Have you started tracking your macros, but it’s all feeling a bit overwhelming? If you're not setting yourself up for success, counting the macros you’re eating can feel like a full-time job!
Cutting macros has become increasingly popular over the last decade to help health-minded people get lean and stay muscular. With our tips for calculating macros successfully, you can keep enjoying your food, while still hitting those health goals.
What Types of Macros Are Best To Cut?
If you’re looking to lose weight and get fit, one way to achieve this goal is by counting your macros — or macronutrients. Macronutrients are nutrients our bodies need in large quantities. These include carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Depending on your goals, you may need a different macro split to achieve your results. Here are the three macros that are essential to human life and our overall health.
Carbohydrates are the main fuel source for the body. There are two types of carbs: simple carbs and complex carbs. Carbs are made up of sugar and fiber. Sugar gives your body the energy it needs, and fiber assists your digestive system.
Simple carbs offer little nutritional value because they’re lacking in fiber. White bread, white rice, pasta, and sugary treats are all examples of simple carbs. While these carbs do offer an energy source, any energy that is not used may be stored in the form of fat. Basically, when you stop eating simple carbs, your body has to metabolize existing fat for energy — which is how we can lose or maintain our weight. That’s why simple carbs are the best to cut from your diet.
Complex carbs offer you both sugar and fiber, as well as other nutrients. Their diverse nutrient profile makes them a better choice for your daily carb intake. Complex carbs include whole grains, berries, and veggies.
For many years, fat was the nemesis of anyone hoping to lose or maintain their weight. Over time, however, more information has come out about how important healthy fats are to the body. Fats provide a source of energy, protect organs, support your cells, and allow the body to absorb nutrients.
When choosing your fats, focus on unsaturated fats. This type of fat can be found in avocados, olive oil, nuts, or seeds. Try to limit or avoid saturated fats that are more often found in processed foods like pre-packaged chips, sugary drinks, or deli meats.
You may be familiar with certain diet plans like keto that recommend eating an abundance of protein. High-protein diets are awesome for gaining muscle, but there’s way more to them than that. Protein is found in every cell in the human body, and it allows cells to repair and regenerate.
When choosing protein, look for whole food sources. Super beneficial plant-based sources of protein include tofu, tempeh, certain veggies, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
What Is a Macro Split?
For many years, calories were the star player in the health and wellness world. The idea was that if you cut calories, you may lose weight and reap the benefits of weight management, like improved heart health and metabolic function.
While calories are still important, the foods you eat to fulfill your caloric needs may be even more significant. This is where a macro split comes in. A macro split dictates how much of each macro is divided up among your calorie limits.
When thinking about your macros, it’s important to think about what you are hoping to achieve by cutting. If you are following a keto diet, your macro split will likely be 5% carbs, 15% protein, and 80% fat.
There are also other plans that increase that protein percentage if you are trying to build more muscle, like a high-protein keto diet with a 5% carbs, 65% fat, and 30% protein macro split. Another variation of keto called Keto 2.0 also uses a higher protein percentage, emphasizing a 50% fat, 20% carb, and 30% protein split.
12 Ways To Successfully Count Your Macros
The biggest hurdle towards counting your macros is often tracking them. When cutting calories, you just add up the calories you eat and move on. Macro cutting requires a bit more time and energy to ensure you are eating the nutrients you need.
With our simple tips on how to successfully count your macros, you’ll see how simple it can be.
Use a Macro Tracking App and Calculator
Once you decide to count your macros, the first thing you should do is download a tracking app on your phone. These make it so incredibly simple to track your macros. The app will most likely have you input your basic information, provide you with your personalized calorie count, and explain the macro split you need to reach.
Tracking apps often have preloaded meals from common restaurants or foods from popular brands, making your work that much easier.
You can also use an online macro counting calculator to help you do that daily math to log into your tracking app — no paper and pencil needed.
Menu Plan and Meal Prep
To be successful when counting macros, meal planning and prepping ahead of time are game-changers. Meal planning not only allows you to plan out your meals and snacks throughout the day, but it also lets you do the calculating ahead of time.
This helps you break your macros up throughout the day, instead of eating too many of one macro in the morning and getting off-balance near the end of the day.
Once you have your groceries, schedule a day at the beginning of the week to prep for a successful week. This may include cooking certain foods, chopping your fruits and veggies, and dividing out servings in single-serving containers.
You can also plan out your snacks. One simple, delicious snack you can make is your own Cashew Granola. This recipe serves 6 people, so you can share with the fam or keep it to yourself for 6 days worth of yummy treats.
When you're finished making your granola, add it to snack-sized containers to have an easy snack on the go.
Get Familiar With Your Favorite Foods
When you find a recipe you love, write down its macro split so you don't have to calculate it over and over again each time you make it. If you print out the recipe, you can write it on the corner, keep a note on your phone with different macros for different recipes and foods, or simply create a notebook to use as an easy cheat sheet for all things macros.
Eat Smaller Meals
When you change your macro split, you likely change the number of calories you eat during the day, as well. This can leave you feeling hungry, especially as your body is getting used to the change.
One way to help with this is eating smaller meals throughout the day, instead of having three large meals.
Know What Foods Are High in One Specific Macro
Life happens, and there may be times when you eat something you weren’t planning on at the beginning of the day.
Let’s say, for example, you had more carbs than you were planning on, and you don't have any more left in your split for the day. Knowing which foods are high in one macro can help you even things out when life happens.
Focus on foods that are very low in the macro that you over-consumed and high in the macros that are still needed in your daily split.
Don't Remove All of Your Treats
Tracking your macros and eating a healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to neglect your sweet tooth.
At MiiRO, we know how important it is to treat yourself on the daily, which is why we created rich and creamy low sugar chocolate that you can use for baking or enjoy on its own. Our chocolates are perfect for wellness journeys of all kinds, including macro cutting.
Keep a List of Options for Eating Out
Tracking macros can feel like a full-time job, but you still need to be able to live your life to the fullest — and that includes grabbing a nice meal out every once in a while.
One way to help you keep to your macros while also going out to eat is to keep a running list of menu options at your favorite spots.
If you are heading to a new restaurant, pull up the menu before you go to look it over. You can calculate your macros for the meal you want before you go.
Also, don't forget to check if your macro tracking app has the restaurant’s menu preloaded. If they do, you simply need to select your meal, and it will calculate it for you.
As with any diet plan, it’s important to stay hydrated. Water is always an awesome choice, but sometimes you may want to mix it up. Add a splash of lemon or mix in cucumber and basil to give your water a flavor boost.
Try to avoid drinks that are high in calories like juice, sodas, and sweetened or creamy coffees and teas. These will add to your calorie count while being void of any macros.
Discovering your ideal macro split can be the key to reaching your health and wellness goals. Deciding what your goals are will determine your fat, protein, and carbohydrate ratio needs during the day.
To successfully calculate your macros, try these simple tips. Our tips will allow you to be flexible in your life while continuing to reach your macro goals. You may not be perfect each and every day, but progress is what truly matters.
MiiRO is here for you on your wellness journey. We believe there is always room for chocolates and sweet treats, even when you are following a diet like macro cutting, keto, or beyond!