How To Find Macro-Friendly Foods

In a perfect world, where I was the perfect specimen of health and wellness, my diet would consist of one hundred percent organic, whole foods. I do wish I was at that point mentally, because physically I’m sure I would feel amazing! However, at this present moment, I’m more of what you might call a “practical eater”.

When it came to my weight loss in the past, I had a very all or nothing mindset. I always assumed if my diet wasn’t consisting of completely healthy, “good” foods, that I could never make much progress. Although working my way toward better overall health and nutrition is of course the ultimate goal, I was so relieved to find, that I could still make progress toward my physical goals, img_1360while eating foods that didn’t make me feel like I was depriving myself of all of the delicious processed treats this western world has to offer. For me personally, finding the right balance of vegetables and whole foods, with some processed, convenient treats mixed in has been the way I’ve made this process more of a lifestyle , instead of a diet. Finding brands with the ingredients that best fit your macros, is key to helping you fit in those fun foods and treats.

One common question I hear is, “How do you find macro-friendly foods?” Honestly, that’s a tricky question, because ALL foods can be “macro-friendly”, depending on which foods you pair them with for the day. But this week, I’ll explain the things I look for on a nutrition label, and how you can find the brands that taste the best, and fit the best with your macros.

Decoding the Nutrition Label

Lucky for us, in this day and age, we have magical apps like My Fitness Pal, that can help us track our food, calories, and macros for the day.img_1729 I honestly can’t imagine how body builders did it back in the day, before smartphones and computers. But knowing how to read the nutrition label while you’re at the grocery store, is still important when you’re buying ingredients to fit into your meal plan. There’s a ton of information we can learn from the nutrition label, but when I’m at the store, the main things I look for are: serving size, total calories, protein, carbs, fat, and fiber.

Comparing the Labels

So finding the brands, that have the most “macro-friendly” ingredients, is simply about comparing the labels. When you really start looking, it’s amazing how different brands, of the same types of food, can differ so much on their macronutrients. So let’s look at some examples of things you might see:

Example 1: Protein Pancakes

If you know me at all, you know that I love me some Kodiak Cakes! There was a period of probably 3 months or so, that I ate pancakes twice a day, every day. Pumpkin Spice for breakfast, and dark chocolate for an after dinner dessert. So I was curious when I saw another brand of protein pancakes pop up on the shelf, img_1730next to my beloved Kodiak Cakes. So I took a look at the label, and compared. It’s important to always check the serving size first, to make sure you’re comparing the same amount. These two pancake mixes had the same serving size of 1/2 cup. Next I check the total calories. The Krusteaz pancakes have 220 calories per 1/2 cup, while the Kodiak Cakes are 190 for the same amount. Next, I look at the protein. When it comes to protein, the one with the highest amount wins. Kodiak Cakes wins again! Next I’ll check the carbs, and for me, the lower number wins here. Kodiak Cakes is 3 for 3, with 8g less carbs per serving than the Krusteaz. Both brands have equal amounts of total fat. img_1731The last thing that sold me on the Kodiak Cakes, is the fiber. It contains 5g of fiber per serving, while the Krusteaz mix only contains 1g. So although both of these brands of protein pancakes, could fit into your macros, depending on your taste preference, the Kodiak Cakes are the most “macro-friendly”, because they have the highest amount of protein and fiber, and the lowest amount of carbs.

Example 2: Barbecue Sauce

It’s crazy how much the macros of some sauces and dressings can vary. One example of this is good ‘ol Barbecue Sauce.

 

A good thing to remember is, the sweeter the sauce, usually means, the higher the carbs. Two sauces that we sometimes buy in our house, are Sweet Baby Ray’s, and Stubb’s spicy barbecue. They also are the same serving size, and neither one of them contain protein. The things you want to pay attention to with sauces, are going to mainly be total calories, carbs, and sugar. Because of the sweetness in the Sweet Baby Ray’s, it not only packs in twice the amount of calories per serving, but also 10g more carbs, and 9g more sugar. Just like with the pancakes, you could make either brand work into your macros if you really wanted to, but the Stubb’s spicy barbecue would be easier to work into your day, than the Sweet Baby Ray’s.

Thank God For Technology

Technology makes it so much easier to not have to track all of our food, macronutrients, and micronutrients throughout the day. Using My Fitness Pal to plan my meals has been a huge part of my weight loss success, and it makes it so much easier to calculate all of the things I eat in a day. The main things I pay attention to in My Fitness Pal, are my total calories, protein, carbs, fat, and fiber. The only other things that I try not to get wild with are my sugar and sodium intake. I try to keep those numbers within the daily recommended amounts, because I know when I don’t, that I can feel sluggish or bloated.

