Are you ready to improve the way you eat? We prepared this blog to help you understand how macros and micros work, what they are and how to count them. But to also understand why you should be prioritising nutrients over calories, so that you become more aware of what are the foods you eat actually made of.
What is a Nutrient?
Our bodies are constantly active, even while at rest. We move, we think and we breathe, non-stop. To conduce all this activity we need chemical substances called nutrients. These nutrients are found in food, and provide the energy we need.
What Are Micros?
Micronutrients are essential to our overall health, the production of enzymes, hormones, and proteins that are critical to body and brain function. Among other things micros help with the regulation of metabolism, heartbeat, and bone density. While our bodies require large amount of macronutrients, we only need trace amounts of micronutrients. But this doesn’t make micros any less important!
- trace elements
What Are Macros?
Macros – macronutrients are needed in large amounts, and are nutrients that our bodies need to create energy in order to fuel our daily activities. Macros are what makes the caloric content of a food, and the caloric combination of the macros is where that mysterious overall number of calories comes from.
How to Count Macros?
You may have seen ‘counting your macros’ or ‘flexible dieting’ as a replacement for the fad diet. It means that you count and track macronutrients you eat to achieve you body-composition goal.
How It’s Done:
- Calculate your total daily energy expenditure*
- Calculate your macronutrient breakdowns into ratios to help you reach your desired goal
- Track your food intake, we often recommend MyFitnessPal
*TDEE – Total Daily Energy Expenditure takes your BMR as a baseline with an allowance for how much exercise you do. You can calculate your TDEE here
The traditional macro breakdown usually is 40:40:20 meaning:
- 40% of the caloric intake is carbohydrates
- 40% is protein
- 20% is fat
For example if you are a female aged 30, with the hight of 5.5 feet, weighting 8.6 stone with a sedentary lifestyle your TDEE would be around 1,613 calories per day. Knowing that:
- carbs – 1g = 4 calories
- protein – 1g = 4 calories
- fat – 1g = 9 calories
If you’re following the percentage breakdown above:
- 40% caloric intake from CARBS = 645 calories from carbs per day
= your meals altogether per day would consist of 161g of carbs
– approximately 40g of carbs per main meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
– and 20g of carbs per snack twice a day
> 2 medium baked sweet potatoes: 200 calories, 46 g carbs, 0.3 g fat, 4.5 g protein
> 1-1/2 medium baked potato: 241 calories, 54.9 g carbs, 0.3 g fat, 6.5 g protein
> 1-3/4 cup of cooked oatmeal: 291 calories, 49.1 g carbs, 6.2 g fat, 10.4 g protein
> 1-1/4 cup cooked quinoa: 278 calories, 49.3 g carbs, 4.4 g fat, 10.2 g protein
> 1 cup cooked brown rice: 216 calories, 44.8 g carbs, 1.8 g fat, 5 g protein
- 40% caloric intake from PROTEIN = 645 calories from protein per day
= your meals altogether per day would consist of 161g of protein
– approximately 40g of protein per main meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
– and 20g of protein per snack twice a day
> 2 large eggs: 155 calories, 1.5 g carbs, 11 g fat, 22 g protein
> 3/4 cup tempeh: 333 calories, 15.9 g carbs, 19.4 g fat, 30.9 g protein
> 3/4 block of firm tofu: 311 calories, 6.8 g carbs, 19.9 g fat, 33.7 g protein
> 100g chicken: 164 calories, 0 g carbs, 5.2 g fat, 29.2 g protein
> 100g cooked kidney beans: 127 calories, 22.8 g carbs, 0.5 g fat, 8.7 g protein
- 20% caloric intake from FAT = 322 calories from fat per day
= your meals altogether per day would consist of 35g fat based
– approximately 10g of fat per main meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
– and 3g of fat per snack twice a day
> 1/4 cup of cashews: 314 calories, 17.1 g carbs, 25 g fat, 10.3 g protein
> 3/4 avocado: 241 calories, 12.9 g carbs, 22.1 g fat, 3 g protein
> 2 tbsp peanut butter: 210 calories, 6 g carbs, 16 g fat, 7 g protein
> 1-1/2 tbsp olive oil: 180 calories, 0 g carbs, 21 g fat, 0 g protein
> 1/2 cup almonds: 275 calories, 9.4 g carbs, 24.1 g fat, 10.1 g protein
*i.e. 645 calories divided by 4 is 161; 320 calories divided by 9 is 35
If you would like to lose weight you’d follow the example below depending on which macro ratio you chose:
While to maintain your weight you’d follow the example below:
Our 5 tips for a perfectly balanced meal:
- Include fibre-rich veggies to slow your digestion
– artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale
- Choose lean protein to boost your metabolism
– eggs, seafood, poultry, Greek yogurt; but also pulses such as lentils, beans, chickpeas and peas
- Don’t forget the fat
– avocados, nuts and seed (almond butter and tahini), extra virgin olive oil, olives
- Get the good carbs in to keep your blood sugar steady
– whole grains like oats or quinoa, brown rice, but also starchy veggies like sweet potatoes and squash, fresh fruit, and pulses
- Spice it up to enhance satiety
– fresh or dried basil, cilantro, oregano, rosemary, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, zest, and pepper