Keep yourself nourished with these dietitian-recommended postpartum freezer meals. Store-bought and homemade options included.
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I’m a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. And you better believe that I’m stocking up on freezer meals before our little guy gets here in the next couple weeks.
As much as I love cooking and trying out new recipes, I have to admit that throughout my entire pregnancy I’ve felt very “over” cooking.
And while I’m still about two weeks away, I already know that the little motivation I do have for cooking right now will go out the window.
So, to avoid spending far too much money on takeout, my game plan is to have plenty of meals and snacks on hand. And that includes a mix of store-bought and homemade freezer meals.
Whether you’re also also expecting a new baby or are simply tired of cooking, I’m sharing my go-to postpartum freezer meal options that I’ll be stocking up on to keep myself nourished in those first few weeks with my new baby.
Despite all the attention on “eating for two” and cravings during pregnancy, your calorie needs are actually at their highest if you decide to breastfeed.
The exact amount of additional calories you’ll need depends on your activity level, body composition, and whether you’re exclusively breastfeeding.
However, in general, most women need an extra 450-500 calories per day on top of their pre-pregnancy calorie needs.
Not breastfeeding? Sure, your calorie needs won’t be increased, but it’s still important to keep yourself nourished and hydrated.
Not only is good nutrition helpful for physical recovery, but it can help keep you feeling more energized and less foggy.
In addition to calories, breastfeeding moms also have increased needs for other nutrients as well, including:
Also make sure to consume plenty of omega-3’s either through fish or with a DHA supplement as those healthy fats are important for your little one’s brain and eye development.
Note that plant-based sources of omega-3’s (like hemp and flax seeds) are rich in ALA not DHA. While some ALA can be converted to DHA by the body, it’s best to take a supplement if you don’t regularly consume fatty fish.
To ensure that you’re getting adequate nutrition, it’s generally recommended to continue taking your prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding. My go-to is Nature Made Prenatal + DHA.
But of course, talk with your doctor for personalized recommendations.
There are a LOT of options out there to choose from, both homemade and pre-made.
When selecting healthy postpartum frozen meals, here are some of the key things I look for:
Unlike during pregnancy when there’s a long list of foods to avoid, the main concerns during breastfeeding are having too much of three things: mercury, caffeine, and alcohol.
As I doubt you’ll find alcohol or caffeine in your frozen meals, let’s just talk about mercury.
The good news is that sushi is back on the menu! However, for tuna or swordfish lovers, you still need to be careful about how much mercury you’re consuming.
High mercury fish to avoid when breastfeeding include:
As for other mercury-containing fish, limit your intake of the following types to no more than 4 ounces per week:
For a complete list, check out this handout from the FDA. Ideally, you want to only pick fish from the best and good choices until you’re no longer breastfeeding.
Currently, research has not shown that breastfeeding women need to avoid spicy food.
However, there are anecdotal reports of women who only rarely eat spicy foods and when they do, their babies either don’t want to drink the breast milk or are fussy afterwards.
With this one I think it all comes down to figuring out what works best for you and your baby. If you find that spicy food affects your baby, then avoid it.
But generally speaking, it’s best to expose your baby to a large variety of flavors and spices through breastfeeding.
Okay, let’s talk about what to buy! Here are my top 6 favorite freezer meals or brands that I’ll be stocking up on postpartum.
I’m slightly obsessed with this frozen pizza. Not only do you get some veggies thanks to the cauliflower crust and tomato slices, but it tastes delicious!
I usually put my pizza right on the oven rack so that it gets nice and crispy in the oven.
To make it a more balanced, filling meal, I’ll usually pair this pizza with a simple salad or a bag of steamed mixed frozen vegetables.
Burritos are a great option as they’re quick to reheat and easy to eat with one hand if needed. Although I usually enjoy mine on a plate with some avocado slices on top and extra salsa.
You can’t really go wrong flavor-wise, but my go-to’s are the Southwestern and the Tofu Scramble Breakfast Burrito.
In addition to all of their products being vegetarian or vegan, Amy’s also offers gluten-free and dairy-free burritos as well.
