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Easy Meal Train Ideas Anyone Can Make

A List of Some of Our Favorite and Easiest Meal Train Food Ideas

Are you tired of the same old routine of cooking meals every day? Want to do something that will not only make your life easier but also help your friends and family? If yes, then you’re in luck because these easy meal train ideas are here to save the day.

Meal trains are a great way to show your love and support for someone who is going through a tough time. A new parent, someone recovering from surgery, or a family dealing with a loss. The concept is simple–a group of people take turns cooking and delivering meals to the person or family in need. This provides them with nourishing food and takes away the stress of meal planning and preparation during a challenging time.

Let’s be honest, figuring out what to cook for someone else can be a little intimidating, especially if you don’t know what they like. That’s why we’ve put together some meal train ideas to make the process a breeze.

Casseroles

Casseroles are one of the most popular meal train options because they’re easy to make in bulk and can be customized to fit any dietary preferences or restrictions. They’re also a great option for freezing, making it easy for the recipient to heat up the meal whenever they need it.

One of the best things about casseroles is their versatility. Try a classic lasagna with ground beef and ricotta cheese, or you can go the vegetarian route and make a vegetable lasagna with mushrooms and spinach. You can even make a gluten-free lasagna using gluten-free noodles.

If you’re not in the mood for lasagna, there are plenty of other casserole options to choose from. Shepherd’s pie is a great option for a hearty meal. You can make a traditional version with ground beef and mashed potatoes, or you can switch things up and make a vegetarian version with lentils and sweet potato mash.

slice of casserole on a plate
The possibilities are endless(ly tasty) with casseroles.

Another popular casserole option is chicken pot pie. Make a classic version with a flaky pie crust or switch things up and make a biscuit-topped pot pie. You can also make a vegetarian version using mushrooms and a creamy sauce.

If you’re looking for something a little more exotic, you can try making a Moroccan chickpea casserole or a Mexican-style enchilada casserole. These dishes are packed with flavor and are sure to satisfy any cravings.

One of the best things about casseroles is that they’re easy to make in advance. Prepare the casserole the day before and refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake it. You can also freeze the casserole for later use, which is perfect if you’re participating in a meal train and want to make sure the recipient has enough meals to last them for a while.

Soup

Soups are another excellent option for a meal train, especially during colder months when people crave something warm and comforting. They’re easy to make in large batches, and there are endless possibilities for customization, so you can easily adapt the soup to fit the recipient’s tastes and dietary needs.

One of the best things about soups is their versatility. You can make hearty, filling soups with meat and vegetables, or you can go for a lighter option with a vegetable-based broth. Soups can also be made vegetarian or vegan-friendly, making them perfect for those with dietary restrictions.

One popular soup option is chicken noodle soup. This classic soup is packed with flavor and is perfect for soothing a sore throat or fighting off a cold. You can use chicken breasts or a whole chicken to make the broth, and add in vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions for added nutrition.

Another great option is tomato soup. This simple yet flavorful soup can be made with canned or fresh tomatoes, and can be seasoned with herbs like basil and oregano. It’s perfect for dipping grilled cheese sandwiches or crackers and is a comforting meal that can be enjoyed any time of the day.

fresh broccoli soup
Soup is a warm, delicious, and versatile option for your meal train!
Vegetarian options

For those who prefer a vegetarian or vegan option, there are plenty of soups to choose from. Minestrone soup is a classic Italian soup made with a variety of vegetables, beans, and pasta. It’s packed with protein and fiber, making it a filling and satisfying meal.

Another vegetarian option is lentil soup. Lentils are a great source of protein and fiber, and they make for a delicious and hearty soup. You can add in vegetables like carrots and celery for added nutrition, and season the soup with spices like cumin and turmeric for added flavor.

When it comes to cooking soups, it’s important to take your time and let the soup simmer for as long as possible. This will allow the flavors to meld together and create a rich, flavorful broth. It’s also important to taste the soup as you go and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Sandwiches
beef sandwich cut in half
Get back to basics with a delicious sandwich.

Sandwiches are a quick and easy meal train option that can be made ahead of time and transported easily. They’re also versatile, making them perfect for customizing to suit individual preferences and dietary needs.

One of the best things about sandwiches is that they can be made with almost anything. From classic turkey and cheese to a more exotic combination like roasted eggplant and hummus, there are endless possibilities when it comes to sandwich fillings.

For those who prefer a classic sandwich, there are plenty of options to choose from. Turkey and cheese is a popular choice, as is ham and Swiss. You can also go for a veggie sandwich with avocado, lettuce, tomato, and cucumber.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can try making a gourmet sandwich with ingredients like prosciutto, arugula, and goat cheese. Or, you can make a Vietnamese-style banh mi with pickled vegetables, grilled pork, and cilantro.

