Food is one of the best ways to show someone you love them — whether you made the meal yourself or you’re just sharing. Likewise, sending meals to a sick or grieving friend is a great way to show you care, especially if the circumstances make it difficult for you to visit.
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If you’ve never sent meals to someone before or you’re not sure of the best way to do so, we discuss a few simple methods. Some of the options below involve subscription services, while others rely on you to make and deliver food yourself.
5 Simple Methods for Sending Meals to a Sick Friend
Sending meals to a sick friend is a great way to help them focus on getting well. After all, food is fuel and is some of the best medicine. Be sure to include a various dishes, such as a few comfort foods and predominantly healthy options. You may also choose to go through a professional meal service or plan everything yourself, depending on where your friend lives and how much time you have on your hands.
Be mindful that the foods and meals you select won’t be harsh on your friend’s stomach — even if they typically go for the spiciest items. You may also be interested in this post about sympathy food delivery for even more ideas about what to send someone who’s down.
1. Meal subscriptions (premade)
Premade meal subscription kits are perhaps the easiest way to ensure your friend’s fridge stays stocked and their stomach stays full. Some options below can easily accommodate dietary restrictions or even plant-based lifestyles.
These options — versus the meal “kits” in the next method — require minimal effort and are even as simple as “heat and eat.” Plans are also flexible and can be bought for short or longer periods of time.
- Mosaic: All meals are vegetarian, and some are vegan. Dishes are, of course, vegetable-heavy and full of color.
- Daily Harvest: All meals are gluten-free and dairy-free. Some are soy-free, nut-free, and paleo-friendly. Options include smoothies, bowls, soups, and quick bites.
- Veestro: All meals are vegan, and some are gluten-free. These meals are also heavy on veggies and sauces.
- Freshly: Freshly meals are not vegan or vegetarian, but they are certified gluten-free.
- Home Bistro: These restaurant-inspired meals offer paleo, diabetic-friendly, and vegetarian options.
2. Meal kit subscriptions (prep or cooking required)
If your friend enjoys a moderate amount of time in the kitchen, they may enjoy a meal kit subscription rather than readymade meals. It can help ease them back into the kitchen or even introduce them to a new style of cooking.
Many of the meal subscriptions below can also be customized to meet dietary needs or preferences. Again, plans are flexible and can be used for a short or longer period of time. The options below also don’t require too much time in the kitchen — but just enough that your friend should look forward to it!
- Sun Basket: Offers a range of healthy and sustainable options for a wide variety of diets.
- Home Chef: Home Chef accommodates some dietary restrictions but never skimps on new recipe ideas.
- Hungryroot: This plant-based option allows users to customize their meals and snacks to their liking.
- HelloFresh: HelloFresh offers three different meal plans, one of which is vegetarian.
- Purple Carrot: Purple Carrot offers plant-based and vegetarian options that can often be prepared in 30 minutes or less.
3. Grocery delivery
You can simplify the “meals” you send to your sick friend to just a grocery drop. You can also plan your friend’s groceries to be delivered and even send them complementary recipes and meal ideas.
This is a pretty hands-on approach, so make sure you have enough time to coordinate all of this. That being said, if you’re planning your own household’s grocery runs and meals, it shouldn’t be too difficult to just double-up on everything.
Yet another hands-on option, but it is perhaps the most rewarding one. If you’re fortunate enough to live close-by to your sick friend, perhaps the best (or most cost-effective) way to ensure they get fed is to deliver meals yourself.
After all, you can always cook larger portions of whatever you’re making and drop off the rest.
5. Create shifts
Rather than taking on several meals per week all on your own, perhaps you have a network of friends, family, or coworkers who would consider working with you in shifts.
You all can alternate days of the week or even take on a week or so at a time. You also shouldn’t expect to feed your friend for every meal imaginable — that’s asking quite a bit of yourself. It’s unlikely that your friend is expecting that much from you, anyway! It’s far more likely that they will appreciate any effort.
Here are some specific meal train ideas that you also may be interested in.
Meal or Food Ideas to Send to a Sick Friend
Of course, you have a better idea of what your friend is going through. They may not be able to stomach dishes that are on the complex side right now. Or, perhaps they are a picky eater in general.
There’s bound to be something that you can come up with that your friend will love and appreciate as they recover. You may also be interested in these gifts for a grieving friend to include with the meals and food.
Soup is one of the best meal items to eat when you’re not feeling well — either physically or mentally. It’s also one of the easiest things to make in large quantities.
If you’re dealing with a particularly hot time of year, you can also consider making chilled varieties or gazpacho.
Bread or pastries
Bread and pastries are comforting items that can last a long time. Plus, they can add a heartiness to soups or accompany lighter breakfasts.
You should consider making a variety that reheats well or that can be frozen and enjoyed another time. If your friend is sensitive to gluten, you can experiment with gluten-free flour.
Many flour brands offer varieties that keep allergens in mind, and they’re getting more and more indistinguishable in terms of taste and performance.
Fresh produce probably can’t be appreciated enough if your friend is stuck at home. It’s not always possible to pick and choose the best items through a delivery service or accommodate other quirks (like only liking purple blueberries).
Though there are some good delivery services out there, you may choose to shop at a farmers market or produce stand for both yourself and your friend to save some money. Another benefit of shopping locally for produce is that you’ll get what’s in season — so taste and quality should be at their best.
It’s easy to get creative with pasta dishes as well as make large quantities at once. You can make more traditional items with red sauce and cheese, or opt for pasta salads.
With gluten-free and veggie pasta, too, it’s easy to accommodate any dietary needs your friend may have without sacrificing taste. Pasta is another item that can keep in the freezer or fridge for a while and not spoil.
Taco fixings may not be something that can keep for very long, but that doesn’t mean your friend won’t appreciate them. That being said, you can include things like hot sauces, salsas, or cheeses, or sour cream that should keep for longer.
Fresh ingredients like lettuce, peppers, vegetables, and meat will have to be eaten a bit quicker. You can also include a batch of rice or beans in addition to tortillas so your friend can make burrito bowls instead if they choose.
Sandwich or wrap platters
Sandwich or wrap platters can be great if your friend is having other people stop by their home (granted, that will depend on how well they are). That way, they don’t have to put in a ton of extra effort to lay out food for others.
Making sandwiches or wraps ahead of time with ingredients that won’t get soggy should also ensure they’ll last at least a few days. You can also simplify it to charcuterie boards or something similar.
Casserole dishes don’t have to be those odd amalgamations you may be picturing from the ‘70s. A lot of casseroles can be quite modern, delicious, and healthy.
You can incorporate tons of fresh vegetables and other ingredients all in one dish. Plus, casseroles are meant to be saved and reheated.
Teas, cold brew, or juices
Store-bought teas or juices are often made with added sugar and unnecessary ingredients.
Brewing large batches of tea or cold brew at home for your friend to enjoy is a nice additional touch, especially if they are having food delivered from more than one person. Juices can also be great if you put extra care into what goes into them. Of course, they should be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet full of “real” foods, not as a meal replacement.
Food Is Love, Share It
Whether it’s distance or your own health that’s keeping you from physically spending time with your friend, sending meals is the perfect way to show you love them. It may take some creativity and flexibility, but they won’t likely forget it.
You may also be interested in these sympathy gift ideas to add an extra touch to the meals or food you drop off.