What are macronutrients? Macronutrients are one of 3 types of food that we as humans need to survive. I’m sure you may have heard count your macros, if it fits your macros or what macro ratios are you using?
Do you give a blank stare, like what in the world are you talking about?
I ate a ham sandwich with some cheese and an apple for lunch? I didn’t eat any macros. In fact you probably did eat some macros for lunch you just didn’t’ realize it.
What Are Macros?
So no one snuck macros in your food when you weren’t looking, they were actually there the whole time. That’s right macronutrients are the 3 biggest nutrient categories : carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They supply our bodies with the energy and fuel they need to keep us chugging along everyday.
For some folks they like to count macros instead of calories. It is a little less work. You just need to keep track of how many macros you are eating per meal rather than tally up each calorie for the day.
It does give you a better idea of the nutrients you are actually eating instead of just how much you are taking in.
For instance, you could consume all of your calories for the day by eating a loaf of bread. Please don’t but anyways…..If you only consumed a loaf of bread you would have mainly consumed carbohydrates leaving your body without the proteins and fats it needs to run like a champ.
A Look at the Macro nutrients
Fats are not always the enemy. In fact we need some fat in our daily intake to survive. Fat in small doses gives us brain power and helps our cells function. It provides a nice cushy cushion for our internal organs. Some vitamins and minerals are absorbed with the help of fat.
Some great healthy fats to include in your diet are: avocado, nuts and nut butters, olive oil and coconut oil, cheese, whole eggs, and chia seeds.
Carbohydrates are our body’s main source of energy. Our body needs more carbohydrates than any other macronutrients. Our bodies use carbohydrates for fuel. They help the brain, muscles, central nervous system, and kidney’s function. They are kinda like moms….they have all the jobs 🙂
Excellent carbohydrate sources: fruits and vegetables, beans, and whole grains and rice.
The most satiating of the macronutrients, carbohydrates aren’t the only ones bringing it in the nutrition department. Protein is in every cell of the body and helps with every single bodily function. They are also known for keeping you feel full and satisfied. We want to try to get most of our protein from lean sources because most animal protein sources are high in fat.
Good sources for lean proteins are chicken, fish, eggs, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts, and beans.
How to Calculate Your Macronutrient Needs
The best macronutrient ratio is going to differ from person to person. There is no one size fits all and it will take a bit of experimenting on your part to see whether your body does better with a little of this and a little more of that or vice versa. With that being said let’s find a ballpark area to get you started.
For someone who would like to lose fat but hasn’t committed to an intense exercise routine try this:
Proteins x .7 of your body weight
Carbohydrates x .5 of your body weight
Fats x .25 of your body weight
Lets use Sally for an example, she weighs in at 150 lbs and does light exercising by walking several times a week and occasional strength training.
Sally could count her macros by eating 105 grams of protein, 75 carbs, and 35 grams of fat per day. While she is eating this way she should measure her hunger levels, energy level and her fat loss. If everything goes well awesome Sally has a way to monitor her eating and not have to suffer through it. If Sally isn’t having any luck then she will have to make some adjustments and monitor them as well.
Ok so as you can see this will work for anyone who is wanting to lose fat but it will take some listening to your body and recording what you are eating to get a clear picture of what foods work for you and what ones you should probably eat less of.
If you sign up for the free Resource Library You Can Download the Macro Tracking Worksheet to get started calculating your Macro needs.
An easy way to start would be to use a notebook and track everything you are eating. Once you have your totals for everyday divide them up into meals. How often do you eat? Do you have three meals and snacks? Six small meals a day? What does your day to day eating look like? Once we know how often we normally eat we can divide our nutrients up for the day and easy see if we are staying on target.
Let’s go back to Sally and say she eats 3 meals a day with 2 snacks. Sally eats most of her high carb foods at breakfast and dinner. Sally has trouble staying full so she makes sure to eat protein for every time she eats.
So we know Sally will eat protein 5 times a day. She will have carbohydrates 3 times a day. Sometimes it is hard to find foods without fat so we will assume most of times Sally eats she will consume a bit of fat and leave her planning to eat fat 2 a day assuming that she has probably consumed about 5 grams of fat per her other 3 meals leaving her with about 11 grams of fat for her other two meals or snacks of the day.
105 grams of protein/5 meals a day=21 grams of protein per meal
75 grams of carbohydrates/3 = 25 grams of protein for 3 meals
There you have it, that is what macronutrients and macronutrient counting is all about. Once you start counting your macros you maybe interested in planning your meals in advance as much as possible so you have good healthy choices to stay working towards your goals.
Take a look at our meal planning tips so you can have your pre portioned meals ready to go! Here are some awesome meal containers too! If you enjoyed this post please pin it to your Healthy Eating Boards on Pinterest! 🙂