For years, it took every ounce of willpower I had not to steal Amanda’s lunch.
Amanda (Meixner) Rocchio, better known to the Internet as the healthy influencer @MeowMeix, and I worked in the same department and shared an office fridge. And, every day, I’d open the fridge to grab my boring chicken and broccoli, and there was one of Rocchio’s jewel-toned Mason jar salads. Rainbow layers of healthy goodness just mocking my lunch. Because, as Rocchio has shown through countless food charts that have grown her account to a whopping 1.4 million followers, healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring. Or difficult.
In fact, she’s got a whole book dedicated to fun, healthy snacks.
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Rocchio is one of the main influencers we have to thank for all of the meal prepping inspo and healthy eating tips on Instagram. Rocchio, along with Kevin Curry of Fit Men Cook, Ryan Carter of Live Vitae, and Chungah Rhee of DamnDelicious, have shown us just how easy it is to eat healthy.
I’m a big fan of everything in moderation (including moderation) and quoting Oscar Wilde. Because, as Pumpkin Spice Lattes are… they simply don’t provide all the nutrition your body needs… even if you blend kale into them.
So, I caught up with the Queen of Meal Prep so she could share some of her best, practical healthy eating tips with you. But first, here are some of her food charts I love.
27 Food Charts from Amanda Rocchio (@MeowMeix)
- Use this food chart when you make our healthy cinnamon apple chips or apple pie bread.
- Or make one of these
- You don’t have to drink your water, people. You can eat it! Here are 6 ideas tastier than ice.
- Healthy eating doesn’t mean you don’t get dessert.
- Any lifestyle that doesn’t include pizza is not a lifestyle we want.
- Find out what protein is right for your goals (plant-based ones on the last slide).
- It really is. Use ‘em in this healthy banana bread recipe.
- Just rinse ’em if you’re eating these before a date.
- Finally, some not sad salads.
- Looking to replace milk? Here’s some options.
- More easy healthy lunch or dinner ideas.
- This chart of oil smoke points should help. Now to get a pan!
- You’d want to steal these too.
- This handy flour chart will make baking a little easier.
- Sometimes the healthiest option isn’t what you think it is.
- The difference between butter and ghee
- Budget-friendly options for when you want to eat healthier and save money.
- Adding this to our list of fall desserts.
- Since apparently we shouldn’t be drinking an actual peppermint mocha every day…
- She’s giving us some serious fridge inspo. (Get the meal prep containers here.)
- No more dry chicken.
- Healthy snack ideas to get you started.
- A healthier spin on French Toast.
- Our new weekday cookie dough recipe.
- How a little prep can go a long way.
- This food chart of tomato varieties will come in handy all summer long.
Amanda Rocchio’s Top Healthy Eating Tips
If someone wants to eat a little healthier, where should they start?
One of the first things I tell people is to look at what they’re drinking before you even look at your food.
Cutting out sugary sodas is life-changing, even if you’re not trying to lose weight. It will help you get healthier and will help you lose weight if you’re drinking a lot of those. But there’s so many other super sugary drinks.
What can I drink instead of an iced caramel latte?
For a super sugary coffee drink, you can substitute something a little bit more balanced made with almond milk and some Stevia or monk fruit. You should be drinking tons of water. You can flavor your water with herbs or fruit. Overall, I recommend not drinking your calories, but if you are, I would say like low-sugar kombucha, high quality protein shakes, and homemade smoothies.
Wait, you’re not saying cut sugar out entirely? Are you allowed to say that as a healthy influencer?
It’s not the one teaspoon of sugar, or maybe even two of them. It’s when you get the Frappuccino, which has like 16 teaspoons of sugar. If you’re putting one or two teaspoons of sugar in your coffee, because like you love it that way, that’s fine. But you would never scoop in 16 teaspoons of sugar to your coffee unless you’re literally making ice cream. Which is fine, eat ice cream.
It sounds like you’re saying enjoy the dessert as dessert and avoid the sneaky sugars.
Yes, exactly. I don’t care if that’s your treat, I’m just letting you know what the healthier choice is. Or saying like, “Hey, maybe you didn’t realize it has 26 grams of sugar, so maybe don’t want to eat that every day.” I just don’t like when things lie to you. You know what I mean? They say they’re healthy or you think, oh this is not that bad and really it’s equivalent to ice cream.
Speaking of ice cream… how do you avoid snacking on what you might want to save for later?
If it’s on your counters or if it’s in like glass display bottles, put that in the cabinet. Don’t put the glass jar of M&Ms out on the countertop or you’re screwed.
If you keep opening cabinets or the fridge and every time you open it the worst choice is in your face, put the healthier choices in the front, so those are in your eye line. Put whatever you want to save for later or what’s least healthy in the back, underneath things, or in a cabinet you don’t open as much. Like, out of sight, out of mind.
Ok, what are some other easy things people can do to add more nutrients to their day?
Add more whole foods. One-ingredient foods like eggs, vegetables, etc. adding more of those. If you’re not getting enough vegetables in your day, that’s like the best place to start. And if you don’t like vegetables yet, you can make it fun. You can mix cauliflower rice with rice, you can blend it into healthy smoothies. Just add more vegetables to your day.
What are some easy healthy fall and winter recipe ideas that you love? The last thing I want to eat in winter is salad. Even in LA.
Chili. I love chili because you can make it fit any style of eating. You can make it paleo, you can make it vegan or vegetarian. I don’t know why chili got a bad rap. It can be hearty and so good for you.
I love the pumpkin recipes in the fall, like pumpkin soup and pumpkin bread. When I make more traditional recipes, I look up paleo versions. But do whatever fits into your lifestyle. I just think make it at home, because you’ll see the ingredients. Then you can choose how healthy you want to make it.
What if someone wants something sweet that’s on the healthier side?
I think finding healthy versions of desserts or healthy versions of snacks online, but I like to mix -and-match fruit and a nut butter. I love my rice cakes, but you could do bread. It’s whatever you prefer. You can get really fun with toast.
I’m gonna quote you on that.
You can! Toast is a party sometimes.
Well, there is avocado toast…
It’s about mixing and matching what mother nature has provided. Or throw some fun foods in there, like chocolate chips. You can also make yogurt parfaits that are really delicious. It’s all about planning ahead and then looking for inspiration. There’s so many fun recipes out there that are more whole-food based. Basically if you just make it yourself, you’re going to be in a better place.
Does it all come down to cooking as much as you can at home and eating whole foods, things that don’t have a barcode?
Absolutely, that is it. I think when you cook at home you have full control of your ingredients. Even when ordering healthy food out, it’s great to have those options, but you can’t control the oils and salts. And, eating out healthy does cost more, so you’ll save more money cooking at home.
And then really enjoying the desserts or whatever when you do have them.
Yeah. Balance is different for everyone. My form of balance is going to be different than yours. Find the balance that works for you. For some people being healthy might be saying no to a few more things. For other people, it’s going to be saying yes to more things. It’s all about doing things for your mental health and for your overall happiness in life.
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