You’re signed up for support, now let’s figure out what to feed your loved one.
If this is your first time participating in a meal train and you’re unsure what to bring, we’ve got the perfect guide just for you. Meal trains are designed to help someone you care about who may be going through a tough time, has added a new addition to their family, or just needs a little extra help. Family, friends, and community come together to plan, prepare, and deliver meals to the person that needs it.
It’s a wonderful thing to do for someone and you might be super excited to start, but the question remains, what to bring for the meal train?
Today we’re going to be breaking down:
- What you should look out for when buying ingredients to cook with/prepare.
- Options for every meal of the day you can make in the comfort of your home or pick up from your local grocery store.
So Many Options In The Aisles, Where To Begin?
A well-balanced meal can help improve someone’s physical health, but also their mental health.
Going to the grocery store for yourself can get a bit overwhelming, but for someone else? That’s a whole new ball game. Obviously the person you’re preparing food for is someone you care about, so bringing foods that they would actually enjoy is important. Asking them what they’d prefer and knowing their likes, dislikes, and any dietary restrictions/choices is going to be key, so now it comes down to how to choose.
We recommend the makings of a well-balanced meal. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products are a well-known go-to, along with some kind of protein like meat, seafood, tofu, eggs, nuts, beans, and more. It’s obvious but sometimes overlooked: make sure to take a glance at nutrition and ingredient labels. These can help you decide between two similar products and what to avoid if there’s something in there that the person doesn’t like or can’t eat. Something delicious and nutritious is what makes for a good meal and will help the person feel a bit more like themselves.
But let’s not forget their comfort food, too.Right now, they need something to help bring a bit of calm back in their lives, and knowing what special treats they like, whether it be sugary, salty, and savory, is going to be very helpful when you send food over.
Our Favorite Meal Train Recipe Ideas
It’s Morning, It’s Time For Breakfast.
Start the day off right with something good, it’s the most important meal of the day after all.
Getting good food in the morning is key to a great day, as is having something that’s full of flavor and made with love. Here are three different options for a delicious early morning meal.
Pancakes, Eggs, and Bacon
You can’t go wrong with a classic, and that’s pancakes, eggs, and bacon. Or variations of those things, like waffles, hash browns, and sausage–all depending on the recipient. But let’s keep it to the classics this time:
- Courtesy of the NY Times, you can make some of the highest rated pancakes on the market. All you need is basic baking supplies like flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, egg, milk, and butter.
- Bacon and eggs you can get at your local grocery store and prepare exactly how they’d like it.
A Little Something Sweet, Rhubarb Streusel Muffins
A little sugar fix in the morning isn’t something to overlook, especially a good muffin.
- Courtesy of the Taste of Home website, these Rhubarb Streusel Muffins are a delicious addition to anyone’s morning breakfast. You’ll need all your basic baking supplies, along with sour cream, fresh or frozen thawed rhubarb, and chopped pecans. It’s something sweet to start the morning with something nice.
Can’t Go Wrong With Simple, How About Cereal?
Sometimes one can look over the easy picks for breakfast like cereal. Whether you go for something a little more on the healthy side like Cheerios, or something that brings a smile to your face like Lucky Charms.
It’s something simple that can help not just with one meal but with many future breakfast meals. You can also send over a milk of their choice, whether it be Oat, Soy, or Whole, it’s sure to be helpful for them in the future.
Sun’s Up And Lunch Is Ready To Be Made.
That mid-afternoon hunger can strike at any time, let’s help with that.
Forgetting to eat when one is going through a life-changing experience happens a lot, especially during the middle of the day, and we’re here to make sure that the person you’re providing for is eating well all throughout the day. Here’s a few lunch options that can lend a helping hand this afternoon.
Garlic Bread Pizza.
We love a tasty and convenient lunch dish and this Garlic Bread Pizza provides delicious sustenance and convenience.
- Courtesy of the official Delish website, this Garlic Bread Pizza recipe will delight your meal train recipient, especially since all they have to do is heat it back up. This recipe requires you to make your own pizza sauce. (don’t worry, it’s not as challenging as it may seem.) They give you a list of ingredients to get, and step-by-step instructions on how to make the sauce perfectly. After that, all you’ll need to worry about is bringing the whole thing together. Make sure you get your loaf of garlic bread, shredded cheeses, pepperoni slices, and follow the rest of the steps laid out on their website.
Feel Good While Eating This Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad
We talked a bit in the beginning on the importance of a well-balanced meal, it can change your mental and physical health for the better, and this salad is here to do exactly that. Filled with protein and a lot of vegetables, this salad and any salad can be one small stepping stone to feeling a little better.
- Also courtesy of the official Delish website, we’re here to make a tasty Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad in just a half an hour. This salad is pretty easy to make, it requires you to use boneless skinless chicken breasts, a small variety of seasonings, and a selection of vegetables. (If there’s a veggie your person would prefer or one in the recipes they may not like, make sure to ask them so you can do your own variations to this recipe to make it special for them). This homemade salad shows care and that’s what this is all about.
A Simple Ham Sandwich
Depending on how busy the days can get, taking the time to prepare a big lunch meal just might not be in the cards and at the end of the day something simple might just be the way to go, and a ham sandwich is universal for being fast and delicious.
Now there’s no exact recipe to the “best" ham sandwich. There are some recommendations known in the cooking world as being better than others…
- For the bread, seeded, crusty white, sourdough, or ciabatta seem to be favorites. But you can’t go wrong with a classic sliced bread. Good quality ham is the way to go. You can get some from the deli. Research the best pre-packaged sliced ham, or ask the recipient what they like. Red onion and tomato are go-to’s, (thinly sliced is better). Smoked cheese, provolone, or swiss cheese are favorites, along with Dijon Mustard and mayo as toppings can really make the sandwich taste so good.
Evening Calls And Dinner’s Ready To Be Prepped
Ending the day with a good meal can make going to bed a bit easier.
Not Just Regular Spaghetti, But Spaghetti With A Twist
Putting on a pot to boil and throwing in some noodles makes for an easy meal. Especially with store-bought sauce, the meal shapes up super quickly. But how about we make it a little more special for the person in your life that needs it?
- Courtesy of the Taste of Home website, this Favorite Baked Spaghetti recipe is a sort of mix between a classic noodle dish and lasagna, making them into something new and delicious. It’s a simple step-by-step process with pre-packaged ingredients that deliver easy homemade flavor. The recipe yields 10 servings, perfect for several days or meals.
Calling For Comfort, And What’s More Comforting Than Soup?
A bowl of soup when you need love and care is a bit of a well-known staple for every home. We couldn’t not include it on our list today.
- Courtesy of the official Southern Living website, this Roasted Tomato Soup with Cheddar Cheese will provide a great meal for those who need a little more warmth in their lives. You’ll need plum tomatoes, low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth), sharp shredded cheddar cheese, an onion, garlic cloves, and other spices that should be really easy to find. You can adjust the numbers depending on how much you’d like to make too.
Something Simple and Delicious: Roasted Chicken & Potatoes
After all of this cooking, you might be in the market for something simple. We believe that a classic roasted chicken with potatoes and veggies is calling your name. Especially with how easy it would be to prep and pass along.
- When at the grocery store, get a hot, ready-to-go rotisserie chicken, potatoes, and veggies like broccoli, carrots, or asparagus. Prep the chicken, cook potatoes, and pack veggies for a comforting meal.
How You Can Organize A Meal Train And Where To Go For Help
Now that you have ideas on what to bring for a meal train, how about getting started with one? Luckily we have a great resource for you. Give InKind is here to “Organize Support for Anyone, Anywhere."
To start a meal train, you can start at their “Start an InKind Page" link right on the front page of their website. You can add dates for how long you’d want/need this meal train to be there. Go through breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, and even add requests for groceries and gift cards.
Use ‘Special Notes’ to share dietary choices/restrictions & allergies. Help participants know what to bring/not bring.
After setting up the page, all you need to do is share with people who might be able to help. It’s that easy.
A meal train is a great way to help someone in need. Give InKind is here to make that easier.
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.