You may have heard the term “macros” thrown around when referencing a style of eating. When “counting your macros”… people are just watching the MACRONUTRIENTS they consume AKA = Carbohydrates, Proteins, & Fats! You want to have an appropriate balance of all these macros in your diet to keep your body healthy & satisfied while reducing the risk of disease. While it is important to make sure you are getting the right amount of food each day… the TYPES of food are just, if not more important. Think QUALITY over QUANTITY! So where should your macros be at? Read below…
Arguably the most important macro because it gives your body the ENERGY to get through the day. You need carbs to move, and your body prefers carbs as its #1 fuel source. What does that mean for you? Aim to eat 45-65% of your daily calories from carbohydrate foods.
But, remember that not all carbs are created equally! Pass on that large muffin, a slice of cake, or potato chips, and instead fill your plate with healthier carbs including fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy like cheese or yogurt, & whole grains like whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole wheat bread, & air-popped popcorn. These tasty foods will fill you up, keep your mood in check, & allow you to make it through the day, so eat up! A good rule of thumb is to have a carbohydrate at every meal & snack throughout the day.
You want to make sure you are consuming enough protein for GROWTH & MAINTENANCE of tissues in your body. Aim to eat 10-35% of your daily calories from protein foods. Your right amount depends on activity level, age, muscle mass & current state of health, and if you are elderly, pregnant, or a professional athlete, you want to make sure you are consuming at the higher end of protein. What are good foods to choose? Try eggs, seafood, chicken, lean beef, lean pork, low-fat dairy, tofu, and beans. It is great to pair protein with carbs because adequate carbs allows your body to use its protein properly.
Last, but not least, fats. Don’t fear fat! They have a lot of important roles in the body, including INSULATION & protection of organs, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins & boosting of brain function. Aim to eat 20-35% of your daily calories from healthy fats. Choose options like olive oil, avocados, nuts or nut butters, salmon, & tuna to add to your plate. All fats are higher in calories though, healthy or not, so be moderate of the portion.
**The above macro ranges are based on the USDA’s AMDR values (Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range)