Protein Series Part 3 | Macro Balancing
Enter gyms and nutrition professionals’ offices across the country and you may hear people talking about “macro balancing.” In this post, we’ll break down what that means and help you understand how to “monitor your macros.” Although this “Macro Diet” is some of the latest buzz in the diet world, it’s really no different than the way you have always been told to eat. Macro balancing focuses on incorporating the appropriate amounts of each of the macronutrients into your meals to properly fuel and nourish your body.
What is a Macronutrient?
Macronutrients are the three essential nutrients your body needs, meaning they cannot be made and must be consumed in our diet – these include carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Each of these macronutrients play a key role in our health and are critical for important body functions.
1 Carbohydrates: Provides fuel for your brain and body – commonly found in bread, pasta, rice, fruits, vegetables, and some dairy foods (milk, yogurt).
2 Protein: Serves as the building blocks for your body and is important for muscle, bone, and the immune system. Sources include meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, and dairy foods. Check out our first post in this series for more on good sources of protein.
3 Fat: Provides the body with energy and aids in the metabolism of certain vitamins. Click HERE to learn more about fats and healthy sources of fat.
The Balancing Act:
The good news is that “Macro balancing” is really just a new name for established, sound nutritional principles, and a good reminder that understanding the basics is important! Macro-balancing means being mindful of incorporating each of the three macronutrients in appropriate amounts to create a complete meal. But how much of each macronutrient should be in your meal? Nutrition professionals recommend that 45-65% come from carbohydrate, 10-35% from protein, and 20-35% from fat. There are wide ranges since people are different and there is no one-size-fits all diet for each of us. An easier way to visualize this can be done by imagining your plate and dividing it into different compartments. To provide your body with a complete meal aim for your plate to be half fruits and vegetables, a quarter lean protein, a quarter grains, and a serving of dairy. Doing this can help ensure you have each of the macronutrients to fuel your body properly.
Check out this website for more information on MyPlate recommendations
Dairy and Macro Balancing:
Dairy is a key component in contributing to your macronutrient intake. As shown on MyPlate, a serving of dairy should be incorporated into each meal. Dairy is a great source of both carbohydrates and protein. Including dairy with each of your meals will help provide you with necessary nutrients, aid in keeping you full, and of course add flavor! Dairy can be incorporated in many ways throughout the day whether itbe in the form of milk, yogurt, or cheese – the possibilities are endless! Dairy can be a side dish such as cottage cheese or yogurt, or it can be incorporated into the meal itself, such as making oatmeal with milk instead of water or adding an extra sprinkle of cheese to a dish for a flavor boost! Check out this post for ways to incorporate dairy into your meal!
Summing up our 3-Part Series on Protein:
• Part 1: Focus on consuming good sources of protein
• Part 2: Incorporate protein into your diet throughout the day
• Part 3: Balance protein with other essential nutrients (carbohydrates and fats)