Swap Ready

Get Started: Group Meal Swap

You have seen all the Get Started posts this far, and  you are loving the idea of having your freezer stocked with meals for your busy family, but what if you just don’t have time for a huge cooking day, or don’t even like to cook?  Group OAMC might be the answer for you!

Over the years I have participated in a few different variations of the Freezer Meal Swap and loved coming home with a variety of meals to put in my freezer and pull out over the course of the month.  A few benefits of doing a Group Meal Swap

  • Variety of meals that you may not have chosen, but end up loving.
  • You only have to prepare 1 meal, less stress and brain power on your end.
  • You CAN prep in a few different settings, maybe doing 2 meals at a time spread across the course of the week.
A few tips on how to start your own freezer group swap.
  • Email or contact a few friends and see if they have interest in doing a swap. I’ve seen some people start a Google group or Facebook pages for their meal swaps to keep track of things in one place as opposed to an email chain.
  • Meet and pick out a menu or a few recipes that you all would like.
  • Designate one person to cook each recipe and provide servings to that person.
  • Using the OAMM recipe cards provide you with an advantage since we do the math for YOU!
  • Keep it small for the first run and see how people like it and get bigger as you go. We promise you’ll get addicted.
  • Pick out a swap day to exchange meals. Sometimes it’s fun to meet at someone’s house for lunch and bring your coolers to load full of goodies.
  • Make sure to specify to the whole group if there are any allergies or food aversions in your house while going over the recipes.
  • If you have extra meals that your family didn’t enjoy you have the blessing of extras for families in need – new baby, surgery, death, illness, and other circumstances.
  • Have a de-briefing session a few weeks after the swap to see what people did and did not like and go over what could be done differently. Don’t do it right away!

Here are a few videos on how Kelly recently did a group swap cooking day with some co-workers:

Have you done a group swap? What are your tips and tricks?

9 Responses to “Get Started: Group Meal Swap”

  1. Lisa S says:

    Thanks, Kelly! I’m confused about how you do the servings with your swap group–particularly, how do you make it fair so that the smaller families aren’t having to cook a lot more food than they are getting back?

    You said you were making 24 servings total. Do you cook two meals for each family, with the size being dependent on their family, or does the number of meals also vary depending on how they want their allotment broken up?

    It would seem fair that if everyone makes 24 servings, they should get 24 servings, just packaged differently… or maybe you figured out a different way to make it even out?



    • Kelly says:

      Lisa, it was 24 servings total and as you can see from the video, we have a few singles in the group, two person households, and four plus person households in our group. Each member gets two of each meal (just like on the OAMM site) and we package according to their request. One person in our group has four people in her house but two high school boys, so she orders for six because they eat A LOT! Does that help?

      • Lisa S says:

        Sorry, I’m dense; I must be missing something! Ok, suppose you have eight families with the following numbers of people: 6, 4, 4, 4, 2, 2, 1, and 1. (just a guess at how you get to 24). Then aren’t the singles having to make 24 servings and only getting 8×1=8 servings (one from each family), whereas the family that orders 6 is making 24 servings and getting 8×6=48 servings? I’m trying to figure out how you make it fair to everyone, so they are making roughly the same amount of food that they get back.

        • Kelly says:

          Okay with the example of the enchiladas in my video, check out the second video first. I batch cooked according to servings that were requested. Then when you see the third video for the single servings, I separated them into pans for two enchiladas per pan. But those singles that ordered get TWO pans of two enchiladas. Then you can see in the last video all the meals together. For my group I had three singles order, three two person servings, and four, four person servings. I made 24 servings, but 48 total since they are eating each meal twice. The singles in the group cook the amount of servings that were requested for their recipe they chose to cook. Then they portion it out like I did. We then come together one day at work and all swap our meals and bring our grocery receipts. Then one person tallies the receipts and divides the recipe by servings, and you only pay per serving for what you take away. For example the garlic enchiladas I think came to $1.24 a serving for our group. The singles then would only pay $2.48 for their servings. That number is then subtracted from what they paid for to cook and prep their recipe. If they cooked breakfast cookies and they cost $30 to cook for the entire group, that’s their “credit” and they then subtract the cost of the servings of the other things they ordered. Say it was $32 for all their servings at the end. Then they get a $2 credit from the group because they didn’t order as much. Then the person who made flank steak paid $75 to cook for the entire group, but then ordered $100 worth of servings of other meals, then owes $15 to the group. Does that make more sense? If not email me and I can discuss or send you our spreadsheet.

  2. Lisa S says:

    Oh, that totally makes sense now. I didn’t realize you were dividing the expenses. That does make sense, since flank steak is going to be more expensive than say, a vegetarian entree.

    I’ll ask our group about it and see if people want to try to even out expenses or servings. I’m thinking we’ll have small groups at first, 3-4 moms. My original thought, to make it simple, was to make the same amount of servings for each family, but since we are planning to cook together, each family would bring their own dishes and package it however they wanted to. I don’t think we have any huge families or voracious teens, so I was thinking we would make 4 yellow-box “servings” per family and then each can divide into 2 meals for a family of 4, 3 meals for a family of 3, or 4 meals for a family of 2 (those with babies). If there were a larger family, they could make one meal (9×13 casserole) and have leftovers.

    That doesn’t take care of the expense of the meat, of course. I’m not sure how we’ll work that out, especially if some people buy organic, and others don’t, etc. I’ll see what people think…maybe it’s worth dividing up the cost or having one person buy the meat and get reimbursed.

    • Erin F says:

      What I’ve seen done in regards to the whole meat preference situation, is that each participant brings their choice of meat. So if my recipe is one that requires meat, I assemble it with whatever each person brought. One additional thing, if the meat requires pre-cooking, it’s best if that is done ahead of time. This allows everyone to purchase meat according to their own preference.

  3. Debs says:

    I’m glad Lisa asked all those question, cos that’s what I was wondering too.
    It’s done by cost, that makes sense to me!
    (I think on your final example you mean the big family would owe 25 not 15, but that’s just a minor math issue!)

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