Dinner For A Friend In Need
Show you care with the gift of nourishment
We’ve all been there… a friend or loved one is going through a stressful time and we want to help but we don’t know how. Whether it's a surgery or illness, a loss in the family or even something joyful like a new baby, we want to show up and support our friends. And sometimes our friend just needs a boost. Food is my love language. Cooking for others is a great way to extend your heart and show you care.
When I was a new mom living in Medfield, Massachusetts, I was fortunate to be a part of a very supportive community of neighbors and friends. It was a time when many of us were in the throws of young family life. Whenever there was a significant life event, one of these friends would take it upon themselves to organize a calendar of meals. I was so blessed when I moved to Colorado and found myself in a similarly caring community.
I can honestly say that some of the best food I’ve eaten has been a meal prepared for my family and delivered by a friend during a stressful time. There’s no better way to say I care, I support you, I’m here for you than with the gift of nourishment. So consider replacing “Let me know if I can help” with “I have a meal for your family I would like to drop off on Tuesday afternoon”. The onset of meal sign up websites like mealtrain.com and signupgenius.com has simplified the organization of meal giving.
I have been making and taking meals to friends and neighbors in need for my entire adult life and doing so brings me joy. But for some the idea of putting together a meal like this can be a bit daunting, especially when taking into account dietary restrictions and emotional issues. Bringing a meal to a friend does not need to be complicated. Comfort food can be healthy and stressed people need nutritious nourishment!
I’m sharing an array of my favorite meals that are healthy, easy to make and travel well. Simply choose one main dish, one salad and one dessert, then put together your meal.
Tips for Bringing Food To A Friend In Need
Be sure to ask and record all dietary restrictions and preferences. When bringing food to people with food allergies list ingredients for each item.
Provide heating, serving and refrigeration instructions.
You will often be asked to bring food in disposable containers. While this is convenient, it often results in casserole type dishes being cooked, reheated and delivered in aluminum containers. I would never cook for my family in an aluminum container because of the chemical leaching issues. So, I definitely would not cook a meal for a friend dealing with an illness in such a container. It is not good to store leftovers in aluminum either. My recommendation is to check out your local grocery store or discount home goods store for inexpensive glass baking dishes that you can cook and deliver your dish in. Tell your recipient to keep it and pay it forward with it. Make sure they know this is part of the meal and they do not need to return it. I can find basic large baking dishes for $4 - $5 dollars and I just stock up when they are on sale.
Pack salad dressing on the side in a glass jar.
Make sure you know the best time of day to deliver the meal. When you do deliver, do not overstay your welcome. No matter how good a friend it is, it just may not be a good time! Instead include a nice card or note expressing how you feel.
When packaging your meal for delivery, consider adding a few thoughtful items for your recipient that might brighten their day. I like to include items such as a couple of magazines, a bundle of flowers, a favorite box of herbal tea or even my DIY Lavender bath salts.
When delivering for a family, consider adding little items for other family members. For example, a small big brother or sister gift when a new baby has arrived or a treat for the family pet. If someone is in the hospital you may want to put together a little care package containing items like Advil, eye drops, tissues, an eye mask or an inspirational book.
When a family is dealing with out-of-town guests or multiple visitors, items that are often overlooked and needed are paper goods. Sometimes we may have to trump our environmental stewardship intentions for ease and convenience during a stressful time. Often a family in crisis does not even realize they are out of these things. Not only plates and napkins, but paper towels, tissues and toilet paper. It may feel strange bringing toilet paper, but it comes in handy and is very much appreciated!
Offer to help with other errands and tasks such as; taking the dog to the groomer, picking up children from school or activities, arranging childcare, driving to appointments, grocery shopping or watering the plants. When you offer try to be specific. For example, “I’m going to Whole Foods this afternoon, what can I pick up for you?”
Regardless of how much or what you do, your friend WILL appreciate you! Make sure they know that they do not need to write a note and you were just happy to help in a small way. Remember, a friend in need is a friend indeed!
Main Dish Options
Sweet and Savory Cashew Chicken
This dish is packed with nutrients while being reminiscent of a favorite comfort food. Prepare with brown rice for a complete meal.
Baked Chicken and Vegetable Fajitas
It doesn’t have to be Cinco de Mayo to enjoy this meal – but it can be! Make enough so you have dinner left over for yourself.
Healthy Slow-Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
This combo is one of my favorite dishes to make for a friend. It’s quick, easy and nutritious.
Not your Mamma’s Cole Slaw
This mayo and dairy-free slaw can be a meal on it’s own or a side dish that you can feel good about!
Friends, family and loved ones will swoon over these sweet treats while getting their daily dose of vegetables and protein in every bite.
Chewy Flourless Brownies
Indulge while keeping it clean with these creamy brownies full of super foods.