If you are currently a parent, you are also an absolute legend by default. As well as caring for your kids during a pandemic, you also have to do ridiculous things like revive your knowledge of algebra for their maths lessons, bathe them somewhat regularly, pretend you’re into Lego whilst on a work call, and apparently, listen to Joe Wicks’ farts. And somewhere in the midst of all that fun, you also have to feed them. It’s a lot. But with the help of these easy, speedy meal kits, you can keep them entertained for an hour and eat something tasty too.
All of the meal kits featured in this guide are available nationwide.
If your current coping mechanisms include handing your child a crayon and saying ‘go and scribble on the walls, knock yourself out’ then that is very understandable. Keeping a tiny human occupied for hours on end is tough, but building burgers is an excellent distraction. Nanny Bill’s make some of the best burgers in London, and their DIY kits come with everything you need to make their signature gravy-covered Dalston Dip burger at home. Also, their chef is giving us serious Nickelodeon cartoon character energy in their how-to video, so pop it on in the background to get the whole household chanting ‘now it’s time to smash some patties’.
If The Sound of Music is based on a true-story, why does Maria never say ‘if you shut up for five minutes you can have a doughnut’? We don’t know, but during the monumental clusterfuck that is lockdown, offering sweet treats as rewards is highly encouraged by Team Infatuation. With Doughnut Time’s decorate-your-own doughnuts you can not only use them as a sugary bribe, but also entertain them with some icing art for an hour or so too. Expect sprinkles, melted chocolate, fruit, cookie crumbs, piping bags, and of course, excellent fluffy doughnuts.
Tacos are fun for the whole family. Especially if you’ve already taught the kids how to make a margarita for you. Kidding, we’re totally kidding. Kind of. Anyway, Borough Market spot, Tacos Padre are delivering everything from beef short-rib to lamb barbacoa to go inside their fresh corn tortillas. Their DIY kits give you complete autonomy over your toppings so you can go heavy on the habanero guacachile salsa and pickled onions, whilst your mini me gets all excited about squeezing fresh lime over their pork cochinita. Perfect.
Pizza is my comrade in this fight. Again, say it louder, pizza is my comrade in this fight. Luckily, Homeslice is delivering build-your-own pizza kits which you and the kids can decorate with toppings yourselves. Starting at £17.50, there’s everything from a vegan mushroom situation to a big-deal salumi, rocket, and fresh parmesan option. You can order up to four pizzas or just opt for their two-pizza Camden Town Brewery kit, with plenty of beers for you to get involved in once they go to bed and/or enjoy their 48th viewing of Trolls World Tour.
So your child’s teacher saw the 50 Shades Of Grey collection on your bookshelf over Zoom. That’s okay. Just shows you have a keen interest in literature and, you know, an open mind. A sophisticated parent like yourself deserves a sophisticated dinner in the form of delicious things from City restaurant, Brigadiers. Whilst you get involved in our all-time favourite lamb chops and some lasooni tiger prawns, the kids can build their goat tikki bun kebabs and dip some top naan in their BBQ butter chicken wings. Be warned that prices can add up quickly, but it’s worth it for some of the best Indian food in London.
Ah, another beautiful day in lockdown hell. But before you consider going on parental strike under your duvet, turn to pancakes instead. Where The Pancakes Are deliver everything you need for a fun-but-easy breakfast as part of their Big Brunch Box. It includes all your classic pancake toppings, 100% pure Canadian maple syrup, how-to tips, and their excellent batter premixed for maximum flipping potential and minimal effort. You can also freeze any leftover batter, or just go ahead and commit to one big, tasty weekend pancake party. You never know, you might even forgive them for waking you up at 5am.
If you’re currently suffering from Pandemic Parent Guilt because the neighbour’s kids have learned how to play the violin during lockdown and yours have started to refer to a CBBC presenter as ‘their other mummy’ then do not panic. Make bao instead. Iconic Taiwanese restaurant, Bao, are delivering made-by-you kits that are so easy, even we were able to make them. For £24 you get six fluffy bao, 12-hour braised pork, and all the toppings covered too. Don’t worry, you don’t need a steamer, a microwave will suffice. A round of the cute chocolate and cherry molten buns isn’t essential, but we’d highly recommend adding them to your order.
One of the great things about Padella’s meal kit is that it comes with how-to instructions on YouTube, meaning you can just point at your laptop screen and say ‘let’s just watch what this nice man Tim is doing and copy him’. Their legendary 8-hour beef shin pappardelle is now available to make at home with their pasta kit that even includes organic butter and San Pietro 24-month aged parmesan, so there are zero trips to the shop required. You can handle the hot water and sieving whilst the little ones handle the measuring jug, stirring, salt, and plating. The £15 kit is for two so you might need to place a double order, or feel free to mix it up with the gorgonzola stracci kit.
Because of ‘the bad bug’ your child is missing a lot of things. Their friends, their favourite teacher, other family members, most of all, Nando’s. We’re joking, but when your offspring has started looking at you like chicken nuggets are a personal offence, turn to Sidechick At Home. This chicken side project by the people behind Patty and Bun, delivers top chicken to your door, prepped and ready for the oven. You can pick between za’atar, butter and herb, or piri piri marinades, with plenty of sides available too. There’s minimal prep required but it’s the instruction to ‘tear the chicken with your paws and dunk it into the dipping sauces!’ that will get your little ones excited. Maybe just make sure you’re stocked up on Vanish.
Please note that Sidechick is currently only delivering within the M25.
La Mia Mamma is a truly fantastic restaurant in Chelsea that’s run by a group of real, Italian ‘mammas’. We honestly will not shut up about this restaurant, because that’s just how good their pasta is. Recreate their regional Italian dishes at home by getting involved with their online shop that sells everything from DIY ricotta ravioli to a heat-at-home version of London’s best cacio e pepe. Our game plan would be to go for their huge survival pack and turn an entire week into a ‘trip to Italy’ with beef genovese pasta one night, fresh pizzas the next, and mixed charcuterie with homemade bread for lunch. Oh, and there’s also wine and cannoli included.