Peanut Butter & Jelly. That’s the sandwich index of my family’s balanced meal portfolio. There’s an obvious PIE chart joke to be made right here, I see it / I get it, but I’ll pass…I’m more of a cake guy anyway. 😉
If I serve too many of those easy to make, easy to eat, easy to forget slapped-together sandwiches during a school week, I know for certain that I’ve failed to achieve one of my perennial parenting goals: serve interesting food —> raise interesting kids.
You don’t need to slip me a vile of truth serum to get me to admit that I’ve gone WAY over my 1 per week PB&J rule this school year. WAAAAAY over. Part of the reason for the nutritional imbalance in the brown-bagged meals leaving my kitchen has been the Bear going vegetarian in October. I struggled at first, and still haven’t mastered, the meal plan design for my oldest daughter’s school lunches: the egg salad smell gets eye rolls from her friends, cheese sandwiches are boring, hummus and pita again? I know, darlin’, I know. My lunches as an at-home (alone) dad aren’t always (okay, almost never) Pinterest-worthy culinary experiences either. Yes, cereal is involved…a lot. Also, English muffins. I’m weak-kneed for English muffins. These aren’t bad foods, there is no such thing, but when you consume too much of the same thing, well, that’s not ideal.
Moderation and balance are concepts essential to living a healthy life as well as to living an interesting one. Who wants to take the same vacation every year? Exactly. I don’t want to serve and eat the same food every day either.
Balance at the table and in the backpack hasn’t been the only goal for me this year. I am on a continuous mission to shed pounds and change my overall relationship with food too. Since August, I’ve dropped about 35 pounds and shaved 5-6 minutes off of my 5K run times, but there’s still room for improvement for me and an opportunity to fold my girls into my new passion for an active lifestyle. To this end, I envision being a parent who runs with his kids, but so far my running has been a mostly solitary pursuit. My wife has proposed entering one of those colorful runs as a family later this year, something fun that makes it less about running fast and more about sharing an experience…and getting colorfully filthy together. Now that the weather has turned from oppressive to opulent, we will start, little by little, to build-up distances for our children with the goal of making together count in a family 5K run this Autumn.
My girls understand the theory behind why they should eat a diverse array of food, in moderation, and spend a portion of every day being energetic, but they, and we, to be fair, don’t always do exactly that.
This is one of the reasons I’ve proudly signed on to be an ambassador for Together CountsTM, a program aiming to get more families eating meals and being active together. I plan on finding inspiration for my own family while also sharing my stories with yours on the Together Counts blog all summer long. I hope you’ll consider pulling up a seat beside me at the table, and becoming my virtual running buddy, as I explore topics of snacking, summertime gym class for kids, Halloween goodies and more.