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Follow This Mother!

The apple(s) of her eye: Sally and her sons on a recent apple-picking adventure

Dimity has known Sally Kuzemchak, 38, a registered dietician (RD) in Columbus, Ohio, and mom of two boys, since they were both child-free (and impoverished!) employees at SELF magazine way back when. While Sally’s knees forced her to give up running, we love her blog because it makes healthy, sensible eating with a family seem far less tricky than juggling cats. (SBS especially loves her tips this week about packing school lunches.)

Best recent workout: I just tried Jillian Michael’s new DVD, Shred-It With Weights. I was sore in all new places, especially my hamstrings from the dead-lifts. Haven’t tried it with a kettlebell yet--just using a five-pound hand weight for now until I get the hang of it.

Favorite grab-and-go energy source: I am always, always, always pressed for time. So I like things that provide quick nutrition, but aren’t super-processed like energy bars. I love a good bowl of whole-grain cereal mixed with chopped walnuts. Lately I’ve been making a big batch of homemade granola and keeping it in the refrigerator to eat all week with milk. It’s a recipe I got from another RD-blogger and it’s made with oats, Cheerios, natural peanut butter, nuts, and molasses. It’s great for sensitive tummies like mine. I also make a lot of muffins with seen-better-days-bananas, whole-wheat flour, and some chocolate (last week I grated up a chocolate bunny leftover from Easter and put that in the batter). My kids love them for breakfast and snacks and I pack them in my son’s lunchbox too.

Sharp Shred-er: I was a gym-rat before I had kids. I’d had a gym membership of some kind since I was 17 years old, and just loved going--Step, Spinning, weights, swimming, I did a little of everything. Having kids completely derailed that for me. I just couldn’t figure out how to fit it in, so I let fitness take a backseat to everything else in my life. (Okay, scratch that: Fitness didn’t even have a seat; it wasn’t even riding in the car. I had left it along the road somewhere). But last year I was suddenly inspired by a friend of mine who did Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred last year and posted her progress every day on Facebook. Something about the workout struck a chord with me--I loved the idea of getting cardio, strength, and abs worked in 25 minutes at a high intensity, in my living room. I figured that if I didn’t have 25 minutes to spend on fitness, I deserved a poochy belly. I did the workout every day for 30 days (including Christmas Eve at 6 a.m. with my sleepy husband and kids watching me from the couch and Christmas Day in my in-laws’ basement). It was the first time in years I’d made such a commitment to fitness, and I felt really proud of myself. Though I don’t do it every day anymore, the DVD is still a staple for me.

Stop the dinnertime insanity: I struggle with this just like everyone else. One thing that helps me is meal planning (I just scribble the week’s menu on a piece of paper, but it’s my guide through the week). I also try to make double batches of meals when I can and put one in the freezer. I always have frozen pizza stocked for especially crazy nights (lately, I’m liking Paul Newman’s). I also try to have the ingredients for pretty quick meals, like homemade spaghetti sauce and pesto in the freezer with some whole-wheat pasta. But when all else fails, we do have PB&J nights or take-out from Noodles & Co. As long as we’re sitting down together with something, I feel okay.

Peanut butter: God-send or garbage? GOD-SEND! Around here, we go through about a jar a week. I recently switched to Smucker’s Natural, which is made with only peanuts and salt. It took my toddler about a week to get used to it, but now I don’t get any complaints. I think a lot of people think something like Jif Natural is comparable to Smucker’s Natural, but some peanut butters labeled “natural” still have added oils and sugar, so you have to read the ingredient list.

Three big, fat nutrition lies:
1. You have to drink 8 glasses of plain water every day.
So many people get hung up on this. Plain water is great, but all beverages count toward your fluid goal. And it you eat lots of fruits and vegetables, you’re getting a lot of water through food. So you can officially stop stressing out!
2. If it’s from the gourmet market, it’s good for you. Those $5 cookies may be made with organic fruit juice concentrate but they’re still cookies. Not saying you should never eat cookies, but don’t fool yourself about what you’re really eating.
3. High fructose corn syrup is evil. It breaks down into glucose and fructose in your digestive system, just like regular table sugar. Switching to a granola bar with sucrose instead of HFCS is a waste of time (and money, since these products can be more expensive, too). You’re better off just watching ALL added sugar in your diet, no matter where it comes from.

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15 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. And here I thought you were whipping up fab meals from our Chopping Block recipe files every night after flying in from the gym 😉 I feel much better now. Serioulsy, I loved reading this!

  2. Am I missing it??? I liked your profile so I tried to sign up to receive her blog and cannot seem to do it! I clicked on subscribe in the upper right and that sent me some place weird! HELP!

    1. Hey Jessica–where is it directing you to when you click on “Subscribe”? When I click on it, it takes me to a Google page where I choose whether to put it on my home page or subscribe through Google Reader. Do you have a blog reader (aka “RSS Reader”) program like Google Reader or MyYahoo? You could always copy and paste the URL of the site ( into your reader’s “add a subscription” area. If you are still having problems, please contact me through my site.

      Has anyone else had any problems? Please let me know. THANKS!

      And thanks for all the nice comments!

  3. I love all things nutrition. I work in an incredibly unhealthy industry with high stress and hurried lunches and unfortunately people eat a lot of take out!! Lots of tempting snacks everywhere that I work hard to say no to. Dinners are crazy at our house, too with kids that have sports and scout activities, but one thing we work on is dinner together every night, even if it is at 8:30 after soccer practice. And no take out! It is a lot of work, but it’s something we value. I will follow this mom since I ‘m always looking for new ideas. Thanks for introducing me to yet another cool mom!

  4. So excited to see your face this morning, Sally! Thanks for sharing your expertise…so you’re saying the brownies from Whole Foods still have fat in them? Dang it.

  5. I also loved the nutrition lies…I read a lot of stuff online and get so confused about which direction I’m really supposed to be going with a lot of things. I especially loved the water one, as I DO get stressed out over that.

  6. I didn’t know that about HFCS – all the time on Losing It you have Jillian just berate people for having stuff with that in it. We try very hard to eat healthily but you also have to face that it’s expensive. Some health nuts may say that if you take some of the crap out, you can afford some more veggies & fruit – very true but not entirely factual.

  7. Thank you! I love nutrition info from people with kids and very little time. 🙂 I always wish I had more time to bake muffins and such from scratch… I used to when my daughter was on a gluten-free diet, but then when she went off of it and I had another baby that went by the way-side. And I also appreciate the Jillian Michael’s recommendation… thanks!

  8. Great tip- thanks. I have to share some of my wisdom (which comes when I get a full nights sleep … so not often): I make a giant thing of spaghetti/pizza sauce (ok I cheat and use an actual can of sauce) but I add pureed carrots and butternut squash. I learned this trick while I was pregnant and trying to reduce the acidity (as all preggo women do) so pizza is usually my “quick” meal and I don’t feel so bad cuz I load that bad boy up with sauce.

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