COVID Life – The Meal Series

I cannot say this enough, but I hate single use plastic, I have been known to go as far as carrying around my own reusable washable utensils to avoid plastic utensils and straws. Now that the statement has been established, we are also living in days of COVID-19.  The majority of people around the world are finding their way back out into their daily routines, their place of business and even for some sending their kids back to school.
I tend to overthink, over clean, and over organize as a coping mechanism to stress or when my world feels out of control. For months I thought about what sending my kids back to school would possibly look like, if that even happened. Questions I ponder as daily life starts to resume; how much do you want to actually bring back into your home? How will lunch time go or eating out? How many things would my kinder age child touch between washing her hands and sitting down to eat lunch? What backpack could we find that could withstand lots of time in the washing machine and being sprayed with microban?  For me, pre pandemic, my thought process and protocol for cleaning surfaces and what we bring back into the home would rival that of the CDC so imagine where my brain is during a pandemic.

Lets talk lunch.

Used Dixie #3 Take out container and basket liner/sandwich wraps. YES I’m including an individual hand wipe as well.

I have always loved packing up a stainless planet box style bag for outings, school lunches, picnics ect but now how much of that do I want brought back into the house? Even down my kids water reusable bottle that I send to school with her? Honestly I want zero parts of anything coming home but how do I find the balance of avoiding single use plastic?

This may even apply to you headed back into your work office, do you really want your lunch that has been sitting n a communal fridge to come back home and sit on your kitchen counter? Fine ok maybe you truly don’t care but for those that do then this post is for you.

Covid Life be crazy so there really isn’t a lot out there in terms of ideas so I want to share what I’ve come up with.
I have found a couple ways to fully eliminate bringing ANYTHING back home down to the ice pack to keep things cool. I have made attempts to eliminate plastics and containers easily recycled.

I will attempt to keep this short sweet and seemingly to the point. Parents you have enough on your plate wrangling children, being a full time cook, teacher, entertainer, provider and possibly trying to hold a full-time job whilst doing the  juggle mid zoom meeting.

You guys are complete superstars and don’t forget it.



Keep it Cool

I use the same method as I do when we fly. I never know if they will stop me for the Ice pack, but as long as it is frozen it can go. We freeze applesauce packs, cheese sticks, yogurt tubes and if your kids lunches sit outdoors in a warmer climate till lunch you can totally freeze the sandwich as well. Don’t forget about the ultimate OG sandwich, a PB/J. For those nut alternatives sunbutter freezes like a dream.

For the Container:

You can go one of multiple ways here, for me I have washed and kept a couple of those massive plastic berry containers. Its the best way to give plastic another life before sending on to the recycling bin.Another idea that may be more appealing to the work professional would be the cardboard style togo boxes. There are multiple sizes available but I got the larger size that I could attempt to make bento style but would also fit a full size salad if you are headed to the office. Make it bento style by using foil cupcake liners. You can seperate fruits, cheeses, chips/crisps ect.



Now in lieu of a plastic ziplocks if you are packing your sandwiches there are some super cute wax paper style bags that have a sticker seal and are super cute! You could also line your box or bin with food service basket liner. The wax paper bags are the perfect size for a mini personal pizza. Thank you Costco.

In terms of drinks there are so many brand options for both whole milk/ low-fat milk and non dairy milk alternatives of shelf stable box style drinks. If you allow juice, the small honest boxes are a perfect size or ,and I cringe, an 8 oz mini plastic water. Dealers choice.


Sealed with a Kiss, or in this case jute and a sticker

Now how to keep this sucker sealed until lunch time? Amazon has some great large round stickers you can place right over the top, or if you have the time you can wrap it like a little gift with butcher/bakers twine. (Think thin jute twine.

Before packing this up you could include a little disenfecting hand wipe if you were lucky enough to find them (don’t you wish you nabbed a bag full of those individual purell wipes from chick-fil-a?) Still working on the best option here. I do realize that it may seem just way way overboard and a little outrageous to many of you, but for me its just how I think. I found small bags and will put a single wet wipe down in that. She can first wipe hands and then the area where she eats. If you know me personally then you also know my daughter is a girl after her mommas heart and will happily wipe any surface.





I really hope this helps and maybe takes a little stress off from planning something as simple as a lunch, all while attempting to keep it as germ free as possible. If linking any of these items into an Amazon store makes it easier to find, or creating an AMAZON shop list I am completely up for said challenge.


Wash hands, wear a mask, BE NICE and remember that you are seriously doing an incredible job!

ICYMI ALL food taste better when its Mickey shaped.
Taking real life break away from all the virtual programming with a picnic and fresh air.
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Jessica McClendon

This is me, an East Tennessee transplant to Los Angeles, California, wife to Jacques McClendon, my handsome better half and mom to baby girl Madison who is two.

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