One of the best things you can do for yourself while pregnant is to make some freeze ahead meals. When you have a new baby, you’ll be so glad you have food already made!

You can find all sorts of make ahead freezer meals on Pinterest, but the problem is that they can be exhausting. 20 recipes in 2 hours? That’s cute, but it’s a lot of work. And when you’re pregnant, you probably don’t have that kind of stamina.

And if I’m being honest, most of the foods I see on other plan-ahead meal prep posts aren’t appealing to me. Lots of canned soups, and when you just dump meals into a Crock-Pot they usually don’t have a lot of flavor.

That’s why I’d rather make batch dinners! The premise is simple: Instead of freezing a ton of food at once, just make double (or triple!) recipes as you go during the months ahead of your due date.

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Don’t do it all at once, just one meal every week or two as you’re making regular dinner for the night. Freeze portions for later, and after your baby comes, you have a variety of dinners ready that you already know you like!

Supplies for batch cooking

Before you start your batch cooking journey, there’s a few supplies that will make things easier.

For stews, soups, and sauces, you’ll want a freezer bag holder like this. Because there’s nothing worse than simmering your favorite spaghetti sauce for hours only to spill it all over your counter. And if you want to be kind to the environment (plus save money over the long run), you can get reusable freezer bags too.

If you have sauces that you only use a bit at a time, use an ice cube tray to freeze them and then pop them out into freezer bags afterwards (I like these because they hold exactly 2 tablespoons, so you’ll know what you’re getting for recipes).

For casseroles and other dishes, you’ll need aluminum pans, foil, and plastic wrap. You’ll want to wrap the finished (baked or unbaked, depending on the recipe) dinner in foil, and then wrap the foil with plastic wrap tightly to prevent freezer burn.

And don’t forget a Sharpie! Unless you want to play freezer surprise, you’ll want to write the name of the meal on the foil. To make things much easier on yourself, make sure you write thawing and baking directions on the foil too.

With that out of the way, let’s get cooking! Here’s 15 batch meal ideas. I’m including links to my favorite recipes that freeze well to make things easy, plus tips on freezing your meals.

Ground turkey taco meat

From Alexa at Key to My Lime

Get several pounds of ground turkey (and Alexa’s two secret ingredients that really make this taco meat amazing!). Brown more than you need for tonight’s dinner, then freeze the rest in 1 pound servings. You’ll have easy tacos or taco salads ready for the upcoming months!

Pesto

From Heidi at 101 Cookbooks

If you’ve been growing basil all summer, buy some pine nuts and parmesan and make this pesto (Confession: even if you use a food processor instead of mincing by hand, it will still be good).

Then, place the pesto in an ice cube tray until frozen. Pop the cubes into freezer bags, and you can have homemade pesto all year long.

Gnocchi

From Deb at Smitten Kitchen

Perfect to go with all that pesto, gnocchi is a great pasta to freeze.

Use the recipe above to make sure your potatoes turn out right – no weird gooeyness from when you process potatoes.

I’ll be honest, making gnocchi is labor-intensive, so either do this earlier in your pregnancy when you’re feeling good, or have a friend over to help. Trust me, it’s worth it!

Or if you want to involve your kids, they will love rolling out snakes of dough and cutting them into pesto. I did this with my girls when I was pregnant with my third and they had a blast.

RELATED: Stress-free meal prep with kids

I love eating this gnocchi pan-fried (like in instead of boiled. After browning the gnocchi in some butter, dice up a tomato or two, add some white beans and a dollop of pesto, and you’re good to go!

Chicken spaghetti / chicken tetrazzini

From Ree at the Pioneer Woman

If you’d rather use turkey instead of chicken, like Ree does in this recipe, you can. Either way, make a double batch and eat half now, freeze the rest for later!

(If you prefer chicken spaghetti without mushrooms, go for this recipe instead.)

You can use chicken stock you made yourself for better flavor and less sodium.

RELATED: Easy, healthy stocks and broths for soups and more

Vegan Broccoli Cheese & Rice Casserole

From Alexa at Key to My Lime

If you’re looking for a lighter casserole, try this one! Coconut milk and nutritional yeast allow you to have that cheesy, creamy taste in vegan form.

Make a double batch and put half in your skillet or casserole dish for tonight. Put the rest in a foil pan to freeze.

Spaghetti Sauce

From Ree at The Pioneer Woman

We just used jarred sauce growing up. There’s nothing wrong with it, and I’ll still use jarred sauce when I’m in a hurry, but there’s nothing like making your own spaghetti sauce.

This recipe makes a huge batch of sauce (I like mine a little less meaty, so I “dilute” with more tomato sauce when I make it). Freeze a few batches for later in gallon sized bags.

Lasagna

From Amanda at The Wholesome Dish

Lasagna is one of the perfect foods for batch cooking. As much effort as it takes to make a pan of lasagna, you may as well just make a second one at the same time.

Chili

From Ree at The Pioneer Woman

I usually use more beans and less meat in my chili, but I like the seasoning blend Ree uses here.

Put leftovers in a gallon freezer bag for later.

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

From Sara at Dinner at the Zoo

These are really good (although note: you might want to boil the peppers for just 2 minutes to soften them before halving and filling)! Prep a whole bunch when bell peppers are in season, but don’t bake yet.

When you freeze them, place them flat on a baking sheet with parchment paper on it. You can pop them into a foil pan once they’re frozen.

Rotisserie chicken enchilada stuffed peppers

From Alexa at Key to My Lime

For more veggies and fewer carbs than traditional enchiladas, try these stuffed peppers!

Prep is made extra easy by using rotisserie chicken. If you can’t find long sweet peppers like the ones in the pic, just use regular red bell peppers and slice in half.

Daal

From Group Recipes

This Indian food is made of spiced lentils (split red peas will work too) and is oh-so-good. It’s warming comfort food even though it’s dairy free.

Make a big batch and save half. When you’re ready to eat it, serve with rice.

Jambalaya

From Kate at Babaganosh

If you’re looking for something with a kick, try this jambalaya recipe. Kate says it makes a TON of food, so you’ll definitely have enough to save for later. When you freeze this, lay it flat in your freezer until it’s solidified.

Sweet potato chicken nuggets

From Kate at Babaganosh

Perfect for when you’re eating one-handed while taking care of your baby. Or have an easy lunch for your toddler so you can manage both kids a little easier.

Meatloaf

By Mavis at One Hundred Dollars a Month

Meatloaf is comfort food at its best. This meatloaf, pulled from the freezer, plus boxed mac ‘n cheese (I won’t tell!) and some frozen veggies will make a delicious, easy meal.

Chicken Pot Pie

By Brenda at Homemaking Magic

Chicken Pot Pie is another one of those meals that I love, but the amount of prep means it takes a while. That’s why it’s so great to make two at a time!

Use a store-bought pie crust to make this recipe easier – and once again, rotisserie chicken comes to the rescue to make things go more quickly.

Conclusions on batch meal planning while pregnant

I hope these make ahead meals for busy moms like you are helpful. Let me know in the comments if there’s any other easy batch meals you like to make!