Every year, we assist dozens of families in honoring and saying goodbye to their loved ones. During each of these services, we open our doors to allow the deceased’s family and friends to gather and support one another in their grief. We are frequently asked, “What can I do to help those who are bereaved?” We recommend cooking for or providing food for the bereaved family.
Food always brings people together and is an important part of most events. Consider this: a meal is always served at a wedding, a birthday, a baptism, or graduation.
Food is an essential part of life, especially when one is in mourning. People in grief are frequently so exhausted that they neglect to take care of themselves, including eating properly. A nutritious meal may be one of the most beneficial things you can give to a bereaved family.
Without further ado, here is funeral food to take to a grieving family in our own opinion.
8 Tips for Providing Food to Those Who Are Grieving
Sympathy meals and comfort foods for the bereaved are excellent ways to help a bereaved person get through a difficult time. We’ve included recipes for sympathy meals as well as some other helpful hints for preparing comfort food for a bereaved family below.
1. Cook A Nourishing Meal
A nourishing meal will be most beneficial if you are cooking a sympathy meal for someone who is grieving. While making desserts or other treats is nice, a hearty meal will have a greater impact. If not desserts, you may be wondering what food to bring to a bereaved family.
There are numerous nourishing meals to consider, which we will discuss shortly. First and foremost, you should bring a meal that meets the following requirements.
- It’s simple to transport to the bereaved family’s home.
- It only takes a few minutes to heat up and eat.
- It can easily be frozen or stored for a few days so that the family can eat it whenever they want.
There are numerous foods that are simple to prepare and meet all of the requirements listed above. Casseroles, slow cooker meals, soups, and stews are excellent choices. Lasagna, pulled pork, meatballs, macaroni and cheese, chili, or chicken soup are examples of such dishes.
2. Purchase groceries or cater food
Not everyone is a great cook, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide sympathy food for a bereaved family. Instead of cooking the food, buy a bag of groceries containing foods that do not require preparation. Bread, cheeses, and meats, as well as fruit and vegetable trays, could be included.
Another option for families is to have their meals catered. This could be one of the hearty meals mentioned above, or it could be something as simple as sandwich platters. Many grocery stores also sell pre-cooked meals that can be warmed in the oven.
3. Host a Dinner Party for the Family
Instead of bringing a meal to the bereaved family, invite them to dinner at your house. You can still serve comfort foods to the grieving family, but you should also give them an excuse to get out and socialize. When someone is grieving, they often prefer to stay at home and avoid interaction with others. Inviting them to your home is an excellent way to spend time with them and provide the assistance they require.
4. Keep Allergies and Dietary Restrictions in Mind
Consider the family’s food allergies and dietary restrictions. If you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to ask. If you are concerned about potential allergies or problems, include a list of ingredients as well as the recipe with the meal. This means the family can go over it before eating the dish to ensure there are no problems.
5. Make an Appointment to Visit
You don’t want to bring your sympathy meal to the family’s home when no one is there. Before you plan to deliver the meal, contact the family to find out when they will be home. You should drop off the food at a time when the family can eat it while it is still fresh and hot.
6. Inform the family that you will be preparing a meal for them.
Inform the family that food is on its way but do not give them the option to refuse it. Those who are bereaved frequently complain that they do not require assistance, even when they do.
7. Make use of dishes and containers that will not be returned.
Attempt to pack the food in non-returnable containers. If you don’t have any, dollar stores and department stores sell inexpensive dishes that can be used for this.
8. Include A Note With Your Food
A note with the comfort food is a nice personal touch. You can include condolences and any other important information the family should be aware of in the note. This could include ingredients or reheating instructions if necessary.
20 Best funeral food to take to a grieving family
Don’t feel bad about bringing such a simple dish to those who are in mourning. Everyone enjoys pizza. You can also include a vegetarian pizza and a gluten-free pizza for those on a restricted diet.
Pick up the pizza and deliver it to the family yourself, or have it delivered. If you are not present during the delivery, make sure to leave a tip for the driver.
2. Chinese cuisine
Chinese food is a meal that a large family can easily share. Most restaurants allow you to order family-sized portions of various entrees that include rice or noodles. Include several quarts of egg drop soup.
3. Platters of meat and cheese
Most grocery stores and delis prepare meat and cheese platters for customers to use when constructing their own sandwiches. Request that the plates come with lettuce, onion, and tomato slices. To accompany the trays, buy mayonnaise, mustard, and bread.
These simple meals can feed dozens of people, and kosher deli trays are available for families sitting shiva.
If you don’t want to drive to the store, you can order a meat and cheese platter from Amazon, such as the one shown above.
4. Platters of fruits and vegetables
Consider pairing the meat and cheese trays with fruit and vegetable trays. You can also deliver these as separate items.
Although they would not necessarily serve as a meal for a family, they are healthy alternatives to the junk food that many people give to bereaved families.