Finding a Balance

While the goal is to keep progressing, and working my way toward a heavier emphasis on more whole foods and green vegetables, it is comforting knowing that I can still have some processed treats mixed in, and still reach my physique goals. img_1737Flexible Dieting is about finding the balance that works best for you, both physically and mentally. Flexible Dieting is not all about finding ways to eat junk and still lose weight. There are advantages and disadvantages to eating on either end of the spectrum. A diet comprised of mostly clean, whole foods, allows you to eat a higher volume of food if that’s what you need to feel satisfied. However, if fitting in some sugary processed things helps you stick with your diet long term, then you can do that as well, but the total amount of food you eat might be slightly less. Personally, I prefer to have a mixture of both. It helps me to not feel deprived, and to have a lot of variety and convenience in my meal plans.

I hope you will take the time, to find what works best for you. You are totally capable of losing weight and feeling better when you just decide you want to and find a way. This is all about finding something sustainable for you, that you could see yourself doing years down the road. I hope that helps you kind of see how I compare different brands, and how I have compiled a list of go to ingredients over the course of my weight loss journey. As always, feel free to reach out to me here or on Instagram, @mommytracksmacros if you have any more questions!

Mommy Fell Into the Wormhole

4697B7C6-BDB3-4CD7-B3F1-58B3DC747827        Hello! Welcome!! Phew, my very first blog. This is a big deal. Anyone who knows me personally knows me, knows that I’m not really one for sharing feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I will talk your ear off if you catch me in the right mood, on the right subject. As far as sharing my deep thoughts and feelings though, I usually keep it to myself.

Over the past year and a half or so, I have managed to completely change my lifestyle. I was never really “in shape”, or what I would consider “naturally thin”. However, after the birth of my second son in June 2016, I knew I was going to have to lose weight, and I was going to have to do it the right way this time.

I, like most people, have lost and gained weight so many times, trying so many quick fixes. From Weight Watchers to injecting myself everyday with HCG, I have tried so many things. This time, I didn’t want to have to rely on any plan, any pill, or any device. I wanted to figure this out, without hanging my success on the efficacy of a product or medication. I needed to rely on me, and my knowledge to figure this out.

So I dove deep! Holy crap. I dove straight into the wormhole of YouTube. I binge watched YouTube like most people binge watch HGTV. I wanted to learn every possible thing I could learn about nutrition and flexible dieting. By no means am I an expert, but by investing in my knowledge, I have managed to lose 107 pounds, naturally, through flexible dieting. I truly feel like I’ve finally found the lifestyle change that all those thin, beautiful fitness people are always ranting and raving about. And I love it. Never did I think I’d see the day where I craved the gym. If I can get from where I was, to where I am now. I really feel like anybody can.

While I was in the process of losing weight, I really didn’t talk about it a lot. I was focused, I had a goal, and I knew that goal was going to take a long time. It was a process. Of course people noticed I was losing weight eventually. But it really wasn’t until they saw the longevity and the perceived “discipline” that I had, and that I was still consistently losing weight 6 months, 8 months, a year later, that the questions really started picking up.

People wanted to know how I was doing it, what plan, what pill, what shake. You would not believe the looks I got when I said the word “macros” 😂. Although I feel like flexible dieting is pretty commonly talked about online these days, there are still a lot of people that have no clue what you’re talking about. But when you try to explain that it’s basically eating a balanced diet, that somehow seems even more strange and like a bunch of crap.
I truly want to be able to explain my process, my mindset, and the things that got me from point A to point B. But holy crap it’s hard to do in one brief little conversation or text or (as I’m learning), instagram post. Dang you character limit!!

I recently started an Instagram @mommytracksmacros to try and shed some light on this for people I know that were interested and had questions. Something I could make public, without it being mixed in with pictures of my kids eating spaghetti or playing baseball.
Good lord though. As soon as I actually started wrangling my thoughts and actually trying explain and talk about it, I quickly realized how complicated and complex this issue is. This is not something where I can just say eat this, don’t eat that. Do this in the gym, this many times a week. There is so much more to it than that. Once I started making posts and trying to explain, after keeping it to myself for a year and a half, I could not for the life of me shut up about it. Instagram character limits are my worst nightmare. I just have so many thoughts! 🤣

So that is the purpose of this blog, and maybe one day a podcast, who the heck knows. Where I can actually sit down, get my thoughts out, and talk to you as a friend about how to actually create lifestyle change for the every man, or probably in this case the every woman💪🏼 haha. I hope that I can help you get your head around this, and show you that it is possible, and that you don’t have spend a fortune on gimmicky fads and extreme measures to create the ever illusive “lifestyle change”. Take a deep breathe, eventually you might even love it. Maybe you won’t just meal prep and work out because you think you have to, but because you love the way it makes you feel to take care of yourself and feel strong. Things could get weird, but here we go! 💪🏼🙌🏻