Founder of MeowMeix healthy eating brand Amanda Rocchio discusses the benefits of meal prepping, and ways to incorporate it into your healthy lifestyle.
How did the MeowMeix brand come into being?
I didn’t always have a healthy relationship with food or myself for that matter. I developed an eating disorder in high school but luckily made a full recovery. After rediscovering what a healthy relationship with food looked like, I decided to make it my life’s mission to show that being healthy wasn’t about starving yourself, but rather about fueling your body with the right foods.
When I graduated college, I began meal prepping for work. I found that setting a few hours aside on Sunday would set myself up for the week with healthy food and save time, money, and energy during the week too. As I began to share my meal prep tips and tricks with the online community, I could see there was a real need to support people on their nutrition journey.
That’s when I really started to focus on helping people achieve their goals, especially when it came to creating a healthy nutrition routine. Now, I strive to create impactful content that helps make proper nutrition easy to understand and more accessible.
That’s how the MeowMeix brand was born, and I could not be more grateful for the ability to serve and support a community of over 1.4 million people through my Instagram and podcast.
How has meal prepping changed your life? How can it help others?
Meal prepping has solved this main problem for me: the want to eat an overall healthy diet without having to spend a fortune. Meal prepping saves you time, your money, and your health in the long run. By bulk cooking on Sundays or every few days, you’ll save time during the work day and will be set up for success for whatever your health goal is.
A few things often happen if you don’t meal prep. You spend a good amount of time trying to figure out what to eat, where to get it from, and even more time if you have to go out and get it. You also are more likely to make last-minute poor choices if you’re in a rush or too busy. Additionally, if you are so busy you “forget to eat” or don’t make time to eat, you can end up in an unhealthy binge cycle by gorging yourself on food at night because you get extremely “hangry” from not eating much throughout the day.
You’ll also have full control of the ingredients and flavors when you make it yourself! Sometimes, even seemingly healthy choices from restaurants can have a ton of extra oil, a ton of extra salt, or hidden sugar you wouldn’t add yourself. Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever eat out. It’s more about what you do on a regular basis than what you do occasionally.
Preparation is the name of the game when it comes to accomplishing pretty much any goal in life, and eating healthy is no different. Make a plan of attack with your meal prep and I promise you’ll be relieved and feel accomplished in the long run.
How does meal prepping change for people that are having to work from home? What about working from home while having kids home as well?
Meal prepping doesn’t have to change when you work from home. If you’re super busy and find yourself eating out of your usual pattern or making poorer choices, meal prepping can also set you up for success working from home.
Now, if you do find yourself with more time to cook fresh meals at home, it’s a good idea to still make a plan for meals before you get your groceries. Then, you can cook some of your meals fresh instead of meal prepping/pre-cooking them, but you won’t feel lost because you still created at least a general plan.
If you have kids, you can make a plan for their meals and just create bigger portions for yourself. That way you won’t feel overwhelmed. Oftentimes, kids can eat similar food to what you’re eating, just in smaller portions and cut to the appropriate size so as not to be a choking hazard (age-depending). I recommend checking out Jennifer Anderson, MSPH, RDN, @Kids.Eat.In.Color if you’re unsure about proper kids’ nutrition.
What are some tips and need-to-knows regarding meal prepping?
- Invest in glass meal prep containers and mason jars. You’ll be motivated to prep once you have the proper storage, your food will last longer in glass, and your body and the environment will thank you. (I use 16oz mason jars for overnight oats, and 32oz for salad jars.)
- Stock up on spices. They’re a great low-calorie way to flavor your food and they have their own set of benefits.
- Write the meals/recipes you want to try that week, then write your grocery list before you grocery shop. I like to write my grocery list in these five categories: protein, healthy fats, fruits and carbs, veggies, and extras.
- Multi-task your food. For example, bake sweet potatoes in the oven, chicken on the grill, and boil eggs stovetop all at the same time. This will save you time while meal prepping.
- Don’t be afraid to start small: Prepping even just lunches in advance can make a big difference for your week.
- Invest in some meal prep cooking tools: My current favorites are my Instant Pot, egg cooker, food processor, and veggie spiralizer.
- Don’t meal prep seafood unless you’re going to eat it in one to three days: Seafood does spoil a bit faster than other food combinations.
Another five things you need to know about meal prep are:
- Don’t be afraid to start small.
- Even making a habit of getting groceries every week can be a good start.
- Have fun with it! You shouldn’t be making food you hate. Make foods and recipes you’re genuinely excited to try.
- Eat the rainbow and include variety! Having a variety of colors and including different types of foods will ensure you’re getting a range of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
- Change up some of the food every week so you don’t get bored!