How to Deliver Great Meals to New Parents

BlogHer Original Post

CasseroleThough I'm not a parent myself, I'm clear on this fact: Parents have to eat, and new parents have plenty to juggle without having to think about food. This is why I've always tried to be the friend who, at some point, shows up at my new-parent friends' houses with a casserole, roast chicken dinner, or other food that they can just reheat when they're ready. They've got enough on their plates ... but they need nourishment, too!

When Rebecca of Raleigh Mommy had a baby five months ago, she learned an awful lot in a short amount of time. In a guest post on Jessica Fisher's Life As A Mom, she talked about how food deliveries made the process easier:

One of the things that really helped us out during that time was having a great network of friends who brought us meals. Not having to think about what to make for dinner was wonderful! Who doesn’t love a free meal delivered to their door?!

Rebecca's post includes her top five tips for the best way to provide this amazing service to friends and neighbors who are just getting to know their newborn.

Though many people like to deliver dinner food to new families, one option would be to bring a breakfast casserole instead, particularly if your friend is a fan of savory or sweet hot breakfasts. Susan of The Confident Mom recommends a comforting breakfast casserole that includes sausage and tater tots (and I will admit an abiding weakness for anything involving tater tots ...), and that can be split into smaller servings:

We have a favorite breakfast casserole which I enjoy making, but often times it is too big for us to finish, or kids go off to the other parents’ house and I end up with a lot left over and no one to eat it. So a few months back I decided to break my recipe down and place it in smaller casseroles to cook fresh each morning. I make the recipe (double batch normally) plan to cook one the following morning – you can guess what’s for breakfast at our house tomorrow! I take the rest and divide it among smaller dishes for individual size servings.

I freeze the smaller containers wrapped in foil and then I can pop them in the toaster oven to cook up fresh and surprise one of the non-suspecting targets! It tastes better fresh rather than cooking them all up and then just re-heating – trust me.

Casseroles for any time of day, however, do require care in handling so the recipient knows how to reheat or cook them appropriately. Amanda of Mommy's Idea Book has some great tips on how to freeze casseroles and provide appropriate instructions easily and effectively -- these ideas can be put to good use when helping out new parents.

If you have a group of friends who all want to help another member of the group, what about hosting a freezer party one afternoon? Julie of The Family Kitchen provides great ideas about pulling off such an event:

Hosting a “freezer party” has become popular for moms-to-be, but it’s a great way to spend time with family and friends, whether or not there’s a new arrival on the way. Spending a weekend afternoon chopping, sauteing and drinking wine with friends and at the end of it bringing home enough to stash in the freezer for a couple weeks’ worth of dinners and/or lunches is the ultimate in social multitasking. At parties, everyone ends up in the kitchen anyway.

If the family you're delivering food to already has older kids who are in school, what about delivering a set of lunches for the week? That takes one big task off the new mother's and father's plate during busy mornings. Kelly of an Apple and a Tree wrote a terrific post outlining how she did just that for two families in her network.

Here are some more posts that include tips not only about food delivery to new mothers, but other helpful hints and ideas, as well!

If you've had friends deliver food to you when you were a new mother, what dishes were the best? What worked best for you? Share your tips in the comments below.

Photo credit: Photo by Stacy Michelle, shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

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