Freezer Meals & Snacks to Prep Before Baby

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Freezer meals and snacks to prepare before the baby comes! Recipes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I never thought I’d be the person to prepare dozens of recipes to eat after our baby arrives. I love cooking and didn’t think having a baby would keep me from the kitchen those first few weeks. In the last month of my pregnancy, however, the “nesting” urges consumed me. I wanted to do anything and everything to prepare our home and life for our baby girl.

And I’m so thankful I did. Recovering from an unexpected C-section left me pretty immobile for a couple weeks and this food has been our saving grace.

Creamy chicken noodle soup - freezer meals on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Feeling ambitious towards the end of my pregnancy, I cooked a couple times each week and ended up stocking our freezer with 8 large-batch meals, cookies, healthy snacks, and breakfasts. I felt accomplished, satisfied, prepared, and my mind was at ease knowing we’d have homemade food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacking.

Anything to bring peace of mind as you anxiously await your baby’s arrival… do it.

Trust me, DO IT.

Easy freezer meals on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Here are 8 quick tips for preparing freezer meals, whether you’re expecting or not. It’s always helpful to have a stash of delicious food on hand!

Clear out your freezer.

Unless you have a spare freezer in the garage or basement, be sure to clear out as much room as you can in your kitchen freezer. We have a spare in the basement and I was able to fill it with larger casserole dishes and a few large containers of soup that didn’t fit in our kitchen freezer.

Containers + labeling.

I like to freeze flat foods in zipped-top freezer bags. Things like cookies, bars, and muffins are perfect for stacking because they’re relatively flat. I layer cookies, bars, and muffins on paper plates then put the whole plate into a zipped-top bag. Freeze foods like chili, soup, pulled meat, and meatballs in freezer-friendly containers. And label everything with the recipe name and the date.

Freeze in smaller portions.

So we’re not eating chicken noodle soup or pulled BBQ chicken for lunch and dinner 5 days in a row, I froze some meals in smaller portions. If you get sick of the same food day after day, I recommend doing the same! Smaller portions also reheat quicker.

The slow cooker is your BFF.

Take full advantage of your crockpot when preparing freezer meals before your baby is born. I chose “set it and forget it” type meals that didn’t require a ton of standing, stirring, chopping, and prep-work and I highly recommend you do the same. Utilizing the slow cooker made cooking in bulk much easier since there isn’t much “hands on” time required. Much appreciated when you’re super pregnant!

Concentrate on easy and filling meals.

Easy in both preparation (see above) and reheating– meaning any recipe that can simply be reheated on the stove for a quick meal when you’ve got a newborn. And satisfying meals, too! I’m so concerned with Noelle’s eating that I often forget to feed myself snacks– or it’s 3pm before I realize I didn’t eat lunch. Filling, comforting meals like chili and soup keep me going all afternoon.

Bonus if they’re healthy and nutritious.

Your energy is zapped! Healthy meals sustain you and are always a great idea if you’re nursing.

Don’t forget about breakfast and snacks!

Most people who meal plan only focus on dinners, but breakfast and snacks are just as important. I’m usually running around like a madwoman in the mornings and something as simple as brewing coffee feels like a major victory. I link to a bunch of freezer-friendly healthy breakfasts and snacks below.

Don’t stress.

You can do it all, but you can’t do it all at once. Don’t beat yourself up if you plan to make a dozen meals and only end up preparing 4-5. At least it’s something! You have more important things on your mind– and rest is important.

If pregnancy taught me anything it’s this: treat yourself with a little more grace.

Vegetable lasagna - freezer meals on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Lunch + Dinner

