Supercharge Your Health With Macronutrient Balanced Meals
Do you tend to eat the same things over and over out of convenience?
Do you wonder how to ensure these meals are balanced?
Do you question what is a good balance of macronutrients?
By balancing our macronutrients, protein, fat, and carbohydrates, at each meal, we can eat healthier and feel better. Our blood sugar is more stable and our metabolism works more effectively keeping us fuller longer. This helps improve our mood and give us more energy. But what is the right balance of macros and how to do we know what is in our meals? There are a few different ways we can determine the macro content in our meals. You can stop hoping you are getting enough of each macro and know what you are consuming.
Before you start tracking your macronutrients, you need to decide what is the best distribution to support your health goals. By varying the percentage of our calories from protein, fats, and carbohydrates we can reduce the risk of chronic diseases. In my practice, I work with a variety of macronutrient percentages depending on the client’s health goals. The three most common distributions are shown below:
Standard Macronutrient Distribution
With the standard distribution of macronutrients you strive for about 45% carbohydrates, 25% proteins, and 30% fat. This distribution is perfect if you are healthy and want to eat a healthy diet. It is also a great first step towards the other distributions. When targeting these percentages, it is important to remember that within the macro categories you focus on healthy foods like high-quality lean protein sources, moderate-fat dairy, and limited servings of grains (gluten-free if desired).
Lower Carbs for Blood Sugar Management
This distribution is good for blood sugar management and healthy aging. It is approximately 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% fat. These percentages target blood sugar control by increasing protein and lowering the amount of carbohydrates. The increased protein keeps you full longer and the lower percentage of carbs minimizes spikes in blood sugar. This plan reduces inflammation associated with insulin resistance and blood sugar dysregulation and helps to improve body composition. Again, it is important to be mindful of choosing healthy options for your protein, carbs, and fats. Lots of colorful vegetables will help you with the macronutrient balance and support blood sugar regulation.
Mild Ketogenic Distribution
This macro distribution is 30% protein, 45% fats, and 25% carbohydrates. It is not a ketogenic distribution, but does slide towards a mild ketogenic type plan by increasing fats and minimizing carbohydrates. This plan is helpful for detoxing from refined carbohydrates and can help minimize sugar cravings. With this distribution, you are minimizing high-carbohydrate foods, including legumes, starchy vegetables, grains, and most fruits. This distribution may be adopted due to weight loss resistance or other health concerns like excessive intake of sugar and processed foods, compromised metabolism, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, memory issues, foggy thoughts, mood instability, and difficulty sleeping. If you are interested in understanding more about the ketogenic approach, check out my blog post Can A Ketogenic Diet be Done in Moderation.
Once you know what macronutrient distribution you would like to target for your health goals, you need to know how to track what you are eating. There are many options and you just need to find one which works for your lifestyle. Here are a few options:
Diet Analysis Websites
My favorite diet analysis website is www.cronometer.com. I like to know all the details about my diet so I love this website because it gives me so much data. You can sign up for a free account and try it out. It is very easy to enter your foods and it gives you the ability to store your favorite recipes to reuse easily.
When you are looking at your macronutrient ratios in cronometer, they make it super simple by showing you a pie chart with the percentages of carbs, fats, and protein you have eaten. You can even click on the piece of the pie for each macro and see a list of the foods you ate which contributed to that macronutrient. This is helpful to guide you in which foods you may need to eat more of in our diet.
Personalized Nutrition Logs
If logging data electronically seems too cumbersome, you can develop a written log to track your macronutrients. When I work with clients, I will convert their personalized nutrition plan into a one page printable log. The log has check boxes for each of the macronutrients and clients check off the boxes each day to ensure they are getting the chosen balance of macronutrients. This is a super easy way to keep track of what you are eating on the run as you just need a pen and paper. The servings sizes for the plan and the log ensure that you get the macronutrient distribution ideal for your health goals.
Meal Planning Software
There are many online sites which offer meal planning services. Some of these can be customized for different macronutrient percentages. You select the macronutrient percentage you are targeting, the foods you like, and they generate a one week meal plan with recipes. This can be helpful and fun to try from time to time. It does take more time and planning to used new recipes so it can feel a little overwhelming if you are tight on time. Even if you are too busy to commit to a week-long plan, you can try experimenting with a few new recipes. If you love this idea, one good site to try is That Clean Life.
For therapeutic diets, I offer clients the option to start the first week with a meal plan with recipes. Some people find this a good way to get used to eating in according to the prescribed diet plan and then transition into a more open-ended plan or log as they move forward with the changes.
Remember that as with any change, starting small is an option. You don’t have to tackle your entire diet or even a whole week or a whole day. Maybe just start small with one meal. Breakfast is a great option to start with as this will set the tone for the rest of the day. Balancing your macronutrients at breakfast can keep you full, give you energy for the rest of the day, and keep you smiling and thinking clearly. A great way to start your day and take positive steps for your health.
If you are interested in working with me to develop a customized macronutrient balanced nutrition plan, learn more by booking a free strategy session.