How to Feed a Hungry Kid from Afar

We’re (well, Paul and I) are getting ready to head out for a 17-day research trip. 17 days of being in a car. 17 days of living from a suitcase. 17 days of pet-free existence. 17 days of a teenager eating alone.

Now, Patric is perfectly capable of handling himself alone in the kitchen. He can follow any recipe that we’ve ever thrown at him, and he likes to be creative and add touches of his own to the things he makes. So, given a well-filled pantry, meat and vegetables in the freezer, fresh vegetables, cheese, and milk in the fridge, he can do just fine.

But we’re parents. We feel guilty about leaving him alone this long. To be honest, if it weren’t for all of the papers and tests he’s getting into for school, we would drag him along whether he wanted to go or not. (For the record, we did give him the choice, and he’s very certain that he doesn’t want to go on this particular trip because we’re going to be going to so many places.) But since he is staying home, we’re making sure that he’s got some of his favorite foods around to keep him company.

There are plenty of food options within walking distance of our house, but we really want him to eat at home while we’re gone with only a few exceptions — Mother’s Day brunch with his grandmothers being one. So we’ve started planning. First up, there was the Costco trip.

It would be very easy to load up a cart with frozen foods to last him for days at Costco, but we do want him to have some less processed options. That being said, there are things that he likes that he doesn’t get often that are sitting in the freezer for him now – frozen pizzas (thin-crust Margherita and spinach paneer on na’an), chicken taquitos (yeah, I know), sausage, egg, and cheese croissants, and hot dogs (kosher). We also loaded up on fruit juice, peanut butter, a big chunk of Swiss cheese, rice, ramen (his favorite very hot flavor), and, as a special treat because we obviously don’t like him at all, a case of Mexican Coke.

We also picked up canned tomatoes to make a big batch of marinara sauce so that he can whip up pasta for something fresher when he wants it. At the farmers market, we stocked up on ground beef, sausage, and bacon for the freezer, and a flat of strawberries (most of those will go into the freezer for him to make smoothies, but there’s always the chance of shortcake). Before we go, we’ll make sure he has some fresh vegetables, cereal, milk, and bread. Luckily, he’s within walking distance of being able to get more of those when he runs out.

We’ve got some great meals planned while we’re on the road, but in general, I think Patric will be eating better than we will. And since there are strawberries, he can make something at home that we can’t make on the road.


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