I’m raising foodies. It wasn’t intentional— I just cook good food, and it seems the kids have gotten used to it. Well, with the exception of Bean and his PBJ fetish. Though even Bean prefers a homemade english muffin to a stale, store-bought. They turn their noses up at the blue-box macaroni and cheese, and ask me to make the homemade version with vidalia onion and dijon mustard, and Jeffrey already knows (and can blind taste test) the difference between Regianno and regular parmesan.

But that also means we have (both genetically and through our gastronomic adoration of all things cheesy and fine) an issue with fitness. The love of good food, combined with trying to adjust to the swamp-like climate of a Virginia summer has made couch potatoes from the best of us. I can’t blame them- going outside to play sucks when it’s near the century mark and the humidity matches. Hiding in the air conditioned haven of the tiny townhouse is all too appealing.

But no more.

Last week the kids and a friend plotted out a one-third mile course through our little neighborhood. For full disclosure, this plot was hatched because the kids kept asking for seconds, and the idea was floated that seconds at a meal could be traded for physical activity. Nothing will motivate Jeffrey to run quite like having an extra helping of lasagna.

Color me skeptical, but a funny thing has happened: they’re going out and running the loop. All of them. And not just for food now- they’re doing it because they like it and it makes them feel good. To be sure, food is still motivating (Jeffrey, at least) but I’m also seeing the beginning of good habits, and a genuine enjoyment of the activity itself.

This morning, a Saturday, Bean and Jeffrey both woke up before anyone else, and in the pre-dawn, came into my room and asked if they could go run. I sleepily acquiesced, and by the time I got downstairs, they were out the door and off. They each ran a mile before breakfast. Jeffrey had to walk the last part, and Bean literally lapped him, but they both came back in for breakfast happy and rosy cheeked.

They were also both happy with one helping of breakfast. I think I’ll go take a lap, too.

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