Cynthia Rowley has already perfected the crossover from high-fashion into activewear. (Plus, props for making a wetsuit that’s actually stylish and flattering.) But one place Rowley is still learning? The kitchen.
As mother to two fairly picky, girls (they’re 11 and 17), Rowley has been learning to slowly transition towards healthier foods while still satiating their growing appetites. “Sometimes I feel like a short-order cook for my kids,” the designer says with a laugh. “You know, I’ll plan and prepare veggie burgers with a kale salad for dinner, but know I have to make a few regular burgers and maybe some sweet potato fries on the side, just in case someone doesn’t like it.”
But while the family’s not opposed to chicken tenders every once in awhile (“they’re a crowd pleaser,” she admits), Rowley tries to stick to a plan that she describes as 80 percent healthy and 20 percent “realistic.” Pretty relatable, right?
Here’s what you’ll find stocked in the designer’s fridge—plus why she believes you should be planning your meals like you’re planning your outfits.
Have you always eaten healthy, or is this a new habit?
My eating habits have evolved in the last two or three years to be much healthier. I was mainly naive about healthy eating and lifestyle—so it’s not that I felt super unhealthy or needed to make a hard change, but it’s been a gradual evolution as the trend and knowledge has grown. These days I’m so inspired by what I see online—especially on Well+Good and on Instagram—that it’s getting easier to make beautiful and healthy meals every day.
Like a lot of women, it sounds like you’re crazy busy. Do you prep ahead of time?
Yes, I have to. I work until 7:30 or 8 p.m., so if I don’t know what I’m going to make ahead of time, it’s probably takeout for us. It’s like laying out your outfit the night before. So this morning, I mapped out dinner and am going to make a watermelon salad with feta, mint leaves, and red onion, and black bean burgers on english muffins—although I may have to actually make a real burger for the little one.
Do you follow a specific diet?
I follow a no-restrictions diet. The only thing I make sure to incorporate into my diet is juicing. I’ll juice a ton of fresh fruits and vegetables and pop them into the ice cube trays and freeze. I’ll do ginger, watermelon, and beets, and then put the ice cubes in some Pellegrino, maybe add some more ginger. I have a fresh herb garden too, so I’ll add in a ton of that, really just mix the flavors together—rosemary, mint, parsley. Sometimes I’ll add in a bit of tequila, mommy’s special medicine. It’s the perfect summertime drink.
I see a ton of fresh fruits and veggies in bowls—is there an organization method there?
I always have a veggie bowl and a fruit bowl that I try to replenish every other day. When the kids are hungry they’ll just open up the fridge and grab whatever they see, so I always make sure to have healthy, fresh options readily accessible. Everyone loves avocado toast, sometimes with a little lemon or juice, maybe an egg. We also all love to snack on black olives, with a little olive oil.
I also see some fish marinating—what is that?
Oh, it’s tuna! We had that the other night for dinner and it was so delicious. I don’t even know what you’re supposed to put on fish, but I just go through my herb garden, chop it all up, and throw it in a bowl. I’ll usually do some sort of mix of rosemary, basil, oregano, and mint, and then throw in some lemon and hoisin sauce and let it sit in there for a bit. My older daughter doesn’t love tuna but my younger one does—surprisingly!
In addition to hoisin, there are a ton of other condiments.
Oh yeah, I love to add all kinds of sauces and flavors to my food—just a little garnish. When you have two kids and a full-time job, you sometimes just have to stick to the basics and then jazz it up with some sauces or jams. I think of condiments like my little sprinkles on a sundae. It adds a little sparkle to the dish—like accessorizing for your food. So I’ll make something a little bit more basic for my main course, so I know my kids will like it, and then when I plate it I’ll add a little something extra for me.
Let’s talk about drinks—your fridge is well-stocked!
Yes, the drawers are filled with them too! The watermelon water and juice boxes are mainly for my daughters, although we just bought a SodaStream so I’m going to try to make our own sparkling water and flavored drinks. Also, the PBR—I know what you’re thinking—but there’s just nothing like an ice cold PBR in the summer. We actually brew our own beer too, but it’s in between batches right now.
Is there any food or drink that you’re dying to make or have this summer?
Oh my gosh, the orange wine from your site! Any time I’m in a liquor store I ask about the orange wine, and no one carries it. But I will get my hands on it by the end of the summer, guaranteed!
Now you that you’ve seen inside the fashion mogul’s fridge, you have to check out her sporty one-piece that’s perfect for summer. For more genius ways to use your juice, check out top chef Richard Blais’ surprising hacks.