  1. Slow cooker chicken chili. The meal that just keeps on giving! Super filling and freezes wonderfully. Freeze in 1 big container or a few smaller containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or place the container/bag in the sink filled with warm water. Once thawed, cook in a large pot on medium heat for 30ish minutes. Or reheat in the microwave until warmed throughout. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  2. Taco spice turkey chili. I LOVE this chili. It has so much flavor and is incredibly satisfying. Freeze in 1 big container or a few smaller containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or place the container/bag in the sink filled with warm water. Once thawed, cook in a large pot on medium heat for 30ish minutes. Or reheat in the microwave until warmed throughout. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  3. Meatballs. I made a double batch of these meatballs– plain. Meaning, I just made the meatballs and baked them in the oven without using the slow cooker or the tomato sauce. (Skip the browning step– just prepare/roll the meatballs and bake at 400°F (204°C) for 25 minutes.) I simply wanted plain baked meatballs so when we thawed them out, we could enjoy them a bunch of different ways. We’ve gone through half so far– mixed some with tomato sauce for meatball subs and ate a few plain with lunch. I placed them in a couple large freezer-friendly bags. Simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  4. Coconut chicken. I had a major craving for these in the last week or so of my pregnancy. I cooked them for dinner one night, then prepared another batch the next day to freeze. Here’s how I froze them: After the chicken is coated in the coconut, place on a parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined baking sheet and place in freezer for 2-3 hours or until frozen solid. Then transfer them to a large freezer-friendly bag. See the recipe for how to bake/reheat the uncooked frozen chicken. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  5. Pulled BBQ chicken. Easy and versatile! Freeze in 1 big container or a few smaller containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or place the container/bag in the sink filled with warm water. Once thawed, reheat in the microwave or on the stove until warmed throughout. Great for pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches/sliders, eaten plain, or on top of salad. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  6. Vegetarian lasagna. I am so grateful I prepared this lasagna! At almost 40 weeks pregnant, it took me all morning but it was well worth the effort. I prepared the entire lasagna in a disposable 9×13 pan, did NOT bake it, covered tightly with aluminum foil, and froze it. Defrost it in refrigerator overnight, then bake (covered) in a 375°F (191°C) oven for 45-50 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and continue to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until heated through. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  7. Lightened-up chicken noodle soup. (Pictured below!) I made a double batch of this soup one day. Worth the effort because it’s been my favorite meal postpartum. It’s super cozy and comforting and keeps me full for hours. Freeze in 1 big container or a few smaller containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or place the container/bag in the sink filled with warm water. Once thawed, cook in a large pot on medium heat for 30ish minutes. Or reheat in the microwave until warmed throughout. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  8. Slow cooker teriyaki chicken. A new recipe I just shared last week. We LOVE this teriyaki chicken because it’s easy, relatively healthy, saucy, delish, and super versatile. Place into a freezer-friendly container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or place the container/bag in the sink filled with warm water. Once thawed, cook in a large pot on medium heat for 10 minutes. Or reheat in the microwave until warmed throughout. Great over rice/quinoa, with steamed veggies, or on buns sandwich-style! (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)

Lightened-up creamy chicken noodle soup on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Breakfast + Healthy Snacks + Cookies

  1. Breakfast cookies. Surely you know I prepped a bunch of my favorite healthy, gluten free, and dairy free cookies! I made a double batch. Instead of fresh blueberries, I made half with dried cranberries and half with raisins. I piled the cookies onto a paper plate, placed the cookies + plate in a freezer-friendly zipped-top bag, and have been removing a few at a time to thaw in the refrigerator. These were even my go-to snack while pregnant. I couldn’t get enough! (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  2. Healthy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I actually made these refined sugar and gluten free this time! I added updated notes to the recipe if you want to try them this way. I piled the cookies onto a paper plate, then placed the cookies + plate in a freezer-friendly bag. Freezing in a freezer-friendly tupperware works too. Remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator. They’re delicious right out of the fridge! (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  3. Oatmeal raisin cookie granola bars. I made two batches. Like both cookie recipes listed above, I piled the bars onto a paper plate then placed into a freezer bag. A freezer-friendly tupperware works too. Thaw in the fridge. (Freeze up to 3 months.)
  4. Breakfast casserole. I made one, but wish I made more! Healthy and packed with veggies, this simple breakfast is filling and quick. I baked it in a disposable aluminum pan, allowed it to completely cool, covered tightly with aluminum foil, then froze. Thawed it for about 24 hours (covered) in the refrigerator, then stuck it in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 25-30 minutes. (Freeze for up to 3-4 months.)
  5. Zucchini muffins. I made a double batch of this zucchini bread batter and baked muffins. This is a very simple batter to throw together, even when 9 months pregnant. No mixer required. After cooling completely, I placed them onto a couple paper plates, then into a freezer-friendly bag. The relatively flat muffins make it easy to pile the plates on top of each other. We’ve eaten half so far– I simply thawed them overnight in the refrigerator, then let them sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  6. Apple crumb cake. I made this to enjoy when family visits. This isn’t something we’d normally eat during the week just ourselves, but it’s perfect for more indulgent weekend breakfasts. You can bake and freeze it in a disposable 9×13 pan or cut the cooled cake into slices and freeze in a freezer-friendly zipped-top bag or tupperware container. That’s what I did. (Freeze up to 3-4 months.)
  7. Cookies! I baked crispy chocolate chip cookies (from Sally’s Cookie Addiction), cake batter chocolate chip cookies, and black and white cookies. Once completely cooled, I froze all three batches of cookies. I piled them onto a paper plate– very simple since the cookies are flat– then placed the cookies + plate in a freezer-friendly bag. Freezing in a freezer-friendly tupperware works too. Remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. (Most cookies can be frozen up to 3-4 months.) I love whipping “fresh baked” cookies out when we have visitors for Noelle!

