As the style world’s movers and shakers can attest, New York Fashion Week, happening right now, requires some serious hustle. Think of running a competitive race in heels over a course made of cobblestones and broken sidewalks…oh, and you’re not allowed to look up from your phone until you reach the finish line. Vanessa Packer, founder and nutritionist at modelFIT, a fitness boutique founded in February 2014 on the Bowery in Manhattan, knows the pressures of Fashion Week from the inside as a former stylist. Whether you’re racing from catwalk to catwalk in New York, or from conference room to conference room far from the Fashion Week crowds, Packer has some smart fuel-and-fitness tips for surviving—and loving—the grind.
Clean Plates: You were a fashion stylist before you started ModelFit, so you know the grueling nature of the business for models, editors, stylists, buyers, and the A list who watch it all. Can you give us some suggestions for a power-packed breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack that the fashion crowd should adopt for this week and every week?
Vanessa Packer: In my experience, keeping meals light during the day sustains energy throughout the day. I like to begin the day with lots of water, preferably warm water and lemon when I first wake up. Having a green juice or smoothie for breakfast is a perfect start to the day. A large leafy green salad with colorful vegetables for lunch and then having a properly combined meal for dinner. Keep fruit handy, so it’s available for a snack on the go. This way of eating from light to heavy through the day will also keep digestion at its most optimal, which also aids in sustained energy.
CP: As an integrative nutritionist who believes in mindful nutrition, what are the biggest mistakes you see people making who are striving to be model-fit? Too few calories? Too many liquid calories? What does modelFIT mean to you?
VP: modelFIT is mindful nutrition meets mindful exercise. We try to encourage people to listen to their body. We believe in moving and eating with purpose on purpose.
Counting calories, checking the scale, extreme cleansing are such out of date approaches to dieting. The whole concept of dieting is actually out of date, because it implies a short term, quick fix solution through a mode of eating. What we at modelFIT try to educate our clients on is wholesome nutrition and lifestyle change, found through concepts such as proper food combination, eating whole foods, eating colorful foods, eating with the season, choosing organic and local ingredients over conventional. Most of all creating a foundation of health that feels right to you, the individual, because no one way of eating, or moving, or living, works for every body. Embracing what you need and listening to that without judgement is an effective way toward getting on the path of long lasting sustainable health.
CP: Given Fashion Week happens mainly in the relatively nutritionally barren area of the West 30s, where would you recommend the A List eat in between shows? Which restaurants would you think Clean Plates readers would like?
VP: Depends on the area (Lincoln Center vs. the shows @ Milk in the Meatpacking) but you can always pop into Sweetgreen (311 Amsterdam Ave) and know you’re getting great quality when you’re on the go. Peacefood Cafe is also good and consistent for a sit down. I’m also a fan of packing healthy snacks like Sakara Life’s Clean Boutique items (their watermelon jerky is delicious) so you’re never left starving.