Every day, funeral homes across the country help a countless number of people say goodbye to a loved one. During these services, funeral homes open their doors for the deceased’s family and friends to gather and help each other cope with the loss. We often get asked, what can I do for those who are grieving? One of the things we suggest is cooking or providing the grieving family with food. For any occasion, food always brings people together and is a central part of most events. Think about it, a meal is always a part of a wedding, a birthday, baptism, or graduation.
Food is an important part of life, especially when a person is grieving. Oftentimes people in grief are so drained that they do a poor job of taking care of themselves, and this includes eating properly. A quality wholesome meal could be one of the most beneficial things you can provide a grieving family.
8 Tips for Providing Food to Those Who Are Grieving
Sympathy meals and comfort foods for the grieving are a great way to help a grieving person through a difficult time. Below we’ve offered recipes for sympathy meals as well as some other helpful tips about preparing comfort food for a grieving family.
1. Cook A Nourishing Meal
If you are going to cook a sympathy meal for someone who is grieving, a nourishing meal will be most beneficial. While it’s nice to cook desserts or other treats, a heartwarming meal will have a greater impact. If not desserts, you might be asking yourself, what food should I bring to a grieving family?
There are plenty of nourishing meals to consider and we’ll discuss them shortly. First things first, you want to bring a meal that meets the following criteria.
- It’s easy to transport to the grieving family’s home.
- It requires little prep work to heat up and eat it.
- It can be easily frozen or kept for a few days so the family can eat when they feel like it.
There are plenty of foods that can be easily made and meet each of the requirements listed above. Hearty meals like casseroles, slow cooker meals, soups, and stews are ideal. This could include dishes like lasagna, pulled pork, meatballs, macaroni and cheese, chili, or chicken soup.
2. Buy Groceries or Catered Food
Not everyone is a great cook, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help a grieving family with sympathy food. Instead of cooking the food, buy a bag of groceries with foods that don’t need to be prepared. This could include breads, cheeses, and meats or fruit and vegetable trays.
Another option for families is to purchase some catered food for them. This could include one of the hearty meals we mentioned above or something simple like sandwich platters. Many grocery stores also offer pre-cooked meals that just need to be warmed up in the oven.
3. Invite the Family Over for Dinner
Instead of bringing a meal to the grieving family, invite them to your home for dinner. You can still serve comfort foods for the grieving family, but also provide them with a reason to get out and socialize. Often when someone is grieving, they prefer to stay in and avoid interaction with others. Inviting them to your home is a great way to spend time with them and offer the support they need.
4. Be Mindful of Allergies and Dietary Restrictions
Consider food allergies and dietary restrictions the family may have. If you are unsure, do not hesitate to ask. If you are concerned about any potential allergies or issues, provide a set of ingredients and the recipe with the meal. This means the family can review it before eating the dish and ensure there will be no issues.
5. Schedule A Time to Drop By
The last thing you want is to bring your sympathy meal to the family’s home when no one is present. Before you plan to deliver the meal, reach out and ask when the family will be home. Ideally you would want to drop the food off at a time when the family can eat it when it is fresh and hot.
6. Tell the Family You’ll Be Cooking a Meal for Them
Notify the family that food is on the way, but do not give them the option to reject it. Oftentimes those that are grief stricken will complain that they do not need the help, even when they really do.
7. Use Dishes and Containers You Don’t Need Returned
Try to pack the food in containers that do not need to be returned. If you don’t have any, dollar stores and department stores offer affordably priced dishes that can be used for this.
8. Provide A Note with The Food
A nice personal touch is to include a note with the comfort food. In the note, you can offer some condolences and any other important information the family should know about. This could include ingredients or instructions for reheating if necessary.
Sympathy Meal Ideas and Recipes
If your serious about cooking a sympathy meal for a grieving family, there are plenty of dishes to choose from. You may prefer to cook a family recipe or try something new. In either case, the gesture of cooking comfort food for someone you know is grieving is both generous and supportive.
Here are some of the best sympathy meals and the recipes we found online.
Originally published by Conner & Koch Funeral Home Blog