Do you know what Macro’s are? They are the building blocks of your meal I like to call them. Macros consist of Protein, Fat & Carbs. Educating my clients on macros helps them learn how to create well-balanced meals and when you have well-balanced meals you feel fuller longer. This mean, no blood sugar crashes an hour later which can leave you feeling tired or feeling hungry again soon after eating. Consuming protein, fats, and carbs together is like a beautiful symphony playing well together. They balance one another out working to keep you feeling satisfied.
Now, let’s learn how to build your macro plate. First, let’s start with the serving size of each macro. Serving size is important as this is where most people go wrong and consume more calories than needed.
Sometimes our eyes are bigger than our bellies!
We are so used to seeing large orders of food, especially when going out to eat and the option to ‘biggie’ size it for cheap is always an option. What comes with these larger portions is more than just added calories. You are also adding more preservatives, sugars, and weight to your health.
Cooking at home controls these variables. You are in control of what ingredients you are using and your serving size. You can use my guide (link at bottom of the blog) for when you are cooking at home and when you do go out to eat. When eating out, you can always ask to bag up the rest and take it home.
When creating your macro bowl at home, start with your non-starchy carbs first, vegetables. These can take up to half your plate with 1-2 fistfuls. It’s a great way to get your daily servings of greens and fiber (which keeps you feeling fuller longer and helps keep things moving along in your body – if you know what I mean LOL!) Make it easy by purchasing frozen veggies (sometimes are even better than fresh), pre-washed veggies, and organic when possible.
Be sure to check out EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen to see where you can save on which veg’s to purchase organic vs. not. Below are some veggie options for inspiration. These can be either cooked or eaten raw. Sometimes raw veggies create gas and bloating for some so see what works best for you.
Kale (massage first to tenderize)
Next Up, Protein!
I am sure that you have heard it before – Protein is the building block for our health. Our bodies need it. Some reasons why;
- Speeding recovery after exercise and/or injury.
- Reducing muscle loss.
- Building lean muscle.
- Helping maintain a healthy weight.
- Curbing hunger.
Depending on your weight and health goals, the amount of protein differs for everyone. Here’s how to find out. Divide your weight into pounds by 20 and multiply it by seven. You need just a little more than seven grams of protein for every 20 pounds of your body weight. Thus, for someone weighing 150 pounds, the protein requirement will be 52.5 grams each day.
Again, I will stress the importance of consuming organic, non-GMO, wild, free-range, and/or grass-fed whenever possible. I understand it’s not always easy to find or afford. Keep in mind, if the animals were raised inhumanely or fed corn & soy products heavily sprayed with pesticide, guess what – that’s what you are consuming as well. More budget-friendly protein options are tofu, beans, and eggs. Try to incorporate these into your weekly rotation and keep the animal proteins limited so you can enjoy the higher quality options. Some protein options are;
Grassed Fed Beef
High-Quality Cheese (grass-fed is best)
Beans (pinto, garbanzo, navy, kidney, black)
Walnuts (great vegan option)
Fats are Good!
Fat got a bad rap back in the ’80s and ’90s. I know I personally demonized fats back in the day. Stayed far far away from them thinking they caused my weight gain. Yea – totally wrong about that one! What they didn’t know is that healthy fats are needed. Did you know that The human brain is nearly 60 percent fat? We’ve learned in recent years that fatty acids are among the most crucial molecules that determine your brain’s integrity and ability to perform.
Not all fats are created equal
Yes, you should limit or stay clear of transfats – these are usually found in packaged goods and sweets. Polyunsaturated & Monosaturated fats are the better choices. You can read more about healthy fats vs. unhealthy fats here.
Start to incorporate some healthy fats into your meals. Keep in mind these are calorie-dense so be mindful of the serving size. There are protein sources that carry good fats in them as well like salmon and whole eggs. Good fats to try….
Seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin, sunflower)
Dark Chocolate (Yes! – But high-quality dark chocolate. at least 80% cacao)
Starchy Carbs & Whole Grains
I like to save these for last. Not because they are bad. Carbs too have received bad press over the years but we need carbs. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. What can happen with carbs is when they are consumed too much and you store the energy instead of burning it – this leads to weight gain. (honestly, this goes for eating in general – too many calories in, not enough calorie expenditure out)
White flour pasta and rice should be consumed minimum to avoid high blood glucose spikes or the possibility of overeating them as that is easy to do sometimes. Think about that big bowl of pasta that seems endless but so good! When consuming these types of carbs dress them in good fats to reduce the blood glucose level spike.
Eating Foods In Order – Does it Matter?
Also, when eating in the order of what I have listed in my blog post here, by the time you get to the starchy carbs you are feeling satisfied and not craving so much to eat (maybe not with every meal, but the more you do it your body adjusts). Plus, your body now has sustainable energy from the fiber, protein, and fats that when you do get to the starchy carbs, your blood glucose levels opt to stay more steady.
You may be wondering what is all this talk about blood glucose levels? It may seem foreign and it was to me at one point too. By keeping your blood sugar levels steady and reducing spikes and crashes your body performs more optimally and it’s beneficial for a healthy lifestyle. This will help keep away the urge to overeat, feel tired and type 2 diabetes along with a host of other health issues. You can create a yummy grain bowl and add these first so it still ends up being the last to eat in your meal.
By the way, I go over more in-depth blood sugar control in my 7 Day Sugar Reset Challenges. I run this program quarterly so be sure to be on my email list so you don’t miss out!
Experiment with some options below and see what you like or what makes you feel the best after eating;
Potatoes (all colors)
Pasta (search for chickpea, red lentil, and quinoa options)
Old Fashioned Oats or Steel Cut Oats
Additions To Your Macro Bowl
Of course, there are additions you can add. Think fruits, dressings & toppings. Just keep in mind these add calories so add them mindfully. Adding fruit to your morning bowl is great or to a salad. I know we didn’t touch on fruit too much in this post but definitely eat your fruit too! Topping such as kimchi, olives, coconut flakes, and nuts – are all great but used in moderation as most are those healthy fats.
You might be thinking, Cherise this seems complicated. How do I know what to count as fats or carbs or both? I get it. It takes some time and patience to play around with what works for you and get to know what foods are what. But honestly, just experiment and have fun! Eating is not meant to be stressful – this is where people get it wrong and give up. This is also where I help in my health coaching. To teach you these fundamental tools to set you up for a lifetime of success.
I hope you found this helpful and start to implement some of these tips to start creating healthy filling meals. Would love to hear any comments or thoughts that you have below!