It never fails to amaze new parents. A newborn baby is tiny and sleeps most of the time, but the whole house is turned upside down by their presence!
Life suddenly becomes very demanding and tiring with a tiny baby at home.
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So, if you don't have a personal chef – or a relative staying with you to cook all the meals -it's a good idea to think ahead and prepare some easy meals that you can freeze before baby arrives.
It's important that you keep your strength up while breastfeeding and recovering from the birth and this way you can eat well without having to think about supermarket trips or cooking.
Pasta meals are perfect and freeze really well. Make some different varieties with protein (mince meat or chicken for example) some veg (shredded carrot, tomatoes, onions) and maybe a cheese sauce (providing calcium).
How about making some homemade soup? It's full of nutrients and can be frozen in individual portions so you've always got something healthy to grab and defrost.
You can make soup with any vegetables; a potato and an onion make a good base for anything like broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, butternut squash, sweet potato, celery or asparagus. Carrots make a tasty soup and are one of nature's top sources of vitamins (they are rich in beta-carotene and a source of vitamins C and E). Cooked carrots have twice the antioxidant power of raw carrots.
Leave the veg chunky or puree them for a creamy variety. Add milk to thin your soup before serving rather than water then you're adding calcium into the nutrient fix! Homemade tomato soup is wonderful and very nutritious. You can also freeze bread rolls separately and defrost quickly in the oven to have warm crusty rolls to dip in your soup.
How about making some casseroles? Even on a summer's day a casserole can be a treat served with fluffy white rice, couscous or crusty bread. Braise beef slowly in vegetables; add some tinned tomatoes, carrot or butternut squash to a chicken casserole or a touch of Korma curry paste and fresh coriander to create more exotic-tasting tagine.
Don't be worried about adding a splash of wine to your casseroles as the alcohol is cooked off.
Another easy stand-by is meatballs in tomato sauce which freezes well and can be served with pasta and enjoyed by everyone!
Other good stand-bys
Pizza dough. Freeze in individual portions and defrost as needed. Top with tomato paste and cheese for a healthy homemade snack.
Frozen fish. Bags of frozen fish are useful because you can cook them from frozen. Poach in a little milk and sprinkle with seasoning and parsley, or cook in the oven with cherry tomatoes.
Sliced bread. Freeze individual bags with a couple of slices of bread which you can toast from frozen. Toast and butter with your choice of spread is a great stand-by and you don't have to nip out to buy fresh bread!