Tips for Taking a Meal to Others (2024)

Due to popular demand from those who follow me on Instagram, I’m sharing my tips for taking a meal to others. This is something I do when someone I know has a baby, a death in the family, is recovering from surgery, etc. It’s just a nice way to show people you’re thinking of them. Plus, who doesn’t love eating a meal they didn’t have to prepare?

Tips for Taking a Meal to Others (1)

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What to Take

Before you start planning the meal, be sure to ask if someone in the family has an allergy you need to be aware of. I also ask if there’s things they like or dislike.

When taking a meal to a family, I always include a main, side, and dessert. Sometimes I’ll include two sides if it’s a bigger family or a family with teenage kids who’ll eat more than a toddler or preschooler. If I’m taking an Italian-type meal, I’ll throw in some garlic bread.

I always incorporate a vegetable, which is usually in the form of a salad. A tossed salad takes only a few minutes to put together. Empty a bag of fresh greens into a pan, top with halved grape tomatoes, olives, and parmesan. When taking a tossed salad, I suggest including a bottle of dressing. I do the same with toppings like sour cream– just buy a smaller container and give it to the family.

Tuscan pork sausage & pepper spaghetti • baby greens with grape tomatoes, black olives, & parmesan • balsamic vinaigrette • garlic bread • fudge brownies

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chicken enchiladas • diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sour cream • corn and black bean salad • spanish rice • pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

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chicken burrito bowl • dice tomatoes, lime, green onions • lime crema • fudge brownies

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It Doesn’t Have to Be From Scratch

You don’t have to take meals made from scratch. If I don’t have time to make a meal, I take some shortcuts. One way I do that is by grabbing a pre-made entree from Costco. Their stuffed peppers are pretty good. However, they lack ample cheese, so I also add some more. Because, cheese. So if you want to take a homemade meal but you don’t have a ton of time, buy pre-made.

Costco stuffed peppers • baby greens with feta, candied walnuts & cranberries • mini bundt cakes with chocolate ganache & mini chocolate chips

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Packaging the Food

Aluminum foil pans all the way. I don’t want to burden the family with washing and returning containers to me. With foil pans, the family can rinse and reuse them or rinse and recycle.

The foil pans work for just about any food, cold or warm. If the recipe requires baking in the oven, I’ll bake the food in the pan and cover with foil to transport. To save money, you can buy foil pans at Dollar Tree for $1 each.

Sometimes I’ll use paper plates for desserts and slide the plate into a gallon Ziploc bag, but I’m try to stray away from using one-time use products. For smaller things like sauces and toppings, I try to use baby food containers. But most of them aren’t leak-proof so keep them upright. They’re plastic but can be rinsed and recycled. There’s been times I’ve used inexpensive, reusable plastic containers, but I tell the family to keep them.

pork carnitas with pickled onion and lime crema • cilantro and diced tomatoes • jasmine rice and tortillas • corn and black bean salad • chocolate cake (from Brad’s Costco birthday cake)

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Transporting the Meal

When taking a meal to others, I recommend using a reusable bag or even a larger box, like from Costco. The IKEA Frakta reusable bag is my go-to mode of transport. If there’s a hot container fresh out of the oven, wrap it in a towel so the food stays warm and so the container doesn’t melt the bag. I take the bag inside, unload everything, and then take the bag with me.

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Include Disposable Eating Utensils

If you want, you can include paper plates, napkins, and flatware so the family doesn’t have to do any dishes. It’s not eco-friendly, but it’s a one-time thing.

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Money-Saving Tip

Making an entire meal for a family can add up. That’s why I shop at Aldi. When I buy most of the ingredients at Aldi, I can make a meal for around $25-$30. The items in the photo below were used to make a Tuscan sausage and pepper spaghetti, tossed salad, and garlic bread.

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Dessert Shortcut

I make and take brownies quite often for the dessert. Because I don’t have time to make brownies from scratch, I use a boxed mix (Betty Crocker fudge brownies FTW). BUT I mix in some chocolate chips and top with mini chocolate chips. Boxed brownies, but fancier.

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I use this handy, $5 utensil to cut the brownies. Seriously, life changing when it comes to the art of cutting brownies. Buy yourself one now, thank me later.

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I’m working on some recipe posts for some of the recipes mentioned in this post.

