Dietitian Melissa Meier breaks down the easy way you can make your macros do the weight loss work for you.
If you’re on a mission to lose weight, chances are, you’ve heard of macro counting. You know, where you aim to eat a set amount of carbs, protein and fat each day in order to meet your body composition goals.
But what if I told you there was an easier way to nail your macros, that didn’t involve carefully tracking each and every mouthful to a tee?
Say hello to the five food groups. Sounds boring, I know – but please don’t check out just yet. The dietary guidelines are formulated to ensure you’re getting the right amount of carbs, protein and fat in your diet, while making sure you’re meeting all of your micronutrient needs. Simply working towards meeting these guidelines can really help with shedding unwanted kilos.
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In case you’re not aware, the five food groups include:
Broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, carrot, capsicum, cucumber, potato, beetroot, corn, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, pumpkin… you get the picture. Legumes, like beans, chickpeas and lentils are included here, too. These foods are rich in gut-loving fibre, disease-fighting antioxidants and immunity-boosting vitamin C.
Think apples, pears, bananas, berries and stone fruit. Similar to veggies, fruit is rich in fibre, antioxidants and micronutrients like Vitamin C, potassium for heart function and Vitamin A for healthy eyes.
This group includes bread, pasta, rice, breakfast cereal and quinoa. Grains provide carbohydrates for energy, as well as fibre for a healthy digestive system and energising b-group vitamins.
4. Meat and alternatives
Meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, legumes, tofu, nuts and seeds. Rich in muscle-building protein, these foods also contain micronutrients like iron for oxygen transport and zinc for wound healing.
5. Dairy and alternatives
Milk, yoghurt and cheese, or calcium-fortified options like soy milk. This food group provides all-important calcium for strong bones and teeth. As an added bonus, these foods also provide protein to support lean muscle mass.
The exact amount of serves you need from each from of these food groups each day differs depending on your age and gender. To give you an example, here’s a handful of dietitian-approved daily meal plans that you can mix and match throughout the week. Not only will they help you hit your daily food group targets, but they’ll give you the right proportion of macros and a tonne of micronutrients to keep your body working at its best.
Meal plan one:
- Breakfast – half a cup of natural muesli with a small tub of yoghurt and one piece of fruit
- Lunch – tuna sandwich on wholegrain bread with one cup of salad and a quarter of an avocado
- Dinner – one cup of wholemeal pasta with a veggie-packed bolognese sauce made with lean beef mince and a sprinkle of cheese
- Snacks – one piece of fruit, two cups of veggie sticks with hummus and a latte
Meal plan two:
- Breakfast – two slices of wholegrain toast topped with half a cup of ricotta cheese and one sliced tomato
- Lunch – two cups of salad made of lettuce, cucumber and tomato, served with one cup of chickpeas and a sprinkle of feta cheese, dressed in extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- Dinner – small fillet of salmon served with salad made of one cup wholemeal couscous and vegetables
- Snacks – two cups of air-popped popcorn, two pieces of fruit and one small tub of yoghurt
Meal plan three:
- Breakfast – one and a half cups of wholegrain cereal served with milk, a piece of fresh fruit and a latte
- Lunch – eight wholegrain crispbreads served with a quarter of an avocado, skinless BBQ’d chicken and two cups of salad
- Dinner – tofu stir fry made of 170 grams of tofu, two cups of cooked vegetables and one cup of cooked soba noodles
- Snacks – one piece of fruit and one small tub of yoghurt
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can connect with her at www.honestnutrition.com.au or on Instagram @honest_nutrition.