If you’re short on time, consider sending a nut and dried fruit gift basket from Amazon, such as the one shown above.
5. Sandwich platters
Consider purchasing trays of pre-made sandwiches to simplify the sandwich-making process for the family.
Many national chains sell trays of their food, and they usually include condiments and plates as well. Buy large bags of chips to go with the sandwiches.
6. Fried Chicken
Go to your favorite fried chicken restaurant and buy a meal for a bereaved family. Of course, additional sides and rolls should be purchased to round out the meal.
If you live in an area known for its barbecue, this would be an excellent gift to give to a bereaved family. BBQ restaurants are typically excellent caterers.
They supply everything the mourners would need to feed a large crowd, including paper goods and wet wipes.
The high-octane formula will be sold in large, recyclable containers at your favorite coffee shop. Consider buying in bulk and delivering it to a family preparing for a funeral.
Don’t forget to include sugary flavored creamers for those who can’t drink coffee without them.
On Amazon, you can find high-quality beans, such as these Real Good Coffee Co. Whole Beans from Seattle.
9. Sweet treats
To feed a family, you can bake your own cookies and brownies, but you can also order trays of treats from your favorite bakery or supermarket.
Although not technically a meal, most people find comfort in eating cookies.
Send a large assortment, such as the Cookie Gift Basket pictured above, from Amazon.
10. Gift cards
Maybe the family will have to travel to the funeral. Bringing a tray of sandwiches may be more of a burden than a help in this case.
Consider purchasing a gift card that the family can use in the area surrounding the funeral.
It can be difficult to predict which gift card a family will appreciate. Try to go with something you can buy anything from, such as an Amazon Gift Card.
11. Lasagna or baked pasta
If no one in the family is allergic to gluten or dairy, consider making a lasagna or another type of baked pasta. These dishes are hearty and filling. Pasta is usually enjoyed by even the pickiest eaters. They freeze well and can be easily prepared by baking them for an hour in the oven.
Serve this dish with a bag of pre-made salad and garlic bread.
12. Chicken with noodles
This starchy dish is also a portion of popular comfort food, especially when served with homemade mashed potatoes. This meal, like lasagna, freezes well and can be reheated as needed.
It’s bland enough to please even the pickiest eater and can be served with a salad.
13. Chicken pot pie
There’s no need to make your own pie crust for this traditional American dish. Purchase pre-made crusts from your local supermarket, and cook the chicken with carrots, peas, and onions.
- Deliver the food hot from the oven or ready to bake. Just make sure to inform the family of your plans.
- Send a sympathy gift to express your condolences.
- Show your sympathy to a bereaved friend. Browse our hand-picked gift selection.
14. Shepherd’s pie
A crustless shepherd’s pie, like chicken pot pie, has a mixture of ground beef and vegetables on the bottom.
Peaks of creamy mashed potatoes cover the top. You can make this meal gluten-free if you take precautions. It can also be placed in the freezer.
Everyone in the United States has a favorite chili recipe. If you have received compliments on it, consider sharing it with a bereaved family. Include crackers, cheese, sour cream, Fritos, green onions, or any other favorite toppings.
You can bring the chili ready to eat in a slow cooker, or you can bring it frozen so the family can reheat it in their slow cooker when they are ready.
16. Soup with chicken noodles
If you live in a cold climate and need to feed a bereaved family, try making homemade chicken and noodle soup. It’s the ultimate in comfort food, and it’s simple to make.
Using a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken in the soup allows you to prepare the meal in minutes.
A quiche, whether for breakfast or dinner, is a simple meal that will bring comfort to any grieving family. Because some vegetarians eat eggs, you might consider leaving out the meat in this dish to appeal to a wider range of eaters.
Bring fruit, such as strawberries and blueberries, as well as bagels to go with this meal.
18. Casserole with eggs
Egg casseroles are another option that can be served for breakfast or dinner. This is a great idea to bring to families who are hosting guests overnight. Add an apple, orange, or grapefruit bag.
Meatballs, whether homemade or frozen, can be the ideal meal to bring to a family who has recently lost a loved one.
They can be served with a variety of sauces, including barbecue, hot and spicy jelly, and brown gravy. You can also serve them with mashed potatoes or another starchy side dish.
Make dozens of burritos on an assembly line in your kitchen. Burritos freeze well most of the time, especially if individually wrapped in waxed paper.
They can be warmed individually as needed and served with pico de gallo, avocados, and sour cream. Breakfast options can also be created for those who have overnight guests.
Consider the recipients’ dietary restrictions, favorite meals, and easy-to-store options when deciding what best funeral food to take to a grieving family. Bringing them comfort foods to express sympathy will show them that you care and want to assist them. Whatever sympathy meal or treat you choose to bring to your friend or family member, it will be a loving and thoughtful gesture that they will undoubtedly appreciate.