How to Gift Freezer Meals
Yesterday we talked about who would benefit from a freezer meal. The answer is just about anybody! The reason for that is because of what you are giving them. You are giving them food, yes, but you are giving them so much more.
What you are REALLY giving:
- time (for family, for themselves, for work, etc.)
- stress relief
- health and nourishment
- a break (for their mind, their body, their budget, etc.)
- company (if you decide to stay and chat)
- love (cheesy, but totally true!)
See, you really are giving them a lot! Now, the question is how to do it.
1. Do they have storage space?
Unless you are trying to surprise someone or you already know what kind of space they have available, you probably want to check with them and make sure that they will have space to store what you are bringing. This is especially necessary if you plan to bring them more than just one meal, you are bringing a bunch of single portions (more on this tomorrow!), or you are bringing extras like sides, desserts, etc. Checking in with people also helps them to plan a little bit. If they know you will be bringing them something they know they don’t need to stress about getting to the grocery store or ordering pizza.
2. Do you have the containers you need?
We typically suggest using disposable containers for freezer cooking (hop over to our Get Started Series or this post for more information on sizes). This works very well for gifting meals because the person who receives the meal doesn’t have to worry about returning anything to you. You definitely don’t want to give a gift to try to save someone time and then give them one more thing to put on their to do list.
However, if you or the person you are gifting is “going green” and would prefer glass, then you can try to stock up on some glass containers at a thrift shop, yard sale, etc. Glass kitchenware is fairly easy to find second hand or can be bought for decent prices in discount stores or even in the baking aisle. If your dish allows (i.e. not soup or liquid) you could package it in reusable Neatos. Some of the folks on our list might appreciate a new glass dish or Neatos as part of the gift such as college students, newlyweds, or someone who wants to go green but is struggling with finances. See more about using glass here.
3. Do you have a complete meal?
If someone is really struggling, then anything you give them is going to be helpful and gratefully accepted. But it sure is nice to be able to give someone everything they need for a meal so that they don’t have to think about anything when they go to serve it. Once you have picked out a main dish, think about a side dish or two you can serve with it. For example if you’re giving a meat-based dish, give them a starch and a vegetable or salad to go with it. If you have a stir fry or one-dish type meal, give them rice or pasta to serve it over. If you bring a soup, bring salad and bread also.
Don’t forget that dinner isn’t the only meal that people struggle to get on the table. Quick, healthy breakfasts and lunches are invaluable to anyone who works a busy job or odd hours (think nurses,emergency responders, etc.), a mom with a new baby and older children, someone who just moved, and many others. And of course, don’t ever underestimate the comforting power of a good snack or dessert. Show some love and add a sweet component to your meal! More on our favorite giftable meals later this week.
4. Does it look pretty?
Again, if someone is in need, they aren’t going to turn anything down. So don’t be distressed or think you can’t do this if you aren’t crafty. I confess that I’m not really great at the crafty stuff. I have to order Kiwi Crate for my kids because I have no idea what to do with them otherwise. Tricia did a great post a few Christmases ago showing how she fancied up her baking pans with ribbon. It doesn’t take much – a pretty basket, a reusable grocery bag, a little ribbon, or let your kids go crazy with stickers and markers. You can even purchase plastic containers that have designs already on them, especially during the holiday season. Add a personal note or card and you are good to go.
Here are the Freeze it Forward challenge details just in case you are just joining us:
The challenge: Gift a freezer meal and share with the OAMM community using #freezeitforward or in the comments below.
The date: March 16-22
The goal: The one who gives and one who receives will be both full and fulfilled.
Now it is your turn! What is on your “to do” list when you are planning to gift a meal? How do you do it and what tips have you learned along the way? Please share in the comments or via social media using the hashtag #freezeitforward.