Bikini season is right around the corner so many of us are turning to calorie cutting and counting to trim down, but did you know that you can lose weight the healthy way and keep in tip top shape without counting calories? Instead, the focus should be all about macronutrients.
In the latest episode of WCIU You & Me This Morning. I talked about macronutrients and brought in Chef Rodelio Aglibot from FireFin Poke to showcase a few macro bowls that are easy to make (or eat directly from their healthy Chicago spot). You can watch the segment below and continue reading to learn more.
Watch the segment here: Macronutrients 101
What are macronutrients you say? Let’s break the surface of this in-depth topic and fill you in.
What Are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients are the major food groups that we need in large quantities in order to maintain major functions within our body for optimal health. These three groups are: clean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats. We need these food groups in order to feel and look our best, but it’s important to note that not all carbs and fats are equal.
So instead of counting your calories, try to focus on including all three of these food groups in every meal you have. Counting macronutrients is a whole other ballgame, so the easiest way to get started on a clean eating path is by simply ensuring that you’re adding these nutrients to your diet daily. Let’s break down the basics of the three macronutrients and how they support our health.
You need protein in your diet in order to help build muscle and connective tissues. Besides protein for muscle repair and growth, it also promotes healthy hair skin and nails (did you know your hair is made primarily of protein?). Protein is needed in order to create enzymes and chemicals that support different functions, and it’s also great to help keep us feeling full (if you are watching your weight). It takes more energy to digest protein than it does to digest fats or carbs, so it’s always a good idea to include protein in every meal so that you’re not constantly having the urge to “graze” throughout the day.
I’m personally partial to plant-based protein sources like tempeh, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds etc. But you can also find clean sources of protein in seafood, eggs, and lean meats/poultry.
The daily recommended allowance for protein is around 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women. Keep in mind though, that protein needs vary from person to person depending on our lifestyle and goals.
Carbohydrates are needed in the diet in order to provide energy. When we consume carbs, it’s the first energy source that our body uses (even before fats and proteins). Carbohydrates are also essential as they help support brain function since our brain runs on glucose, which is a type of sugar that you get from carbs. Did you know that there are also carbs in fruits and veggies? So, depending on your needs and goals, you don’t have to be consuming grains at every meal since there are various carb sources.
Fat is an essential nutrient for numerous reasons. It helps you absorb fat soluble vitamins, it’s another nutrient that supports brain function, it protects your organs and it also helps regulate your hormones. Healthy fats also help keep our hair shiny and our skin supple, so there are some major beauty benefits as well. The twist though, is that there are different types of fats (some good and some bad) – that can either increase or lower your cholesterol. If you want to learn more about the different types of fats, you can check out our article on it here.
It is recommended that you consume as little as 15% of your total calories per day when it comes to fats.
If you want to learn more about how to start counting macronutrients instead of calories, or simply how to include these food groups into your diet, you can always shoot me an email at: Sarah@BalancedBabe.com