Whether you are going to be a first-time mom, or if this is your second or third time around the track, it’s easy to worry about how you are going to cope with caring for the new baby and the rest of your life at the same time. We’ve all heard stories of moms who haven’t taken showers in days and eat take-out for every meal in those harried first weeks (or months) of motherhood. While you can’t prepare for every single aspect of being a new mom, there are some preparations you can make to ease your stress. One of the best ways to prepare is to have a nice stock of freezer meals. Freezer meals are also much healthier for you than take-out, which will help you lose those pregnancy pounds and stay in good health for your upcoming years of parenthood.

The idea of freezing meals ahead of time is becoming more and more popular in the busy lives of moms. Unfortunately, many women don’t know where to start. Freezing meals is actually much easier than you might think. You don’t necessarily have to spend an entire day every month over the stove, nor do you have to have a giant deep freezer nearby. The truth is, you can start making freezer meals tonight!

A simple way to begin stocking your freezer with a variety of meals is to just make double recipes. The next time you make lasagna, a casserole, or even pancakes, double the recipe and freeze the extra. (The key to freezing pancakes is to freeze them on a cookie sheet. Then, after they’re frozen, put them in freezer bags. You’ll be able to take what you need as you need it!) This is the easiest way to start freezing meals. If you want to, you can even triple recipes so you can save two freezer meals at a time. Chili, soups, macaroni and cheese, and biscuits are all easy foods that freeze well. Doubling or tripling recipes also keeps a good rotation of meals in the freezer without overfilling it.

To cook your freezer meals, it’s best to put them in the fridge to thaw about a day in advance. Then you can just pop it in the oven or microwave for a yummy, home-cooked meal. If dad is going to be helping out in the kitchen, tape simple cooking instructions on each freezer meal so cooking can be a snap for him, too.

If you can, start freezing some of your favorite foods a month or two before your baby is due. That way, when your little bundle of joy arrives, you’ll have plenty of delicious meals ready to make whenever you have a spare moment. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself in the end.