Andrea Rustad loves barre, and she loves brunch — so much so, in fact, that the 21-year-old chemistry student at Boston University made an Instagram account for her two interests, a “fit-sta” called @barre.and .brunch. Rustad shares recipes (as varied as sweet potato waffles to baked oats to yogurt bowls), exercises (everything from #stretchsunday poses to apartment-friendly workouts) and motivational posts. Rustad spoke to the Globe about the inspiration for the account, her favorite recipes, and the versatility of nut butters.
Q. When and why did you start @barre.and.brunch?
A. I started it last July, when I returned to Boston over the summer; I had just started being the student ambassador at Barre and Soul, a local fitness studio that offers barre, yoga, and cardio classes, the previous December.
I really enjoy barre, because I've been a dancer for my whole life. I really love the Barre and Soul community as well — everyone is so friendly, and it's super supportive. I was in class one day, and I was thinking fun social media posts that I do for Barre and Soul, but I also wanted to incorporate food. I was about to have my own kitchen for the first time, and I would have to cook all of my own meals, but I was a little nervous about that because I didn't want to be eating the same thing every day. I wanted to make sure that I would be eating healthy, but that it would also be fun.
Q. Speaking of food, do you ever make up your own recipes, or do you usually cook from recipes you found online?
A. I cooked and baked before starting the account, but I always followed recipes, so when I began @barre.and. brunch, I found recipes through food blogs and I would get inspired. As I got more confident in cooking and baking, I started to come up with my own recipes and ideas, and it’s always really exciting when they work out.
Sometimes, if I see a recipe at a restaurant that I really like, I’ll see if I can make that at home, or if I can make a healthier version of it. I really think eating healthy is important, because it makes me feel better. I used to eat dessert and junk food all the time, and I was just sick all the time. When I came to college, I started trying to eat healthy more often, and I felt so much more energized and so much better. That’s not to say that I don't think it's important to treat yourself and indulge every so often — I think it's very easy to make desserts that are made with healthier, simple ingredients.
Q. Do you have any favorite recipes or ingredients?
A. I think I just really love brunch and breakfast food. I feel like brunch is like the most creative and fun and artistic meal, and so there's just so much range. You can do sweet or savory foods, and I think it's really fun. I definitely make sweet potato waffles a lot — those are one of my favorite recipes because they're really quick, and they’re pretty versatile.
I also love nut butters, because there's so many different kinds, and they're all very different. They're also great in my healthy recipes because they can add texture or flavor or a little sweetness that you might get from adding oils or sugars or other things like that.
Q. What do you hope your followers gain from the account?
A. With @barre.and.brunch, I wanted to be able to share my passions, but also keep myself motivated so that I would try new recipes and have the joy of sharing them with people. I’m not an expert on health, fitness, or nutrition, but I just what to share my experience and what I’ve learned with others in hopes that it will help and inspire them. I want to show people that eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard or boring.
Not everyone has access to fitness classes and everything depends on where you live, what your life is like, and what your schedule is like. I think just making sure people know that you can do workouts in your apartment, or make these very easy recipes, is helpful. I hope that I can inspire people to find passions and follow them and just try to be the best and healthiest version of themselves that they can be.Interview was edited and condensed. Kaya Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Kaya_Noelle.