Lately it feels like you can’t turn around without bumping into a woman schlepping a big ol’ car seat carrier with a newborn in it. Babies, babies everywhere – and so many parents desperately in need of a good night’s rest and a few solid meals each day. While it’s tough to help with the former, the latter is an easier lift. Know a hungry parent looking for a little help? Offer one of these healthy food gifts – and share your ideas in the comments!
Pizza – Pizza is a favorite around here. Customize the pie so that the new parents have enough protein and vegetables to power them up and get them through the long days and even longer nights. Try these tips for making a healthier pie, homemade sauce and a step-by-step guide to homemade dough.
Casserole – What you bring is as important as how you bring it to a family with a newborn baby. When giving a casserole – sweet potato pasta bake, potato-crust vegetable quiche, squash soufflé, tuna noodle, vegetable lasagna, etc. – make sure it’s cooked and already cut into single servings for storage in the fridge or freezer. Don’t forget to include reheating instructions for the microwave and/or oven.
Fruition Gifts – No time to cook for yourself let alone someone else? A basket of fresh fruit delivered to the house is such a treat for parents – and a nice break from all those casseroles. We’ve given Fruition Gifts boxes and received them and can attest to the excellent quality of each custom-packed fruit box. A friend of Every Food Fits, Dorothy Vitrano aka The Fruit Chick of the Tony Vitrano Company, can customize the gift box upon request.
Bag of Groceries – Another no-cook idea that you can knock out as you do your grocery shopping is to pick up an extra bag of items for the new parents. The day we came home from the hospital with our newborn son, our neighbors brought a bag from Trader Joe’s with foods such as bananas, prepared whole wheat pizza dough, cheese and – my favorite of all – prepackaged trail mix. Shelf-stable items remove the pressure of using the whole bag of food immediately, plus jars of sundried tomatoes or cans of artichoke hearts can be added to a variety of dishes.
Sandwich Fixins – Filed under the “no cook” category, sandwich fixins are quick, easy and enjoyable, especially for a mom who didn’t get to eat soft cheeses or deli meat for many moons. Include a loaf of bread, fancy cheese such as goat, Jarlsberg or Muenster, a favorite meat (or tofu for the vegetarian lot) and specialty mustard or mayonnaise.
Frozen meals – Offering a frozen meal allows the family to choose when to eat, especially if they’ve been inundated with loads of wonderful meals. Easy frozen options include soups, stews, casseroles, enchiladas, and sloppy joes. You can also toss in bags of frozen veggies or rice and pasta mixed with veggies to be used anytime. For dessert, think ice cream, frozen balls of cookie dough, smoothie mixes, quick breads and muffins.
Providing meals is a simple yet meaningful service for families with a newborn, or anyone going through a stressful time, and a welcome gift for those on the receiving end. In stressful situations, like entering parenthood, eating regularly is not always a priority and health can suffer as a result. Offering a meal to a friend or loved one is a true reminder of how food can bring us together.
What are your favorite meals to take to a new parent or friend in need?