Want a Healthier Diet? Have a Feel for Macronutrients

In life everyone hopes to achieve their ideal body type and look and feel as confident as can be. Confidence can play a role in the way we look. This is because we have an image of ourselves which cannot be shaken. If you want to be more confident and happy in life, choosing a healthier lifestyle will only help your cause. Healthy nutrition, and understanding macronutrients in particular, is a major component in living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.

You probably know someone who uses some form of macronutrient counting. Like the macrobiotic school states, “it is about a way of life, making sure everything is balanced in your body each day.” Macronutrient might not be a word you have heard of before. You will likely be familiar, though, with the three types of macronutrients we eat each day: carbohydrates, protein and fat. This article looks at each macro, what it does for the body, and how we can balance them to improve our diet.

Carbohydrate

If you ask anyone what their favorite food or meal is, it is pretty much guaranteed that carbs are involved. Most meals revolve around the comfort of carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and wheat. Carbohydrates are a type of substance which are found in many different foods. Once broken down, they are converted into energy for the body. Sugar is a type of simple carbohydrate. It metabolizes to form energy and gives us the ability to run around and stay awake through the day.

The macronutrient, carbohydrate in particular, has gotten a bad wrap over the years. As a result, many people won’t even eat carbs now. They fear what they will do to their body. So, let us just stop right there… carbs are good for you. Your brain utilizes carbs on a daily basis for fuel (about 120 grams a day). Without carbohydrates you wouldn’t have the energy to get out of bed, solve math problems or workout. We need carbs to live, so make sure you let yourself eat them! It basically comes down to eating more healthy, complex carbs and less highly processed carbs.

Protein

Protein has become less of a macro in recent years as a buzzword for health enthusiasts the world over. Let’s just make things clear here: protein won’t solve all of your problems. In fact, too much protein isn’t a good thing. We all need a healthy dose of protein in our diet each day. Each meal should contain some form of protein. Typically, 25-35 grams of protein in each meal is a good goal. The role of protein in the body is to create and maintain muscle cells and to keep us strong.

There are many reason why many people who train have protein powder. Usually it’s because protein heals injured muscles and keeps them strong enough to train more often each week. Another job which protein handles, that you may not have realized, is to transport hemoglobin around your body. Hemoglobin picks up oxygen atoms from the air we breathe and transports them to our cells. So basically, a low protein intake can have a huge effect on your oxygen intake. In the gym world, this is probably the most important macronutrient in many eyes.

Tasty and healthy oatmeal with berry, flax seeds and nuts. Healthy breakfast. Proper nutrition.

Fat

Fat is a part of the body which most of us spend our time trying to lose, so the idea of putting more of it into our bodies each day might just seem like a crazy idea. However, fat is just as important as any other substance in the body and as long as we reach for healthy fats we can still keep a slim and toned figure.

Fat makes up our cell membranes, it’s improves our brain function and nerve system and it can also help us to absorb certain vitamins which are fat soluble. Healthy hat has a lot more to offer for the body than you may think and it is because of this that we should eat a small amount of fat each day. By adding foods such as nuts, oily fish and avocado to your meals you will be providing the body with the fat it needs to function happily.

How to Count Macronutrients

Counting your macros involves thinking about everything you are going to eat during the day and splitting this into your carbs, protein and fat. Think of it like a pie chart and make sure, as an example, that approximately 50 percent of what you eat comes from healthy carbs, 30 percent from protein and 20 percent is fat. You can adjust these amounts slightly to gain more protein and less fat, but as a rule this is a helpful guide to follow.

For example, if you are a female using a calorie count of approximately 1,600 in order to lose some weight, your calories per macronutrient should be similar to these values:

Carbohydrates – 800 calories (divide by 4 to determine the number of gram to eat for the day = 200)

Protein- 480 calories (120 grams)

Fat- 320 calories (divide by 9 to determine the number of grams = 36)

A quick example for a male, looking to drop weight, a calorie count for say 2,700 calories would look like:

Carbohydrate – 1,350 calories (338 grams/day)

Protein – 810 calories (202 grams)

Fat – 540 calories (60 grams)

Keep in mind, these are just rough examples. You are not always going to count your calories each day but having a better understanding where the calories are coming from and how much of each macronutrient you’re consuming can only help on the nutrition side.

