Nothing says I care quite like a home-cooked meal. In one carefully prepared package you can offer love, support and nourishment and help to ease the burden at a difficult time.

If you are preparing or delivering meals, or organising a meal roster, there are a few things you should consider to ensure minimum fuss and maximum enjoyment. 

Contents - What to Cook?

Ask yourself the following questions, before deciding what to prepare.

  • Are there any food allergies or sensitivities that need to be take into account?
  • Are there any food aversions? (If you don't know the person, it may be best to avoid ingredients which many people don't like such as olives, anchovies, smelly cheeses, excess spice or chilli)
  • How many people are in the family ? 
  • Does the person or family enjoy a particular type of food?
  • What are you most comfortable cooking? What's your specialty?
  • Do you need a few meal suggestions?
  • If you are on a meal roster, what are other people cooking? (You can only eat so much lasagne :)
  • Can the food be reheated? May it need to be frozen?
  • Does the meal need a side salad? Perhaps you'd like to add a treat for dessert?


  • Where possible, it is best to send food in containers that don't need to be returned. This avoids any burden on the person to return an item and ensures you don't lose your favourite dish. 
  • If your meal is to go in the oven, choose a dish that is suitable. Foil baking dishes are available at most supermarkets.
  • If the meal is likely to be frozen, choose a sturdy container with a tight fitting lid (See our tips on freezing food)
  • Always label the food providing a list of ingredients, date prepared and instructions for reheating from fresh or frozen.


  • Find out what is the best time to deliver the meal and where the food should be left.
  • If the meal is to be left at the door, ensure it is packaged appropriately.
  • Stay for a cuppa and a chat if invited but don't expect to hang around. Depending on the situation, your friend may not be up to socialising.
  • If you are on a meal roster  your coordinator may have provided you with delivery instructions. It may be that food is dropped off to a central point and delivered by someone else. If this is the case it will be because the recipient is not up to receiving visitors. Respect this.

And finally...

Don't be offended if you don't get a thank you for your meal. After all, that's not why you did it, is it. Just know that you have helped to make life just that little but easier, when it was really needed, and isn't that what friends are for?