The first few weeks of life with a newborn, whether it is a first child or not, is an incredibly challenging time for any family. Mom and Dad are likely exhausted and cooking a meal may seem like an insurmountable task. Bring them the best gift ever by delivering a delicious, home-cooked meal to their door. It saves them from having to even think about what to make for dinner.
Here are some simple dos and don’ts for a meal delivery and some ideas for meals that would work well in this situation.
- Do your research: find out what food allergies or preferences may need to be taken into account for the family (and we’re talking about siblings, too). Are they vegetarians? Do they need gluten free? Is someone allergic to eggs? Find out what should be avoided up front. If mom and dad are fresh from the hospital, ask a family member or communicate with a simple text. Don’t call and expect a new mom to remember everything that needs to be avoided.
- With that in mind, don’t make it a surprise. In this instance, a surprise is absolutely the last thing in the world they need. You don’t have to tell them what you’re bringing, but a heads-up that you’re going to drop off dinner tomorrow will be all the surprise they need.
- Do plan ahead: dropping off a frozen meal pre-baby is a kindness every mom and dad will appreciate once they have the baby. They may not realize it when you give them the food, but they will.
- Do create an inventory: if you’re dropping off several meals, make the new parents a list so they can easily read what you brought in their sleep-deprived state.
- Don’t get crazy elaborate: no matter what kind of birth, mom is exhausted and healing. A meal with too many wild ingredients (even if she loves them) may be too much for her. A meal that takes a lot of preparation on their end is also out.
- Don’t have high expectations about a visit with baby: sure, everyone wants to meet the new baby, but those first few days are for mom and dad to bond with the new addition. Call or text ahead and find out if you can visit when you drop off a meal and don’t be offended if they say no. They are likely bombarded with well-meaning folks who want to visit. Not to mention that when you want to visit might be the only time mom (or baby) has slept all day.
- Do be the loved one who says it’s okay if they want to be alone. Take your food in a cooler, drop it off and leave a note or text them to let them know what you brought. They’ll be grateful and doubly likely to approve a baby visit in the near future.
- Do give clear and concise written instructions. They might not eat your meal right away, especially if it is a frozen one. Save them time and energy by providing preparation and serving instructions.
Meals that make a great gift:
- Black Bean Tortilla Soup: easy to freeze, easy to make vegetarian or vegan, gluten free convertible. A hearty soup, perfect for warming and comforting a tired family. If dropping off for immediate consumption, bring a bag of tortilla chips, sour cream and chopped avocado.
- Ginger and Onion Whole Grains and Beans Soup: easy to freeze, vegetarian, gluten free convertible. A light, brothy soup- perfect for a healing body. If dropping off for immediate consumption, bring a green salad and loaf of crusty bread.
- Butternut Barley Risotto: easy to freeze, vegetarian-friendly, make gluten free by using gluten free steel cut oats or rice. Nutritious and filling, this dish is the perfect comfort food without being insanely unhealthy. If dropping off for immediate consumption, bring a green salad and loaf of crusty bread.
- Summer Squash and Portabello Lasagna from Herbivoracious: easy to freeze, vegetarian, gluten free convertible. When you’re exhausted from being up all night and nervous about the night to come, there is nothing like a lasagna. If the new family is more likely to enjoy a meat-based lasagna, try this one from Simply Recipes. Gluten free? Try this one from Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. What is beautiful about lasagna, in particular, is that you can assemble everything and hand it off to be cooked. You can also freeze it uncooked and give them cooking directions (depending on the size and depth of the lasanga, this is typically 350°F for 60-90 minutes).
- Spinach and Cheese Strata from Smitten Kitchen: easy to freeze, vegetarian friendly, gluten free convertible. This can be a breakfast, lunch or dinner- it’s so versatile.