Evol is one of my favorite frozen food brands and used to be a go-to when I had to bring lunch into work. All of their meals are free of artificial colors and flavors, contain quality ingredients, and taste really good.
I particularly like their Vitalize, Warrior, and Boost bowls as they’re all high in protein, contain at least 1 serving of veggies, and include whole grains.
What I love about Deep Indian Kitchen is that they provide flavorful, quality meals while also supporting a good cause.
Every purchase helps provide essentials for school children in remote Indian communities, including school supplies, lunches, and clothes.
All of their meals are made following family recipes from India, handmade with quality ingredients, and free of artificial colors, flavors, and additives.
My current favorites are the Chicken Tandoori with Spinach and Chicken Tikka Masala.
Not technically a full meal, these meatballs are super handy to have around. For a balanced meal, I’ll either pair them with a bag of steamed frozen vegetables and brown rice or place them over a quick and easy salad.
I really like how strongly-flavored they are, and the ingredient list is super impressive too:
Organic Turkey, Organic Yellow Lentil, Organic Feta Cheese, Organic Spinach, Sea Salt, Organic Rice Starch, Organic Dill, Organic Dehydrated Garlic, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Olive Oil.
Nutrition-wise, they’re low in saturated fat, moderate in sodium, and have 13 grams of protein!
If you enjoy eating plant-based foods, Daily Harvest is a great option as they have nutritious smoothies, grain bowls, chia bowls, oat bowls, and even flatbreads that you can order from their website.
You can read my review of the frozen meal delivery service over on Healthline.
In addition to having store-bought options, I’ve also prepared a few homemade postpartum freezer meals as well.
Below are the recipes I’ve made along with any notes or tips I have for freezing and reheating them.
Unlike many breakfast burritos, I like this recipe as it’s packed with veggies! However, there are a few tweaks that I usually make:
I’ll also sometimes take out the sweet potatoes and use black beans or shredded hash browns instead.
This pasta sauce is my go-to as it’s full of flavor and protein yet super easy to make! By having a container of it on hand in the freezer, all you have to do is thaw it, toss with some whole grain pasta noodles and a bag of steamed frozen vegetables and bam! Healthy, balanced meal. So easy!
To thaw and reheat, you can either do so in the microwave or on the stove. You could also thaw the sauce overnight in the fridge and then reheat in the microwave or on the stove the next day.
I recommend stirring the sauce in a reusable deli container like these. However, to save space in your freezer you can also freeze the sauce in a freezer bag.
Out of all the savory recipes on the blog, this is the recipe I make the most frequently so I knew it’s one that I’ll be wanting once the baby is here as well.
To freeze, you can either freeze the formed, but not cooked meatballs, or bake them first and then freeze.
Either way, place the uncooked or cooked lentil “meatballs” on a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are frozen. Transfer them to a freezer bag or other airtight container and store for up to 3 months.
When ready to re-heat, thaw the meatballs overnight. The next day, either bake the uncooked meatballs as directed or reheat pre-cooked meatballs in the microwave. While they’re reheating, making you buffalo sauce and toss the heated lentil meatballs in the sauce to serve.
The great thing about chili is you have a whole meal in one pot. Plus, it generally tastes even better the longer that it sits in the fridge or freezer as the flavors get extra time to meld.
This recipe is one of my go-to’s as it’s made in the slow cooker. Plus, she includes tips on how to freeze it both cooked and uncooked.
However, I do make just two changes:
This recipe is by far my favorite enchilada recipe as the flavors are just so different and have a great balance of earthy and vibrant.
To freeze, assemble the enchiladas as directed up to step 7 (don’t add the salsa verde or cheese on top).
Place a layer or two of plastic wrap over the top of the enchiladas and press down slightly so that the wrap is touching the top of the enchiladas. Cover with a tight-fitting lid.
When ready to make, thaw the enchiladas overnight in the fridge. The next day, preheat the oven to 400 F and add the salsa and cheese on top. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes than is called for in the recipe.
In addition to having freezer meals, here are some other easy meals or snacks I recommend keeping on hand in your pantry or freezer:
Share your go-to postpartum freezer meals in the comments below!
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