Macros: is there a right way to break them out?

Happy Sunday, everyone! This is by far my favorite day of the week. For one, I get to spend the entire day with my husband. And two, I always make gluten-free pancakes from scratch for breakfast! Yum! Basically, I live for Sundays.

Pancakes

Homemade gluten-free pancakes!

As a fitness fanatic always trying to improve, food is a major part of my daily life. It’s something I think about from the time I wake up till the time I go to bed. Not in an obsessive, unhealthy way, mind you. But there’s the meal and snack planning, timing when you eat, making sure you’re hitting your macros, battling cravings…the list goes on.

So yeah, my days often largely revolve around food. I’m much less strict on Sundays—it’s good to take a break. Hence the pancakes. I still don’t pig out, but I’m a little more lax.

Nutrition can feel overwhelming. If you focus too much on the numbers (i.e., calories, macros, etc.), eating “right” can quickly turn into what feels like an impossible endeavor. I know. I’m a numbers person and a perfectionist, so I struggle with this at times.

How should I break out my macros?

Am I getting enough protein?

If I eat protein from sources x, y and z, my saturated fat intake is too high.

By eating two servings of fruit, my recommended daily sugar intake is already almost maxed out.

Aaaahh!

I’ve done a lot of research and here’s what I’ve come up with: choose healthy foods, try to hit your recommended daily protein, and don’t worry about the rest.

Is this oversimplified? Maybe. But it works for me. And hey, the simpler, the better in my opinion.

Honestly, if you are choosing truly healthy foods and getting the right amount of protein, the other numbers more or less balance themselves. Maybe you’re sugars are a tad too high one day or you go over your fats another day. But guess what? I bet it’s not by a huge margin, and I bet there are other days you are under your recos. In the end, it works itself out.

On top of that, if you eat nutrient-rich foods and get the right amount of protein, your calories will probably fall into place, too. I do track them, but mostly because I have to make sure I get ENOUGH!

Screenshot of yeserday’s MyFitnessPal diary entry

Turkey, carrots, snow peas & broccoli

Turkey, carrots, snow peas & broccoli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the way, I use the suggested 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight for active women.

So, what do I eat to get my protein each day? Here’s an example:

  • 8 ounces of lean white meat/day (4 ounces at lunch, 4 at dinner time) – chicken breast, tuna, turkey, etc. This is about 50 grams.
  • 1 whey protein shake before workout; mine has 25 grams of protein.
  • At least ¼ cup of egg whites and a whole egg for about 21 grams.
  • 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter – 7 grams of protein.
  • A ½ plain, nonfat Greek yogurt gives me an additional 6 grams.
  • The remainder of my protein comes from the whole grains and veggies that are part of my meals and snacks. Even air-popped popcorn packs 4 grams of protein per serving 🙂
Popcorn

Air-popped popcorn with seasonings: 110 calories & 4g protein

See, that’s not so bad, right? The lean meat, shake, eggs, PB, and yogurt clock in at around 760 calories – that leaves A LOT of room for fruits, veggies, grains and snacks.

I wouldn’t exactly call this carefree eating, but I don’t stress over every number and I don’t feel deprived or bored at all. In fact, I feel satisfied every single day, and my Sunday pancake indulgence further helps me stay on track.

What about you? Do you track your macros? Why or why not? How much protein do you eat? I’d love to hear from you!


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