When you don’t know how to meal plan around your macros accurately, macro tracking can feel like a chore.
But it doesn’t have to – and you definitely don’t have to play macro tetris everyday to make it work. So, whether you’re new to macro tracking or you’ve been tracking for years, when it comes to meal planning around your macros, there are some easy hacks that can help beginners and veterans alike.
BATCH COOK MACRO MEAL PLAN RECIPES, LOG THEM IN YOUR DIARY BY SERVINGS OR BY WEIGHT.
Your app will do all the heavy lifting by calculating the nutrition facts for your fully batch cooked meal. All you have to do is divide your final yield by however many servings it makes. Title the recipe in your tracking app something descriptive (and that you’ll remember!). Then, when you’re ready to eat it, simply dish yourself a pre-portioned serving for which you already have the macros. In the diary this looks like 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, of the recipe you get 2, 3, or 4 servings, respectively. If you find yourself eating some of the same things all the time, it’s time to make things easier on yourself by creating recipes in your tracking app to streamline the daily logging process. If it’s an egg bake you make frequently, or that chili your family loves – load all your ingredients to the “recipes” section of the app and log your personal serving size across multiple days if you know you’re planning to have it throughout the week.
PRE-LOG FOOD IN YOUR DIARY AND EAT "AROUND" THE BOOKMARKED ENTRY.
Stay on track with your macros by pre-logging food in your diary and eating manipulatable macro meals around it. You know you want Chipotle for lunch? Definitely want to eat the brownies your neighbor dropped off the other day? Maybe it’s pizza night with your son’s soccer team on Friday?
Be honest with yourself and log the food you know you want to have in your diary before you eat it so you aren’t stuck playing catch-up with your macros after the splurge Not only will you be happier and more satisfied having enjoyed these treats, sweets and restaurant eats, but it won’t be at the expense of your goals as you “eat around” those foods with the remaining macros you have.
BREAK UP YOUR DAILY MACRO TOTALS INTO SMALLER CHECKPOINTS.
One way we combat macro tetris is by using “checkpoint macros” as reference points. Take your total macros for the whole day and divide how many meals you typically like to have, which could be 3, 4, 5, even up to 6 meals per day! This represent how far along in your total macro goals you should be by Meal 1, Meal 2, Meal 3, etc. in order to meet your needs for the day. While it’s tough to think how you’re going to hit 140 g protein per day, for example, when it’s divided across 4 meals – it doesn’t seem so impossible! Aim for that ~35 g protein checkpoint instead!
KEEP A LIST OF ADAPTABLE, MACRO COUNTING FRIENDLY MEALS THAT CAN BE EATEN IN A "HIGH CARB" OR "LOW CARB" VERSION.
Every household should have a few simple and delicious meals they can throw together any time. I challenge you to keep a list of household meals that are highly adaptable, in that they can be made in “high carb” or “low carb” versions and still be delicious.
Flexible dieting and tracking macros is NOT about eating the same thing every day. It’s definitely not about bland chicken and broccoli eaten out of tupperware all week long. It’s about eating what you want, influenced by your mood, your cravings and maybe even what’s on sale at the grocery store. Make meal planning around your macros easier and simpler by thinking about which real food proteins, fats and carbohydrates go together well with or without a high carb addition. Read on for some examples
> Stir-fry with ground meat, non-starchy vegetables and cauliflower rice
> Omelet with additional egg whites, peppers, onions and salsa
> Chicken salad made with Greek yogurt served over lettuce
> Stir-fry with ground meat, your favorite veggies and brown rice
> Omelet with additional egg whites served over roasted sweet potatoes or hashbrowns
> Chicken salad sandwich made with Greek yogurt served on whole-grain bread
LEARN SOME BASIC TRACKING APP HACKS
Look, using a food diary for macro counting is a skill in itself. It’s no secret that a “crowd sourced” food-tracking app like My Fitness Pal will be riddled with errors. Don’t let this be an excuse to quit tracking altogether! Here’s a tip (straight out of my course, “Macros Made Easy”) that will improve the accuracy of your tracking right away: repeat the same entries over and over again. If you’re like most of us, you probably eat some of the same 10-15 foods every week. Chances are, you shop at the same places and pick out the same products. Your diary is going to start to reflect these trends by categorizing food in the “most recent” and “most frequent” tabs if you’re using MFP, or “common” tab if you’re using Cronometer. Increase accuracy in tracking by pulling entries from these tabs instead of searching for your food items in the larger library database every time.
Here’s an example:
You’re having eggs for breakfast. Instead of opening your food tracking app and typing in “egg” to the large library database, where you’ll likely get a hundred entries for eggs that vary by 10-15+ calories and macros – head on over to your “recent”, “frequent”, or “common” tabs and select the same “egg” entry that you’ve used before. If you’ve scanned a barcode on your egg carton and logged eggs at least one time, the food will appear in these tabs. Use that same entry over and over again to (1) make it really easy to find foods that you eat often, (2) limit the number of inaccurate or incomplete entries that could appear in your diary, and (3) keep the margin of potential error exactly the same week to week.
If you found these tips helpful, you will definitely find my signature course, Macros Made Easy, just the thing to make all the pieces come together for you around macro tracking! I only launch the course twice a year so be sure to get on the waitlist below. You’ll get notified the next time I open the doors! You NEED this if you want to learn to track macros the stress-free way!