Example Day 3 of Macro Counting

Hopefully you are having a bit of success and not going stir crazy, but for those of you who are- IT DOES GET BETTER. You are making a drastic change that will shock your body and it will take time to adjust. If you start to lose it, have a protein shake or try a new recipe to distract yourself. In the beginning it does feel a little “all-consuming”, but trust me- it does get better. Sooner than you know it macro counting will become second nature. You’ll soon start seeing a plate full of food as carbs, protein, and fat instead of a meal. Remember, you are fueling your body by sticking to your ratios.

Breakfast

1 slice of Ezekiel or Whole Grain Bread

1Tbls Sugarfree Jam

2 Egg Muffins

  • 1 Dozen Eggs ( I usually use 4 whole eggs and 8 egg whites)
  • 2c Chopped Veggies (Peppers, Onions, Mushroom, Spinach)
  • 1c Skim Milk/Soy Milk
  • Optional: Ham, cheese, sausage (Depending on how it fits your macros!)

Egg Muffins

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Scramble egg/egg whites and milk. Pour into muffin tin- fill each space halfway. Then sprinkle in veggies and other toppings. Bake for 20-25 minutes, edges will start to brown.  I tend to make these the day I go grocery shopping and eat them for breakfast or snacks during the week.~65 Calories: 3g Carbs, 6g Protein, 3g Fat each

This is just an example, if you need more protein per meal eat three egg muffins, more carbs? eat two slices of toast, less fat? don’t add meat or cheeses, or use all egg whites. Always stick to your individual ratios!

~215 Calories: 24g Carbs, 16g Protein, 6g Fat

Snack

Green Sludge Protein Shake (See Recipe in Example Day 1)

~180 Calories: 11g Carbs, 28g Protein, 3g Fat

Lunch

6oz Baked Chicken Breast

4oz Baked Sweet Potato

2oz Fresh Sugar Snap Peas

~270 Calories: 30g Carbs, 38g Protein, 2g Fat

Snack

Protein Bar (Clif Builder Bar, Quest Bar, Krave)

~270 Calories: 31g Carbs, 20g Protein, 8g Fat

Dinner

Fish, Rice, & Beans

  • 6oz Tilapia (I season mine with Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime- Calorie/Sodium Free!)
  • 1/2c Long Grain Brown Rice
  • 1/2c Fat Free Refried Beans

~360 Calories: 38g Carbs, 43g Protein, 4g Fat

Snack

1c Greek Yogurt (Dannon Light & Fit 2x Protein is the best protein wise 18g per cup!)

1c Fresh Berries

~215 Calories: 30g Carbs, 20g Protein, 1g Fat

Yogurt

 

Post-workout

1 Protein Shake

1 Apple

~185 Calories: 20g Carbs, 25g Protein, 2g Fat

 

Totals for the day:~1695 Calories: 184g Carbs, 190g Protein, 26g Fat

 

This is just a rough outline, adjust the portion sizes to match your macro ratio. This is very high carb and protein, and low-fat, adding things like cheese, avocado, and peanut butter are good fats to add here and there if they fit in your macros. A scoop of peanut butter at the end of a long day can be a mood booster and curb your sweet tooth, but never reward yourself with food. Food is fuel not a reward.

Happy Counting!

Example Day 2 of Macro Counting

Trader Joe’s is by far one of my favorite places to grocery shop. I’ll admit that it is pricey but you pay for the value you get. I use a few of my favorite TJ items in the follow meal plan. Visit one soon, shop around, read the labels and be shocked by the great alternatives they offer.

 

Breakfast

1 Egg

1 Boca Burger

1 Medium Apple

2Tbls. Better’n Peanut Butter (See Peanut Butter Review for more Info!)

