5 Tips for Sending Grief Groceries + Must-Haves to Include

There's nothing more soothing than a home-cooked meal. Gift your loved ones some grief groceries and get our favorite tips on getting started.

Published February 25, 2024
Smiley woman walking through the house door with groceries

If there’s one beautiful thing that comes out of the grieving process, it’s the massive outpouring of love and support that comes in its wake. From tight hugs to casseroles, people show their support in a myriad of ways.

One unique way to help your loved ones out is by sending grief groceries. Help them harness the healing powers of a home-cooked meal with these tips and tricks.

5 Tips for Making Grief Groceries Count

Teenage boy delivering groceries to a woman

When someone passes, the casserole train starts coming in hot. But eventually, it runs dry, and it forces grieving people to adjust back to a “normal” routine that they might not be ready for yet. Give your loved ones some autonomy in the grieving process by sending them grief groceries instead. Sure, a fully stocked fridge of casseroles can be super helpful, but there are so many other things people need while they’re working through their grief.

Try something different this go around by sending some grief groceries instead.

Involve Your Loved Ones in the Shopping (if They Want)

People like to be sensitive when someone loses a loved one and not bother them too much with questions and requests. But if your loved one is like me, then they’re pretty particular about what they eat and the ingredients they use. Make sure your grief groceries aren’t a waste of your money by involving your loved ones in the process.

Send them a quick text asking what kind of meals they’re craving and what staples they’re running low on. Don’t ask them for a full grocery list, but a few ideas and some direction will ensure that every item you buy gets put to good use.

Pick Up Their Medications if Possible

Many people shop for groceries and their medications at the same place. If the point of grief groceries is to let your loved ones have less to do so they can focus on the grieving process, then racing to grab your medicine before you run out is pretty antithetical, right?

So long as it’s not a controlled substance, most pharmacies will let you pick up medications for someone if you’ve got their name and date of birth.

Shop With Meals in Mind

When buying grief groceries, shop with meals in mind. You don’t want to accidentally make your loved ones have to play a game of Chopped to make your random ingredients work. Instead, buy ingredients to make specific meals (or ones that go in multiple meals) so they’ve got everything covered.

Splurge on Some Fun Stuff 

Groceries are great, but surprises are better! Turn your grocery drop-off into a mystery box with a few hidden gems tucked away between the cans and veggies. These don't even have to be big splurges. A bottle of nail polish or a cute handtowel will go a long way to brighten their mood. 

Grab Some Gift Cards if You’re Not Sure

You don’t have to buy an entire pantry’s worth of groceries to show someone that you care. The extra effort isn’t emblematic of how much you want to help them — it’s often more of a way to soothe our egos. So, if you really don’t know what they like or don’t have the time to plan a full grocery list, send them a few gift cards.

Quick Tip

Add a few delivery service gift cards, too! This will let your loved one experience a night out without having to physically go anywhere if they’re not up to it yet.  

Related: 10 Healing Grief Activities That Can Help You Deal With Loss

Grocery List of Much-Needed Stuff to Give a Grieving Loved One

Woman picking vegetables in a supermarket

Not everyone is a pro at grocery shopping (looking at helpful meal kits like you, Hello Fresh). Wipe the sweat from your brow with this sample grief grocery list of items your loved ones will appreciate.

  • Self-care items: face masks, bath bombs, candles, cozy socks, essential oils
  • Nonperishable staples: broths and stocks, pasta, rice, frozen veggies, seasonings, soups
  • Perishable staples: eggs, breakfast meats, fresh meat, tofu, fresh fruits
  • Snacks: granola bars, crackers, chips, pretzels, sodas or energy drinks
  • Sweet treats: cake mixes, cheesecake, snack cakes, ice cream
  • Paper products: toilet paper, napkins
  • Cleaning supplies: dish soap, laundry detergent, sponges, magic erasers, bathroom cleaner
  • Pet items: dry and wet food, treats, toys

How to Make It Personal With a Handwritten Note

There’s nothing more confusing than getting something unexpected dropped off at your house with no note. The number of times I’ve had to roll through my entire contacts list to see who sent me something adorable is unhinged. Soothe your loved one’s frazzled nerves with a sweet and simple note.

Not sure how to go about it? We’ve got some great ideas to get you through.

  • Thinking of you and hoping these groceries will let you get some rest. Much love, [your name].
  • Just wanted to send something your way and thought these would be a big help! Love, [your name].
  • I know you’ve been going through it, and I wanted to send you a little something to help you along. Love, [your name].
  • I bet you’re tired of casseroles by now (I would be too), so I thought you could use some groceries to make your own stuff. Here’s to the healing powers of a homecooked meal! Love, [your name].

Show Your Love With Grief Groceries

Expressions of love look different for everyone. Some people need to be coddled, and others want to be left alone. Give your loved ones the gift of independence and something to occupy their time with some grief groceries. Not only will a home-cooked meal do them good, but it’ll also be one less thing on their mind.

5 Tips for Sending Grief Groceries + Must-Haves to Include