Have you been asked, or even offered to take in a meal to someone?
I’ve got you covered here in What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal that They Will Want To Eat, and I can help you with this situation.
Even though you want to do this act of kindness, does the thought of taking in a meal, send panic running (or galloping) through your body?
Or do you get cold sweats worrying about what to take that they would want to eat?
And how in the world do you approach them in the first place?
Don’t worry, I’ve brought together valuable information just for you!
- Everything from how to comfortably ask the day and time for bringing in the meal; making it convenient for all involved.
- What type of food they would actually want to eat while keeping you in control of what the meal is, so you can stay in your budget.
- Ideas for you to know how to be approachable when wanting to help, so it’s not awkward for anyone.
So, if you’re looking for tips on taking in food when there is a new baby, someone had surgery, there’s an illness in the family, unfortunately a death – or just because you know it would cheer them up—
I’ve got What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal They Will Want To Eat, along with recipes that are easy and varied for you to choose from.
These handy tips will make your meal not only one that is enjoyed, but remembered as thoughtful and extremely appreciated.
What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal they Will want to eat
A meal is always welcome and a VERY thoughtful gesture of friendship and kindness.
However, it can be a scary idea to think about feeding other people, or their kids; especially if you don’t know them very well.
So, when do you take in a meal? What are the circumstances that says: FEED US PLEASE
Then, what do you say when contacting them about taking in a meal?
Most importantly, how do you find out what they like, so they will enjoy it, meaning your time and resources are useful and not wasted?
I have it all covered, so you don’t need to worry.
When should you take In A Meal?
There are so many opportunities, but here are the most common:
- A new baby.
- Someone is ill or had surgery.
- There has been a death in the family.
- A job loss.
- They are getting ready to move and everything is packed away (*see special moving tips below in this post)
- Moving in (*see moving tips, again below in this post)
- You know they are struggling with something personal, a family member’s situation, or outside circumstances that are challenging. A meal can make the world seem gentler and a more compassionate place to be.
- A traumatic event of any type. I have a post you might like How Can I Help When Someone Is Sick And Show I Care?
- Anytime you want to help out, be kind, and especially when you feel impressed to, that is the perfect reason to take in a meal.
The Appreciation Comes From The Details
Let’s be real, we all say ‘thank you’ to a meal and that we ‘like it’.
However, if we ask a few questions, we are going to be HERO’s as well as taking in a meal that will be REALLY enjoyed and EATEN.
Details such as:
- Use disposable pans, bags and dishes to deliver the food in. I like to prepare as many of the items I am taking in the same type of pan if possible. The reason for this, is that I only have to have one to purchase and store one type; saving money and space. Something like THIS would be good for everything from salads, to jello, to rolls to a main dish. You could use two of these pans for the main dish if you are taking the meal to a large family.
Using something disposable avoids situations such as: whose bowl does this belong to? Which unmarked pan does the young boy at the door want returned while his mother waits outside, not wanting to ‘be a bother’, as you are frantically trying to find the right lid to ‘her pan’ in the myriad of dishes stacked on the kitchen counter….which makes you want to scream/cry/wish you had ordered out pizza that night. Disposable dishes all the way baby. They make everyone happy!
Or there’s the well-meaning neighbor stopping by to collect their dishes – when you’re not feeling well as you recover, or finally just got the newborn to sleep… gggrrrr….So if that’s you, neighbor….please do a favor and call ahead:) Actually, please just use disposable.
- Ask if anyone in the family has food allergies, or if there is anything they simply will not eat.
- Of course you, kind person, need to stay in your budget and fix a meal that you are comfortable making. However, if you take in something they cannot, or simply will not eat, it’s a waste for all involved. For instance: Some people really cannot force themselves to eat rice – it’s a texture thing. And some cannot tolerate the taste of spaghetti sauce. Despite your best effort in making a meal, and their gratitude in your gift, it will not be as useful as it could be. (For example, I will not, cannot – not in a boat, not with a goat, not in the rain, not on a train….I will NOT eat eggs as the major ingredient. So a beautiful quiche would be devoured by my husband and family, while I would have to open a can of something or other. I would still send a thank you note of course, but if the meal were to help me out—-hhhmmm—–you get the point)
- If you know your neighborhood well, and others are also taking in a meal(s) to the same family, it would be a good idea to ask the family what food(s) they have already had brought in. You don’t want to be the third well intended person in a row to bring in, say…. chili.
- If you are dropping the meal off early, or a freezer meal, be sure to label the food with what it is, the date to use by, along with any special cooking or reheating instructions.
