calculation to construction

Performance Nutrition

So how do you take your macronutrient numbers and actually put them on a plate?

 

FIRST THINGS FIRST

PORTIONING & LEARNING WHAT MACROS LOOK LIKE IN REAL FOOD;

Below we're going to run your through a step by step process for planning out your meals, but one of the real skills your going to learn through the process of managing your food intake is being able to identify what foods are good sources of which macronutrient, and what macronutrient quantities look like in real food. For example, if you've been on our calculating macros article you've probably done the math determined you need something like;

  • Protein – 200grams

  • Carbohydrates – 260grams

  • Fat – 95grams

Now what the heck does that look like in food? Over time you'll start to get better at seeing this and knowing. Furthermore, as you recycle staple foods in your diet you will begin to remember what numbers equate to what portions sizes. But initially don't worry yourself with it too much. It's a learning process and as you start to plan out more meals in the method we detail below, your knowledge base will increase dramatically.  

BE PATIENT; 

Meal tracking and planning is not for everyone! Some of you will be thinking this and may be a little daunted by the prospect of having to plan and measure your food intake. That's fine, we totally understand how, for some people that can steal the enjoyment of eating and food in general. 

There are other less stringent methods for controlling food intake like hand measures, eye balling portions or paying attention to satiety cues. But, as we mentioned above, when you go through a tougher process like this, you often learn a lot by going through it. To the point where, individuals who have tracked their food intake for a long time can pretty much eat with complete freedom and accurately eye ball what they need to eat day to day and mange to control their weight. 

We all would love to get to this point, but it does take some work. So, our advice would be to try this method for at least a few weeks. If you hate it, you can always try one of the easier methods afterwards. But take as much from the process as you can. 

 

STEP #1 – Dived macros into meals

Determine how many meals per day you would like to have. Are you a 3 meal a day person or a 5 meal a day person? Everyone is different here and there is no one right way. Take your calories and macro totals and divide them up to into meals.

 

3 MEALS A DAY – Example :

  • Daily total goals – 130g Protein, 100g Carb, 65g Fat

  • Daily protein macro goal divided by 3

  • Daily carbohydrate macro goal divided by 3

  • Daily fat macro goal divided by 3

 

Each Meal will Have Roughly:

  • 43 grams Protein

  • 33 grams Carbs

  • 22 grams Fat

 

STEP #2 – Input daily totals and macros/meal into My Fitness Pal

  • Meal 1 – 33%

  • Meal 2 – 33%

  • Meal 3 – 33%

 

*Once an example like this is set in your MFP, you then have to go and set yourself up for success by preparing your MACROS for the week. Note that the macro target by meal feature is only available with MFP Premium..

 

STEP #4 – Choose your main macro staples for the week

 

Foods for meal prep

Protein – Pick 3 meats you want to have this week, either lean (you can add fat from other sources) or fattier (your meat encompasses both protein + fat).

  • Chicken Thighs

  • Pork Tenderloin

  • Lean Steak Mince

 

Protein + Fat 

  • Pork Chops

  • Bacon

  • Lamb

 

Veggies – Pick 4-6

  • Sautéed Cabbage

  • Steamed Broccoli

  • Roasted Cauliflower

  • Steamed Kale

  • Roasted Carrots

  • Grilled Pepper

 

Carbs – Depending on your carb needs you may want to have some starchy carbs on hand to add to some of your meals. Pick 1-2

  • Baked Potatoes

  • White Rice

  • Pasta

  • Boiled New Potatoes

 

Pantry/Fridge – the act of stocking your pantry and refrigerator with foods that are ready to grab and fulfil your macro needs easily and are of the highest quality.

 

Protein – Always have 2-3 ready on hand:

  • Canned Tuna

  • Whey Protein

  • Beef Jerky

  • Cottage Cheese or Greek Yogurt

  • Eggs

 

Veggies – In your fridge have raw veggies easy to hand to add to a meal 

  • Cherry Tomatoes

  • Cucumber

  • Peppers

  • Baby Spinach

  • Salad Bags

 

Carbs – I like to have 2-3 different types on hand 

  • Fresh fruits; 2-3 different types

  • Starchy option – Simple plain corn tortilla in the fridge that is easy to grab and add to a meal.

 

Fat – these keep well and should always be stocked 

  • Couple of nuts – Mixed Nuts etc

  • Avocados

  • Coconut Oil

  • Olive Oil

  • Rapeseed Oil

  • Mayo

 

STEP #5  – Build a meal inside My Fitness Pal

 

This will ensure you know exactly what your meal should consist of before you start eating. If you follow this order then you can get very specific and exact with your meal by simulating what it should look like before the plate is constructed.

 

1st – Pick a protein and input into a MFP meal 

  • Tinker with the serving size to get as close to your target meal protein needs

 

2nd – Pick 2 vegetables & a carb source and input into a MFP

  • Start by adding in your vegetables

  • Then add a carb source that gets you close to your meal goal

  • Don’t forget to account for any fats you might have used in the cooking process as part of the fat total for the meal (ex. 1 tsp of olive oil in your potatoes)

3rd – If you still need fats, add some in

  • If your protein, veggies, and carbs were very lean (no fat) you may need to add some additional fat to your meal to hit your numbers. Add what you need at this point.

4th – Did you go over on anything?

  • Review the totals for your meal at this point, if you notice you've gone over as a result of combining all your ingredients, then adjust your portions slightly until you're within a few percentages points of your target. 

 

You'll want to repeat this process for Lunch and dinner as well. From experience, we've learned that it's best to have more variations in your meal options as you move towards the end of the day.

For example for breakfast you can probably get away with planning 1-2 meal options and then rotating them throughout the week. Whereas you'll generally want to plan 2-3 lunch options and anywhere from 4-7 different dinner options to prevent boredom.

My Fitness Pal tips

  • Watch out for accuracy – try to go for verified foods (with a check mark) or scan labels directly, and compare a couple options if the numbers look off.

  • We recommend upgrading to the Premium version of MyFitnessPal (there is a one month free trial available) because it will allow you to input precise targets for each meal, and the overall user experience is better.

  • When searching for foods to input into your meals, always try to find one that allows you to input grams for serving sizes. This will allow you to weigh much more accurately.

  • Meat and other ingredients will change weight as they cook, but will not impact the total calories/macros in an equal manner. Therefore, weighing precooked weights on all foods is advised.