Paleo & Gluten-Free Pregnancy Batch Cook

 

My Paleo & Gluten-Free Pregnancy Batch Cook

 

I’ve been asked to share how I’m preparing in advance to nourish my body during the immediate post-partum period when sleep is at a bare minimum, and daily or twice weekly trips to the grocery store aren’t manageable. Because of my food allergies, I don’t request any sort of meal train from friends or family as it’s important for my autoimmune health that I’m not eating any triggering foods immediately post-partum as my immune system “turns back on” after birth. For more information on what happens to the immune system during pregnancy and post-partum, please read this article.

 

Since my husband is not a maverick in the kitchen, I wanted to stock the freezer with at least a couple weeks of meals for the family (myself, my husband and my almost 3-year-old daughter) that we can pop in the fridge overnight to defrost and heat the next day. For me, the meals need to be nourishing, high in protein (filling, cortisol-regulating and important for producing quality breast milk) and tasty enough for me to look forward to meal time (so I actually prioritize it instead of constant snacking).

 

By choice, I’ll be maintaining as close to an AIP diet as possible after birth to hopefully reign in my immune system as much as possible. After my first daughter’s birth, I had a minor Hashimoto’s flare but a terribly itchy and somewhat painful 4 week chronic hives episode. I had never had hives before, but since it’s a symptom of a wonky immune system, I realized that it was likely a result of my immune system being suppressed during pregnancy and then turning back on a bit too aggressively post-partum. Avoiding excess sugar and focusing on protein, fat, fresh food carbs and bone broth is how I feel my best, so that’s my game plan for hopefully regulating my immune system as much as possible this time around.

 

How to Safely Store Your Batch Cooked Food

The safest food storage options for batch cooked food you’ll be storing in the freezer are:

  • Glass storage containers like Pyrex brand. Pyrex containers can leak liquids, so I always store them upright and flat in the freezer. The lid can be removed and the container can be brought to room temperature and placed in a preheated oven. Stock up on a dozen glass containers with lids in different sizes – trust you can never have enough storage options!

     

  • Food-grade silicone storage bags like Stasher Bags (come in a variety of sizes). If buying another brand, read the materials list carefully. Some silicone bags are a mix of plastic and silicone or contain PVC as well. Stasher bags do not leak – I’ve even tested this with liquids!

     

  • Plastic is of course the most budget-friendly option, but I only use it when I’m storing something that’s been wrapped in parchment paper and then placed in the plastic bag. Plastic is most likely to leach into your food if you’re placing warm or hot items into the bag or container as well, so if glass and silicone are not in your budget, cool your foods completely before storing in plastic and never re-heat in plastic.

     

 

3 Places You’ll Find These Recipes

 

On my blog – that’s easy – they’re linked below!

In my print cookbook The Healing Kitchen – available on Amazon!

In my ebook Enthused

 USE CODE BATCHCOOK FOR 50% OFF MY EBOOK ENTHUSED!

 

When to Start Batch Cooking

Around 35 weeks pregnant (unless you’re pregnant with twins and have a higher likelihood of delivering early) is a great time to start hunkering down in the kitchen!

 

So you don’t overwhelm or fatigue yourself, create your recipe list and divide them up over the next 3 weeks (weeks 35 through 37). Create your shopping list for each week and remember to factor in your daily meals too! I’ve found it challenging to batch cook and not have my daily meals also lined up because then I just wind up eating my batch cooked food and my freezer remains empty!

 

Most recipes will stay safe in the freezer up to 6 months, although it’s unlikely you’ll be batch cooking that many meals. For me, I just want to get through the first few weeks on as many freezer meals as possible while establishing the breastfeeding relationship and then hop back into the kitchen to make fresh food from there on out.



 

Breakfast Recipes

After frequent nights of interrupted sleep and marathon nursing sessions, most mamas are going to wake up hungry and potentially with dysregulated blood sugar. One of the easiest ways we can ameliorate wonky insulin and cortisol levels is by starting our day with a mix of protein, fat and some carbs (especially if you’re nursing). These Paleo freezer-friendly breakfast recipes will ensure you have some high-quality protein on hand that you can eat one-handed. Round out these breakfasts with a quick-steamed kale or spinach side for some extra greens, or a smoothie made from organic greens, berries, dairy-free milk and Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.

 

2 pounds homemade Breakfast Sausage Patties from The Healing Kitchen or buy 2-pounds Breakfast Sausage from ButcherBox, form into patties, cook and freeze. Their breakfast sausage is nightshade-free and seriously delicious!

 

16 Grain-Free Breakfast Burritos
Make gluten-free breakfast burritos by rolling up your choice of grain-free Siete tortillas (I like the cassava ones) with a protein filling. Here are some ideas: Bacon & Egg, Ground Beef, Zucchini & Onion, Pulled Chicken, Cooked Spinach & Onion. 

 

Garlicky Greek Lamb Skillet from The Healing Kitchen

Cool completely in the refrigerator and then store in a sealed glass container.

Crispy Salmon Hash from The Healing Kitchen (double batch)

Cool completely in the refrigerator and then store in a sealed glass container.

