If you’ve ever had someone bring you a meal, you know how much of an impact it makes. Meals make the most thoughtful gifts. They provide nourishment, help support financially and soothe emotionally. When others step in by providing meals on your behalf, it relieves the burden of what to eat. Afterall, meals are often an afterthought during a season of change.
I’m so thankful to be able to think of multiple occasions where loved ones have blessed us with meals. It has made me passionate about making meals for others in return.
I should disclaim. Making meals for others is a desire of my heart but is not something that comes naturally to me. I am an overthinker and, many times, my overthinking gets in the way. I worry about making the “right” thing, at the “right” time in the “right” way. I’m working on building my confidence in this area.
What I have discovered is that the more I practice, and collect recipes, the less my overthinking holds me back. Afterall, it is the thoughtfulness behind bringing a meal that makes the biggest impact (the cherry on top is if it happens to be delicious, too!).
My hope is for TSSH to be a one-stop resource for you to help take the overthinking out of making meals for others. Stay tuned as I begin to share my growing collection of simple recipes that will make delicious shareable meals.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. In THIS blog post, I’m going to talk about thoughts that get in the way of making meals for others and how to adjust our perspective. Let’s dig in!
1. Food Preferences and Restrictions
It can be intimidating making meals for others, especially when you are not sure about food preferences and restrictions. The simple solution? Just ask.
Over the last couple of years, we discovered that our son has allergies to certain common foods. The best, most stress-free, meals have come from thoughtful individuals who made sure to inquire about preferences and restrictions ahead of time.
A simple message that says, “Hey! I would love to drop off a meal for you. Just wanted to check in to see if there are any dietary preferences or restrictions?” goes such a long way. It also provides assurance to you, the thoughtful giver, that what you spend your valuable time creating will be enjoyed (and so appreciated!).
2. Not Feeling Confident in Cooking
We just addressed one way to build confidence in making meals for others above. Another way to build confidence is to choose a “crowd-pleaser”. Some examples of crowd-pleasers are: tacos, pasta, pizza, chicken and/or rice dishes. I like to make sure that any crowd-pleasing meals are also nutritious. If I’m going to make a pasta or pizza dish, I will be sure to include a salad. If I’m going to do tacos, I’ll make sure there are a lot of veggies to select for toppings.
From my own experience, seasons of change are when my body craves the most nutrition. It’s also when I’m the worst about being intentional about it. When someone is thoughtful enough to bring a delicious AND nutritious meal? It means the absolute world.
My favourite cookbook for simple and delicious crowd-pleasing recipes (that are also packed with nutrition) is Yum and Yummer. I have made many of her recipes for others and they are always a hit!
3. Feeling Like Gift Cards and/or Delivery Don’t Count
My friend, if there is one thing that you can take away from this post, please hear this: FOOD IS FOOD. If making meals is not your thing, ordering something counts just as much. Some of the most thoughtful meals I can remember came from friends who asked us our favourite restaurant meal or gave us a gift card to choose ourselves. Meals are a blessing. It does not matter what shape or form. Your generosity and thoughtfulness is the biggest gift of all.
4. Feeling Awkward
Sometimes we feel like we aren’t the right person for the job, am I right? We overthink whether our cooking is good enough. If we have a close enough relationship with the recipient. We wonder if someone else is more qualified. Or if we will offend by bringing the “wrong” thing. All of these limiting beliefs just stand in the way of doing something that blesses another family. It’s okay if you feel a little awkward, just remember that there is a reason it was placed on your heart to make a meal in the first place. That should trump any awkwardness that ensues.
5. It’s Too Expensive
Groceries are expensive. Takeout is expensive. It can be a burden financially to take on a meal for others. This is a very real factor.
First thought: simplify! Maybe it’s not a meal but a homemade dessert or a snack. Perhaps it’s pancakes for breakfast (who wouldn’t love that!?). Maybe it’s dropping off a Snickerdoodle Chai Latte on the porch. There are creative ways to keep the cost down while still blessing others.
Second thought: choose to bring a meal later! You can bring a meal weeks down the road. It will allow time for saving, and collecting supplies, but it will also be an incredible blessing for the recipient. Sometimes the hardest times in a season of change are actually after time has passed, when everyone else has moved on to the next thing but you are still adjusting. You can send a message to say how much you are thinking of them and mention you would like to bring a meal in a few weeks. It will give them something to look forward to (and you time to prepare!).
6. Not Having Enough Time
My best trick when timing is tight? Just make more of what you are already making! Doubling or tripling recipes is hands down the best way to save time and sanity! Plus, there’s a good chance if you like what you’re making, the recipient will too. I will admit, this trick is the only way I make meals for others now. Otherwise, I spend all day in the kitchen. And that just isn’t feasible with littles who need my attention, too!
There you have it, sweet friends! 6 ways to make meals for others without overthinking it! I hope that after reading this, you have a renewed perspective on making meals for others. If you are interested in grabbing some free meal labels to up your delivery, check these out!
I know how much time, energy and preparation it takes to make meals for others. Let me be the first to say THANK YOU! I know that you are likely reading this because you want to go out of your way to care for another family. As someone who has been on the receiving end, I am so appreciative to anyone who has ever taken care of us with food. YOU are amazing for supporting another family in this way!
Here’s to you, lovely!