How Moms To Be Can Meal Prep Before Baby Arrives
By: Jamie Johnson, RDN
While most expecting parents are preparing for baby in the way of washing clothes, installing car seats, and setting up baby monitors, meal prep for baby is my main focus as I prepare for baby number 2 in a few weeks, and all the chaos that will ensue with a toddler in tow.
Why stock the fridge and meal prep before your baby is born?
I’m making sure I meal prep before baby arrives and that I stock up on all the nutritious foods that will make life as easy as it can be, not only now when energy these days is hard to come by, but also during those first few sleep-deprived weeks. The last thing you want to think about when you come home from the hospital is a grocery list or what you’re having for dinner.
Helpful Pantry Tips: What’s in a pregnant dietitian’s kitchen
- Eggs: Eggs are always a staple in my fridge. Not only because they are delicious, easy, and can be used numerous ways, but also because they are a rich source of choline , which is an important nutrient for baby’s brain development. Pregnancy and lactation are when choline is needed most so eggs are always in the fridge. Plus, they’re a quick source of protein when I need it. Leto smoothies are also a good choice for choline!
- Dates: Dates are rich in fiber and make great natural sweeteners to add to smoothies and baked goods. Some studies suggest that dates in the last few weeks of pregnancy can help get the body ready for labor, so at 34 weeks, I started eating around 6 a day. It may or may not help, but worth a try. Plus, my toddler loves to snack on them, too.
- Frozen Vegetables: I always have a few bags of frozen vegetables in my freezer. Frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh, sometimes even more so since they are frozen at the peak of freshness, and in my opinion, can be easier to prepare. I use these when I have no energy to prep dinner, or do not have any fresh veggies on hand. They are typically pre-cut and take no time to cook. I just pour the bag in a skillet, and they can be ready in 5-10 minutes. That way I always have a vegetable I can serve.
- Fresh Fruit: Being pregnant in the summer meant constantly trying to hydrate and stay cool. Fresh fruit is a great way to do that while also providing important nutrients to baby. Plus, it makes for a nutritious toddler snack. Whether it’s fresh berries, grapes, apples, or cut up watermelon or pineapple, I always have it on hand because it’s so refreshing.
Nuts and Peanut Butter: They are a good source of protein and healthy fats, two nutrients that help keep you full. Nuts especially make for a great one-handed snack to keep within arm’s reach while breastfeeding. My personal favorites are pistachios, which actually may help prevent gestational diabetes. I like to have nuts and peanut butter on hand for snacking or for adding to things like:
- Baked goods
Oats: Oats are a whole grain full of fiber, which can help alleviate pregnancy constipation, but may also help support lactation. I love making:
- Energy balls
- Overnight oats
I keep energy balls in the freezer for a quick snack and love having overnight oats on hand for breakfast when those middle of the night feedings hit hard in the mornings.
Lunch and dinner frozen meal prep ideas
I also plan on meal prepping before baby’s arrival by freezing meals so it’s one less thing on my plate when baby comes. Thinking about dinner is sometimes a stressor for me so if I can have a few in the freezer ready to be thawed, it’ll make those first few weeks a little easier. Here are a few ideas that are great to make and freeze ahead of time:
- Chicken enchiladas
Don’t forget toddler snacks
Where would I be without toddler snacks? They have saved the day on multiple occasions, and I am counting on them to come through again when trying to breastfeed a newborn while keeping a toddler entertained. They work wonders. Some of my daughter’s favorites that are also nutritious are:
- 100% dried fruit bars
- Siggi’s yogurt pouches
- Cheese sticks
- Mamma Chia pouches
- Cerebelly bars
- Pita chips and hummus
- Freeze-dried fruit bags
Happy meal prepping from this pregnant dietitian
I hope this helps you have a well-stocked kitchen and meal prep as you get ready for baby. And I hope these things will help keep other little ones (or hangry partners) entertained while you’re occupied with baby.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for medical advice. Always consult a medical professional or healthcare provider related to medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.
About the Author
This article was written by Jamie Johnson. Jamie is a registered dietitian nutritionist, freelance health writer, recipe developer and mom with a passion for prenatal and pediatric nutrition. You can learn more about Jamie at www.ingrainingnutrition.com or follow her on Instagram at @ingrainingnutrition.