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How to Bring a Meal – 15 Guidelines

Here’s a picture of the time Rich snapped her onesie outside of her pants and put her shirt on backwards. She was crying, like she did roughly the first six months. It seems that having a newborn can be bucolic (if you peruse facebook) but it’s not my favorite time by a long shot. It’s like most of your body parts have betrayed you and no longer look like or behave how they used to. Your sleep is messed up, your mental state is messed up, and you’re still expected to write thank you notes. A friend bringing your dinner is one of the only not messed up things. It’s actually extraordinary.

That being said, I have been the victim of a “bad visit”. It was so so so nice of this (peripheral) friend to visit and bring me a meal but this is what happened. She visited on a beautiful afternoon with her very busy preschool-aged son who tore through my house, leaving chaos in his wake. She “held the baby” while I got her a drink and tried to keep an eye on her son. Her meal, though delicious, was made in her own dishes and since she lived over half an hour away, meant I had an errand on my hand (and lots of dishes to wash). When she left I was almost in tears! Let’s avoid this, please, and reserve our new-mom-tears for other, more legitimate reasons.
My favorite meal memory goes to Kristen Wilson, who actually knocked up the day we got home from the hospital with a hot meal in hand. She looked at the baby (whilst standing at the front door) long enough to exclaim over her adorableness and then she was gone, in a flash. The meal was in a disposable container and it was healthy! Perfection.
This information is geared towards to the new mom (first timers and veterans), but I think it’s equally applicable to other occasions (sickness, surgery, etc). To research this I emailed my knowledgable, baby-making friends; I think we have it covered but if you have unique insight, please share in the comments!
Checklist for Bringing a Meal
1. Tell them “I am bringing you a meal” and give them a few days to choose between (instead of asking if they need a meal). Tell them what time of day you’re coming and be very clear whether you’ll be dining with them (as well as how long you’ll be staying). Say “I’m dropping dinner off at 6 – I’ll see the baby quickly then leave so you can have a quiet dinner.”
2. If you’re coming in the first two weeks, try not to bring your children (and if you do, give them a screen and stay 10 minutes).
3. Ask about allergies and preferences and then follow them.
4. Avoid baked ziti and lasagna as these meals are a favorite of the older generation and you can only eat so much pasta (especially since your stomach looks like there might still be a baby in there).
5. Casseroles are easy to make but they GET OLD… make your dish healthy if you’re cooking for a healthy family, they will appreciate this more than you know.
6. Use disposable containers – nothing that needs to be returned to you. Extra points if you include plastic silverware. This also makes it easier for them to freeze your meal if they don’t need it that night.
7. Don’t have time to cook? Order take out! Chipotle is probably better that what you’d make anyways.
8. Think outside of dinner – lunch options like sandwiches (PB&J freezes so well), granola bars, trailmix, muffins, etc.
9. Though dessert is a nice touch, no one needs an entire batch of cookies. Either give a smaller portion OR swap the cookies for a batch of muffins – breakfast for the next day!
10. Always tape the cooking instructions to the container, even if it just needs reheating (time and temp).
11. Remember portions! If you make a double batch, place the second batch in a freezable container.
12. If there’s salad, provide dressing, and have all the toppings cut up and in a baggie.

13. Will you be getting multiple meals – like one each night? Set up a cooler outside and specify that friends place the food in the cooler.

14. Bring a bottle of wine. This is especially nice if it’s a second or third baby. Not like first time mom’s don’t need wine it’s just that they might be less likely to imbibe.

15. Don’t forget breakfast! SO MANY of my friends mentioned how nice it would be to receive cut-up, prepared fruit (especially if they already have kids). Bagels, muffins, quiche, etc, would work great in place of a dinner. Make-ahead breakfast sandwiches, maybe?


Finally – some DINNER options that many of my friends use as their “go-to” from my site.

Honey mustard chicken Bring with a green salad or side veggie

Spinach and Chicken enchiladas Bring with a green salad

Crock Pot Beef and Black Bean Chili Bring with corn muffins!

Sweet Sausage, Bean and Spinach Soup Bring with a crusty loaf of bread

No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna Bring with Bread and/or Salad

Lemony Chicken, Artichoke and Potato Bake Bring with Salad

Mini Proscuitto Wrapped Turkey Meatloaves Bring with Salad

Chicken Lettuce Wraps Bring with brown rice

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fazool) Bring with crusty bread

Chicken Pot Pie Bring with a green salad

Favorite MUFFINS

Chocolate Banana Protein Muffins

Oatmeal Cookie Muffins

Honey Corn Muffins

Easy Banana Walnut Muffins

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

Favorite SNACKS

Chewy Granola Bites

High Protein Granola

Breakfast Cookies

Mom’s Biscotti

Fave Chocolate chip Cookies

4 thoughts on “How to Bring a Meal – 15 Guidelines

  1. I agree – disposable dishes a must and directions. I usually type up a “Dinner Menu”(to resemble a real menu) with the names of the dishes and include cooking or reheating instructions in that. Great advice, Becca and love your honesty in trying to help others!! xoxox

  2. I’ve been giving meals for years but this is a great reminder. Thanks! I very much like the meal suggestions at the end. I’m going to try something new next time.

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