When parents welcome a new baby, many people want to help out by providing a meal. This is a great way to help the family adjust to their new normal, allowing them time to bond with their baby while also eating nourishing foods. Here are some tips to help make those meals even better.
- Have those that signed up, record what they are planning on bringing and share with the rest of the group. I often hear from new parents that while they truly appreciate all of the meals they receive, they also tend to receive a lot of repeats. Keeping everyone on the same page about what others are bringing is a great way to prevent too many repeats or similar foods and ensure that the family is receiving a variety. There are some great online resources that can help with this such as https://www.takethemameal.com.
- Ask what the new parents would like or if there are any dislikes or allergies. I remember when our twins were born one of our friends asking what we really wanted. I felt selfish saying that I really just wanted some grilled chicken. We had received a lot of pasta and casseroles which we fully appreciated, but were starting to feel a little heavy. Grilled chicken was a perfect option to balance it out. Lo and behold, she asked me if grilled chicken sounded good and that was a resounding yes! We also received money to order pizza and some KFC on another night. All of those were things that we hadn't had and loved.
- When possible, make meals that are easily freezable in disposable containers. We had people signed up to bring meals every day for the first month, which was wonderful! However, many of those meals were enough for 2-3 meals for my husband and I, so I was running out of room in my refrigerator. I had a few people provide meals that were ready to pop in the freezer and save when we needed them. This helped us stretch our meals beyond the first month, while also keep us from throwing out too many leftovers that we weren't able to get to. I even saved some of those meals for when I went back to work which I found so helpful!
- Another option to go along with the above would be to have people bring a meal every 2-3 days instead of every day depending on the family size. In a family where only two adults will be eating, many meals will last 2-3 days. However, if the family has several young children that will also be eating the meals, every day might work better.
Meal trains are a wonderful way to support a new family. Utilizing some of these tips can help make them even better!