Mommy See Mommy Do: How Fitmoms Feed Their Children

Fellow fitmom, Dara, doesn’t know it but I envy her kid’s lunches. I see them on Instagram. Colorful assemblies of lean proteins, veggies and healthy snacks perfectly curated in cute little bento boxes. They look amazing. So I bought a bento box too. It’s the one collecting dust at the back of my kitchen cupboard because my five year old hates it.

Favoring the familiar, my daughter snubbed the fancy new box and its suspiciously healthy looking fillings. Favoring the easy road, I returned to filling the old lunch bag with quasi-nutritious meals.

But I’m Supafitmama — athlete and role model extraordinaire. You’d expect my child to delight in pint-sized portions of turkey, celery and apple chips, right? Not so. My munchkin is not that kid. She has a strong preference for store-bought waffles, Nutella sandwiches and undressed weiners. Trust me, I’m cringing as I type this.

As a mother, I feel responsible for her well being. As a mother and a fitness ambassador, I feel doubly answerable for her health and nutrition. That’s right. As if motherhood doesn’t come with enough guilt of its own. So what’s a fitmom to do? After reading through parenting blogs and living through the meal time battles, I’ve arrived at the best solution: the one that works for me.

I’ve adopted the Arthur Ashe “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” approach, which applies as well to this situation as it does to any. If my daughter insists on waffles every morning then she gets a topping of real maple syrup, not the glucose-laden crap. And if we’re doing Nutella sandwiches, we do whole wheat bread with just a thin layer of spread on one slice. Weiners? They are preservative-free and served with a side of cucumbers, tomatoes and the cleanest frozen fries No Frills has to offer.

This approach admittedly focuses on keeping certain ingredients off her plate more so than adding a full spectrum of nutrients to her plate. Parenting and nutritional experts would have much to say, I’m sure. But it’s working for us. Her lunch bag comes back empty. Meal times are enjoyable. She is healthy and energetic. And best yet, she has a decent understanding of nutrition which I believe will help shape good habits as her pallet grows.

It’s interesting. Time and time again, I find parallels between fitness and parenting. There’s an overarching approach that applies to both, and to everything I do really. I believe there are many different roads to the same destinations. We all want to feel well. We all want to raise our kids well. There is no ‘right way’ , and we can each find our own way that works for our unique circumstance.

I love seeing Dara’s beautiful lunch and dinner plates. Inspiration is a wonderful thing. At its best it leads us not to replicate, but to move into action based on self awareness and discovery. I’m not aiming for perfection. I’m working on progression. So waffles, Nutella, weiners and cucumbers it is for us. For now. And that’s just fine.