~335 Calories: 38g Carbs, 23g Protein, 10g Fat

Snack

1 Small Banana

2oz. Low Fat Jerky (Trader Joe’s  Turkey and Buffalo are my personal favorites)

~210 Calories: 35g Carbs, 23g Protein, 0g Fat

turkey jerky

Lunch

2c Mixed Greens

4oz Salmon

2Tbls. Fat Free Salad Dressing

~275 Calories: 9g Carbs, 25g Protein, 15g Fat

Snack

2 Banana Bread Protein Muffins

  • 1 Large Ripe Banana
  • 3/4c Egg White
  • 1/2c Greek Yogurt (I use Dannon Light & Fit 2x Protein)
  • 3/4c Oats
  • 2scoops Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1tsp Baking Powder
  • 1tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2trp Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender, blend until mixture is smooth. Divide evenly into 12 spot muffin tin (use liners!). Bake for 15-20 until edges start to brown. (60 Calories: 9g Carbs, 7g Protein, 1g Fat)

~120 Calories: 18g Carbs, 14g Protein, 2g Fat

muffin

 

Dinner

Healthy Spaghetti

  • 4 Trader Joe’s Fully Cooked Frozen Meatballs
  • 1/2c Tomato Sauce
  • 1c Steamed Zucchini

~300 Calories: 24g Carbs, 28g Protein, 11g Fat

I use this handy gadget to make my zucchini like noodles!

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BUY HERE!

Snack

1 Protein Shake

1 Cup Fat Free Cottage Cheese

~270 Calories: 17g Carbs, 47g Protein, 7g Fat

Total for the Day: 1510 Calories: 141g Carbs, 160g Protein, 45g Fat

 

Remember, this is just an example. Cater your serving amount to fit your individual macros.

Example Day 1 of Macro Counting

It’s crucial to remember that you need to stick to your ratios. Once you figure them out based on your age/weight/activity level/goals you can better portion out quantities of food to fit your macros. See post on Calculating Your Metabolic Rate.

Breakfast

Scrambled Eggs [1- whole egg & 2/3-egg whites (depending on your ratios)]

2 Tbls Salsa

1 Slice of Ezekiel or Whole Grain Bread

  • 1Tbls Sugar Free Jam (10 calories 2g carbs, 0g protein, 0g fat)

or

  • 1Tbls PB2** (23 calories 2g carbs, 2g protein, 0g fat)

1 Extra Large Cup of Coffee (Black or with Sugar/Calorie Free Flavoring)

 ~250 Calories: 22g Carbs, 20g Protein, 9g Fat

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Snack

Green Protein Sludge

  • 1/3c Raw Spinach
  • 3oz Milk/Soy Milk
  • 1 Scoop Protein
  • 1/3c Frozen Fruit

~180 Calories: 11g Carbs, 3g Fat, 28g Protein

I’ve done quite a bit of experimenting with this and this is by far the best combination…I’ve choked down several failed attempts in order to not waste protein so trust me on this- it’s worth a try. Here’s the trick to it: Start with the spinach and milk and blend them together, then add protein and slightly tap the pulse button so it doesn’t explode and get stuck to the top and sides, finish off by adding fruit and blending till it’s smooth. This is great to drink right out of the blender but my favorite thing to do is triple the batch, separate in to different single serving containers, and freeze. Then when I pack my lunch for the day I grab one and eat it around 10 so it’s still a bit frozen and I can eat it with a spoon like ice cream. It seems crazy and it looks disgusting but I look forward to it every day! Try it, tell me what you think!

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Lunch

1 Packet of Tuna in Water (I add pepper)

1c Cucumber Slices

1c Green Peppers Slices

1 6oz Greek Yogurt

~250 calories: 31g Carbs, 31g Protein, 0g Fat

Simple grab and go lunches make counting your macros easy. I tend to prep all my veggies and portion them into individual servings the day I by them. Grabbing a packet of tuna, a yogurt, and veggies is easy- leaving no room for excuses.

Snack

1c Baby Carrots

2Tbls Humus

2 Hard Boiled Eggs WHITES ONLY!

~150 Calories: 18g Carbs, 10g Protein, 4g Fat

You know what I like about carrots and humus? Carrots can hold the amount of humus I like to eat per bite. Staying within 2 tablespoons of humus takes basically all the self-control I possess. I usually end up eating 4 carrots with humus and 6 plain carrots. Hard boiled eggs are simple, boil a dozen at a time, peel right before you eat, and ditch the yoke to save fats for other things. Besides, hard-boiled yolks are gross unless you’re making them into deviled eggs which definitely does not fit into my macros.

