Now that we are several months into a global pandemic that uprooted so many of us from our regular routines, can we confess that what felt doable in the early weeks has evolved into a juggle of uncertainty as we work toward defining a new normal? Especially when it comes to parents balancing work from home schedules with kids either in distance or blended learning environments. Between Jen Phillips, Jessica Bell, and Maria Hesse, there are six boys to feed, and we’d like to casually acknowledge that when it comes to figuring out what we are going to serve for lunch on a weekday—the struggle is real.
Really, it was Phillips who wanted to ask Bell, co-founder of reVessel, for some help.
Bell is passionate about nutrition and needed no help because she’s a master at meal prep. lunches during breakfast. Her best advice for handling the extra meal-time prep was to carry on with the routine we had before COVID-19.
Bell also advises to use online cooking resources, like kidscookrealfood.com to get the kids involved.
Phillips, creative curator at Gracey Lane Farm, tends to prep lunch the night before, and she’s accessing school lunch benefits to help fill in the gaps of what she can feasibly prepare to feed three boys. Then came the sudden recall—not sure what happened because prior to COVID, the kids made their lunch!
For Hesse, executive editor, throwing something together to eat at lunch time is often a scramble but picking up school lunches on occasion has also been a great help.
Between the three of us, our main objective is to share these talking points:
Before COVID, many kids were likely eating meals from school and the benefit is there for them even as we navigate through continuing with distance learning or slowly returning to campuses. Having prepared items on hand from the school feeding program also makes it easier for the kids to access snacks and meals without parental support. With the school programs, you get what you get, but a variety of items like sandwiches, pizza, even uncrustables, plus fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, and juice.
Phillips challenged Bell to see who could pack the best lunch but we invite everyone to join because the best way to support a healthy immune system is through good nutrition—and we need that now more than ever.
Bell packed a creative variety of veg and fruit for each of her kids. Check out that rice paper trick with the avocados and greens and note that persimmons and pomegranates are in season. In total, that’s about eight cups of veg and fruit.
Phillips shares a quick recap of realizations, reminders, and notes from the lunch challenge: