By the way, macro is not short for macaroon but for macronutrients. Macronutrients are a type of food required in large amounts in a diet (e.g. protein, carbohydrates, and fat) and they are different than Micronutrients that are needed in smaller amounts (e.g. vitamins and minerals). We need both and they come from different sources but for now we are going to focus on the Macros.
Let’s keeps it simple and discuss what each macronutrient provides and where they come from. Protein, carbohydrates (carbs), and fat are what you need, and they come from food. So, what do your macros provide and how much do you need?
Let’s start with everyone’s favorite, carbohydrates and there are simple and complex carbs. Spoiler alert, vegetables are carbs.
Bell pepper, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, cauliflower, green beans, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, cabbage.
SIMPLE Carbs to AVOID:
Sugar, brown sugar, syrup (corn), fruit juice concentrate, sugar in baked good and cereals
Rice, oats, wheat, flour pasta, barley, banana, raisins, mango, pineapple, watermelon, apples
Carbs is the most important macro for most because it is broken down in our body and used as energy. On the same token, you must be careful not to overeat carbs as any extra or unused carb will and can be stored as fat in the body. You should be having both simple and complex, especially if you work out but again, the proper amounts are key.
For you meat lovers, here is where you dive in. But do not fear for those that are not huge meat eaters, we got you covered as well.
Animal Protein sources:
Beef, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs
Plant-based Protein sources:
Tofu, soy, black beans, lentils, peanut butter, chickpeas (garbanzos), chia seeds, and quinoa. But be careful with the amounts of the last 6 as they are also high in carbohydrates.
Protein is vital to the body as it is the building blocks of cartilage, skin, blood, muscle, and bones. It is also assisting the body in repairing and building tissues and making enzymes and hormones. Too much protein isn’t necessarily good for the body. More protein doesn’t lead to more muscle, but it can lead to more fat. Just like carbs, any excess that isn’t processed and used by the body is stored as fat.
Fat is good for you, as long as the sources are healthy ones and proper amounts are ingested.
Avocados, cheese, dark chocolate, whole eggs, fatty fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, herring), nuts, chia seeds, extra virgin olive oil, and coconuts & coconut oil
Fats to AVOID:
Commercial-baked foods (donuts, cookies, muffins, pizza dough), Packaged food (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips), margarine, vegetable shortening, corn oil, vegetable oil, and canola oil.
Fats, from the proper sources provide your body energy, protect your organs, keep you warm, help hormone production and cell growth. For simple eating purposes, fats help your stomach signal your brain to stop eating by telling it your full.
So now that some of you know what a macro is, how much should you be eating? You can start by enjoying balanced meals and snacks with all 3 macros. How much depends on your activity levels, your age, and your goals. Someone that wants to put on weight and muscle will eat more carbs and fat for sports performance than someone looking to lose weight and body fat for an upcoming wedding.
Always consult with someone with experience if you do not know where to start, a Nutrition or fitness coach is a good place to start. We do have quite a few here that would love to help you get started with proper food, health and fitness guidance. Keep this in mind, “You cannot out exercise a bad diet” and ALL your goals start at the table with your food choices.