Setting Up a Meal Train 101

A hardship like a divorce or a loss of a family member and sometimes a pandemic can completely throw off our life balance, making us depend on others to look after us and remind us to eat healthily. Whether your friend or a family member has gone through a family struggle or needs to spend time in isolation, setting up a meal train will be invaluable for their well-being. You can be the responsible friend and organise an entire system to help them go back on track and eat healthily. Here are some essential tips for setting up a meal train

Communicate in a group chat/e-mail

Gathering a group of people to help out with food prep will make the entire meal train process much easier. Create a group chat on WhatsApp or have a mutual conversation via e-mail where everyone will brainstorm their ideas. Discuss recipes, meal times, and when each of you will prepare their meals and bring them to the friend in need. Don't forget to make meals as diverse as possible to offer your friend maximum nutrients. Remind everyone that they should always label, date, and offer clear reheating instructions with every meal they send out.

Ask bout allergies

The key to a successful meal train is healthy, allergen-free food. So, before you start cooking and planning, it would be wise to check if your friend has any food allergies. They may be lactose or gluten intolerant, which will affect your meal prep very much. Note down all of their likes and dislikes, allergens and intolerances and keep the list pinned in your chat so everyone can have a visual reminder of what not to include in their recipes.

Book a meal delivery

While cooking for your friend is one of the options, the other one can be to rely on home-cooked meals that you can order online. When you don't have too much time to prepare extra food, you can always get healthy home-cooked meals delivered to your friend’s doorstep. Order authentic homemade meals featuring cuisines from all over the world. From pierogies to enchiladas and signature Italian meatballs, you can save yourself the cooking one day a week and order delicious healthy meals online to be delivered at whichever address you need.

Mix meals

When setting up a meal train, diversity is vital. One of the ways to achieve that is to have every person cooks what they're best at. Ideally, you can be in charge of pasta, a different person can cook meat, the third one casseroles and someone else desserts. Alternate between meals based on who cooks what and create a food calendar to be as diverse as possible. On top of that, you don’t have to cook everything by yourself. Feel free to buy premade meals that only need to go in the microwave. You probably don’t cook for yourself from scratch every day either, so no need to feel bad if you add a few extra ready-made meals for your friend in need.

Consult apps

Are you having trouble coming up with the best meal train schedule? No need to feel devastated because technology has all the answers. You will find a variety of apps that will help you set up a meal train and make your friend beyond grateful they have a friend like you to look after them. Rely on apps to help you organise the meal train like a pro. Apps also have the option for setting up reminder e-mails and adding a donation link if need be.

Pack the meal accordingly

To make the entire process hassle-free, use disposable containers for the food you make so that your friend doesn't have to worry about returning the dish or a tray. Furthermore, if you have made a salad or some other cold meal, you can pack it in a plastic container. For foods that require heating up, a glass or foil pan will be the best option. Another option is to treat a friend to dinner at a restaurant and take them out to make them feel more included. Some people will need more time to go back among the public, so getting them a grocery gift card can also show your devotion and desire to help them feel better soon.

Final thoughts

Setting up a meal train for a friend in need would be very noble and challenging. However, with the help of determined people and a little assistance from apps, you will have no problem delivering healthy and delicious meals to your friend. Follow the tips we've suggested, think about creative recipes and always try your best to offer them diverse foods. Feel free to take them out for dinner or lunch and offer all the help you can to make the current situation more bearable for them. 

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