Meals to Make for a Grieving Family
Food and death have long gone hand-in-hand. Although few people think about food when dealing with things like death, funeral plans, and grief, it is an important part of moving forward. Meals still need to be prepared and served for the whole family, and remembering to eat regularly is a good way to ensure self-care during such a difficult time.
That is why it is so common for friends and relatives to stop by with casseroles, platters, snack trays, and other tempting treats in the days following a death. Grief is just as much a physical condition as it an emotional one, so these healthy, hearty food options can go a long way in supporting your loved ones.
- Casseroles: A casserole (with a lid) that can be refrigerated or frozen is one of the best things to bring, since the family can pull it out and cook it whenever they’re ready. Although any kind of casserole works, many people turn to traditional comfort foods during this time.
- Soups/Stews: Like casseroles, homemade soups and stews tend to be hearty and comforting. They are also easily frozen or stored for later use, which makes them ideal when there might be a lot of meals coming in.
- Baked Goods: Your friends and family members probably do not want a big, festive cake right now, but baked goods such as cookies might still be welcome (especially if there are children in the house). These have the advantage of storing well, too.
- Assembly Kits: Fresh foods, salads, and other veggie-based meals can make a great change from all those heavy casseroles, but they usually have to be eaten right away. Extend the life of your gift by bringing all the ingredients for a big, healthy salad or sandwich platter and making it easy for the family to toss it together and serve whenever they are ready to eat.
- Breakfast: Most people think of lunch and dinner, and breakfast can get overlooked. You can opt for breakfast casseroles that can be frozen or bring by a box of bagels and fresh coffee one morning.
- Food Gift Cards: One way to avoid falling into the trap of too many casseroles stacked in the freezer is to send a food gift card instead. This can be for a takeout place or for a local restaurant—the family might appreciate a change of scene in dining out.
- Invitation to Dine: More than food, what the family might need most right now is company—especially in the weeks after the funeral takes place. Do not just drop off food and consider your job done. Instead, invite them over to your home to share a fresh, home-cooked meal. Take them to coffee or lunch. Ask them to join your holiday celebrations. It does not have to be a big gesture, but just offering can make all the difference.
No matter what you provide, remember not to expect anything in return. It might be a few months before you get your dish back. You may never receive a formal thank-you card. You might not be invited inside to share the coffee cake. This is less about you getting credit for your gift and more about supporting the grieving family so they can move forward as stress-free as possible.