New moms: Free up some time with these freezer meals

Click here to watch our October 14 segment on WJBF News Channel 6!

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I’ve been trying to find and embrace balance in a few of areas of my life lately. As you know, I’m all about reducing the barriers to healthy eating by making it quick, cheap and easy – as well as tasty and satisfying, of course. That can be a tall order. On top of that, I’ve added yet another dimension: fresh. This is what has me thinking about balance.

I was a loyal “meal prepper” for a few years, until recently, when I noticed that I just couldn’t get myself pumped up to do it. I couldn’t stomach the idea of spending my entire Sunday – my day of rest – bulk cooking these meals that seemed to lack the love that a fresh meal offers. I missed cooking for my husband – and enjoying the same meal together.

When I stepped away from meal prepping, I started to miss the convenience it offered me during the action-packed week. So I knew that I needed to find a place in the middle, between fresh and convenient, and try something new: freezer meals. The only prep work includes chopping certain ingredients and throwing them into a freezer bag and into the freezer.

Striking a good balance with healthy eating is even more critical to moms who have just welcomed a new addition to the family, because they need the energy necessary to not only care for someone who completely depends on them but also to keep themselves healthy. So I developed a couple freezer meals that moms – or family and friends! – can prep before the baby’s arrival or while he or she is sleeping.

Blueberry Kale Smoothieimg_0182

Benefits:

  • Kale and bananas last up to three months in the freezer; refer to package instructions on how long frozen blueberries last
  • Breakdown of ingredients that are good for Mom:
    • Kale – good source of:
      • Antioxidants (help with preventing various diseases)
      • Calcium (contributes to bone health)
      • Iron (provides energy by helping with holding onto and transporting oxygen to various parts of the body)
      • Vitamin A (contributes to skin health and vision)
      • Vitamin C (contributes to healthy immune system)
    • Blueberries – good source of:
      • Antioxidants (help with preventing various diseases)
      • Carbohydrates (help to boost energy)
      • Minerals
      • Vitamins
    • Almondmilk and nonfat plain Greek yogurt – low-fat dairy products are a good source of:
      • Calcium (contributes to bone health)
      • Protein (helps to repair bones, muscle and tissue)
      • Vitamin B (helps your body to convert the food you eat into fuel)
      • Vitamin D (strengthens bones)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup blueberries, frozen (from freezer section of grocery store)
  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 12 oz. unsweetened vanilla almondmilk

Instructions:

  1. Place kale and banana in sandwich-size plastic bag with a zipper flatten bag to remove air and for easy stacking and place into freezer.
  2. When ready to enjoy, place frozen kale and bananas and remaining ingredients into a blender, and blend thoroughly.

Note: You may also use the frozen kale and bananas for my green smoothie recipe.

Beef Chiliimg_0181

Benefits:

  • Lasts up to three months in the freezer
  • Breakdown of ingredients that are good for Mom:
    • Lean beef – good source of:
      • Iron (provides energy by helping with holding onto and transporting oxygen to various parts of the body)
      • Protein (helps to repair bones, muscle and tissue)
      • Vitamin B-12 (helps your body with forming new red blood cells, brain function, metabolism and hormone production)
    • Beans (legumes) – good source of:
      • Carbohydrates (help to boost energy)
      • Protein (helps to repair bones, muscle and tissue)
      • Iron (mainly in the dark beans; provides energy by helping with holding onto and transporting oxygen to various parts of the body)
    • Quinoa – good source of:
      • Carbohydrates (help to boost energy)
      • Protein (helps to repair bones, muscle and tissue)

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2-14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes no salt added
  • 1-15.5 oz. can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-15.5 oz. can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-15.25 oz. can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • Chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Ground pepper to taste

Options:

  • For a savory chili: Add a can of no-salt-added corn, one diced onion and/or scallions, one diced bell pepper, minced fresh garlic or garlic powder to taste and garnish with a dollop of nonfat plain Greek yogurt and shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese.
  • For a sweet chili: Add cinnamon to taste.

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a gallon freezer bag, flatten bag to remove air and for easy stacking and place into freezer.
  2. Allow to thaw in refrigerator for a day. Once thawed, dump contents of freezer bag into crock pot. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8.

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charm

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