Prepared meals upon your departure as a sitter?

Hello: I have been with TSH just a bit and upon reading the reviews from owners regarding their sitter experience they mention some sitters have prepared a meal for the owner to come home to or bought them pastries. How do you even know what to make and what do they like? Allergies, vegans, organic eaters, no sweets and health eaters, gluten free? It’s a nice touch I would like to try but so many questions on their diets. What have you made?

Hi Libby219 As a HO I don’t expect a meal prepared for our return. However, we were grateful when we had had a long day travelling home to find one. The HS had looked thru our freezer (found plenty of home produce meats) & deduced we were omnivores. From our cupboards found plenty of spices & rice so made a dish he was comfortable with making - butter chicken, basmati rice & flat breads. It was delicious. So my recommendations would be firstly when do the HOs return? If late afternoon/evening they might appreciate a meal. Secondly, what food they left you and are in their cupboards. Lastly, any info you gained when meeting the HOs or communicating with them. However, don’t feel obliged - if you don’t like cooking, that’s fine.


I wouldn’t make a meal unless I was certain I knew what they’d like, and it made sense given their return time. However, once I made cookies for a family, and another time I made a pot of soup using veggies from the family’s garden. Usually we bring something from Canada as a small gift instead. We also make sure we’ve replaced the things they’ve left for us such as fresh bread, eggs, bacon or whatever.


I am not much of a cook so I usually make sure that there is bread for toast and creamer for coffee and maybe a couple of apples…just so the HO doesn’t have to go to the store as soon as they get home.


Even asking the question is incredibly thoughtful @Libby2019 we all manage our sits in our own way depending on the owner’s return timing.

I always ask about getting some basics in and most will say that they have booked a delivery but some milk etc would be appreciated.

I do leave a light meal and as @Margaret says from being in the home and kitchen it’s an authentic way of getting to know the family’s tastes. I have a lentil soup recipe which always goes down well and adjust to their taste just by knowing the spices and condiments they use …

Taking great care of the pets and homes is priority and that is what is important to owners, they really don’t expect anything else, when it happens it’s always a lovely surprise and greatly appreciated but don’t put yourself under pressure, manage your sits in a way that is right for you and that will evolve too as you get more familiar with your house and pet sitting lifestyle.


I’ve done this when HOs are getting home late. Especially if I’m not leaving until the next morning, I’ll just make a big batch of whatever I’m having for dinner. Generally I leave something that’s simple to re-heat like a lasagna or a pot of dal. Or if they have a crock pot, I will leave it going in that so it’s hot when they arrive. You can usually tell from their fridge and pantry if there are any food products they seem to avoid or favor, or if you go early and share a meal. I spoke to the HO of my next sit last night and found out some of her family are veg. They get home late evening so I’ll likely leave some dal or i make a great black bean and sweet potato soup. both are super easy to make and heat up and I can leave some rice or naan for them.

As a HO, I wouldn’t even have thought of this! If I know that I’m coming home “late” then I will already make arrangements to pick something up on the way home. It is a nice gesture, but as a sitter I would be concerned about the sheer variability in what someone “wants / likes / is in the mood for” to even try something.


As @Angela-CommunityManager says, we all manage our sits differently and you will see from the above responses, many HOs don’t expect a meal.
I have been sitting for 11 years and have made dinner on a couple of occasions. One of the HOs stated that they were going out to eat but it would keep.
I always make sure there is plenty of milk and bread.
Why stress yourself out on the last day? There is enough to do with cleaning, laundry etc. I would be really worried that the HO would return early and find the kitchen in upheaval !!!

@DantesDame Although I am a good cook, I’m not comfortable cooking for others so I avoid offering a returning meal. However, I think communication is again important here. I would not merely cook something of my choice, or keep any element of surprise. I have made returning meals twice for homeowners.

Once the homeowner asked that I be there two days either side of the sit. I became aware of her food choices before she left, and also told her I didn’t like cooking for others but was willing to try out a recipe I’d seen. I shared the recipe with her. She returned to a meal I’d made and was really pleased as she’d had a long journey back.

More recently, again I ate with the homeowner before she left. Her return plans meant that we were unsure whether I’d have to stay over the day she returned. After looking at items she used for cooking, I checked with her on a meal I intended to make that could be easily reheated, if she came home late. She was able to be home far earlier, so when she arrived I suggested I make a big salad for us while we chatted. I then took a portion of the curry I’d made so that I had an easy meal when I arrived home.

I look at it more now as spending time with friends, and what the comfort level is for us both. Having done this twice now has given me more confidence to at least consider making a meal, if the circumstances warrant it. I say still do whatever is your comfort level, both as a homeowner receiving sitters early, and a sitter catering to returning homeowners. Don’t put expectations on yourself that you’re uncomfortable with.

Hello @Libby2019,
When we have been offered a meal on our arrival we quite often cook a meal for our owners on their return.
Both my husband and I love cooking (and eating !) so we are pleased to do it. As we generally keep in touch during their absence (sending news and pics) we just ask them 1 or 2 days before their return if they’d like to share a meal with us. I also like the idea of a soup so they can have it or freeze it for later on… As far as their diet’s habits we ask them. And once we’ve shared a meal before their departure we have clues of what they eat (meat, gluten, etc) or not.
We of course tell them not to feel obliged and don’t hesitate to decline our idea of a meal together.
That is the way we do.

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I’ve only made a dinner for homeowners that I’ve sat for more than a few times and they’ve become friends and I know what they like. Otherwise I may leave a bottle of wine and I always ask the homeowners if I can pick up anything for them prior to their return. I always make sure I replace anything I’ve used and have bread, eggs and milk - basic items in the fridge for their return.

I’ve often prepared a fruit plate (strawberries, grapes, etc) and something simple like cheese and crackers, and sometimes pastries from the local market. Also, when we last make contact about their arrival home, I ask the homeowner if they need anything, like milk, bread, etc, as often they get home late and no one wants to stop at a shop after a long trip home.