Postpartum Meal Preparation with Once A Month Meals
Postpartum Meal Preparation
This week I wanted to share my experience of using Once A Month Meals to help me with my postpartum meal preparation.
I love to eat. Most of the time, I also enjoy the process of cooking food too! However, between completing my MBA, and dealing with pregnancy, I’ve learned that when I’m tired, I don’t feel much like cooking. I also know that the weeks I invest time in meal preparation, are the week’s that I eat the healthiest.
In anticipation of sleep deprivation and having my hands full with a newborn baby, I knew that cooking meals was going to be a challenge once my baby arrived. But, we all have to eat! I don’t want to end up eating Papa Johns, Subway and Roberto’s Taco’s every week.
My husband’s cooking skills are limited to heating up soup, pouring milk on cereal and MAYBE whipping up a pot of chili (seasoning mix + ground beef + canned tomatoes + canned beans). So, I’m the sole chef in the household.
As an immigrant and a military couple, we don’t live near family. All of my relatives are in England, and my in-laws are all on the east coast. We aren’t expecting to have any house guests in the first month, which means no extra hands to help with cooking.
Now that I’m approaching the 4 weeks left mark, it seemed like the right time to do a big postpartum meal preparation day.
Once a Month Meals
A month ago, I stumbled across Once a Month Meals and was immediately impressed. I’ve browsed many a freezer cooking and meal preparation blog post. What is amazing about Once a Month Meals is you can create customized menus, while still getting an easy to follow shopping list, instructions and thaw information based on the number of servings you need. The way the information is broken down makes it easy to juggle preparing multiple recipes at one time.
I was so impressed; I immediately signed up for their affiliate program. This means that if you decide to try Once a Month Meals after reading my experience and use my affiliate link, I’ll receive a small commission.
Every menu you choose and customize comes with:
- A Grocery Shopping List organized by category for faster and easier shopping.
- Prep Instructions to help you prepare all your ingredients ahead of time.
- Step-by-step Cooking Day Instructions for fast and efficient freezer cooking.
- Individual Recipe Cards with detailed cooking and freezing instructions.
- Printable Labels for your freezer bags with thawing and reheating instructions.
- A Thaw Sheet for a full list of your menu’s defrosting or reheating instructions.
As much as I’m not a picky eater, I decided I wanted to switch a few recipes around from some of their pre-built menus. While picking recipes I searched for nutrition (including fruit/veggies was a priority), healthier comfort food (because when I’m tired I want comfort) and lactation support (a few of the recipes included oats or flaxmeal, which should help my milk supply).
I settled on the following recipes:
Disclaimer: You won’t be able to view the recipes without an account. Click here to sign-up.
- Banana Flax Pancakes (20 pancakes = ~5-7 servings)
- Easy Breakfast Burritos (8 servings)
- Peaches and Cream Overnight Oats (4 servings)
- Buffalo Wing Turkey Lettuce Wraps (4 servings)
- Pesto Vegetable Soup (4 servings)
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos (5 servings)
- Beef with Broccoli (4 servings)
- Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese (4 servings)
- Cheesy Artichoke Chicken with Basil (4 servings)
- Chicken Rollatini with Spinach Alla Parmigiana (4 servings)
- Low FODMAP Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon (4 servings)
- Peppers with Chicken and Mozzarella (4 servings)
Postpartum Meal Preparation – Grocery Shopping
I asked my husband to accompany me to the grocery store on this occasion. Grocery shopping has become increasingly challenging as my pregnancy has progressed. Between reaching items, pushing the cart, loading the checkout belt and then loading/unloading the car, I end up having mild cramps and feeling pretty exhausted. I knew this was going to be a BIG shop, so I bought some muscle-power.
The ingredient list provided by Once a Month Meals was SO HELPFUL. I actually went one step further and transferred the list to an excel sheet (which you totally don’t NEED to do). This allowed me to remove items that I had in my pantry, sort the list by my usual order-of-shopping and add in my usual weekly shop items and pantry stock-up items.
Postpartum Meal Preparation – Cooking Day
I decided to start cooking the breakfast items first and then move onto lunch/dinner recipes in a fairly random order. First, I reviewed the preparation list and completed all of the items with the exception of vegetable chopping. It seemed like it would be easier to chop the veggies before I needed them, rather than have them sat around for a couple of hours, or having to find a container and space in the fridge.
I had to take a break between every couple of recipes. I’m finding it hard to be on my feet too long! To save myself some aching, I set up my chopping board at the dining room table so I could sit down.
By mid-afternoon, I was feeling pretty tired and decided to postpone two of the recipes for the next day. If I wasn’t pregnant, I’m confident I would have been able to complete all of the recipes within 8 hours.
After completing all of the recipes, I did some freezer reorganization to ensure everything would fit. My freezer is normally fairly full on a usual day and is now jam-packed.
Pictures show packaged portions, and not always the entire recipe prepared. Some recipes I packaged into single serving (e.g. overnight oats), some into double portions for me and my husband (e.g. butternut mac and cheese), and some into four portions (e.g. chicken rollatini).
A Summary of My Once A Month Meals Experience
I’m genuinely excited to try all of the recipes. Some of them smelled amazing while being prepared or cooked. I also feel confident that I’ve found a good balance between nutritious meals and comfort (cheesey!) food – which, for me, guarantees I won’t get too distracted by the lure of ordering in.
Postpartum meal preparation was one of the last ‘big’ baby preparation items on my 12-week countdown to-do list. It feels GREAT to have this done and know that there’s one less thing to worry about postpartum.
I totally see myself doing this again after the baby arrives. It’s much easier for me to carve out one day of cooking than to worry every evening “what’s for dinner?” I barely made a dent in the huge collection of recipes housed on Once A Month Meals – they have such a large variety of recipes and menus.
If you’re a “try before you buy” type you can get the Once a Month Meals FREE mini menu. You’ll receive a freezer cooking menu with five recipes, plus a grocery shopping list, prep instructions, recipe cards, labels and more. Just click here and complete the form at the bottom of the web page.
Did you do any postpartum meal preparation while pregnant? Share your experience in the comments!