Meal planning with macros is an excellent way to guarantee that your body gets all of the essential nutrients it requires.
Macros are the three primary components of food: proteins, carbs and fats.
Each macro contributes 4 calories to your dietary total, so it’s essential that you get enough of each.
1. Know Your Goals
Before you can begin meal planning with macros, it’s essential to identify your goals. Whether it’s weight loss, muscle building or strength gains that you desire, knowing what you want to accomplish is the first step toward success.
Once your goals have been established, it’s time to determine how much of each macronutrient should be eaten daily. There are plenty of online calculators that can help determine your daily calorie needs and macro ratios.
The next step is to create a meal and snack plan. This can be done through an app, or simply with paper and pen.
Planning your meals and snacks for the week or several days ahead of time is recommended. Doing this can help prevent you from succumbing to temptation when on-the-go or when you’re busy.
One easy way to ensure you always have food prepared is by meal prepping. This will reduce stress and give you more insight when it comes to what to eat.
Another effective method for meal planning with macros is by adapting recipes according to your goals. This approach may provide more variety in your diet, but it takes some practice to find which foods work best for you.
When meal planning with macros, it’s essential to prioritize protein. This can be a challenging macro for some people to meet, so ensure there’s some form of source of protein at every meal and snack.
Planning your fats last can be a good idea. While this can be challenging for many people, it’s essential to space out their intake throughout the day in order to feel satiated throughout the day and prevent an accumulation of too much fat in one sitting. Doing this helps you maintain satiation throughout the day and ensures you don’t consume too much saturated fat in one go.
2. Set Your Goals
When it comes to meal planning, your objectives should always come first. Whether you’re trying to shed pounds, build muscle mass, feel more energized or balance out your diet, having a set of objectives in mind can help ensure success.
Planning your meals begins by determining your daily caloric needs and macronutrient ratios. To do this, use an online calculator or food scale to calculate how many calories, grams of carbs, protein, and fat your body requires each day in order to meet its nutritional requirements.
Once you know your macronutrient ratios, you can create a meal plan to fit into your lifestyle and fitness objectives. Even better, why not meal prep some foods ahead of time so they’re already prepped when you get home from work or on the go?
One of the first steps you should take when meal planning is writing down your meals in an app or notebook, so you don’t forget what’s for dinner. Doing this will keep you motivated and ensure that you stick with your plan.
The next step in meal planning is to create a weeklong schedule that you can follow. This will help you maintain consistency with your eating habits and reach your health and fitness objectives.
When cooking your meals, remember to use fresh and whole ingredients. Doing this helps you steer clear of unhealthy processed and packaged foods that could disrupt your nutrition plan.
Once you’ve created a weeklong meal plan, it’s time to begin tracking your meals and making necessary dietary adjustments. While this may be tedious at first glance, this step is essential for maintaining the success of the plan.
3. Create a Meal Plan
A meal plan is an efficient and cost-effective strategy that encourages healthy food choices. Not only does it save money, reduce food waste, and guarantee you consume nutrient-rich foods, but it can also aid in weight loss, muscle building, improved energy levels or achieving a balanced diet – creating your own personalized meal plan will be beneficial regardless of your goals!
Meal planning not only offers a practical tool, but it can also be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. But getting started may seem intimidating if you don’t know where to begin or how to begin. Luckily, meal planning has never been more accessible!
If you’re new to meal planning, start small and go at it slowly at first. Doing so will give you confidence in planning and preparing meals, plus time to learn which foods fit within macros and how to prepare them in an enjoyable manner for your body.
Once you feel confident with it, you can progress to more complex settings. For optimal results, begin using a program that automatically generates meal plans based on your goals and preferences.
Additionally, you can create a personalized meal plan template by writing down the days of the week and what meals you plan to eat each day. Some templates even include an organized day/meal chart that lists your meals in grid format.
Most meal plan templates also feature a space for shopping lists. This is especially beneficial if you’re on a budget or cooking for multiple people. Lastly, adding a food servings tracker to your template allows you to track how many servings from various food groups each day.
4. Track Your Meals
When meal planning with macros, tracking your meals is essential to guarantee you reach all of your macro goals throughout the day. Doing this will allow for greater accountability and ensure all meals are eaten as planned.
You can do this by using a food scale, weighing your meals, or tracking them with apps like MyFitnessPal or Fitbit. Both options allow you to input the foods that you’re eating and monitor how many grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates are consumed daily.
Scaling is the most accurate way to get precise serving sizes for your meals. However, measuring cups or eyeballing it can also work effectively if you want more precision. Though this method may not be as precise, it still helps ensure you meet your macro goals.
One of the most common errors people make when trying to meet their macros is not properly portioning out meals. Without proper portion control, you could end up exceeding your calorie and protein objectives.
One way to guarantee you’re hitting your macros is by prepping your foods ahead of time. Not only does this save time in the long run, but it also guarantees that your meals are nutritious.
Another excellent way to monitor your macros is by creating homemade recipes. Doing this helps guarantee that you’re giving your body all of the essential nutrients it requires while also helping maintain a healthy weight.
You can also use an app to help create recipes and monitor nutrition. EatLove is one of the best for this, providing a database of recipes and basic foods you can add to your diet. Plus, its unique feature allows you to scan barcodes of food items and automatically enter them into your account.
5. Track Your Results
Many people rely on calorie counting as their primary method for weight loss and other health objectives, but macros can often provide more meaningful information. Macros refer to calories derived from foods organized into nutrient groups like protein, fat, and carbs.
Clocking macros is an effective way to balance your nutrition with more structured food choices and control calorie intake at the same time, leading to greater results and lasting energy levels. Furthermore, this approach is more flexible than restrictive dieting methods that leave you feeling deprived, negatively affecting both social life and athletic performance.
If you’re searching for a more comprehensive approach to meal planning, there are several apps available that can assist in tracking your results when following a macro diet. These applications calculate daily calorie needs, recommend portion sizes for meals and snacks, and keep track of progress along the way.
MyFitnessPal makes tracking your diet easy with its extensive library of trackable foods and barcode scanner. Plus, MyFitnessPal offers an AI coach who will analyze your current eating patterns and suggest changes based on goals.
MyFitnessPal has another impressive feature, the ability to schedule meals and enter allergies. This way, you can have a tailored meal plan that works with your lifestyle and goals!
Though some of these apps are free to download, some can get pricey if you’re serious about the app and want more advanced features. Apps such as MyMacros+ require a small premium fee in order to unlock additional capabilities and customizations.