If you have a friend, family member or coworker expecting a new baby, going through a health crisis, or having their lives otherwise disrupted, they could probably use a bit of help getting food on the table. If someone hasn’t already set up a meal train for them, why not do it yourself? These days, with easy-to-use resources like www.mealtrain.com it couldn’t be easier to organize.
Whether you have a team of gung-ho home cooks or if you’re going to be the sole chef on the job, here’s how to rock a meal train.
Find out about any food restrictions.
Ask the recipient if there are any food allergies or restrictions to keep in mind and spread that information to anyone else in the meal train. Nowadays, with the internet at your fingers, it’s the work of a moment to find tried-and-true recipes that are gluten-free, vegan, Kosher or halal, whatever is needed! If your recipient does have food restrictions, carefully mark any food you bring with ingredients so they don’t have to second-guess anything.
Don’t leave your recipient standing in front of the freezer holding your lasagna in one hand, a newborn in the other, trying to use their third hand to Google time and temperature. Add instructions!
Think Beyond Dinner
Dinner is important of course, but think outside the box! Breakfast casseroles, homemade frozen waffles, healthy one-handed snacks, and even a dessert treat would all be greatly appreciated.
Tried-and-True Meal Ideas
Need inspiration? Here are a few classic freezable or portable meals to try.
- Split pea soup – freezes great, full of veggie goodness! Throw in potatoes instead of ham for a vegan version.
- Lasagna – a classic. Easy to modify to make vegetarian or gluten free.
- Spaghetti sauce – freeze flat in jumbo freezer bags for easy storage!
- Peanut butter energy balls – a great one-handed snack!
- Polenta breakfast casserole – a tasty, easy-to-reheat breakfast!
How to Help if you Can’t Cook
Even if you struggle to boil an egg, you can still be a great asset in a meal train! Gift your friend with takeout menus and gift cards, offer to bring takeout over yourself, or bring over your favorite store-bought treats. Or you could even help pay for a babysitter or postpartum doula who could help your friend tackle that giant pile of dishes, meal prep, or just eat a meal with two hands!