My youngest is three and a half, so it has been awhile since we have had a baby in the house (even though she still acts like one half of the time!). And in the eight years that we’ve been having children, my food habits have changed dramatically.
My oldest daughter was born in 2004, and at that time, the term “freezer cooking” was not in my vocabulary. And although my husband and I were 28 and 22, respectively, we tended to eat like college kids, minus the Ramen noodles. Hamburger Helper and other boxed delights were among our food staples.
Now, we lean toward the organic fruits and veggies, grassfed beef, raw milk side, with cans and boxes being utilized less frequently. We also removed our microwave last year, so that shortcut isn’t an option.
That means Momma had better get to cookin’ if anyone is to eat… whether she feels like it or not.
First Trimester Blues
I don’t know about you, but during my first trimester, I am horribly nauseous and very sensitive to smells, particularly fried eggs and meat cooking. So how do you cook for your family when you can barely stand up straight because the smells make you sick?
During this time, I rely a lot on my crockpot and oven. For some reason, the smell of a meal slow-cooking (even meat) doesn’t bother me. We also eat a lot of pasta, like homemade macaroni and cheese, spaghetti with homemade sauce, or chicken pasta salad.
Second Trimester Bliss
Most of the time, I feel pretty darn great during my second trimester. I’m no longer nauseous and I’m not completely exhausted. Now is the time to think ahead and plan for late in your third trimester and for after baby. This is where freezer cooking can come in really handy.
I like to cook up several whole chickens (or turkey!) to shred and freeze for later meals. Having this pre-cooked, frozen chicken is important because makes it easier to toss into tacos, onto homemade nachos, or in any pasta meal. You can also cook hamburger meat and then freeze it in 1- and 2-cup portions for the same result. I also make broth from those chickens and turkeys. You can freeze it and pull it out whenever you need it for soups, casseroles, or other dishes!
Third Trimester Burst
This is it. Crunch time. Before long, you have twice-monthly appointments which lead to the once-a-week ones and the when-am-I-going-to-have-this-baby-already mentality. Now is the time to begin utilizing some of those freezer meals that you made in the second trimester. And if you happen to have a sudden burst of energy and feel like cooking a meal, be sure to make a second batch to freeze for after baby comes!
Right now is when I prefer anything quick and easy. The less time I have to spend standing on swollen tootsies, the better. Quick suppers like breakfast for dinner or a version of beans and rice might happen once a week (or more!). I also love using the pre-cooked, frozen chicken and meat that I made during the second trimester.
Keep it Simple
I always try to have a lot of fresh fruit and veggies on hand. These make a quick, easy, and healthy side with little prep time or effort… no matter in what stage of pregnancy you are. And in our house, fruit or a simple spinach salad is always a welcome addition to any meal! If you prefer your veggies cooked, you could try asparagus sautéed in butter, sweet potato fries, or oven-roast those veggies.
And don’t forget about leftovers! Use any remaining mashed potatoes in Leftover Mashed Potato Soup. Toss other leftover veggies, or even pasta into a stew.
Get the Kids Involved
If you have other children, involve them in the dinner-making process. Have them pull out and measure ingredients, chop veggies, or toss a salad. Every little bit helps!
How do you keep your kitchen going while pregnant?
This month, the Eat Well, Spend Less ladies are talking all things baby! Read more great tips, ideas, and recipes here:
Written by: Amy Norton
Amy is a youth pastor’s wife and homeschooling mom to three girls, ages 8, 6, and 3, and has a baby boy on the way. When she’s not writing at Kingdom First Mom, you can find her cooking, getting crunchier by the day, and trying to stay on top of the laundry. She enjoys writing about her homelife adventures at Amy Loves It.