The pandemic homeschool diet
Here's what we're eating as we work and learn at home
When school is open, meal times – and what we eat – are fairly rigidly scheduled, so it’s not hard to fall into a routine and stick to it.
Now that everything is different, routines are out the window and kids (and their homeschool teachers/parents) can eat anything, anytime if there isn’t a focus.
To wit: I just had a bag of Pop Tart Bites. Not awesome. According to Psychology Today, however, I’m not alone:
“When a stressful situation of this magnitude arises, people often experience substantial changes to their eating behaviors (CDC, 2020). Generally described as emotional or stress eating, we often start to eat (or not eat) in a conscious or unconscious effort to suppress or soothe negative emotions (Mayo Clinic). These emotionally-based changes in eating behavior range from overeating to binge eating to severe caloric restriction (Epel, Laipdus, McEwen, & Brownell, 2001).”
The people who are smarter than I am at Psychology Today have some great tips about how to avoid falling into that trip, including recognizing triggers, making conscious choices and a few others. Read them all here.
Occasionally I’ll play the role of lunch lady, but since we’re all pretty busy working here at Dad on Bored Central, I may have been allowing my own kid to hunt-and-gather her own victuals during the day. So I thought I’d question her to see what she’s been having.
Morning: The child rises around 8 a.m. She avoids eating at first, but when prompted, she goes for “whatever’s in the fridge.” She has food allergies (egg, nut, fish, sandwiches. OK, not that last one, but she is limited to what she can eat, especially in the morning because of the egg thing.)
Yesterday it was breakfast sausages. Today it was apple turnovers. Earlier in the week she had tortellini. Like her mom, her breakfast choices can be weird.
Afternoon: She usually eats lunch at noon. As mentioned the kid hates sandwiches, which is kind of odd. Lunch these days has been leftovers – burgers, tacos, pizza. Not that different from a normal kid’s lunch.
Evening: Dinner is pretty much unchanged, other than she offers to cook out of boredom. This week she made jambalaya, ravioli, taco bake and chocolate chip cookies. Her mom will force the veggie issue, but if it wasn’t for some serious pressure, she’d skip them.
She’s not a snacker, so we haven’t had to deal with that. However, she does admit that her pandemic diet could be healthier.
“It’s got nothing to do with the quarantine – I just don’t like vegetables,” she says.
She’s been hydrating with milk, juice and water – and occasionally cocoa. For our kid, at least, the pandemic diet is a welcome part to an otherwise unwelcome situation.
“I eat lunch at 10:30 a.m. at school because I have the first lunch of the day. I don’t like eating that early, but I don’t have a choice. It’s more normal to eat at noon, and I’m actually hungry when it’s lunch time – imagine that.”