Amanda Meixner (@meowmeix on Instagram) is a widely popular meal prep and fitness fanatic who knows her way around an Instant Pot, doesn't shy away from egg controversy, understands that occasional indulgence in pizza is good for the soul, and may in fact be part squirrel.
What I discuss with Amanda in this episode:
How meal prepping once a week keeps Amanda eating healthy and well even on a busy, full-time schedule.
Healthy eating is not about eating less; it's about eating right (and can even be downright indulgent in proper balance).
Calorie density vs. nutrient density.
Amanda's tips for anyone trying to gain more exposure on social media.
The seemingly science-violating kitchen sorcery of the Instant Pot.
And much more!
When you're busy working a full-time job, fitness goals can easily fall by the wayside. But setting aside a few hours to prep meals for the week ahead can ensure your diet doesn't take ugly fast food detours for the sake of convenience.
Celebrated food prepper Amanda Meixner—followed by over half a million as @meowmeix on Instagram—joins us to share how she began her meal prepping journey, what she's learned along the way, and how we can incorporate her strategies and secrets into our routines to be happier and healthier.
The Benefits of Meal Prep
Though Amanda had been conscious of maintaining a healthy diet and fitness regimen after struggling with an eating disorder in high school, she found that entering the working world upon graduating from college presented a new set of challenges to her routine. On the job from 9-6 every Monday through Friday, she quickly realized that buying lunch every day—even when it was a Trader Joe's salad and not a Whopper—simply wasn't practical.
Amanda started setting aside some time on Sunday to prepare snacks and lunches for the week ahead, and then realized she could just as easily prepare all of her meals in advance. By sharing this journey on her blog and Instagram, she began amassing followers who marveled at the spectacle of a week's worth of meals, the time saved by preparing meals this way, and the health benefits of knowing exactly what every bite contained—and didn't contain.
"It is a little impressive having five days of prepped meals," says Amanda. "It looks like a lot! Coming from a place when I was younger, where I thought healthy eating was more about eating less...luckily I was able to turn that around...realizing it's not about eating less, it's about eating the right foods, it's about the right exercising, and combining that all together to fit your schedule."
There's No One-Size-Fits-All Fitness Routine
The fact there's no one-size-fits-all diet and exercise routine that works for everyone was initially a surprise to Amanda, but she's learned what works for her. She knows how the occasional indulgence can be scheduled into her diet in a way that doesn't disrupt the entire program and send her into an emotional spiral of shame and despair. This may involve periods of calorie counting depending on what Amanda's trying to accomplish with her fitness goals, but she admits she's hardly militant about it.
For my part, I know that when I eat quality food my hunger levels self-regulate, so counting calories isn't part of my routine. We're all different. But Amanda and I agree that working out regularly and focusing on weights over cardio (more muscle carried amounts to a higher basal metabolic rate)—and reaching for proteins first when hungry—help regulate a sustainable fitness balance.
Growing Social Media Presence
With 602k followers on Instagram, Amanda knows a few things about growing a presence on social media.
"Pick your niche, and then just think about what kind of value you can share with people," says Amanda. "But the tricky part on social media is you can't just be providing value—you kind of have to make it pretty; make it easy to read. Look at the trendier formats that are out there. Look at the experts in your niche and then you'll see the trendier formats and what subjects people are really attracted to. Based off that, you can kind of change your value proposition towards those formats."
Amanda stresses that while social media niches can be competitive, coming from a good place and paying attention to what people need will take you far.
For instance, my audience seems well-served by infographics that visually provide data in an easily digestible format. Amanda's Instagram posts tend to feature excellent comparisons and contrasts in fitness and nutrition. Your audience may thrive on something completely different.
Amanda also stresses the importance of engaging with your audience and understanding that sustainable communication on social media is a two-way street.
"You're not just blasting things out; you're responding to people, you're replying to DMs, you're listening to them...having that two-way connection," says Amanda.
Listen to this complete episode to learn more about Amanda's love of controversy (particularly when eggs and meat are involved), how Amanda takes her eggs, why we want to expand our messages beyond the paleosphere, Amanda's favorite meal prep tips, the best way to avoid overindulging in processed food, what we both like about 85% dark chocolate, the hyperpalatable potential of bee pollen and almond butter, the science-violating kitchen sorcery of the Instant Pot, what Amanda wishes she knew about food prepping when she was just getting started, and lots more.
Resources from this episode:
MeowMeix: Meal Prep Tips, Healthy Recipes, and Weekly Meal Plans (Amanda's blog)
Amanda demonstrates the difference between 1700 calories of fast food and 1700 calories of whole food.
One example of my Healthy Swaps infographics.
Fit Flavor spices