 

In the freezer: 3 packages nightshade-free, grass-fed sausages, 3 pounds US Wellness Meats Braunschweiger, 3 packages each frozen organic blueberries, raspberries and strawberries (for smoothies)

 

In the pantry: 1 large container Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (for smoothies), 12 packs Paleo Angel Power Balls for quick collagen and gelatin protein bites with healthy fats from coconut (Vanilla Cupcake is my favorite)

 


 

Make-Ahead Proteins

Blood-building, protein-rich foods are necessary parts of a post-partum diet for many reasons including restoring your iron levels and providing sufficient protein in your breastmilk for baby’s optimal growth and development. Thankfully, protein is the easiest of the food groups to batch cook ahead and store in the freezer, preserving all the yummy flavor and texture of your favorite meats. My batch cook protein plan includes grass-beef, grass-fed lamb and pastured chicken, which is also rich in B vitamins and selenium.

 

2 lbs Taco Beef  for the Above Breakfast Burritos ( Taco Beef from The Healing Kitchen)

Cool completely in the refrigerator and then fill each Siete tortilla with a small amount of beef. Fold in the sides and roll. Wrap in parchment paper and store in a single layer in a sealed plastic bag or two to save space.

2 lbs Anti-Inflammatory Meatballs

Freeze in a single layer on the baking sheet and then store in a sealed silicone or plastic bag to save space. If you’d like to defrost in batches, store in a glass container in layers separated by a sheet of parchment paper, so you can remove one layer at a time. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat in a 300 degree oven until just warm. 

 

 Speedy Shanghai Stirfry with Turkey from The Healing Kitchen (double batch, freeze in two containers)

Cool completely in the refrigerator and then store in a sealed glass container. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through.

 

Mojo Pulled Chicken from The Healing Kitchen

Cool completely in the refrigerator and then store in a sealed glass container.

Defrost in the refrigerator and use this seasoned pulled chicken in a variety of ways: to top salads, as a protein addition to soup, in cauliflower rice bowls, or in Siete Tortillas for a quick taco night. 

 

Lamb with Olive Tapenade “Rice” (double batch, freeze in two containers)

Cool completely in the refrigerator and then store in a sealed glass container. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through.

 

Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders (double batch, freeze in two layers separated by parchment paper)

Cool on a wire rack completely and then store in a sealed glass container, each batch separated by a layer of parchment paper so you can choose to defrost just 1 pound at a time. Reheat in a 300 degree oven and then place under the broiler for a minute or two to crisp up.

Sweet Plantain & Beef Casserole from Enthused

Bake in a Pyrex casserole dish with a lid option, so you can simply cool the casserole, cover with the lid and store in the freezer for reheating! Reheat in a 350 degree oven until warm.


 

Gut-Healing Soups

Bone broth rich soups and easily digestible vegetables are some of the most healing foods a woman can eat at any point in her life, but particularly while recovering from pregnancy and childbirth. Women who tested positive for GBS may have undergone antibiotics during labor which constitutes a focus on rebalancing the gut flora with gelatin and mineral-rich broths. Sure, soup isn’t the easiest food to eat one-handed and you certainly don’t want to eat it while baby-wearing, but find 15 minutes to enjoy a bowl or two a day for this important healing meal ritual.

Freezer storage tips for all soups: I like to cool the soup completely in the refrigerator in an ajar 7-cup large round glass Pyrex container. This size allows me to defrost one or two meal’s worth of soup for the family (or 4 meals worth of soup for myself). Often times, I can split a recipe into 2 7-cup containers, so we don’t get “soup burnout” by eating the same soup multiple days in a row.

Yellow Chicken Veggie Soup

 

Hamburger Stew from The Healing Kitchen

 

Amazing Acorn Squash Curry (vegan) from Enthused

 

Italian Sausage & Roasted Vegetable Soup from Enthused

 

Chicken Soup (I don’t use a specific recipe here – just a good ol’ classic chicken soup made with onions, carrots, celery, herbs, chicken, chicken broth, and any other veggie additions you’d like)

 

Snacks/Breads/Low Sugar Treats

Rosemary & Prosciutto Stromboli (triple the recipe for 3 large strombolis and then cut in half)

Cool completely in the refrigerator and then wrap individually in parchment paper and store flat in a sealed plastic bag. Silicone isn’t necessary since your food will only be touching parchment. 

 

Avocado Carob Fudge Bars (cut into squares for an easy breastfeeding or labor snack full of healthy fats)

Store in the freezer in a sealed glass container. When ready to eat, pop a few in the refrigerator for the next couple days or defrost on the countertop for 10 minutes prior to eating. 

 

No-Sugar-Added Cherry Pie Bars (cut into squares for an easy snack or healthy, low sugar treat)

Cool completely and freeze in a parchment lined plastic bag in the freezer. Lay flat to save storage space. When ready to eat, remove a few squares and defrost on the countertop for 15 to 30 minutes. 

 

Thin Crust Pizza (quadruple the recipe so you have 4 crusts ready to go for on-the-go pizza night)

When it’s time for pizza night, defrost however many crusts you’d like to make on the countertop. Top with your favorite toppings and bake in a preheated oven until warm. 

 


 

Flavor Additions & Sauces

Freeze all of these sauces in sealed glass containers. I prefer to freeze in small 4 to 6 ounce containers, so I can defrost just the amount I need for whatever meal I’m making.

Garlic Cream Sauce from Enthused

Sofrito from Latin American Paleo Cooking by Amanda Torres

I like to have this nightshade-free Sofrito on hand to add spice and flavor to a quick stir-fry or sauteed cauliflower rice, or even to toss with cooked, pulled, plain chicken. 

Real Caesar Dressing from Enthused

(for quick kale caesar salads and chicken caesar collard wraps)

 

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