Another popular sandwich option is the wrap. Wraps are a great option for those who want a handheld meal but don’t want to eat bread. You can fill a wrap with ingredients like grilled chicken, vegetables, and hummus for a filling and flavorful meal.

When it comes to packing sandwiches for a meal train, it’s important to consider the bread. Make sure to use bread that won’t get soggy, like a baguette or a crusty roll. You can also wrap the sandwich in wax paper or aluminum foil to keep it fresh.

One-Pot Meals
one pot meal train meal
One pot, one meal, one happy recipient!

One-pot meals are a perfect option for a meal train as they’re easy to make, require minimal cleanup, and can be made in large quantities to feed a crowd. These meals are also versatile, allowing you to customize them based on dietary needs and preferences.

One-pot meals are essentially dishes that can be cooked in a single pot or pan, and usually involve ingredients like meat, vegetables, and grains or pasta. The best thing about these meals is that you can throw everything together and let it cook, which makes them ideal for busy weeknights or when you need to feed a group of people.

One popular one-pot meal is chili. This hearty dish can be made with ground beef or turkey, beans, tomatoes, and spices. You can add in vegetables like onions, peppers, and corn to make it even more flavorful. Chili is perfect for colder months, and can be served with toppings like shredded cheese and sour cream.

Another great one-pot meal is jambalaya. This dish is a classic Cajun recipe made with rice, sausage, chicken, and a variety of spices and vegetables like bell peppers and onions. Jambalaya is a flavorful and filling meal that is perfect for feeding a crowd.

Vegetarian options

For those who prefer a vegetarian option, there are plenty of one-pot meals to choose from. Vegetable stir-fry with rice or quinoa is a healthy and delicious meal that can be customized with any vegetables you like. Or, you can try making a lentil and vegetable stew, which is packed with protein and fiber.

When it comes to cooking one-pot meals, it’s important to start with the ingredients that take the longest to cook, such as meat or root vegetables. Then, add in the ingredients that cook faster, like rice or pasta. This will ensure that everything is cooked evenly and at the same time.

Salads (With an Easy How-To)
fresh green salad with shopped tomatoes, kalamata olivs, and crusty bread
Salads are an easy and excellent meal train option

Another great option to consider when participating in a meal train is salads. They’re fresh, healthy, and can be customized to suit a variety of dietary needs and preferences.

When making a salad for a meal train, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Choose hearty greens: When making a salad to be transported, choose greens that hold up well and not wilt or become soggy. Kale, spinach, and romaine are good choices, as they’re hearty and can stand up to dressings and toppings.
  2. Keep toppings and dressing separate: Ensure that the salad stays fresh and crisp. It’s a good idea to keep any toppings and dressing separate until it’s time to eat. You can include a container of dressing and a separate container of toppings, such as nuts, seeds, or croutons, so the recipient can add them when ready to eat.
  3. Consider dietary restrictions: Salads are a versatile option that can easily be customized to suit a variety of dietary needs and preferences. Be sure to ask the recipient if they have any dietary restrictions or preferences, and adjust the salad accordingly. For example, you could make a vegan salad with roasted vegetables and quinoa, or a gluten-free salad with grilled chicken and a citrus dressing.
  4. Label the salad: As with any meal in a meal train, be sure to label the salad clearly with the name of the dish. Include any special instructions for serving or storing. This will help the recipient and their caregivers keep track of meals and ensure that they’re able to enjoy them when they’re ready.
Give InKind Makes Meal Trains A Breeze

One great resource for organizing a meal train is Give InKind. Give InKind is a free platform that allows users to coordinate and manage support for loved ones.

With Give InKind, create a meal train for the recipient, and easily organize, manage meal deliveries from friends and family. You can set up a calendar where people sign up for specific dates and times to bring meals. You can also include information about dietary restrictions, preferred delivery times, and other important details.

Give InKind also allows you to connect crowdfunding. People can donate money to help cover the costs of the meals or other expenses related to the recipient’s situation. This can be a helpful way to support the recipient and their family during a challenging time.

One of the great things about Give InKind is that it’s easy to use and navigate, even for people who may not be tech-savvy. The platform provides clear instructions and guidance for setting up and managing a meal train. There are also plenty of resources available to help you along the way.

food spread on a red tablecloth
Give the gift of food to help a loved one | Image courtesy of Give InKind.
Now you’re equipped with some easy meal train ideas.

Meal trains are a wonderful way to support a loved one during a difficult time. There are many meal ideas to choose from, including casseroles, soups, sandwiches, one-pot meals, and salads. When organizing a meal train, it’s important to coordinate with others, ask about dietary restrictions, label the meals, and deliver them with care. Using resources like Give InKind can also make the process easier and more efficient. Working together to provide meals shows your loved one they’re not alone and you’re there to support them through anything.


Give InKind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We have an affiliate relationship with many of the advertisers on our site, and may receive a commission from any products purchased from links in this article. See Terms & Conditions.

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