Back-to-School at the Today Show

A little over a week ago, I as offered the incredible opportunity to be part of the Today Parenting Team. I contributed my first post: 5 School Lunch Hacks for Healthy Lunches the next day.

Within a few days, I received a call about going to the Today Show a few days later. I Immediately said YES! and what now seems like a blur of 3 days led to one of the best experiences of my life.

You can watch the Back-to-School segment here, I’m on at 04:10:


I have read online and heard from friends who have been in the Today show that the segment time flies by. They were right. There is never enough time on live television. And yet, unlike the time I competed on Food Network, the pressure was completely different.

From the minute I went to rehearsal, the Today team made me feel welcome and like I was in my own kitchen. I was told how the segment would run, we talked about how to make it look pretty from the camera side (right up my alley!), and then they said “see you tomorrow!”

laura fuentes in today show kitchen

And just like that, the next morning I went to hair and makeup. I had heard (and read online) incredible things about hair and makeup and it’s not until it’s your turn to sit in the Today makeup chair that you realize how talented their team is. Believe me, my hair needed help.

The most difficult part was not being star-struck by the people I have seen many years live inside my television. I used to watch Carson Daly on MTV’s total request live (maybe I shouldn’t be admitting this! lol) and my 9-year-old daughter adores him on The Voice.

laura fuentes and carson daly today show kitchen

The segment went without a glitch and it was over quickly. It was the longest 2 minutes of my life and the fastest 2 minutes of my life at the same time.

I’ve since received hundreds of emails, Facebook messages, comments, and texts congratulating me on the segment and my new role as part of the TODAY Parenting Team. It’s been great to share this experience with my friends and family with the help of social media.

Laura Fuentes Today Parenting Team

I’ve received lots of questions regarding the segment’s containers, and if I have a full post on each of the items shown since the segment was really short. Here are some full-length items to follow up the segment.

  • The Today Show’s post after the segment.
  • Apple Slices: watch this video and see how I make the cups.
  • Veggie Cups: the process is pretty self-explanatory; however I received dozens of emails regarding the plastic containers with the purple lids. They are made by Aladdin and are not currently available. However, I use these for my snack cups at home.
  • Freezer Sandwiches: since the segment cut the time short, I didn’t have time to explain that freezing works great for sandwiches that don’t have veggies. Veggies don’t freeze well. Here is another post on how to freeze sandwiches.
  • Freezer Smoothies: this video will show you how to make a smoothie ahead of time and pack it inside a school lunch. Make sure you send a spoon in case it’s still a little bit slushy. You can find the smoothie containers here.

It was really (really!!!) neat to be in the set. I felt like I was inside my television. 

laura fuentes today show studio

You know how one moment Matt will be inside the studio and then they cut to someone outside in Rockefeller Plaza? What you don’t see is the anchors rushing out the studio, grabbing the elevator, and exiting the building to suddenly “appear” outside. I always assumed they somehow step outside the studio, through a magical door, and boom! They are outside. Not really.

The level of focus required to do live television every day is incredible. These guys are professionals who have a team of talented people behind the scenes making everything work. If it looks seamless through the television, it’s because it is. There are checklists for everything and everyone works incredibly hard to make it all happen.

Professionally, the appearance was a huge milestone; but on a personal level it was amazing to have shared the experience with my best friend. Eric has been my rock and has supported me through the crazy adventures and non-stop work for the last three years. It was really special to be able to bring him to the set with me, even if the trip only lasted a little over 24 hours.

laura fuentes and eric schneller today show set

The final fun “bucket list” item was a carriage ride through Central Park with Eric. I’ve always wanted to go on a carriage ride through Central Park and it was better because he was with me. I couldn’t have asked for a more magical experience to close up the trip.

laura and eric on a carriage ride through central park

I’m also tremendously grateful to both of our parents who together managed our kids on a last minute request. It really takes a village to make things happen and look flawless, both at the Today Show and at home. There are no regrets. Ok, maybe one. That all my pictures were taken on my phone.

August 29, 2015

5 thoughts on “Back-to-School at the Today Show”

  1. Sharon says:

    I missed the live show, but loved watching your segment.

  2. Dariela says:

    Congrats Laura! how exciting!! It’s always amazing how long it takes to prepare such short time in tv!! I’m really really happy for you and all the progress, I’m always following! Saludos!

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Thank you Dariela! And yes, it takes a long time! 🙂

  3. jani baasch says:

    I bought your book, The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on The Planet, when it first came out. I just don’t know how you hold it all together…building an amazing career, being a mom, a wife, hosting exchange students…
    Just want to say you did a fabulous job on the Today Show…it was definitely the best (and most helpful) of the 3 segments. What an experience but you looked like a natural:) Great job. God has given you many blessings!
    Good luck with the start of the school year. We start next week!

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Jani, thank you so much for following my adventures this far! To be honest, I fly by the seat of my pants a lot of the time, although I hold a pretty tight calendar schedule. I can honestly say that I feel like am doing what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, and thus the daily challenges aren’t as difficult to overcome. This will be a fabulous school year, just you wait.

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