sunny-side up eggs on top...the best. It's hard to find unsweetened cranberries year-round, so if it's too late to stock up your freezer stash during Thanksgiving season, it is possible to order frozen cranberries from Azure Standard and other online grocers. We often make it with white sweet potatoes and turkey italian sausage or my husband's homemade caribou sausage. The recipe is written to make a huge batch, which is fantastic because we make it as written but bake it in two dishes - one for the fridge, and one for the freezer. Each is a solid week's worth of breakfasts packed full of veggies, protein, and complex carbohydrates. You can find the recipe on the wonderful food blog Fed & Fit.
POWER BARS | gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free
Another of my favorites to have on hand, especially for those times when you realize your blood sugar is plummeting but only have one hand free because the other is full of baby. High in protein, healthy fat, and topped with dark chocolate...they're easy to make, keep well in the freezer as well as the fridge, aaaaand they're amazing. Check them out on Elana's Pantry.
That's what I have on my list so far...what are your go-to freezer meals for after baby?