Food Diaries: How Zumba Instructor Cristina von Spiegelfeld Eats for a Day

The lawyer and mother of two shows how snacking throughout the day has helped her shed baby weight.

By: Melissa Romero

Cristina von Spiegelfeld is a federal attorney by day and a Zumba and soon-to-be barre instructor by night. But with two kids—one under a year old—von Spiegelfeld says running has proven to be the “most efficient way to fit in exercise.” On top of teaching Zumba once a week, the lawyer runs four days a week once the kids are put to bed, and commutes by bike throughout the District.

Read on to see how von Spiegelfeld ate the day she returned to work after the government shutdown ended.

Morning drink: “I start with a glass of water every morning (and end the night with one). Before kids and breastfeeding, it was a good way to be hydrated, especially if working out was the first thing I did. Now it helps to keep me hydrated after in-the-middle-of-the-night feedings. Between pumping before the household wakes up, getting the boys ready for preschool or daycare, and getting myself ready for work, I don’t really have time to eat anything substantial except for a handful of whatever cereal my 3½-year-old is eating—currently Chex.”

Breakfast: Bagel with butter and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee with cream and sugar. “I’m not really a coffee drinker. Working full-time while going to evening law school and the first year of my boys’ lives are the only periods in my life when I drank or drink coffee regularly. I’ll wean myself off eventually and go back to drinking green tea throughout the day.”

Lunch: “First day back from a shutdown means a working lunch at your desk. This spinach-ricotta lasagna was made the night before. My 3½-year-old is allergic to seafood and shellfish, soy, and nuts, so I try to cook as much as I can at home using few ingredients or processed foods (this lasagna only has five ingredients). That way, I can see what’s going into our food, and the dishes are simple enough that they don’t take too long to cook.

“And that is not a coffee refill, just hot water. My coworker brought in the pumpkin brownie. I actually ate a second one a little bit later.”

Snack: A small soy chai latte. “I normally avoid soy because of my son’s allergy, but I’m also lactose-intolerant, and the dairy in the lasagna was probably all I could tolerate for that day.”

Dinner: “Dinner at the PTA meeting at my son’s school was cold pasta salad, salad with vinagrette dressing, and a pasta casserole bake. My 10-month-old ate probably a fifth of what’s on my plate. It’s unusual for me to eat this much pasta. I usually have other grains and rotate between brown rice, quinoa, and couscous at home.”

Snack: A post-run snack of mango.

Late-night snack: Two slices of whole-wheat toast with butter and a mug of hot oat milk. “Oat milk is supposedly good for breast milk production, quite tasty, and an alternative to soy milk. I think because I have a snack so late, I’m not starving when I wake up in the morning.”

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual's diet.

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