Dinner

Fajitas

  • 4oz. Chicken Breast
  • 1/2c Sliced Peppers
  • 1/4c Sliced Onion
  • 1/4c Avocado
  • 1 Multi-grain Tortilla

~300 Calories: 29g Carbs, 33g Protein, 11g Fat

Snack

1/2c Cottage Cheese

1 Large Apple

2Tbls PB2**

~250 Calories: 32g Carbs, 17g Protein, 5g Fat

Post Workout (Whenever yours is!)

1 Scoop Protein Shake

1 Rice Cake

~190 Calories: 17g Carbs, 26g Protein, 1g Fat

Total: ~1415 Calories: 140g Carbs, 150g Protein, 33g Fat

It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s a good place to start. Make sure you adjust the amounts to fit your ratios. This meal plan is high protein seeing as that is one of hardest macro-nutrients to hit in your ratio. Remember this is just an example. This fits my macros as a 135 pound active female, a male could probably double this to hit his macros. It all depends on your personal ratios and caloric intake! Feel free to post questions of comments, we can work through this together!

**PB2 IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME! It tastes just like regular peanut but has a heck of a lot less fat and calories!  Read more about it here: Peanut Butter Review

Macro Counting Basics

 

Macronutrients

Macronutrients are the nutrients that your body uses for energy. Macronutrients consist of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The macro counting approach itself focuses on the ratio of these nutrients you consume throughout the day. While each of these macro-nutrients provides calories, the amount of calories that each one provides varies:

  • Carbohydrate provides 4 calories per gram.
  • Protein provides 4 calories per gram.
  • Fat provides 9 calories per gram.

Based on your individual goals, I will help you calculate your ratios and generate a specific diet plan to help you reach them.

 

The Breakdown

Carbohydrates

In the macro counting diet the largest portion of your calories come from carbohydrates, or carbs.  The three major types of carbohydrates are Simple Carbohydrates, Complex Carbohydrates, and Fiber.

  • Simple carbohydrates are sometime called simple sugars, mainly because they contain either natural or added sugar.  Simple carbohydrates are found naturally in foods such as fruits, milk, and milk products.  They are also found in processed and refined sugars such as candy, table sugar, syrups, and soft drinks.  Our focus is to intake all simple carbohydrates in the form of naturally occurring sugars rather than processed or refined sugars.
  • Complex carbohydrates, called starches, are carbs that are made from several linked strings or chains of sugars. Complex carbs are often healthier than simple carbs because in addition to being starchy, they also provide you with some of your dietary fiber. Examples of complex carbs are corn, bread, cereal, pasta and rice. Our focus is to intake complex carbs in the form of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Fiber is the third type of carbohydrate, it falls into the complex carb category but does not act like the other two forms of carbs. Your body can’t completely digest fiber, so it can help promote regular digestion. Whole grains and many fruits and vegetables, including dark leafy greens and orange-colored fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber. Lentils, peas and dried beans are also fiber-rich foods that can contribute to a healthy digestive system. Our focus is to consume a healthy about of fiber naturally through the foods in our diet.

Protein

Protein is a very important part of a healthy diet. Protein is needed to repair and create new cells, tissues, hormones, enzymes and muscles and a lack of protein can prevent these processes from being carried out correctly. Basically proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids. There are 22 different types of amino acid and the body needs all of them to function properly. Our focus is to track how many fats and carbs are in your protein choices, and how to correlate the ratios to match your personal ratios.

Fats

Fats play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, and even control your weight. The answer isn’t cutting out the fat—it’s learning to make healthy choices and to replace bad fats with good ones that promote health and well-being. Fats include foods such as oils, butter and nuts, and are also found in meats and certain fish. When following the macronutrient diet, strive to obtain your fat calories from sources low in cholesterol. Plant and nut derived oils do not contain cholesterol; some, such as flax seed oil, contain omega fatty acids, which may provide health benefits.

Where To Start

1.    The best place to start is to decide what your goal is (Click  Here For Guidelines for  Goal Setting):

  • Health & Longevity
  • Weight Loss
  • Strength Gain
  • Endurance

2.    Buy a digital food scale.

  • This is a huge but necessary step. You will need to weigh and measure everything for the first few weeks until you really understand serving sizes of what you consume.    

3.   Calculate your macros.

Using the If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) Calculator is a great place to start. You can base your macros on your goals, specific body type, energy levels, and workout routine. http://iifym.com/iifym-calculator/

4.    Decide how you will track your macros.

  • There are multiple apps and online resources that make this simple, or you can do it the old fashioned way with pen and paper!

5.    Breathe. Once you’ve made it this far it is easy and will become second nature sooner than you’d think.

6.    Weigh Everything You Eat!

7.    Log Everything You Eat!

8.    If you go over on your macronutrients one day, subtract it from the next. Think of the week as a whole at that point, one day does not ruin a whole week!

9.    Drink plenty of water.  Think 80 oz or more!

10. Collaborate with others counting their macros for tips and tricks, struggles and success!

 

The following are example days, always make sure to cater your nutrition to your own individualized macronutrient goals:

Example Day 1

Example Day 2

Example Day 3

Example Day 4

 

 

 

Ready, Set, Snack!

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they snack. With so many options out there, it’s hard to know what’s really good for you. Here’s a list of snack ideas that will leave a good impression.

  • Greek Yogurt- Look for one with low sugar and high protein.
  • Hard Boiled Eggs- Try one whole egg and two egg whites to keep the fat low.
  • Protein Shake- Blend in some spinach or kale with fruit.
  • Veggies and Humus- Don’t eat right from the humus containers- it’s too tempting.
  • String Cheese- Look for low-fat.
  • Fat free Bean Dip and Veggie Chips- Trader Joe’s is a good place to buy both these things
  • Cottage Cheese- Add a bit of fruit if you want some extra carbs!
  • Beef or Turkey Jerky- Look for low-fat and low sodium.
  • Edamame- Pre-cook some and eat throughout the week.
  • Protein Bars- Try and look for one that has equal or more protein than carbs.
  • Pumpkin Seeds- It’s that time of year, try making your own!
  • Trail Mix- Easy to buy or make on your own, destine to keep you full and energized.

Snacks can really make or break your day. They keep you full and focused. Beyond food, I use tea to keep my stomach full and my hands occupied. This is my favorite variety pack, trying something new is great to distract you till your next meal.

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Macro-Friendly Chicken Salad

When it’s hot, I like to get cold things. Lately I’ve been experimenting with cold salads! I wanted a meal salad this time so I started with a protein, chicken! This is very similar to Whole Foods Sanoma Chicken Salad- just a bit more exact and focused on meeting macronutrients needs!

 

Ingredients (per serving):

-6 oz. Chicken Breast (pre-baked, grilled, or crockpotted) 

-1/4 cup Red Grapes

-1/4 cup Celery

-1/2 tsp Honey

-1 tbls Lite Mayo


Directions:

1. Bake and chop chicken. 

2. Chop celery. (I keep the grapes whole because they stay fresh longer.)

3. Mix mayo and honey in one dish and grapes, celery, and chicken in a larger bowl. 

4. Coat chicken mixture with the sauce. 

5. Chill for 1-3 hours.

~ 300 Calories Per Serving: 10 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbs, 35 grams of protein 

  

 

Protein Popsicles

It’s getting warmer and spending the day in a hot kitchen is getting pretty unrealistic! We still need to focus on getting an adequate amount of protein to ensure our muscles are staying strong and building/repairing  as needed. The following recipe for protein Popsicles is a fun way to have a sweet treat while still getting in much needed protein. 