- Ask if there is a certain night they would like a meal brought in. Or let them pick from two or three nights that are convenient for you.
- If you have the means, taking in a freezer meal, along with a meal for that night, would be very appreciated.
After delivering 5 cesarean babies, several knee surgeries, then total knee replacements on BOTH knees TWICE, adding in several other surgeries myself; not to mention all that has happened with 5 kids and a handsome hubby over upwards of 40 years of marriage; I have been a blessed recipient of numerous meals. Truly they have been such a gift.
I have also taken in, or delivered more meals in my adult life now than I can begin to count.
So, from receiving, and giving, so many meals, I’ve learned some tips that I’ll share with you about how to make it a win-win situation for everyone involved, as well as EASY too!
Did you know there’s Etiquette to taking in a meal?
1– Ask what time they would like the meal brought in to avoid any embarrassing complications.
2- Should you take in a homemade or pre-made/frozen/purchased meal or dish? That’s up to you.
3- Make sure whatever the meal is, that it’s completely ready to serve to make it easy on the person you are helping. Meaning, they do not have to prepare it in any way, shape or form.
4- This is not the time to try to impress them with your amazing culinary skills of grandeur – imagined or real, lol. Good old fashioned – comfort food is a winner every time.
5- Let the person know who you are bringing the meal into that you are:
A) just dropping off a meal (hot or one to be warmed up)
B) helping the kids have their dinner, cleaning up the dishes, getting the adults their dinner and tidying up afterwards – maybe you could even do a bit extra with the help of the kids:)
Only do what is comfortable for that person you are helping and best for you also. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation that is awkward, anymore than you do the person you want to help. It is very important to get the details clear before the meal is brought in. Either way, let them know you have only the best intentions and can leave it with the kids at the door if that’s best.
6- Give a couple of choices that you are able to make or provide for the meal; meaning within your budget and ability.
For example, I have a grand daughter who at the age of four will eat Kim-chi and we are not Korean. The girl will eat about anything and try everything that doesn’t run faster than her.
I have another grand daughter who likes……fast food pizza….oh and donuts:)
So ask the parents what ALL their kids will enjoy. Because you aren’t doing anyone a favor if they have to pull out the pans and make dinner after you leave to feed the kiddos.
It’s not being picky in my opinion, it’s just life, and if we are there to support a friend in that situation, let’s be a help and not a hindrance. (Meaning no comments or judgments, that are not charitable in nature or nice in tone at this sensitive time for the family.)
7- Let the person know if you are bringing in the entire meal; meaning sides and dessert. Or if you are just bringing in the main dish so they know what to plan on, and can make arrangements for the rest of the meal if needed.
8- Do all you can to NOT to be late or cancel. Confirm the day or night before so it is clear that you are bringing in what you have discussed, as well verify the time.
If something does come up that is completely unavoidable and prevents you from taking in a meal, make sure to apologize and take in a meal soon as possible, along with one for the freezer due to the inconvenience.
9- If taking in meals for a new baby, I have special ideas in my post ALL THINGS BABY
10- Sometimes the situation is more complicated and you need to know how to handle the emotions and what is happening with the person or family that you are serving. It can be hard to know what’s appropriate when illness, tragedy, suicide or any other situation of deep mourning occurs. What do you do? What do you say, or not say, is even more difficult. How can you help that is actually of benefit? I have some great information at my post: How Can I Help When Someone Is Sick And Show I Care?
TIPS for taking in meals when someone is MOVING in or out
Take everything needed for the meal including:
- ALL the paper products such as paper plates, cups, utensils, napkins
- Drinks. Ask what they like and allow the kids to have; such as water bottles, type of perferred soda pop and kids punch pouches.
- Ask if they will have access to the oven or stove to warm up the food. If not, it would be considerate to take in (on a smaller scale of course) as I show in my post a COLD PASTA BAR or build-your own sandwiches with the ingredients and condiments in separate containers. Or simply a variety of Sub Sandwiches for them to choose from.
- Find out if it would be more convenient to have the food transportable if they are moving from one location to another, and take the food in a disposable foam cooler. THESE DISPOSABLE BOWLS would be great to have on hand for this reason. These recipes would work GREAT for this type of meal:
The Easy Chicken Pot Pie and the Best Homemade Manicotti can be made and baked the same day or frozen for later use.
Both come with printable baking instructions to include with the gifted dish
Click HERE for the Easy Chicken Pot Pie
Click HERE for Best Homemade Manicotti
Easy Vegetarian Fajitas also Gluten Free, and these are really
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2018
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.