If you’ve caught a couple of my previous posts, you’re probably well aware of the fact that I have gestational diabetes. One of the perks of GD is a really healthy diet. So healthy in fact, I haven’t gained a single pound my entire 3rd trimester (don’t worry- I had some lbs to spare and baby girl is growing just fine). For the most part, I’ve stuck with a modified keto diet to control my GD. I allow myself way more carbs than someone actually on the keto diet would ever consider eating, but still few enough to not cause any spikes in blood sugar. I also completely cut sugar out of my diet with the exception of a half a banana here or there.
I find it easy to have such a strict diet when there is a forcing function. It’s when the forcing function is removed that I struggle. Since I know this about myself, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how I can continue a healthy diet without having to go to the extremes of GD/Keto. I fell into that category of never having lost the last 10 lbs of baby weight before getting pregnant again. I really don’t want to fall into that category again.
After a lot of internal debate, I decided the best thing to do is to simply try to stick to a healthy diet. Completely cutting sugar out of my diet would be awesome, but totally unsustainable. Instead, I plan to take a balanced approach to eating. I’m sure with a little effort I can make the “everything in moderation” approach work.
Since I’m so self-aware, I decided the best thing to do to help control my post-baby diet, is to meal prep. I know that if I’m struggling with the transition from one kid to two, meal planning is going to fall to the wayside and we’re going to be eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pizza. To combat this likely scenario, I decided to spend the last month of my pregnancy making and freezing a variety of healthy dinners. My hope is that with a freezer stocked full of healthy dinners, I won’t have the urge to order pizza when things get stressful.
I’ve done a lot of reading on how other people meal prep for a new baby and frankly, it is not for me. It seems like the trend is to pick 4-5 meals and just make a bunch of them. I assume this works for some people, but I get bored. I need a little more variety. If my options are the same chicken we’ve had for dinner at least once a week for the last month or a pizza, you better believe I’m going to order the pizza.
With all this in mind, I compiled a list of freezer-friendly dinner recipes that I thought would last us approximately a month. For the most part, these meals are casseroles that only need to be warmed or crock-pot meals that need to be thawed and tossed in the crock-pot the morning of. Then, I made my grocery list and hit up my local Aldi (if you’re on the fence about trying Aldi, I highly suggest you grab a quarter and some reusable bags and give it a try). All in all, my meal prep trip cost about $125. This averages out to about $32/week. Normally, we spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 per week on groceries. So, I don’t think this ended up costing us any extra and depending on how we shop for breakfast, lunch and snacks after the baby is born, we may end up saving money.
I split the actual meal prep process up over a couple of days. It really didn’t take long at all. I spent about an hour each day prepping. The fastest meals to prep are the crock-pot freezer meals. Simply toss the ingredients in a Zip-loc bag, label and place in the freezer. The longer meals were the ones that needed to be pre-cooked and then frozen. To save on dishes (and because I only have a couple casserole dishes), I ordered these foil pans with lids for prepped meals. I was able to easily label each dish and they stacked nicely in the freezer (once frozen).
While there was a bit of legwork involved in the planning and preparation of so many meals, it offered peace of mind. I can’t say exactly how well it will go after baby girl arrives, but it is nice to have one less thing to worry about. If you’re the sole meal preparer in your household, I highly recommend meal prepping in this manner. I get quite a bit of satisfaction from opening our freezer and seeing a months worth of dinners.
For anyone interested in the specific recipes I meal prepped, here they are: