When a loved one goes through significant life changes, it can be hard to figure out how to best support them. For example, maybe you know new parents who don’t have the time to cook well-rounded meals. Or perhaps you want to help someone after surgery.
A great way to show your support is through a meal train. Meal trains provide home-cooked dishes to friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues to ease the burden of meal preparation. Meal trains are a great way to help those in need and ensure they still have healthy and delicious meals.
Continue reading to discover tips for meal trains in a variety of situations.
Tools to Organize a Meal Train
Coordinating a meal train is essential to ensure the right meals are delivered at the right times. However, it can be difficult to keep track of the schedule through email chains, texting, or in-person conversations.
Luckily, there are plenty of planning and scheduling resources. Some popular meal train companies include:
These convenient, user-friendly websites make coordination easy and ensure that everyone knows what to make and when to deliver their meals; no duplicate orders or missed drop-off dates.
Tips for a Successful Meal Train
Designate an Organizer
It’s helpful to have a point of contact that can keep things organized or answer questions for meal train volunteers. This person can serve as the go-between between the family in need and meal train participants.
Check-In With the Family in Need
A good first step, especially for the organizer, is to coordinate with the family in need. Some things you want to ask are:
- Do you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies?
- Any types of meals you dislike?
- Best days/times to drop off meals?
- Where and how to drop off meals? (For example, if you are helping new parents, they might not want people to ring the doorbell during a food drop-off)
The organizer may want to share additional guidance with meal train volunteers via email or text to make the experience easy. Here are some things to consider:
- What is the recommended amount of food to prepare? A few meals per week saves time for new parents, whereas three meals per day might be more appropriate for those who are ill and unable to cook for themselves.
- What is a reasonable amount to spend? While each individual can decide on their own budget ahead of time, a ballpark amount might help them.
- What is the best way to drop off the food?
- What foods should be avoided?
Popular Types of Food Train Dishes
No matter who you are supporting, meal train foods should be nutritious, easy to make, and delicious. Consider delivering meals that require minimal preparation and are easy to heat and serve.
Meals that are packaged in individual servings are also a great option. This is convenient for those who have unpredictable schedules and want small, pre-prepared meals readily available.
If you are having a hard time deciding what to make, or if you lack the time or skills to cook, consider using a meal service like Table & Twine.
Each week, our team of talented, local chefs creates a wide variety of delicious dishes that can be cooked in under 15 minutes. No chopping or prep work is required. Ordering from Table & Twine for your next meal train combines nutritious, restaurant-quality meals with a home-cooked finish.
Meal Train Ideas for New Parents
New parents are often so focused on their baby that they don’t have time to shop, prep, and cook. A meal train is a great way to show your support and ease the strain on their busy schedules.
With a new baby, days will be unpredictable, and the best meal train ideas will accommodate this.
Consider small meals that require minimal effort to heat and serve at any time to fit in with their crazy schedule.
Meal Train Tip
Table & Twine is a great solution for families with a newborn or little ones of all ages. You can order food for adults and for kids, which is great if the family already has children. This eliminates meal prep and planning from the schedule while making sure everyone has something enjoyable to eat. Many Table & Twine options require no heating at all.
Meal Train Ideas for Surgery Patients
After surgery, most patients won’t have the energy or ability to cook. Setting up a meal train with satisfying and wholesome meals will allow surgery patients to focus on getting better.
The best kinds of post-surgery meals are made with nutritious whole foods, are easy on the stomach and packed with protein and veggies. Meal train ideas for surgery patients include soup, quiches, salads, and breakfast sandwiches.
Meal Train Tip
Table & Twine’s team of local chefs create easy-to-prepare meals always made with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Along with tasting great, our meal kits are designed with you in mind. Convenient delivery and ease of preparation allow recovering patients to eat well without exerting too much energy.
Meal Train Ideas for Cancer Patients
It can be difficult to find the best way to support those battling cancer. A meal train helps provide delicious, home-cooked meals with minimal effort.
It’s important to consider any dietary restrictions or side effects from treatment. Some cancer patients might require foods that are easily digested, while others might be too nauseous to eat large meals.
Oncologists recommend that patients keep a supply of small, ready-made meals that are high in quality calories. Some good options include veggie-based dishes or healthy comfort foods packed with nutrients.
Meal Train Tip
Table & Twine’s extensive catalog accommodates a variety of preferences and dietary restrictions. If the recipient wants to avoid certain foods, simply choose another option from our rotating menu of pre-prepared meals. Our Bistro Menu also includes lighter portions that may be ideal for those who are too nauseous to finish a regular-sized meal.
Meal Train Ideas for Grieving Families
Meal trains are a great way to show your love and support for grieving families. After the loss of a loved one, a home-cooked meal provides a valuable sense of comfort and lightens the burden of shopping and cooking.
Bringing enough food for the family plus extra is a good idea as they may have relatives visiting. Any extra food can be frozen or eaten later.
Meal train ideas for grieving families may include meals for groups like pasta bakes, casseroles, or chicken pies.
Meal Train Tip
If you’re not sure what to cook for those who lost a loved one, consider using Table & Twine. The convenient meal kits give you restaurant-quality meals without the hassle. Additionally, Table & Twine offers flexible options for groups and families needing to serve even more people.
Meal Train Ideas During COVID
During the pandemic, a meal train is a great way to support anyone battling COVID-19. These individuals can’t go out to restaurants or to the grocery store, relying family and friends for their daily meals or a constant stream of unhealthy fast food delivery.
For those in quarantine, easy, delicious dishes that can be quickly ly heated are best. Also consider providing a variety of meals so they’re not eating the same thing every day.
Meal Train Tip
Table & Twine can help friends and family recovering from COVID through a versatile menu and contactless ordering and delivery.
Consider Table & Twine For Your Meal Train
Starting a meal train is a considerate way to support those in your life. However, it can be overwhelming to plan out entire meals and find the time to shop and prepare them.
Creating dozens of home-cooked meals is time-consuming for both the organizer and volunteers. Instead, consider Table & Twine for your next meal train.
Our chefs work hard to combine the convenience of delivery and thoughtfulness of a home cooked meal.
We have a wide selection of healthy, delicious, and convenient meals that are sure to satisfy any palate. And, our meal kits are designed to minimize preparation and clean-up time.
Ready to start planning your meal train? Browse our menu to see how Table & Twine can support your meal train preparation.