Amanda Russell—fitness expert, former Olympic-caliber distance runner, model, and self-described “health and fitness nut”—is as serious about enjoying her food as she is about whipping people into shape.
The creator and founder of the AR Program (a mix of quality over quantity exercise and nutritional guidance), and trainer at Equinox and the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers, gives us a glimpse into how she fuels her day.
You have lots of veggies! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
I’m obsessed with veggies! But I like them cooked. I know you lose some of the nutrients that way, so I try to cook them lightly. Lately I’ve been stir-frying a lot of broccoli with pepper, onion, mushroom and eggplant. I cook it in peanut oil and Bragg Liquid Aminos.
What about snacking?
If I’m in a rush and just need a snack, I’ll throw any veggie and almond milk into my Magic Bullet Blender and make a creamy puree.
Chia seeds, huh? Why do you eat them?
I like that they give me sustained energy throughout the day and are a very nutrient-dense food. I add two to four tablespoons to my smoothies, yogurt, or morning cereal. They’re low in calories relative to the amount of antioxidants, fiber, and calcium they contain—not to mention their protein and essential fatty acids.
Do you actively seek out foods that are high in antioxidants?
Yes, as an athlete I’m constantly putting stress on my body, which creates free radicals. Free radicals attack our cells and cause mutations in our DNA—they’ve been linked to cancer and heart disease. Chia seeds have more antioxidants than blueberries!
What’s in the containers on the top shelf?
Top middle shelf: homemade summer crab salad. I mix crab meat—or tuna—with olive oil, lemon juice, chopped onions, and parsley. It’s super yummy in a sandwich, on crackers or a salad. Top left container: washed Brussels sprouts. I often throw them in my egg scramble in the morning or in my minestrone for lunch. Top right container: Fish. I always have fresh fish ready to grill or bake.
You have almond milk and yogurt….
I have a dairy allergy, but thanks to the probiotics in yogurt I can have that. I’ve tried every form of milk, from hemp to rice and soy milk. For me, vanilla almond milk is a dream. It tastes like a dessert but only has 90 calories per cup. I drink the sweetened kind. The unsweetened is a little watery for my palate.
Speaking of sweetened beverages, check out your Champagne!
I believe in everything in moderation. Life is too short to deprive yourself. Some people love beer, others wine. I enjoy my bubbles—whether it’s a rainy Monday evening or a Saturday night celebration.
And the coconut water?
Every day! I always have it before a hard workout and then after to replenish the electrolytes lost. —Ingrid Skjong