By Gabby Bass-Butler
Photos Contributed

A quick glance at @thepeachiespoon photos on Instagram might have you thinking Meredith Mann has things all figured out. She eats healthy and delicious looking meals amidst her busy schedule raising kids in Vestavia Hills, and she’s always got a smile on her face. But as passionate is she is about health and nutrition, her journey to finding freedom in food was no easy one.

After graduating high school, Meredith became a personal trainer, but she was not as healthy as she might have seemed from the outside. Inside she felt like she did not look like how a personal trainer should look, which led to an eating disorder and a food obsession. Eventually though she came into a better relationship with food. “I just found this peace, and I’m not ever on a diet and I don’t count things,” she says today. “I’m just honoring my body, but I don’t have food guilt either.”



After her kids started school, Meredith felt the urge to start working again. She knew she did not want to get back into personal training, but she knew she loved nutrition and could do something with that. And that’s just what she did. “I thought that I can help people because all women are on a diet all the time, overthinking it, feeling guilty and not content in their own skin,” she says.

Today Meredith is a holistic nutritionist who runs an online platform that allows her to help thousands of clients focus on living a well-balanced life. In 2019 she took that mission to Instagram as @thepeachiespoon with had no idea that it would lead thousands of clients and more than 15,000 followers who keep up with her tips, recipes, and nutritional science facts.

Day to day, Meredith does everything from consultations to monthly plans to going grocery shopping with clients. In all of it, she focuses on more than just what you eat and what kind of medicine you take. “Holistic looks at your whole body picture, how well are you sleeping, are you taking vitamins, how your emotional and mental health is,” she says.

She’s also become quite the recipe developer along the way as she posts about smoothies, lunch ideas and energy bites. With each dish she creates, she is thinking about more than taste, although that’s certainly a factor too. “I do have in my head how to make [the recipes] just the right amount of fat and carbs, so you have the balance of blood sugar that makes you feel good and shut off your hunger,” says Meredith. “There’s more science to my recipes than just putting it together.”

Meredith is also a firm believer in finding freedom in food. When she talks to others about food guilt, Meredith boils it down to taking it one day at a time and one meal at a time. She also thinks being more mindful and listening to our cravings is a big help in finding freedom with food.

“If you crave pizza, just have pizza and just pray for no guilt and shame,” she says. “Be mindful and sit down, fix the plate, and enjoy your pizza.”

It’s also key how you start your day for Meredith. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it sets the tone for hunger and cravings. So do more of a savory breakfast and try to get more protein in,” she says. “Then you’ll feel better with your hunger, especially if you’re one that tends to over eat a lot, especially in late afternoon because you’re lacking protein at breakfast, little tweaks like that.”

With 2022 right around the corner, Meredith advises others to not to be too restrictive as you make resolutions so they are sustainable. So just start slow and take things one at a time, she says. And lest you think healthy food is boring, check out The Peachie Spoon feed.

“It’s really fun and it doesn’t feel like work,” she says. “I feel like everybody can find peace with food.”

Follow Meredith’s recipes and tips on Instagram at @thepeachiespoon.

Meredith’s Grocery Staples

Nut Butters- Shoot for just the nut and salt in the ingredients list to lessen the inflammatory oils.

Canned Tuna & Salmon- A great quick protein, they come in flavors now and are easy to eat with crackers for a quick meal.

Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder- For smoothies and protein oats.

Unsweetened Almond, Cashew or Coconut Milk- I always have the unrefrigerated ones in the pantry in case I want to make a quick smoothie.

Pastas – Lentil and chickpea pastas have more fiber and some protein, and canned hearts of palm noodles and miracle noodles are great to have for a last minute dinner with protein.

Coconut Aminos- I use these in place of soy sauce and Worstchestershire for a great flavor for seasoning all meats.

Cottage Cheese & Greek Yogurt- These are great quick proteins to add to meals or fruit for blood sugar balance.

Eggs- These great complete protein and healthy fat source all in one.

Bagged Slaw- For a quick dinner with any protein, I usually just add vinegar and some avocado oil mayo or pesto.

Pesto & Marinara- Look for olive oil in pesto to skip those inflammatory oils and no added sugar in the ingredient list of jarred marinara. There’s plenty of natural sugar in the tomatoes.

Raw Veggies & Hummus- I love to snack on these if I’m super hungry while cooking dinner.

Frozen Turkey Meatballs & Burgers- These great for a last minute dinner in 10 minutes—it’s  quicker than takeout.

Spinach– I buy the big container of fresh and keep it in the freezer so it lasts longer. Add it to smoothies and throw in with eggs.

Potatoes– White or sweet, these make a balanced meal come together quick. Just microwave them and add a protein source.

 

ROSEMARY CHICKEN (OR TURKEY) SALAD

  • 2-3 cups chopped cooked chicken (Meredith uses a whole rotisserie chicken) or leftover turkey from the holidays
  • 1/4 cup avocado mayo or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon or spicy mustard
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds or walnuts
  • 1 pear, chopped
  • 3 pieces of bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl for a protein and healthy fat combination you can throw on salad greens or put in a wrap/tortilla, on baked potato, or on bread. And then you’ve got a quick, easy, balanced meal.

APPPLE PIE SMOOTHIE

Smoothie Base:

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon psyllium husk, flax or chia seeds
  • 1 serving vanilla protein
  • 1 scoop collagen (optional)
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash pink salt

Topping:

  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 serving of your favorite nuts or unsweetened coconut

Add smoothie ingredients in the order listed and blend well. While blending, chop apple and add cinnamon. Microwave apple and cinnamon combination in a glass bowl for 1 minute, and then add to it to the top of the smoothie with your favorite nuts or coconut for healthy fats and vital chewing that ensures so you’re satisfied.

I love fruits during these colder months, and as a bonus, they’re easier to break down during digestion when cooked.

EASY MEATBALL VEGETABLE SOUP

  • 2 bags frozen turkey meatballs ( Meredith buys from Trader Joe’s or Publix.)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • New potatoes, chopped or cut in half of tiny
  • 1 bag frozen vegetables (corn, green beans, carrot mix)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 32 ounces beef or chicken bone broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Put all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

If it’s last minute, put all ingredients in a Dutch pot. Bring to a boil and cover until potatoes are cooked through, about 30 min. In the instant pot, cook it on manual high pressure for 25 minutes and natural release 10-15 minutes.