Your Macro Diet Toolkit: Foods And Snacks You Can't Live Without
Written By: Taylor Rao
If you’re familiar with the macro diet (short for macronutrients), you know that you’re not required to eliminate any food groups entirely, but rather work your meals around the numbers your fitness tracker or personal macro coach assigns to you.
And with that being an essential part of the diet, that means you can get super creative with how you reach your daily numbers, and thrive throughout the course of your macros cycle without getting bored of eating the same thing week after week.
Warning: if you’re just starting up the macro diet, be prepared to eat a lot. Depending on where you’re at now and what your specific goals are, chances are you are going to be consuming way more food on a daily basis (especially carbs and protein) than you’re used to. But that’s nothing to worry about when you can plan accordingly and have these snacks and recipes in your back pocket to make sure you’re crushing your macro numbers every day.
Egg white omelet
Egg whites are your macro BFF, seriously. Packed with protein and not a whole lotta anything else, you can start your day off with strong numbers and sustain your energy until lunchtime with an egg white breakfast. Three large egg whites, for example, contain nearly 11 grams of protein, less than one gram of carbs and fat, and clocks in at just 50 calories. Sweet!
So, if egg whites are the base of your breakfast, you can pack in part of your daily serving of greens by adding asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms and tomatoes into an egg white omelet. Feta cheese is A-OK by the macro diet, so use that to hold it together and add some ground pepper or Sriracha sauce to spice it up. And of course, you can’t go wrong with a slice or two of whole wheat or 12-grain toast to start your day off with healthy carbs and fuel you for the morning. Oh yeah, and some turkey bacon on the side doesn’t hurt, too.
For those of us with a busy schedule, any type of meal prep you can do at the beginning of the week or at the end of the night is a total lifesaver. Overnight oats can be made in the evening, and by the time the sun comes up, you’ve got a breakfast packed with all the good stuff to get your day going.
Using quick oats, your favorite brand of almond, soy or coconut milk and adding in some chia or flax seeds for an extra boost, soaking the oats overnight in milk (and a little scoop of non-fat greek yogurt, too) absorbs into a tasty, cold oatmeal that you can add fresh fruit to and enjoy on-the-go. If you’re looking for even more flavor, add a dash of vanilla extract or a pinch of cinnamon.
Feel free to get creative with your overnight oats, but if you need a head start, this overnight oats recipe from Skinnytaste will help get ya goin’.
ON Protein Cake Bites
Especially as women, the daily number of protein can be a complete shock at the beginning of the macro diet. It might feel like you need to channel your inner Ron Swanson and just devour meat all day long to hit your protein, but protein-packed treats like these cake bites are the perfect midday snack to get you through until lunch or dinner where you can pack in even more.
As opposed to some of the other protein bars on the market, these cake bites are relatively low in fat and carbs, so snacking on these for protein won’t throw the rest of your macros off balance. The birthday cake and chocolate frosted donut flavors are so good, it’s the perfect sweet treat to keep on hand at all times. The best part? No guilt attached.
Non-fat greek yogurt
Reading labels is an important part of succeeding on the macro diet, so instead of blindly grabbing items off the shelf and throwing them into your cart at the grocery store, make sure you’re buying the healthiest versions of common foods and snacks like greek yogurt.
While regular greek yogurt is OK, non-fat greek yogurt will make sure you keep your fats low while on the macro diet. Of course you do need fat within your daily numbers, but save it for your bigger meals when you’re preparing a steak on the grill or adding a scoop of nut butter to a protein shake.
Salad, salad, salad
Second to egg whites, salads are your second macro BFF. You can eat as many greens as you want while counting macros, basically, and salads are easy to get a healthy serving of veggies and add protein on top to keep you on track for the afternoon.
A salad with grilled chicken, canned tuna, oven-roasted ham or turkey will leave you feeling full when paired with vegetables like cherry tomatoes, chopped carrots or celery, red onions or whatever veggie you prefer to add some crunch into your leafy greens. As for your lettuce, try to stick with a mix of kale and spinach as opposed to romaine or iceberg for added protein.
Greens and beans style soup
Black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans and chickpeas are easy additives to stuff you’re already cookin’ up when you’re on the macros diet. And throwing healthy things together and making your own unique soup recipe is a great way to eat a consistently macro-friendly lunch throughout the week (hello, leftovers!).
Remember, clear soup using a chicken or beef-based broth is going to keep you lower on your fats and calories versus a cream-based soup that uses half and half or heavy cream in the recipe. Take a look at what’s in your cabinet, grab some beans, some fresh (or frozen) spinach or kale, make your own broth and add some spices, onions and let it sit and simmer to get all of the flavor you need to make yourself almost forget you’re on a diet. For a soup like this, you can up your protein portion by using a ground chicken or turkey.
Ground turkey is one of the best proteins you can eat for dinner while you’re counting numbers on the macro diet, and if you look up an easy crockpot recipe, you’ll have more time to spend at the gym, AKA being able to concentrate on the other component of what will make your diet a success.
Ground turkey is a lean protein and low in calories and fats, so you can still squeeze around some Italian-style cooking by substituting ground beef for turkey, regular pasta for whole wheat pasta, and skipping out on additives like breadcrumbs while adding flavor through onions, spice and a tomato sauce.
Classic meat, veggies and potatoes
The simple, American-style dinner of meat and potatoes can totally fit into your daily macro numbers if you make smart choices about the certain types and cuts of meat you choose and pair it with sides like steamed or sauteed vegetables. A piece of lightly-seasoned grilled chicken, salmon or even steak will up your protein count for your final meal and can be prepared in a healthy way on the grill, in the oven or even on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet.
A sweet potato is a better alternative to a typical white or red potato to make sure you’re maxing out your carbs towards the end of the day, and again --vegetables are always a good idea to make sure you’re seeing green on your plate with every meal and filling yourself up without running out of numbers.