Meals for New Parents

On the cooking message board I frequent, one question that is asked over and over again is what sort of meal is best to bring to new parents.  I feel I have some experience in this area, as I have been both the giver and receiver of such meals.  First of all, just know that new parents will be grateful for anything that you bring them.  As always, it is the thought that counts, and most new parents are just happy to have a meal that they did not have to spend time, energy, or money on.  I know that we hugely appreciated every single meal that we received after Andrew was born.

Of course, as a foodie, I try really hard to come up with something a little bit different than what others might bring.  Not because there is anything wrong with the norm, but just to provide some variety.  Baked pasta dishes and chili or similar items are likely the most common meals brought over, and for good reason.  They are well-liked, make large quantities and they are stored and reheated well.   Just to spice things up a bit, I decided to go for a Mexican theme when I made two meals for friends with new babies.  I made chicken enchiladas, homemade salsa with tortilla chips, and Mexican rice.  I also think it is a nice touch to provide food for breakfasts and/or snacks as well, because new parents need to eat more than just dinner.  I added a batch of classic hummus and a large bag of fresh veggies to each package so that they would have a tasty and healthy snack within easy reach, rather than grab for something less nutritious.  Caring for a newborn is hard work after all, so it is important to be sure the parents are taking care of themselves as well!  I also threw in a batch of peanut butter chocolate chip muffins for a quick and easy breakfast.

Whenever I bring a meal over to a family, I always check with them at least a few days in advance to be sure that they will be home and that no one else is planning to bring a meal the same night.  I also make sure to ask if there are any foods that they do not like or that they are allergic to.  And of course, it never hurts to ask if there is anything in particular that sounds good or that they are craving.  I make sure to clearly label everything that I bring, especially with instructions for baking, etc.  Finally, I package everything in disposable containers so that the recipients will not need to bother returning anything to me.  Aside from the Mexican meal, another meal idea that I have found that goes over very well is a batch of soup and fixings for sandwiches, such as grilled cheese.

In this case, one of the moms I brought food to recently had to eliminate dairy from her diet for the sake of breastfeeding.  I had originally planned to make the famous “Benchiladas”, but those contain dairy, dairy and more dairy.  So, I came up with my own concoction and I think it turned out pretty well.  I made grilled chicken with a spicy wet rub, mixed it with some extra Mexican rice and a can of black beans.  I put this in tortillas, topped with salsa, rolled them up and baked until warmed through.  I made a couple to taste test myself before feeding them to others, and I thought they were great!   They were a hit with my friends as well so I am happy the experiment turned out to be a success.  I did not top them with any sort of enchilada sauce since I think that often masks the flavors of whatever is inside the tortilla, but you certainly could add it if you desire.  All in all, both families were extremely appreciative of the meals and as a bonus I got to cuddle some very precious newborn babies!

25 Responses

  1. This is a great post! Thanks! That IS a question that gets asked all the time. 🙂

  2. Those are wonderful suggestions! Thank you. I love your labels – where did you find them/

    • Hi Shannon!
      The labels are from Target. I got them in the aisle with all their notecards and stationery, in a cute little pail container. I haven’t checked in a while to see if they still carry them.
      🙂 Annie

  3. Thanks for posting these ideas! I was just trying to think of what to take a friend who cant have onions, garlic, or dairy right now because of breastfeeding. Now I have an idea to work with.

  4. Great post! I love giving food (and receiving it too)! You’re labels are a cute touch!

  5. I do not know how you do ALL that you do (on top of being a mom) but you are an inspiration!

  6. Wow, great post!!
    I love the disposable container idea… it seems like I’m always missing some containers and can’t remember where I’ve left them or who has it!

  7. I love your blog! What a great inspiration for food gifts. Thanks for posting. I have a ton of new ideas now.

  8. i love this post!! ps i have the same labels. 🙂

  9. How very thoughtful!

    And just so you know, there are two houses for sale on my street 🙂

  10. Annie you are too thoughtful 🙂 Great job on improvising!! The modified enchiladas were great.

  11. Great post with lots of great ideas! I like adding healthy snacks and breakfast foods as well!

  12. Great ideas as usual, Annie….I wish I had such a thoughtful friend when my daughter was born!

  13. You have such lucky friends! Love these ideas. I never really thought about a New Parent Care Package, but it’s a wonderful idea!

  14. These are all such DAMN good ideas – What a wonderful post!
    Thanks for all these great suggestions!!

  15. You’re SO thoughtful! I love all your ideas – your friends are very lucky!

  16. Great post!
    I took a care package to my SIL after my neice was born and she was most appreciative. She said she lived on the muffins and soup I brought her the first two weeks. Not having kids myself, I had no idea how helpful it really was. 🙂

  17. I LOVE THIS! I’ve starred this in my reader and will remember this for the next time I take a meal. Sure, dinner is great, but you are so right, what about snacks and such? LOVE it!

  18. This is an absolutely wonderful idea! It never occurred to me before to do something like this for new parents.

  19. What a great offering of meals! I’m sure they truly appreciate it!

  20. I have a friend who is scheduled to have a baby Sunday! Thank you for the tips, this gives me a new, refreshed look on what I can do for them!

  21. Thanks for the post. I definitely starred it in my reader so I can refer back when my friends start their families.

    Also, I wanted to point out that you have beautiful handwriting!!

  22. This meal looks awesome – just what I was looking for.

    Can you tell or maybe post in your original entry if the dish is “freezeable”? Or how you could do it?

    Again …. thanks!

    • Hi Sunny,
      I have never frozen these myself, but have heard from many others that they freeze well. Hope that helps!
      🙂 Annie

  23. Thank you for the wonderful post! I just recently had a baby and have been blessed by several friends and church members who stopped by to give meals to me. I know how appreciated it was… now I feel the need to return the favor somehow. Your suggestions and tips go beyond the simple casserole, and really speak thoughtfulness for the recipient. (Which is what I’m going for!) I’d love to see a second blog post with even more ideas for different menu themes, etc.

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