You surely want to achieve your fitness goals while having your favorite foods, right? Well, tracking macros may be the best option for you if calorie counting and limiting certain food groups are not your things.
Unlike traditional diets, tracking macros give you a lot of options and flexibility. No matter what you eat, as long as it fits your macros, you can go for a flexible and healthy diet either it is for losing or gaining weight.
What You Need to Know about Macronutrients
Macronutrients make up the majority of our daily caloric intake. For every gram of protein, carbs, and fat there are a set amount of calories available. The macros will be calculated based on these data.
- 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
- 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
In a macro diet, we preferably look at how many grams of each macronutrient you require for the day, which is your daily macro portion, rather than how many calories you need for the day.
A macro-based diet gives you a deeper understanding of what you are eating instead of counting calories. Just say, the combination of chicken and rice provides a good source of protein as well as fiber-rich complex carbohydrates.
But don’t get on the wrong track- just because something “meets your macros” doesn’t mean it’s okay to eat it all. Keep your macronutrient ratios within a goal by following a clean eating strategy.
However, you can plan your Sunday Funday snacks into your macros once a day and you’ll never have to worry about missing out!
As a last benefit, you’ll be able to better grasp how nutrition affects your body’s ability to meet its diverse demands by fine-tuning your diet (weight gain, build muscle, fat loss, maintenance, etc.). You’ll be able to achieve that and more just by calculating macros.
What Is a Macro Diet Plan?
Health and fitness experts are familiar with the macronutrient diet. It is also known as the ‘’If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) Diet’’, and is sometimes perceived as “flexible dieting,” and it has been around for a while. Most of people go for this diet for one major reason:
While following a macronutrient based weight-loss diet, the theory goes like, you may eat whatever you want as long as it fits inside your macros. Moreover, on this diet, you can still enjoy your favorite foods like bread, cheese, potato chips, and wine.
Monitoring calories isn’t necessary — especially when it comes to losing weight. However, counting calories has been heralded as the solution to losing some extra pounds. Counting calories may work but the process is time-consuming and might discourage those who have to sit down and eat.
Tips for Meal Preparation on a Macro Diet
Following a macro diet requires a well-thought-out food plan. Making a plan in advance is always a good idea since it gives you peace of mind knowing that you’ll be more successful in achieving your goals for the day.
You may consume three meals and two snacks each day. Hence, every week, you’ll be eating 21 meals and 14 snacks. In order to maintain your blood sugar levels, stable and avoid being too hungry, consuming a well-balanced meal every 3 12 to 4 hours really matters.
Whole foods are the best options, with an addition of organic lean proteins. Moreover, to prevent consuming unnecessary calories, you must limit your intake of dairy products and sweets.
The first thing to keep in mind: the time
It’s true that preparing a macro friendly diet takes time. Many other fitness freaks believe that it’s worthwhile—and that after a while, it becomes a habit that takes practically no time at all. Here are some tips to get time for a macro based diet even if you’re really busy.
- Buy and prepare food in bulk.
Prepare foods that match your macronutrient requirements in bulk to save time. You may also cook pre-packaged lunches (such as 12 cups brown rice with 5 ounces of salmon and 1-2 cups of vegetables) or make ordinary oatmeal or overnight oats in bulk to save time in the morning.
- Find restaurants that are macro-friendly.
A list of macro-friendly food restaurants must be on your list that can be a handy option in case you’re working late or just cannot prepare lunch in advance. In your busy schedule, when you’re short of time, check by your local macro-friendly shop to grab your meal rather than going for junk.
The second factor is the budget
It’s a misconception that healthy food is more expensive than junk food. But in reality, you don’t have to break the bank to get foods that suit your macros.
As we have mentioned earlier, shopping in bulk saves money and time. While staying on your macro-diet plan, shopping in bulk will help you save money.
- Get to know your local supermarket.
Every local business circulates fliers with handsome advertisements about its promotions that may help you in shopping. You may also be able to earn savings if you are a “store member,” or using a clipping coupon, or some online vouchers.
Instead of searching the aisles for packaged and processed items, find the perimeter of the store, where you’ll see fresh meats, fruit, and seafood.
Make a side-by-by-side comparison. There are several macro-friendly staples that are usually on sale. Just like dried beans and sweet potatoes are healthful and inexpensive options.
- You eat out less.
When you cook your own meals, you’ll save money in the long run since you can fine-tune the macronutrient ratio to fit your needs.
The third factor is the sense of taste
- Make your meal a little more presentable.
You can use fresh herbs and spices to make your food taste better. Because they’re good for you and have high nutritive properties that help fight off viral and fungal infections.
Cooking is an art if you use your creativity. Try entertaining and nutritious alternatives to your favorite foods to help you better satisfy your macronutrient requirements, some examples are pizza with a cauliflower crust, lasagna with zucchini, and chicken with Greek yogurt.
- Change the menu accordingly
Grilled chicken and steamed vegetables aren’t required for every meal. It’s alright to treat yourself to the odd serving of French fries or ice cream. Have fun with it!
Just add it to your macro-counting program, make up for it in subsequent meals, and carry on. When you completely eliminate something from your daily routine, your body is more likely to be deprived of that particular thing that leads to binge eating.
Methods for Tracking Your Macros
The best way to count your macros is to find a macro calculator on internet. There are hundreds of free tools available that take care of every meal plan for you.
It will calculate your macronutrient totals will be automatically based on how much food you eat during the day.
Moreover, you’ll be able to keep track of your progress all day long, and offers you real-time diet plans. Don’t go crazy while attempting to meet all of your macronutrient targets at once. Dieting isn’t the point; the point is to provide your body with a variety of nutrients while still indulging in some delicious pleasures without feeling bad about yourself.
Tracking Macronutrient to Lose Weight
If you’re trying to lose weight by counting macros, you must make sure that you’re also decreasing calories while on a healthy macro diet. If you want to lose weight, try the following macronutrient ratios:
- Carbohydrates for 10%-30% of total calories,
- protein for 40%-50%
- fat for 30%-40%.
After that, make the necessary adjustments. For example, if you work out five days a week, you’ll need more carbs, for example, 450 grams each day.
Tracking Macronutrients to gain weight
If your goal is to grow muscle and/or bulk up, you’ll need to increase your caloric intake while you’re following a macronutrient plan. For gaining muscles, try the following macro ratios:
- Carbohydrates account for 40-60% of total calories
- Protein accounts for 25-35%
- Fat accounts for 15-25%.
It’s a common misperception that weight gainers require an abundance of protein to maintain muscle mass. Keep in mind that ‘’ excess of everything is bad’’.
Overeating proteins and fat might also prevent you from putting on muscle mass as you would like to. Keeping track of your macronutrient intake will allow you to see exactly how your diet is affecting your weight loss or gain.