A helpful way to keep on track of the macros which you eat is to use an app such as MyFitnessPal which counts your calories for your meals by ingredient. You can see much more clearly where you need to make changes in terms of your ratios. Counting macros this way will allow you to stay healthy and it will also ensure that you maintain your ideal bodyweight too.

Use Jefit to Record and Track All Your Exercise Needs

Jefit is a strength training app used for planning & tracking workouts and helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it offer you the ability to update and share your workout log with a supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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Try Eating This Nutritious Breakfast to Energize Your Workout

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Let’s face it, we really are what we eat. We’re all aware of how important it is to properly fuel our body for sustained energy throughout the day. A nutritious breakfast or first meal is critical to this way of thinking. Choosing healthy food options can do wonders for both our mind and body. When taken optimally, meaning, food quantity and meal timing, food fuels our brain and muscles like nothing else. No meal is more important, however, than that first meal of the day. This is your first food option in the morning or at noon if you’re into intermittent fasting (IF). How you initially fuel your body after waking, from a fasted state, will set the tone for the rest of the day.

You may have been like me in the past where you were focused on consuming food every 3-4 hours. It may have been important to eat healthy and often to build lean muscle and/or maintain blood sugar levels. As the body ages, eating habits may however change. Some people have a tendency to change eating habits, spacing their meal frequency farther apart. Not eating for longer periods of time (12+ hours) has been shown through research to be a positive change. The body uses a combination of macronutrients to fuel the brain and body (carbohydrates, fats and some protein). Not eating for longer periods of time will adjust the ratio of how the body burns carbohydrates and fats for fuel. A higher percentage of fat (instead of more carbs) will get utilized.

What Are Macronutrients vs. Micronutrients?

Macronutrients are large molecules that our bodies need to function optimally. The big three are carbohydrates, fats and protein. Water and fiber are also considered macronutrients. Conversely, micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, are molecules that we need but in much smaller quantities. Both are very important and all are needed to help the human body function properly.

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The Authors Actual Breakfast this Morning (you guessed it, Oatmeal)
A Nutritious Breakfast Option

Eating eggs or egg whites in the morning may be your thing. Maybe its cold cereal or a piece of toast with peanut butter and banana. All, other than the cold cereal, are healthy, nutritious breakfast options. A combination of macronutrients in a breakfast or snack are important to fuel the body for long periods of time. One key macronutrient is fiber. Many breakfast options, like cold cereal, have minimal or no fiber. Eating fiber helps with gut health, it keeps us feeling satiated and will help reduce the sugar and fat cravings.

A healthy, nutritious breakfast option to give a try is oatmeal. Where not talking instant oat meal out of a package either. Try the type that you cook on the stove (for 5-minutes). It’s loaded with all the macronutrients including fiber. You can add things like nuts and fruit that will increase total calories but also the amount of fiber and protein. The following is a calorie breakdown of a typical bowl of oatmeal that I typically eat. Following that, are additional add-ons like fruit and nuts.

Old Fashion Oats Calorie Breakdown
Food Calories/Macronutrients
1 Cup Oatmeal150 calories/27 grams CHO/4 grams Fiber/5 grams Protein
1 Cup Almond Milk40 calories/1.5 grams CHO/3.5 g Fat/1.5 g Protein
1/2 Cup Walnuts392 calories/8 grams CHO/39 grams Fat/4 grams Fiber/9 grams of Protein
1/2 small Banana45 calories/11 grams CHO/1 gram Protein/6 grams natural sugar
1/2 Cup Blueberries41 calories/10.5 grams CHO/1.7 grams Fiber/0.54 grams Protein/7 grams natural sugar
TOTAL668 calories/58 grams CHO/9.7 grams Fiber/17 grams Protein

There is sugar in this breakfast option, yes, but its natural occurring sugar found in fruit, as opposed to added sugar. Most of the fat comes from the walnuts, this can be optional, but keep in mind it’s from healthy fat. The big takeaway is – it contains about 10 grams of healthy fiber and 17 grams of protein. Bonus, adding in a scoop of healthy peanut butter (like this morning) will bring that protein number to 24 grams. Eat healthy, fuel up for your day and workout with smart, nutritious food choices like this one. Stay strong with Jefit.

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