Tips for Taking a Meal to Others (2024)


Tips for Taking a Meal to Others? ›

Don't overextend your stay - If a meal schedule has been created it's safe to assume the recipient is not up for hosting. Deliver the meal as requested and respect the specific delivery instructions and the family's privacy. Keep your visit brief and offer to come back later if it would be helpful.

How do I bring a meal to someone? ›

Here are some ideas for those who want to take a meal like a rock star:
  1. Take a family recipe. Ask your friend or someone close to her to pass along one of her favorite recipes. ...
  2. Bring paper plates. Do you enjoy washing dishes? ...
  3. Include breakfast, lunch and snack foods. ...
  4. Leave your kids at home. ...
  5. Offer to return dishes.

How to package a meal for a friend? ›

Package the individual items. (Disposable pans are easy.) The next best thing is a sturdy, easy-to-clean baking dish marked on the bottom with your name. I frequently package things in inexpensive plastic containers and explicitly tell the recipient I don't want them returned.

How to offer food to a friend? ›

Tips for Bringing Food To A Friend In Need
  1. Be sure to ask and record all dietary restrictions and preferences. ...
  2. Provide heating, serving and refrigeration instructions.
  3. You will often be asked to bring food in disposable containers. ...
  4. Pack salad dressing on the side in a glass jar.

How do you share a meal with your family? ›

During meals, refrain from using phones, and only use them in an emergency. Focus on each other and your conversation. Involve the whole family in making dinner and assign each family member a task to help prepare the meals. You might find that some of the best conversations happen as you prepare a meal together.

How do I send a meal to a sick friend? ›

Take Them A Meal is an easy (and free!) online tool for coordinating the delivery of meals to loved ones. If a friend is ill, elderly, or welcoming a child, you can rally their community to take them meals. We also offer delicious, fully-prepared meals that can be shipped directly to their door! It's That Easy!

How do you transport food for a party? ›

Package Each Dish Separately

You should also cover menu items with lids, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap to protect them during transport. Many caterers store hot and cold foods in separate food pan carriers when transporting multiple menu items to events.

How to bring soup to someone's house? ›

A couple ideas: Place the soup-filled container in a cardboard box and surround it with a towel within the box. Or, use a small unused pet bed to keep the pot securely and snugly in place. Both of these set ups also have the additional benefit of retaining heat, so the dishes don't arrive at their destination cold.

How to take tacos to a friend? ›

Here are a few ideas. To make transporting easy, I put all the toppings in paper bowls. Plastic baggies would work too for the non-liquid items. For the salsa and chicken I used leftover takeout containers.

How do you offer finger food? ›

Introducing Finger Foods
  1. Start with menu items like pieces of soft cheese; small pieces of pasta or bread; finely chopped soft vegetables; and fruits like bananas, avocado, and ripe peaches or nectarines. ...
  2. Introduce new foods one at a time in case there are any concers about allergies.
Aug 9, 2022

How do you offer food to guests? ›

Use open hand service: You should never reach over a guest or cross them at a perpendicular angle. Instead, serve from the left or right with the same hand. If serving from the left, use your left hand. If serving from the right, use your right hand.

What is the etiquette for sharing food? ›

However, there's a universal dining etiquette rule: Never share food with someone who doesn't want it, and don't take offense if someone declines to share with you. Not everyone is comfortable with sharing their meal or trying someone else's.

What foods cannot be meal prepped? ›

What foods should you not meal prep?
Milk-based saucesThe milk may separate from other ingredients when defrosted or it may curdle when reheated.
Egg-based sauces and mayonnaiseThe ingredients may separate or curdle when defrosted or reheated.
9 more rows
Sep 1, 2022

How to make mealtimes more enjoyable? ›

Six ways to make family meals enjoyable
  1. Set aside regular times to eat together. When you put these times in your weekly schedule, you're all more likely to be there. ...
  2. Reduce the rush. ...
  3. Get everyone involved. ...
  4. Use family meals as a chance to talk. ...
  5. Focus on enjoying food and eating together. ...
  6. Be creative with mealtimes.
Nov 23, 2022

How do I send food to someone's house? ›

Order a Meal to Send Via A Meal Delivery Service

If you want to send meals to a friend but don't know where to turn, DoorDash or Uber Eats are great services to send meals to someone.

What is it called when people bring you food? ›

Potluck dinners are events where the attendees bring a dish to a meal.

How does sharing a meal bring people together? ›

Shared experiences: When people come together to enjoy a meal, they are creating a shared experience that they can bond over. Whether it's trying new foods or cooking together, food brings people closer through shared experiences.

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