As a mom dealing with temper tantrums, picky eaters, and random scream sessions in the middle of the night, you could say that “macronutrient balance” is rather low on your list of daily priorities, right?
Well, the following tidbits of information may just get you hooked on the idea of finally counting beyond calories and focusing on macros. With the right balance of nutrients, you will have more energy for the abovementioned tantrums, sleep better, and not yield to sugar cravings.
The beauty of it is that it doesn’t have to be half as complicated as many fitness freaks may present it to be. On the contrary, you can quickly get the hang of the basics of balancing your macros. It will soon become another healthy habit that requires very little planning. Heck, if you can raise a human being, regulating those macros will be a breeze!
1. Crunch Some Numbers
Much like you should know how many calories you need to achieve your goal, whether you want to stay at your current weight, lose, or gain some, you also need to know the needed ratio of macros for your body.
You can use an online macronutrient calculator to get a rough estimate as to your preferred carb, fat, and protein ratio. However, keep in mind that you are a unique lady, as are all of us, so you should use your body as a point of reference.
Listen to your body once you adjust your diet and notice if there are any signals telling you that something might be off. It will take a few weeks to tweak the changes to find that sweet spot. Once you do, you can expect to start seeing results pretty soon!
2. Prep Your Kitchen Cabinet
While this article is reserved for macros, there are certain foods that will help enhance the taste and texture of the foods you’ll eat. You might want to stock up on these micros as well.
For example, spices such as curcumin are very healthy. They reduce body-wide inflammation and they add flavor to any dish, from a basic omelet to your chicken filets. Perfect for boosting your immune system, such a simple addition to your menu can make many meals more interesting to avoid monotony in your diet.
Another key step in preparing for your new eating regime is ditching all those unhealthy snacks that will only tempt you to stray from your new, macro-oriented path. Instead, replace them with home-made snacks, fresh fruits, and veggies, as well as smoothie essentials, and you’ll easily fit them into your new dietary regime!
3. Protein-Packed Sources
Now that we’ve covered your numbers and your possible setbacks, you can start filling your kitchen with whole, nutrient-dense foods–preferably those you’ve bought in season, from your local farmers.
For starters, protein is your body’s best friend when you want to build lean muscle, burn fat, keep your energy levels high, but also your belly full for as long as possible. More healthy protein often means less craving for sweets and snacks.
Depending on your lifestyle, you can rely on lean meats as your source of protein, healthy dairy such as yoghurt, kefir, and cottage cheese, various types of fish, legumes (beans make a wonderful choice, for instance), as well as eggs, soy, and a range of plant-based protein sources.
If you’re having trouble getting your daily dose of protein through food, a high-quality whey protein powder can help enhance those smoothies of yours.
4. Healthy Fats to Rely on
Once upon a time, fat was blamed as the key culprit in fat gain and many a disease. Today, we have a better understanding of food and health. We know now that consuming healthy fats in moderate amounts is not just fine, but necessary to achieve that macronutrient balance.
The most delicious and accessible sources of healthy fats include:
• Fatty fish such as salmon, avocados (who knew, right?)
• Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, peanuts, and almonds
• Olive oil
• Full-fat dairy
The general rule of thumb is to stick to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as those famous omega-3 fatty acids, which are deemed healthy in right amounts, while saturated and trans fats should be off limits.
5. The Dreaded Carbs
Recently, carbs have replaced fats as the scapegoat of the fitness community for causing diseases of all sorts. However, while there are carbs, just like fats, that are not healthy, the truth once again lies somewhere in the middle.
The point is to stick to your prescribed amount of the said macronutrient, opt for healthy choices, and you’ll be in the clear. So, carbs, in essence, are not bad for you. They are the main source of energy production and a vital source of micronutrients as well.
You probably already know that there are simple carbs, which provide a quick burst of energy, such as glucose and fructose. Then you have the more complex starches which take a bit more time to process. Fiber is considered one of the healthiest forms since it’s excellent for gut health, and it’s found in fruits, veggies, legumes, as well as whole grains.
The key here is to opt for a moderate amount of carbs that also provide micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as help you maintain your macro intake.
One important takeaway from all of this is to strive to eat as many whole foods, fresh and seasonal, as possible. You may not be able to hit the perfect ratio every day, and you may find yourself reaching for the cookie jar every once in a while. But when you get a basic grasp of your macronutrient needs, it becomes easier to stick to the original plan.
The resulting benefits will be more than enough motivation to keep you going!