Cake batter chocolate chip cookies - freezer meals on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The trick to preparing so much? Plan ahead. Create a schedule. Grab a friend or family member to help. Use any free time at night and on the weekends to make 1 or 2 meals. Do this for a few weeks leading up to your due date and your freezer will be generously stocked. And your mind will be at ease (as much as it can be!).

How to stock your freezer with satisfying meals, dinners, lunches, breakfast, and healthy snacks. Tips, tricks, and freezer-friendly recipes on sallysbakingaddiction.com
How to stock your freezer with satisfying meals, dinners, lunches, breakfast, and healthy snacks. Tips, tricks, and freezer-friendly recipes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

63 Comments

All Comments

  1. The labeling thing is key! I forgot to label my freezer meals when I was pregnant- hello pregnancy brain- and we ate mystery dinners for a month a lot of the things I cooked looked very similar when frozen so it was always a surprise!

  2. We just went through this with baby #2, and I found it helpful to also have a stockpile of paper plates, foil pans, crockpot liners, and plastic cups/utensils around. When you’re feeding a baby and hubby is chasing a toddler, no one has time to stand at the sink doing a bunch of dishes! Between the crazy-intense nesting urge and remembering what it had been like the first time around, I managed to stick our deep freeze with six weeks’ worth of food! Once we ran out, we turned to our Instant Pot, which has also been a total lifesaver. Congrats, Sally!

  3. Yes yes yes to this! And let me say it’s helpful even when your not having a brand new baby! I work in a tax and accounting firm so January to April is soooooo crazy for me. I do freezer meals so I know my family is getting a good home cooked meal even when I can’t be home to make it. I always do lots of meatballs, chili, and chicken pot pies. And whenever I make a quick bread, I do the little mini loaves and freeze a couple of those too!

  4. Sally,
    So very proud of you planning ahead and being able to take care of yourself. Remember-put your oxygen mask on yourself before helping someone else! I had to chuckle at the picture of your freezer-it’s bigger than my fridge!

  5. With my second pregnancy I was in a ton of pain and freezer meals just weren’t happening.  I went from feeling so miserable to giving birth and feeling like a new woman that I was cooking every night lol.  But this is definitely a good idea and I want to make those breakfast cookies this weekend!!

    1. Being the pregnant scatterbrain I was, I totally forgot to label things until my husband reminded me! So happy I went back and did it because some things look exactly the same and we’d have a fun guessing game to play as we thawed meals out lol

  6. This is perfect timing for me! I am due in 2.5 months with baby #2. Last time I made zero meals and it was a major struggle when the baby came. This time I am determined to prepare as many meals and snacks as I can. Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

  7. Great ideas! My niece is due in 8 days and I think I will do this for her! Glad you are all doing well! Thank you for sharing beautiful Noelle with us!

  8. Just when I didn’t think that I could be in any more awe of you. Seriously girl, you are my hero! It is nice to hear that you are taking care of yourself as well as precious Noelle. I hope that you are recovering well and feeling okay. Myself and both siblings were born via C Section. My mom always says that C Section babies are ten times more beautiful 🙂 Thinking of you! I will light a candle at church this week for you and your family.

    1. Thank you so much Angela 🙂 
      I’m doing well! Taking it super easy these past few weeks. And I’m definitely thankful I don’t have to worry about cooking!!

  9. There’s nothing better than freezer meals. They’re a staple in my house. Hope you’re feeling better. After I make the apple crumb cake a second time, I’m going to make the cake batter chocolate chip cookies. Hope you’re feeling better. Have a nice weekend.

  10. These are great ideas! Even though I’m not pregnant (or planning to be ever ever again lol), I have a very active 11YO, and it’s always a challenge to plan healthy meals for weeknights. So I’ve been looking for ways to “stock the freezer” on weekends. These recipes look great! I can’t wait to try the chicken noodle soup and the teriyaki chicken. And trust me, things never truly calm down after having a kid, you just learn to adapt around it. Then, as soon as you figure out how to manage one stage, your child moves on to the next with no warning! 😉 But I love your attitude; I think all us moms should give ourselves a break for not being perfect. We have the most important job in the world, but just by loving and caring for our kids, we’re already doing a great job.

  11. I love this post! Very inspiring. I seriously want to get on the freezer meal train. With a mostly vegetarian household, I find it harder to plan freezer meals though. You included a couple here that can work. One thing I am good, though, at is freezing cookie dough. Whenever I make cookies, I make a double batch, so that I can freeze the balls of dough. It allows me to have freshly baked cookies at any time. My favorites are your chewy chocolate chunk cookies and your pumpkin snickerdoodles 🙂

  12. Ok, i’m a busy nurse and student. Finishing my last prerequisite for my RN.
    When I start the program, RN, this will be a godsend to me and hubby. Classes will be 6 days a week- lecture and clinical. So make ahead and freeze, thaw and enjoy. HOORAY.
    This goes into the file for school, so I can grab and go.

