Sympathy foods to make and give in summer

Bringing foods to others, be they a new mother or a sick friend, is a topic we’ve talked about extensively in this space. You readers have a heart for giving, that is plain to see, but you like a few new ideas for foods for others beyond lasagna and banana bread.

I’m busy, too, but making a meal or three for a friend is something that can be integrated into daily cooking thanks to batch cooking and menu planning. Coming up with a nourishing meal in summer can be tricky, however, as it’s too hot to roast vegetables or braise meats. So what to do? What meets the criteria of traveling well, re-heating without drying out, and can be frozen if needed?

I came up with a few ideas for you, many of which I executed this week. But first, if you’ve never read my manifesto on the topic, head into the archives and read Cooking for Others: A Guide to Giving Sympathy Meals. If you have time, reading the 100+ comments will warm your heart and remind you that there are still plenty of good people in this world. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Sympathy foods to make and give in summer

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A dear friend of mine recently had a baby and I made it a priority to assemble a cooler of food for her little family. Her house is on the market to sell, so she is trying to keep the place clean with a newborn and a toddler. Let’s just say that cooking dinner has fallen a few pegs on the priority list.

This week I’m grocery shopping and stocking up after our vacation, so it wasn’t much more work to cook for two families. I washed extra lettuce for salads, prepped a few extra baked potatoes, and grilled a few more chicken skewers for lunch one day.

Before long, I had assembled  everything in the photo above: two full dinners, breakfast, lunch and dessert. Let’s take a closer look at these summery foods for others.


salads: summer foods for others | Simple Bites

Salads in jars are IDEAL for bringing to others because they are an instant grab-and-go lunch and they keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I made my absolute favourite Blueberry, Bacon & Almond Salad because the berries are in season, almonds are good for nursing mothers, and bacon? Well, everyone needs bacon.

I also tucked in a tub of fresh-cut garden vegetables for snacking. In my opinion, this is a must, especially for new mothers.

More suggestions for salads:



I made a double recipe of the super simple Skillet Chicken and Zucchini Parmesan – one for us, one for my friend. It’s an excellent one-pan meal that doesn’t heat up the whole house. In addition, it uses up the prolific garden zucchini and herbs.

Readers on the Simple Bites Facebook page suggested twice baked potatoes. We’ve been having such an unusually cool summer that I didn’t mind turning on the oven. I did mine with just sour cream, cheddar, bacon and chives, but here are a host of ideas.

Sweet corn is in season, but have you ever tried shucking corn one-handed? I made sure to include bag of steamed corn with butter in my friend’s cooler; all she has to do is warm it in the microwave or under hot water.

More ideas for mains:


Breakfast: summer foods for others | Simple Bites

Fresh fruit is the obvious choice for summer breakfasts, but a little bacon is nice too! I had crepes in the freezer from a previous weekend breakfast (yes, they freeze well) and to that I added farm fresh-eggs and pre-cooked bacon. If your friend is into juicing, why not include a jar of freshly juiced fruit and vegetables?

 More ideas for breakfast:

Remember, any contribution, large or small, helps those in need. It is truly the though that counts, so bookmark this post for the next time you know of someone…

~ in bereavement
~ going through a divorce
~ caring for a new baby
~ moving house
~ fighting in court
~ ill or caring for the ill
~ on bed rest
~ out of work
~ overworked
~ writing exams
~ getting married
~ caring for a special needs family member
~ fighting a long term illness
~ in financial crisis

There’s a lot to be said for the benefits of good, home cooked food when someone is emotionally and physically low on reserves. I know this from experience and you could probably attest to the same.

Do you have any more ideas for summer foods to bring to friends in need of a meal?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Love all of these ideas!

  2. Such a great post! I always say that giving food to others is my love language. I love the new ideas. Thanks!

  3. I was just going to write about this topic too. All my friends seem to be having babies so I wanted to share some ideas for new mothers. Your crepe idea is brilliant!

    Sharing this post with my readers! Thanks so much!

  4. Oh Aimee, you have a heart of gold! These are such beautiful and inspiring ideas!

  5. I just love your ideas Aimee! You have such gorgeous recipes to give to others! xo

  6. This is a great list, and very thoughtful. It’s hard to know what to do sometimes when you have a friend or family member going through a difficult time.

  7. You have the kindest heart. Such a sweet post and I love all these ideas!

  8. Aimee, this is such a thoughtful post & wonderful recipes/ideas to hand out to the people you care about 🙂

  9. It makes me happy to read your blog! Your photos are gorgeous, and i love this post about sharing food with others. I cannot wait to share some of these recipes!

  10. Christin Jacobson says

    Thank you, Aimee. Don’t you feel the constant pull in this modern world to have everything in life be about me, myself, and I? (Even with cooking!) I surely do. So, I very much appreciate your consistent emphasis on the joy and comfort of others…after all, food was made for sharing! Have a great day!

  11. Yes! I wholeheartedly agree! Food goes a long way during a difficult time. And this is a timely post – I have a friend who could really use a little comfort this week, but I was stuck on what to make . . . I’m thinking that skillet zucchini/chicken sounds like just the right thing!

  12. Love your recipes Aimee, and Michael Smiths too!!

  13. LOVE these ideas! I always try to give away food gifts to others! Aimeé, you are one of my favorite food bloggers :)) I also saw you’re giving out Michael Smith’s cookbook, ahh I would be so happy if I got a copy!! Keep on rockin’!

  14. Kimberley Mulla says

    Oh lovely! What beautiful ideas!

  15. Thanks for all the great ideas! I agree that I have a lot of “go-to” winter meals for friends in need, but not a lot of summer ones. A friend of mine had a baby this summer and I made her a swiss chard and cheddar quiche, which used a lot of chard from my farm share. Just like you suggested, I made two at once: one for her and one for me. I also like to supply some washed and cut broccoli that can be easily steamed. And, no meal is complete without dessert!

  16. Adina Bailey says

    Thanks, Aimee. What a helpful article. Most of all, I love that you acknowledge the thoughtful people who regularly prepare meals for others during difficult times. I’m posting this article for our FB users now. Thanks again. ~Adina, Co-founder of

  17. Did I miss it or where is the dessert section?!?! LOL

  18. Alison Cossette says

    Thank you so much for this post. Our friend’s brother passed away unexpectedly and I was at a loss as to what to make now that the weather is so warm. We delivered a large plate of the skillet chicken and zucchini with a separate side of rotini. We made Aimee’s sauce as instructed. It was a great base sauce. We delivered with a large plate of meatloaf and a ceasar salad with lettuce fresh from the garden. It was great for vegetarians and meat lovers alike. It was nearly 100 degrees today and it was a good combination of summer food/comfort food. Thank you for making this post!

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