I wanted to share with all you lovely ladies something that makes my life as a mommy, housekeeper and wife so much easier! I’m talking game changer! For almost 4 years I have been part of a group of ladies that share the burden of dinner making. It has saved me a bit of money, helped my children try different cooking styles, and made my life SO much easier.
Here is how it works:
Myself and 2 other mommies got together and worked out a plan to lessen the load of dinner making. We talked about what we wanted from our group and what we didn’t. We laid down some rules and made up a schedule for the month. The first month we worked out any kinks and then we never looked back.
This is very important. If you are thinking about starting a meal swap group you need to have a sit down with all involved and figure out what is going to work for your group. Test it out for a few weeks then get together again and make sure everyone is happy.
- Once a week I make a dinner that will feed my family and 2 other families
- I make my meal on the same day almost every week
- Twice a week one of my girl friends brings my family dinner
- Rules that work best for us:
- Our meal must be able to eat by 530
- So we bring it hot around then or bring it over early enough that the receiving family can get it heated up by then
- On your day you are responsible to get your meals to the receiving families
- To make the price fair we use a pound of meat in each families meal
- We use GoogleDocs to write up a little calendar so we all know what is coming that day, we try to have a couple weeks posted at a time
- No similar meals in the week, so if a friend is doing tacos on Monday I can’t do burritos that week, we pay attention to what is on the calendar already and fit our meals in to keep a variety for each week
- Our families are a little different in size and how much we eat so we decided we needed to bring enough food to fill a casserole dish…in general. All of our families like left overs so we decided to make a bigger amount of food. If we do soups we put it in 2 quart sized mason jars. All of our meals feed 4 adults and a couple children, so for my family we almost always get a dinner and a lunch out of each meal.
- We decided not to do sides, if the meal is simple, like sloppy joes, usually we will throw in a bag of tater tots or peas but in general it is just the main course
- Our meal must be able to eat by 530
- Figure out what rules work for your group. I would suggest having a time dinner needs to be at the houses.
- I highly suggest having a system to know what meal is coming so you know what side you want to prepare for it.
- What worked best for us is each of us have a day of the week we bring our meal, I am Monday! I know every Monday I will make a big mess of the kitchen and get my task done.
- We chose to do Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and it has worked great for us
- We tried different days through out the years but that is our favorite
- In our first meeting we talked about general likes and dislikes. Things like is spicy food okay? How about seafood? That first meeting needs to be a get to know you…foodwise.
- I have had friends do a meal swap that had a lot of rules. They didn’t do their swap for very long. Be careful about how many rules you make, you want this to be helpful for everyone, not a burden. Last year, for 9 months, my group did all their meals dairy free. It was a little more work picking meals, but it worked just fine. I’ve even done a meal group with another family WHILE doing Whole30!
- Figure out what you want to do if someone will be out of town for a week. For us we usually just take the week off…and then I greatly regret it while I am making dinner EVERY freaking night! Seriously who does that?
- You want 3-5 families to be in your group. Less than 3 isn’t worth it. 5 can feel like too much. I have been in groups of 3 and 4 and both worked out great.
- Be flexible, my friends and I are always swapping days and helping each other out. If you think of the group as a team it works really well. We are all trying to make dinner time a little easier for each other.
My favorite dinners for meal swap
Here is a list of some of my go-to meals. It has been fun to share yummy food with women. My family is not great at giving me compliments or even saying thank you much. My sweet girl friends will send out a text telling me they scarfed my tortellini soup and I should make it every month! It is really nice to get a few dinners brought in but a compliment from a friend is pretty awesome too!
I hope that this meal swap idea can help someone else they way it has helped me and my friends! If you are looking for other ideas on how to make dinner time a little less stressful check out this post HERE.