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Get a Breakfast Tray, Live That Bed Life

From eating in bed to Zooms with friends, a breakfast tray is essential to living your best bed life

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A wood breakfast tray
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

Within a week of returning home from the hospital with my new baby, I ordered a breakfast-in-bed tray. I was on a grueling schedule, pumping day and night, and I needed a place to set up snacks to keep my energy up and my laptop to help pass the time. Quickly, the tray also came to hold the breakfasts and dinners I’d eat in bed while my baby slept in the bassinet nearby or napped next to me in bed. I was still recovering from the birth and finding time, somehow, to rest was a vital part of that. My whole life revolved around my bed, and having a tray that could perch above my lap made it possible.

Even without a baby, I suspect the pandemic would have led me to bed life — there’s only so many places to hang out in a small apartment. Even after I got off the pumping train (sidebar, but my DM’s are open to anyone agonizing over making this kind of decision) the breakfast-in-bed tray stayed close by. I use it to set up my computer for Zooms with friends. I have a desk in my bedroom, but the bed-plus-tray setup means I have an alternate set-up for writing while still staying behind a closed door so I don’t get distracted by whatever the baby is doing with her dad in the living room.

Before the baby, I thought eating food in bed was sort of gross. I hate the feeling of sharp crumbs on my sheets and I worried constantly about spilling. But with this tray, eating in bed out of necessity became way less scary. Now, I use it when I eat ice cream and watch TV, snuggled under the covers after putting the baby down for the night. Eating in bed still feels subversive to me, but it’s that sense of rule breaking that makes it fun. And the tray helps ensure I don’t actually get my sheets dirty.

I chose this wood tray from Target because I’m a Target loyalist, it shipped quickly, and the wood tone matched the other furniture in my bedroom. It’s a sensible, no frills tray. The collapsable legs make it easy to store propped against a dresser or under the bed; but since they kind of click into place when unfolded, they feel sturdy and secure on top of the bed’s soft surface. Most of all, it ably fulfills its task of holding dinner or a laptop steady. But whichever tray you choose, I hope it brings the same comfort and ease to your bed life that mine brings me.

Acacia Wood Collapsible Bed Tray 

  • $35

Prices taken at time of publishing.