Meal Ideas for Expectant Parents

Being the parent of a newborn is a wonderful, harrowing, magical, and exhausting experience. After a sleepless night, a showerless day and several hours of baby screams, the thought of preparing dinner can be enough to make a new parent weep. That’s why anyone who has been through it knows that the best possible gift to receive is a hot meal.

I wrote a post on the importance of prepared food for new parents before my second baby arrived, but now that I’ve lived through those first few draining weeks, I have to express again just how incredible those gifts were. Plus, our friends and family came up with some great “food support strategies” that I have to share.

 

  • The freezer pack. Our friends made up several yummy meals and conveniently froze them so that we had a range of options in the freezer at all times. The pack included frozen waffles, burrito filling with tortillas, and homemade macaroni and cheese. They also brought some educational videos for us to borrow which we have been hugely helpful when we’re too exhausted to keep our two year old entertained after a sleeplenss night with our infant.
  • The dry mix pack. While my mom was here she measured out the dry ingredients for several muffins, breads and cookies. Then she put them in individual zip lock bags and listed the recipe and what still needed to be added in permanent marker. It has been so very helpful! I wrote a post long ago about this very topic here.

What are your ideas for home made meals for new parents? Have you cooked a few for new families or been lucky enough to receive some? Feel free to share your stories!

Comments

  1. I use a great website for organizing meals for new parents at our church. It is http://www.foodtidings.com You can send one message to multiple people, and then they can each access the website to sign up for a specific date and let everyone know what they are bringing. It makes it really easy on the organizer as well as all those who want to bring meals for their friends!

  2. Great ideas! I made myself freezer meals ahead of time, but I will do the dry ingredients beforehand too, next time around. I think my favorite meal we were brought was homemade pizza. Our friends brought it ready but uncooked and while it cooked we visited and they held the baby, etc. It was a great and simple blend of fellowship and food!

  3. I’m expecting a baby in 12 weeks, and I’m feeling the final crunch! I’ve been making to-do lists, figuring out childcare arrangements for my 2-year-old, and making meals to freeze for when the baby is born. So far all I’ve frozen is clam chowder, enchiladas, and freezer jam, but I have a huge list of things I’m planning on making in the next 9-10 weeks!

  4. We were lucky enough to receive lots of home-cooked meals when both of our kids were born (our new baby is now 8 weeks!) My biggest tip would be to package meals in a container that you don’t need returned. We’re still trying to get containers back to people that kindly brought us food!

  5. I second what Angela V-C said… use containers that don’t have to be returned! Zipper freezer bags, foil pans, “disposable” tupperware are all great (and you can obviously re-use the tupperware many times).

    The “what to put it in” dilema was our big stumbling block to freezing food in general. We heard about people who make monster batches of food and freeze some for their families and/or to share but had a hard time figuring out what would work for an inexpensive but workable solution for containers.

    Once we figured out that a giant batch of spaghetti mac can be cooled down a bit then spooned into quart size freezer bags – we started a “cook lots and freeze some revolution” at our house… making everyone’s lives easier and happier! Even if you just make a monster batch of homemade mac n cheese or pan full of taco meat once a week… you can freeze enough for 2 – 4 meals to eat later, it’s SO exciting (and a little sad to think how excited we get over not having to cook a meal once in a while – oh how our lives have changed)!

    There are quite a few books and websites on cooking large batches of food and freezing it, they talk about containers, recipes, etc… just Google it! 🙂

  6. I have a dream of a “freezer meal making” baby shower where, instead of bringing stuff for baby and parents, people bring assigned ingredients to make freezer meals and instead of playing baby games, everyone prepares food together. I know I would cherish this type of baby shower and gift. I hope someday I opportunity to plan one for someone else who might appreciate it as much as I would.

  7. Celeste, I’ve thought about that shower idea, too. Another option might be to have everyone bring a freeze-able meal–and it can be homemade or storebought. Many people hate cooking and would not be excited about having to cook for someone else. If they have the option of stopping by Trader Joe’s for some muffins or something, they’d be thrilled.

    Another tip I read somewhere: make a bunch of freezer casseroles such as lasagna, macaroni and cheese, etc. Pour those into Zip-loc freezer bags. Then settle the bags in an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan before freezing, so that the stuff freezes in a block shape that can easily be popped out and baked in the same pan. (Hope that made sense.)

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