If you have been following along with recent blog posts then you probably have realized that macros have been mentioned, but what are macros, why do we count them and how?
What are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients are defined as chemical substances required in large amounts by the body for survival. There three macronutrients are carbohydrates, fa In order to successfully count macronutrients it is important for us to know what they are and why everybody needs different macronutrient ratios.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates include sugars, starches, and fibers. This macronutrient is usually found in foods like grains, starchy vegetables, beans, dairy products and fruits.
Carbs provide about 4 calories per gram and typically make up the largest portion of people’s calorie intake. Most health organizations recommend about 45-65% of your daily caloric intake is from carbohydrates.
Fats: Out of all of the macronutrients, fats contain the most calories at about 9 calories per gram. Our bodies need fat for energy, nutrient absorption, and body temperature maintenance. Though typical macronutrient recommendations for fats range from 20-30% of your daily calories, some people find success in diets that are higher in fats. Fats can be found in foods like oils, butter, avocado, nuts, meat, and fatty fish.
Proteins: Protein contains about 4 calories per gram. Protein is essential for cell signaling, tissue building, hormones and enzymes. It is recommended that protein is about 10-35% of your total calorie intake. Protein recommendations vary depending on your body composition goals, age, physical health and more. Foods that are heavy in protein include eggs, poultry, fish, tofu and lentils.
How to count them:
Learning to count macros is something that definitely takes a little bit of time and effort. Once mastered, it is definitely a skill that you can carry with you in life. Knowing how to count macros helps you better understand your food consumption, and what is actually going into your body.
There are apps and websites out there for macro counting, but it is something that you can do on your own if you take the time to figure it out. However, the shortest most useful way to count macros is by using a macro tracking app. The app calculates everything for you, and also is a great way to track your progress. Macrostax is a great option, for a great monthly price. This website has a database of foods, so you literally just have to scan the barcode with your phone camera and it will calculate it into your daily macros. The website also helps you figure out what your daily macros should be based upon what your body composition goals are. There are plenty of other macro counting apps/sites as well.
Macro Meal Planning:
Once you’ve got your macronutrient ratios dialed in, you can plan your daily meal plan around them. To begin the process of planning it is important to start by understanding which healthy foods correspond to each macronutrient. Pre-planning everything in advance is key when it comes to successful macro counting/tracking. Plan what you’re going to be eating a few days at a time, and stick to it.