The most basic way to describe macronutrients are they are the nutrients in every food you eat that are most essential to the overall function of your body. The 3 main macronutrients are Fats, Carbohydrates and Proteins. The latest movement of IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) is built around the idea of instead of counting your calories just find out what your macronutrient needs are (how many grams of fat, protein, and carbs you need daily) and then eat according to that. While I am all for the not counting calories and eating your macronutrient needs, the IIFYM movement kind of throws out the approach of making sure those macros are coming from whole foods and nutrient dense choices and pretty much lets you eat pop tarts, Oreos, and other processed foods as long as the macronutrient needs are met. Following the approach of not counting calories and only counting your macros has had seriously impressive results with a lot of women. My main recommendation is don’t count or stress out too much about food, focus on getting each macronutrient in at every meal and when you’re full stop eating, when you’re hungry listen.
Let’s go over the basics of the 3 Main Macronutrients and What Makes Up Each Food Group
Your body needs fats in order to sustain healthy hormone, brain, heart, and joint function. Without getting incredibly scientific and complicated the best healthy fats for optimal healthy would come from: Olive Oil, Avocado, Coconut Oil, Grass Fed Butter, Walnuts, fatty fish like salmon, cheese, dark chocolate, whole eggs and full fat yogurt.
So many people follow “fat free” diets thinking “If I eliminate fat in my diet then I’ll eliminate fat in my body” when reality is you actually end up storing more fat by eliminating it because your body needs this for optimal function. On top of that, any time you cut out a needed food group your body holds on to excess fat almost as a reservoir since it is not getting enough of it. How much fat you need will depend on what your activity level is and your overall body type. The more athletic you are the more fat your body tends to need. I personally function on a very high fat and high carbohydrate nutrition regimen but it has taken me years to discover this through journaling and exploring my body’s needs which I encourage you to do the same.
My favorite food group and probably yours too, but the priority is making sure you are eating an ample amount of complex carbohydrates that your body uses as fuel and not a bunch of sugar that gets stored as fat (Yes, sugar=carbs). The best complex carbs to stick with are: Sweet Potatoes, Whole Oats, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Bananas and Whole Fruits, Green Veggies, Unprocessed Whole Grains. The typical rule of thumb with a serving size of carbohydrates is to compare it to your the size of your fist. The higher the fiber count in the food as your carbohydrate source the better which is what makes them complex because your body has to actually work to break down the dense carbohydrate as opposed to if you ate something like a piece of candy which is sugar that goes straight to your blood stream and spikes your insulin. The complex carbs will also keep you sustained and fueled for longer as they do not cause blood sugar spikes and crashes throughout the day.
Fortunately if you are not a huge meat eater you have so many options available to you now to enjoy lean protein sources without having to eat steak and chicken every day. I personally eat more eggs and protein pancakes then I do chicken and beef just as more of a preference and how I feel after. When selecting protein, as with the other macronutrients, keep it natural and go for quality. The best lean protein sources are: chicken breast, top sirloin, egg whites, beans and lentils (also carbs), flank steak, lean fish and shellfish, meal replacements like all natural protein bars, natural protein powders, protein pancakes.
Now that you have the basics of what each macronutrient consists of, How Do You Plan A Meal Around This?
All You need to do is select one macronutrient from each group to make a meal with serving sizes in mind. Here are some examples of well rounded macronutrient meals:
- 4oz of Chicken Breast, 1 cup of broccoli, 1/2 cup of brown rice
- 1/2 cup whole oats, 1 scoop of whey protein powder, 1tbsp almond butter
- 2 scrambled eggs with 1/2 cup oats
- 4oz Top Sirloin, 1 small sweet potato with 1tbsp grass fed butter
Obviously, these are very basic meals but you can use this as a starting point and get creative with how to make desserts and recipes such as the many you will find on here to get your creative juices flowing!
Here are a few of my favorite recipes to help you come up with ways to make these macronutrients while tasting delicious:
Stay connected with me on here for more recipes, nutrition and ways to build a life and body you love!