  13. I applaud you for doing this. My oldest will be 17 this month and I’ve been saying for 17 years I’m going to start cooking on Sunday for the whole week and still haven’t done it…sign…ha…having 3 c sections, I understand your pain. .just maybe I will get motivated to do these. :)…
    Blessings, Sara Lee

  14. I love this. I don’t have any babies on the way, but still wish I could meal prep like this. Maybe I’ll add to my list of goals. Along with clearing out my freezer. 🙂 I am glad to hear you had the energy to prep all these meals in advance. And your right I don’t think most people think of breakfasts and snacks. I am sure Kevin appreciates it as much as you do. I know I would. And I will gladly take any extra freezer cookies you might have on hand 🙂 LOL

  15. Freezer meals are a life saver – and not just for the postpartum recovery! Babies are unpredictable, mine would start her “witching hour” at supper time for ages and it’s still her crankiest time of day at almost 8 months. I’ll be using some of these ideas to stock the freezer for when I go back to work.

  16. Thanks for sharing!! I didn’t do when either of my bundles were on the way – but plan on freezer meal prepping before I return to work from maternity leave!! Congratulations on your bundle of joy! 

  17. I have been so excited for this post and it didn’t disappoint! Thanks for this, Sally. I’m stocking up my freezer for my boy’s arrival next month and the idea of having a freezer full of meals brings my anxious mind some peace, haha. Hope (though I know) you’re enjoying motherhood and your sweet Noelle!

  18. Great idea, Sally!!! Btw, we just got your newest cookbook and I might find some time to flip through it!!! It will be fun to try some new cookies, especially the holiday ones!!  

  19. Freezing meals is a wonderful idea for everyone! You are so smart Sally! Thank you for sharing this on your blog. 🙂

  20. Having meals on hand is so helpful with a new baby. My advice is to save some of it though for when the baby gets a little older and you get back to work – that’s when you really don’t have time. In the beginning babies sleep a lot so you will still find time to do things but once she’s more awake (or mobile) is when it gets tricky and then add work on top of it. These meals all sound so good and makes me want to restock my freezer.

  21. I did this before our little one was born and am trying to start doing it again to make weeknights easier. One trick that I find helpful for freezing soups is to put the soup in a ziplock then lay it flat on a cookie sheet until frozen. The frozen bags of soup stack nicely and take up much less room in the freezer. Congrats on sweet baby Noelle! 🙂

  22. No baby on the way here, but life can get incredibly busy so it’s great to have food on hand. Plus sometimes I just get in the mood to cook/bake for hours, so this is brilliant. And I never would’ve thought to stack cookies etc on a paper plate. What a great idea!

  23. Question: once it’s thawed, does it need to be eaten within 24hours? Or a few hours? Im not sure what the safe practices are! 

    1. Which recipe? Because once you thaw one of these meals, just store the meal/leftovers in the fridge until it’s all eaten up. After thawing out, it’s best to enjoy sooner rather than later.

      1. I wasn’t focusing on a specific recipe, I just meant in general! Thanks for your input!! Can’t wait to start stocking up my freezer!

  24. Love your beautifully organized freezer, as well as your beautiful baby girl.  Such a lovely name!   The first time I EVER prepared freezer meals was when I was pregnant, 27 (omg!) years ago. It has become a habit ever since.  Having just 2 or 3 freezer meals at the ready has come in handy more times than I can count.  It can be both a time- AND a money-saver.  And congrats again on welcoming baby Noelle into the world!  Everyone says to treasure these early years, because they go by so fast, and it’s true.  But I’m here to tell you that ALL the years with your child are special, with each year/age/stage bringing its own unique joys.  ❤️  Wishing you and your husband all the best as you enter this wonderful new phase of your lives  – hope Jude and Franklin are happy about their new sibling, too.

    1. Thank you so much for this sweet advice about treasuring all the moments, Debbie. Very much appreciated! And I agree with you– it’s SO nice to have even just a couple meals prepped in the freezer. My goal is to always have some back-ups in there once we are finished eating all of the baby prep freezer meals!

  25. I wasn’t this organised whilst pregnant, but on the occasion when I have to go away for work, you’ll find me shoving meals in the freezer so that my husband doesn’t have to cook – particular favourites for this are goulash and what is known round here as soupy chicken.  I also try to make sure that the cake tins are full of goodies before I go, so I know that there’s an instant something to eat somewhere!  Big respect for your meal planning skills!

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