I love a good meal train! What a great tradition to bless the family with a new baby or to help a family in need. However, I find myself at a loss at times when there are several meal trains floating around. I don’t want to just do spaghetti and meat sauce or a frozen lasagna. And I want to be a blessing without stretching myself too thin. So I sat down recently and came up with my favorite go-to meal train ideas.
My bestie (and former Dallas Moms contributor) Hallie brought me a basket while I was on maternity leave that was FULL of lunch stuff. Bread, deli meats and cheeses, chicken salad, crackers, fruit, chips, sweets, etc. It was the BEST idea, in my opinion. I loved having lunch items for a week, and it was all such yummy stuff! I don’t hate leftovers, but sometimes a nice fresh sandwich and some fruit really hits the spot. I recently got to return the favor when her sweet baby came several weeks early. It was my way of filling her fridge with food for her older girls, so she didn’t have to spend any time worrying about going to the store for their lunch supplies. Here was my basic shopping list:
- Peanut Butter
- Chicken Salad
- Swiss Cheese
- Variety pack of chips
- Pita Chips
- Fruit bars
- String Cheese
DOUBLE YOUR DINNERS FOR A WEEK
And just like that, you’ll have several freezer meals to share with your friend(s). My family consists of my toddler, my husband, and me. We do not eat a full 9×13 casserole when I make it at home, so I make one 9×13 recipe and split it into two 8x8s. That way I have one for dinner at home with my family, and one to freeze for when it’s my turn to help a friend. An 8×8 may not be enough for a larger family, but it can be used for lunches or at least a good meal for mom and dad while the kids eat something different that night. Side note: I try to bring something to put in the freezer IN ADDITION to what I’m bringing them for that evening’s dinner, which is ready-to-serve. It’s a nice extra touch. You can always thaw out your freezer meal before you drop it off and include heating instructions.
GRAB-AND-GO MEALS FOR THE WIN
I love going to Central Market and Whole Foods for the on-the-go meals for my own family, and these are great to pick up for a meal train rotation. They have quality foods, a variety of options, and you can usually choose what size to buy based on the number of people you are feeding. I live in Richardson, and the Festive Kitchen is another GREAT place to go for these types of grab-and-go dishes.
ORDER THEM A MEAL DELIVERY SERVICE FOR A WEEK
I received a Blue Apron gift card from a male co-worker who didn’t want to jump all-in on the meal train while I was out on maternity leave. This was AWESOME for when the meal train ended and I still needed help with quick and easy dinners. If you’re in a stage of life where physically providing meals is not in the cards, then send a gift card for a meal delivery kit and you’re done. They can use it whenever they want, and they can pick what meals they’ll like the most!
WHEN IN DOUBT… GOOGLE IT OUT
I love using Pinterest, and searching “Meal Train Ideas” there led me to one of my favorite food posts for great, tasty meal train ideas: Here are 10 meals that are sure to please, so save this one for the next time you’ve signed up to make a meal but don’t exactly know what to make.