What it means to eat your macro and micro nutrients?
What are Macros? What does this word mean to me?
Macros is the short term for the word Macronutrients. Macronutrients are essentially the food you eat – or at least the building blocks of the food you eat. There are three categories of Macronutrients. The three categories are carbs, protein, fats. These three categories are the building blocks that make up the food you eat. Let’s think about a meal for example: Pizza. Pizza mainly consists of crust, sauce, cheese, meat, veggies, toppings. Together, let’s categorize each ingredient.
In various meals, of all kinds you consume these building blocks of macronutrients in different portions, different ratios. Some days you consume meals that are 100% carbs. Think beans and rice. Some days you consume meals that are entirely protein. Think eggs, bacon, and sausage. Some days, you eat a full tray of fats. Think nuts, cheese, olives.
How you pair and portion these building blocks of macros is what determines how your body reacts, how your body absorbs, how your body uses these calories.
Do you need all three categories of macronutrients and why?
Carbohydrates are the building blocks of energy and the fuel source in which you live off from. You need energy, you need fuel just to survive at the bare minimum. You need healthy, clean fuel to live in a full feel-of-energy lifestyle without fatigue. Choose your carbs carefully.
Protein is building blocks of repair. Various forms of protein provides the amino acids to be the repair system of your muscles. Not only does protein repair your muscles after a hard day of work, they also help build and develop your muscles. And, for as long as you have a spine, a skeletal system, and joints you need muscles to keep these in place. It’s not like building muscles like body building, it’s like building muscles for everyday living for the strength and stamina to keep going.
Fats are your building blocks of protections. They are your protector for your bones, joints, ligaments. Think of fats as you are “oiling up your system” for smooth movement, smooth connections.
So, then, what are Micronutrients?
When taking in macros, you are naturally taking in even smaller building blocks of your essential needs: Micronutrients. Micronutrients are the teeny tiny building blocks that make up macronutrients. They have two categories: vitamins & minerals. If you focus on your macros, you will naturally take in micro nutrients that your body needs to survive with the best energy and stamina. Having your macros & micro nutrients in line is what will help you live life to your fullest, while avoiding the pain, aches, fatigue, headaches, and ailments that sometimes can dominate our days. You will naturally take in majority of the vitamin and minerals that your body needs through foods. Think iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phytonutrients and so much more that you find in plant-based foods and lean meats.
For the Macro Nutrients, how much of each category should I consume?
Now that you know you should be eating macro nutrients from each category, knowing how much, and when to consume each one is the hardest part. First of all, your portions/percentages/ratios are a RANGE. It is not written in stone. Each body, each person, each lifestyle is different so your specifics will be a little bit different. I will talk about the RANGE of what is healthy. Just know that it is a range, and +/- 5-10% is okay.
Percentages – Carbs: 40% Protein: 30% Fats: 30% Serving Sizes – Carbs: 1/2 cup Protein: 3/4 cup or 4-6 ounces Fats: 1tsp of an oil, or 1/4 cup of the actual food
How do you measure your food?
You measure/weigh the food in the form it enters your body. Rice/oats/quinoa/meat = measure it cooked. Steaming or sautéing, measure it in the form it is entering the body.
How can you log these serving sizes and percentages?
I highly suggest my fitness pal. But you need to go in and change your settings for YOU and your lifestyle and level of activity.
What do you suggest for the best, highest quality foods to get these macro and micro nutrients?
The quality of your macros matters. The quality of your food matters. Crap macros will not get you your micros (oreos = carbs, but no micro nutrients in them.) Stray away from processed macros. The cleaner, the leaner, the closer to the source of the food, the better.
Carbs: Potato family, sweet potatoes, yams, Beans, Lentils, Chickpeas, Grains come last – oats, quinoa, barley, rice
Protein: High quality meats, Sea Food, Fish, Eggs, Yogurt, Tofu, Tempeh, Vegan Protein Powders
Fat: 2 kinds – oil based, food based. Plant based oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, sesame oil. Seeds, Nuts, Cheese, Olives. Nut butters.
Fruits/Veggies: eat them. They fall into carbs. Case by case, person to person. They get complicated. There is a such thing as a “too much of a good thing”
As close to the source as you possibly. Let’s think about this and look at examples. Oats versus oat meal bars, oats versus granola, oats versus sugary packet of oats. Rice versus rice cakes. Regular eggs versus powdered eggs. Meat versus dried frozen meats. Chicken versus chicken nuggets. Saying no to boxed/bag foods. Stray away from the aisles. Stray away from things that have been processed in multiple steps.
What happens when you get so far off the percentages?
You can, and will overwork areas of your body. You’ve all had those days where you eat rice, potatoes, toast, bread, and dessert and later feel that gut of food. Too many carbs will clog the digestive system. You may have also had a day where you’ve had a ton of greasy bacon, cheese, avocado, seeds, nuts, and oily foods. That could get a little slippery on the inside of your gut and intestines right down to digestive system. Or, let’s talk about the high protein, high fat days – your kidneys, liver, and bladder may burn. You may smell yourself. That is overtaxing the organs. That is why it is just better to be on point with your portions, ratios, percentages. When you’re on point with these percentages – your body will naturally feel better, your digestive system, your energy, your urinal tract – everything. You’re going to feel CLEANER from the inside out – in your intestines, being regular, feeling clear and clean in your hair skin, nails.
Meal Examples: for more information about macro-based meals and how to prep them, be sure you do check out the information, recipes, and recordings of Heather’s MEAL PREP PARTY for a full video of prepping 60+ meals in 90 minutes.
Breakfast: carbs/protein/fat – burritos, beans/eggs bowls, oats & eggs, overnight oats, yogurt & oats
Lunch: carbs/protein/fat – quinoa bowl salad, chicken salad with rice, beef and quinoa bowl, burrito bowls
Dinner: protein/fat, carbs come from veggies: Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai, Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Snacks: deli meat + veggies, yogurt + fruit, protein shakes + fruit