Looking for Mother's Day recipes? It may be a little thing, but cooking for—or with—mom is a great way to make her feel good. Families that share meals together have better relationships, studies show—but that’s not the only benefit. Spending time in the kitchen and having regular family meals around the dinner table can lead to better nutritional habits and less chances of disordered eating, according to additional research. And no matter your skills in the kitchen, the best thing parents can do for their kids at mealtime—besides, you know, being present for it—is put a balanced, energizing meal on the table.
These four moms are not only chefs, restauranteurs, nutritionists, and health coaches creating the best dishes to nourish their clients and their families, they’re elite athletes who have competed in everything from marathons, triathlons, and obstacle course races. They’re super committed to fueling all of their healthy adventures, and they’re sharing the Mother’s Day recipes, that they’re hoping will become a family tradition among their children, too.
Anne Mauney, RD: author of the blog Fannetastic Food and co-author of the Strength Running Nutrition for Runners program
Anne Mauney began running casually with a friend a few years after college, and started training for her first 10-mile race right around the same time that she started her food blog. She fell in love with the thrill of going on an adventure each time she competes, and has since completed a number of marathons, triathlons, and a few obstacle and mud runs.
Mauney became a registered dietitian as a second career; she returned to school after a few years in the communications field. It was the perfect convergence of her nutrition and fitness journeys, and she has continued to develop her blog throughout the past 10 years. “I wanted a place to inspire others and show them that eating healthy didn't have to mean spending hours in the kitchen, or eating boring, bland food, but my blog has also shared a lot of my life over the years,” she says.
She’s taken her daughter along for the ride for all her outdoor sports from day one, and hopes that she’ll be just as passionate about a healthy, fit lifestyle as her mom is.
If you’re hosting (or attending) Mother’s Day brunch, you can easily whip up Mauney’s smoked salmon and veggie egg casserole, a family favorite of hers. It’s chock-full of healthy fats, protein, and fiber from veggies like zucchini and tomato—plus it’s simple enough to stick in the oven, especially if you have a toddle running around like she does. “It's our go-to for family brunches because it's easy to make, you can mix up the ingredients based on what you have on hand, and you can prep it ahead, too.” Mauney says.
Latoya Shauntay Snell: chef, journalist, and author of the blog Running Fat Chef
Cooking began as a therapeutic activity for Latoya Shauntay Snell, a passion she inherited from her father. Though she started out in the field of social work, she began hosting dinner parties and photographing her dishes on the side; eventually, she decided to pursue culinary school.
In 2012, Snell completely overhauled her lifestyle when she was diagnosed with a number of health issues, and began exercising more and focusing on nutrition rather than just food. “I used my culinary background to revamp hearty, flavorful, yet calorie-dense recipes into something that could accommodate my new lifestyle,” Snell says. This new lifestyle included training like an elite athlete: She’s now completed marathons, obstacle course races, and even an 100K race, and she's working on overcoming her fear of swimming so she can participate in a full triathlon.
In the kitchen, she’s training a sous chef: her son, in hopes that he’ll be equally as inspired as she was at his age—and understand the importance of sneaking greens in to every meal, and eating to energize for your workouts. “Initially there was a bit of struggle with my son, but I started inviting him to make meals with me, just my dad did with me in my youth. Through product knowledge, showing him how to properly cut things, and what to look for, smell or even hear during the cooking process gave him a better appreciation for our lifestyle change,” Snell says.
This hearty meal is filled with heart-healthy fish and veggies (and the pasta can be subbed for butternut squash or zoodles if you want to go lighter). “Traditionally, I would make a cream sauce with heavy cream, but I wanted to cut down on some of the calories that come with it,” Snell adds. She’s a huge fan of fish, and this dish is one that brings her husband and son right to the table, too. “As I travel throughout the United States and at times, out of the country for races and speaking engagements, I don't always have the luxury of bringing them on every adventure. I crave moments of being able to sit down with my family,” Snell says.
Sarah Huggins, recipe developer and co-founder of Mary Be Kitchen
Sarah Huggins has always been a fitness addict: She grew up playing team sports, ran half-marathons and triathlons, and was always on the go, whether hiking, biking, or skiing in her hometown of Vancouver. After having three kids, though, she’s more accustomed to budgeting in time for her workouts, like spinning classes and logging in hours in the gym with her personal trainer.
Outside the gym, Huggins was a lawyer with a side hobby of cooking and food blogging for 10 years. But she dreamed of opening up her own restaurant, Mary Be Kitchen, in Toronto. “Food was a natural transition for me; I've been a passionate home cook since I could barely reach the stove, and I wrote and photographed a food blog for many years,” Huggins says.
Taking the leap and following her passion was totally worth it, and though life is busy now, she takes pride in the fact that the food she serves to her customers is exactly how she wants to nourish her own family. “I believe in balanced, gimmick-free, rule-free, fad-free, delicious food: lots of veggies, fresh herbs, citrus, lean proteins, amazing locally-roasted fair trade coffee, and to-die-for salted chocolate chip cookies for dessert—it's what's on the menu at Mary Be and at my own home,” Huggins says.
Even Huggin’s restaurant customers rave about her most popular recipe from her blogging days. The chicken is glazed with pure maple syrup and sea salt, and she typically pairs it roasted asparagus, zucchini, and oven-baked sweet potatoes sprinkled with cinnamon. Three generations of her family enjoy this dish, so it’s a perfect Mother’s Day meal. “My mom now makes this chicken dish, and I've had people come up to me at the restaurant and tell me this is their family's favorite recipe, too,” Huggins admits.
Stephanie Wontorski, Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and founder of SWell Life Wellness and Coaching Programs
Chronic health complications made Stephanie Wontorski rethink her entire lifestyle, and a diagnosis of postpartum hyperthyroidism after having her first child in 2000 really made her shift her diet and exercise regimen. “I tried many diets, and found that adding more plant-based foods to my diet helped my body get the nutrients it needs to feel better,” Wontorski says. With that came the start of her fitness journey, which culminated with a huge challenge: her first Spartan Race, which she completed with her son.
After all the progress she’s made with her own health, it only made sense to pass along her knowledge to others. “Once I started seeing progress with the changes I was making, I wanted to help others navigate similar health issues so they didn't have to go it alone like I did,” she says. She’s now certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and can coach both her clients and her family in healthy habits. All that coaching is working: Her son is a seasoned athlete who understands what foods fuel his training, and her daughter is a budding recipe creator, who’s studying to become a dietitian.
Wontorski explored her own sweet tooth and developed this plant-based, low-sugar vegan dessert last Thanksgiving, and no one had any idea that it had no dairy or added sugar (the sweetness comes from medjool dates and pure maple syrup). “I adapted a fantastic plant-based recipe, a perfect Mother’s Day treat, that will fool anyone into thinking it has to be full of sugar and unhealthy (my family included)!,” she says.