Ingredients:

– 1 1/2 cup milk/soy milk/almond milk

– 2 scoops protein powder

– 1 cup of your favorite frozen fruit

 
Directions:

1. Measure out ingredients. 

2. Add ingredients to blender/bullet. Blend till smooth. 

3. Pour mixture into Popsicle tray. (Careful, this can get messy quickly.)

4. Top and freeze over night!

   

These are amazing on hot summer nights, to share with friends, or just to curb your sweet tooth on long days!

Comment with your combination of fruit and protein when you try it! 

Diets of Exclusion

Nutrition is an extremely trendy topic in today’s society, but in reality nutrition is a science. Fad diets, food crazes, and non-evidence based nutrition theories have left many individuals in the dark when it comes to certain nutrition topics. You will never get consistent results without a basic understanding of how to nourish your body.

Diets of exclusion are becoming more prevalent with trendy nutrition followings. A diet of exclusion is a diet that promotes food or ingredient restriction.

Often times, we spend so much time focusing on what to exclude when we should be focused on what to include. When we arbitrarily label foods or ingredients as “good” or “bad,” we condition our minds to interpret food items accordingly.

Focus on a diet of inclusion before wrecking your quality of life by restricting your food choices to an absurd level. Begin focusing on what you actually need. Focus less on what you don’t necessarily need.

 I like to think of it as 80-20. 80% of the food I consume is high in nutritional value, containing both macro and micro nutrients; foods like chicken, fish, eggs, fruits, veggies, and nuts, focusing on whole food sources. Then 20% of the food I consume is low in nutritional value and high in convenience. Some examples would be granola bars and other packaged snacks, meals ready to go, and sugary sweets.

Remember: diets of inclusion, not exclusion.            

 Perhaps the most important concept to recognize here is that all food items inherently possess nutritional value. Begin filling and fueling your day with whole food sources and fill the cracks with a few sweets and convenience foods. All foods can fit into a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. Shift your focus on inclusive habits rather than on negative and exclusive habits.

There are no bad foods. There are no good foods. However, there are bad diets. And there are good diets.

Saving Your Carbs for Something WILD

We all have days in our lives when we need to save up carbs. Maybe it’s a party, event, or just a day that deserves an extra special treat. When I know in advance I have something to save carbs for I strategically plan my day so I can still stay within my macros. Below is a basic example of what I eat on a day I’m hoarding carbs for something wild!

 

Post-Workout

  • 2 scoop Protein Shake
  • 1 cup Fresh Fruit

Breakfast

  • 3 Egg Whites & 1 Whole Egg
  • 2 teaspoons Salsa

Lunch

  • Shrimp
  • 1 Cup Asparagus

Snack

  • 1 Tuna Pouch
  • 1 cup Fresh Veggies

Dinner

  • Chicken Breast
  • 2 cups Mixed Greens
  • 2 teaspoons Salsa

Snack

  • 2 scoop Protein Shake

SOMETHING WILD & FULL OF DELICIOUS CARBS!

 

Maybe you find this unnecessary and if you’re planning to indulge you just go for it. If you’re trying to be a bit more strict without cutting out some of your favorite treats then I highly recommend following a plan like this. Go Wild! You can still treat yourself without ruining your diet! Contact me with any questions or needs ideas: balancebybrittany@gmail.com

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Put Your Oats to Bed, Wake them Up Early

 

Overnight Oats
Make, Shake, and Don’t Be Late

We all know breakfast is essential, but the temptation to sleep in or let other priorities get in the way puts breakfast on the back burner. So why not make a grab and go breakfast the night before? Make, shake, and don’t be late!

Overnight Oats

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 scoop of your favorite flavor of protein (I used vanilla soy)

1 cup of your favorite milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond)

1/2 cup chopped fruit (I used strawberries)

Overnight Oats

335 Calories: 6g Fat, 30g Carbs, 30g Protein

I make mine in glass jars, it seems to keep longer. This is the perfect grab and go breakfast with a macro ratio that could fit anyone’s day. Great for a high carb and high protein post workout meal. Tastes amazing cold and can be warmed if you prefer it that way. Get create with add-ins: maple walnut, chocolate peanut butter, dried fruit, or something crunchy added in the morning for texture!