Thoughtful Funeral Foods to Take to a Grieving Family

Updated May 11, 2022
Woman delivering care package to neighbor -

Offering meals to loved ones who have just lost someone is a thoughtful gesture. There are plenty of options when it comes to what food to take to a grieving family. From frozen meals they can heat up later to pre-portioned snacks, they'll appreciate not having to worry about food as they deal with the grief of losing a loved one. Here are the best meals to bring to a grieving family.

Funeral Food to Take to a Grieving Family

When bringing over food or snacks to a grieving family, be sure to check in regarding any food allergies, restrictions, or preferences if you aren't sure. If you bake or cook something yourself, offer it on a dish or platter that you are comfortable not getting back.

Comforting Meals

The best comfort foods for grieving families are often warm, hearty, and can be tied to nostalgic memories. Some meal options include:

  • Mac and cheese: It's easy to order or make yourself, plus it can be frozen and reheated in the oven.
  • Meatloaf: This can be kept in the fridge for two days or frozen.
  • Mashed potatoes: Mashed potatoes are a hearty side dish, and you can make them vegan if needed.
  • Chicken noodle soup: Soup is easy to freeze and reheat, and there are great gluten-free options if someone is sensitive to gluten or has celiac disease.
  • Enchiladas: You can keep enchiladas in the fridge for two days or freeze them for up to three months.

Sympathy Meals You Can Make at Home

If you want to make something at home, you can consider:

  • Pasta bake: It's easy to make in large batches to freeze and reheat.
  • Lasagna: You can make this classic pasta bake vegan or with meat, and it's easy to freeze.
  • Rice and veggie bowls: They're easy to make with ingredients that may already be in your home.
  • Brownies: Brownies are a delicious homemade treat. You can also make box brownies and add a few dashes of cinnamon for a homemade taste.

Easy-to-Freeze Options

Baked vegetables with feta cheese

Post funeral, some families may receive a large amount of food. It can be helpful to offer some freezable options that they can pull out at a later time. Some easy-to-freeze options include:

  • Stuffed pasta: There are tons of variations to choose from.
  • Casseroles: You can make these with pasta, rice, potatoes, veggies, or tortillas as the base.
  • Chicken freezer meals: These meals are easy to cook and reheat.

Homemade Snacks

Prepping snacks for a grieving family can make their days feel a little bit easier while they adjust to life without their loved one. Whether they are healthy or purely for comfort, these snack recipes are a convenient treat.

  • Homemade dips: A hummus with pita chips or a warm spinach dip is easy for the family to enjoy together.
  • Homemade granola bars: Make these chocolate chips, nuts, and cranberries, or customize them to the family's taste.
  • Caramel Corn: Portion out bags of homemade caramel corn for a comforting, nostalgic snack.
  • Roasted Almonds: For a satisfying salty snack, roast some almonds and prepare them in separate bags.

Ideas for Meals You Can Order

The week after the funeral, those in the process of mourning may be overloaded with food that loved ones provide. However, after a week has gone by, many people stop bringing meals. It's a thoughtful idea to check in with the family to see if you can order them a meal a week or so after the funeral. Some good options include:

  • Italian food: Order a few pizzas and a big salad to send over.
  • Chinese food: It's super easy to share a few large entrees and several sides.
  • Thai food: This tends to be a lighter option with plenty of vegetarian and vegan choices.
  • Mexican food: It's comforting and a great choice for vegetarians as well.

Easy Funeral Food

Poppy seeds bagel spread with cheese crams

If you're not into cooking or baking or are short on time, there are plenty of thoughtful but easy foods to take to a family in mourning. Some choices include:

  • Fruit salad: Make your own or pick one up at the grocery store.
  • Bagels and cream cheese: They're usually inexpensive and make a nice breakfast or snack.
  • Assorted cookies and tea: You can find these at a local grocery store or bakery.
  • Sandwich platter: Order fixings for multiple sandwiches. You can purchase them at a deli or grocery store.

Why Should I Send Sympathy Food?

Bringing food to those in the midst of grieving takes one more thing off of their to-do list. Loved ones in the process of mourning may not have the energy to cook for themselves, and offering them easy to prep and store food options can be helpful during a difficult time. It is a simple way to let them know you are there to support them.

Sympathy Food

If you are wondering what food to bring when someone dies, consider the recipients' dietary restrictions, favorite meals, and easy-to-store options. Bringing them comfort foods to offer sympathy will let them know you care and want to help. Whatever sympathy meal or treat you opt to bring to your friend or family members, it's a loving and thoughtful gesture they will likely appreciate.

Thoughtful Funeral Foods to Take to a Grieving Family