Hello friends! Happy New Year!!! I don’t know about you, but I love a fresh new start! It is the perfect time to get life organized, set new goals, and simplify. It felt like the right time to (finally) share my tips with you guys about how to organize your own weekly meal swap with your friends, since this is definitely something that can ease stress and help save money! A little over six months ago my friend invited me to be a part of her meal swap group and it has been amazing ever since! It is pretty simple and self explanatory, but I thought I would share a few tips here today that you should consider before starting your own group, to make sure you get a good fit for you!
Here are the basics on how things work for us. My meal group has three people, and we swap meals on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We each have an assigned day, so every Tuesday I make dinner for three families (myself and two others) and deliver them warm and ready to go between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. Then, on Wednesday and Thursday I do nothing and get dinner delivered for me and my family! Pretty simple right?!
Here are a few quick things to consider when setting up your own meal swapping group!
- Pick other families about the same size as yours. This keeps things fair and easy since everyone will generally know what it takes to feed your family.
- Pick others with similar dietary restrictions as you, and set clear guidelines up front. For example, if you are gluten free a swap would really only function well with others who also want to eat gluten free. If someone in your family has a simple allergy (like my daughter is allergic to cashews) just make sure that everyone in the swap knows about it up front so they can be careful. If you make a great effort to eat healthy you will want others who do the same, and if you want kid/family friendly meals the same applies! I have a couple of kids who are extremely picky eaters, so I went into this knowing that on some nights I would still be making them some chicken nuggets on the side. That being said, I make them try everything that is brought over, and we have actually discovered some new yummy things that they like, that I would never think to make for them, so it has been a win in that regard! Also, it just means better lunch for me the next day if they don’t eat ;).
- Have a group text where you can easily communicate updates “I’ll be five minutes late” or “do you have your own sour cream?” etc. I also think it is a good idea to text each other when you know what you are planning for the week so that you can have a bit of diversity. It is easy to text out “I’m bringing tacos!” as soon as you know so that you don’t accidentally get tacos three nights in a row!
- Set clear guidelines up front for what is expected of each member of the group. While I haven’t had any real issues with this in my meal group, I’ve heard from some others who have! Is everyone going to bring just a main dish or side dishes too? What about condiments? When does everyone eat? How often are you allowed to go meatless? What do you do if someone is going to be out of town? How often can you repeat meals? Disposable dishes only (I highly recommend the awesome Costco pack of foil pans pictured above)? Etc. It honestly doesn’t really matter what the answers to the above questions are, but addressing them up front helps everyone to be on the same page and avoid any potentially awkward conversations later!
My family has been eating so much better since we’ve started doing this! Due to our super busy schedules I just don’t have it in me to cook more than a few real meals a week. Now, when I meal plan I typically plan a yummy dinner recipe for Tuesday (times 3) and then Sunday. Wednesday and Thursday are covered by the meal swap. We go out once a week either on Friday or Saturday, and then on the off day and Monday we either have leftovers, or something easy like sandwiches or breakfast for dinner! It has reduced my stress so much knowing I only have to plan for/cook two nice meals a week but we eat well every night!
One last thing before I go, I thought I would share some links to recipes that I’ve made or used in my meal swap group that are easy to triple and everybody loved! When I started out, trying to decide what to make was absolutely the hardest part, so now that you have these links starting yours should be a breeze!
Spaghetti Pie (pictured in this post)
Fiesta Chicken over rice
Easy Chicken Tacos
Sweet and Savory BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
Crock Pot Pesto Chicken over rice or noodles
Creamy Italian Chicken
Well there you have it friends! If you have any questions about things I forgot to cover please feel free to leave them in the comments! Good luck!
|Foil Pans||Freezer Paper|