Now most of you know I advocate keeping an eye on your food intake and by that I mean knowing your calorie intake and what that consists of. The proteins, fats and those oh so lovely - but misunderstood - carbohydrates!
For those of you that are keeping accountable and tracking your "macros" here's a few tips to stay consistent when counting your macros day to day or on the road.
Feel free to add to the list & let us know what tips and tricks help you, as you may help someone else.
1. Portable quick fixes
The stuff to keep in your bag which makes hitting numbers real easy. I pretty much always have a packet of wraps on me. If I need to eat lunch really quickly, I simply get to the nearest supermarket, grab some ham, chicken or even tuna (the packets are good whilst out, as I don't need to bring a can opener) and wrap it up, simple and easy to track.
- Quest Bars - good, quick & tasty protein source
- Beef Jerky - high protein and can be kept in your bag for longer than you can remember its been there.
- Tortilla Wraps - 30g carbs - 3g fats - 5g protein make them an easy choice
- Protein Powder - Check out our previous post on ways to make use of this
Make sure you have access to water - essential unless you like being dehydrated and enjoy dry whey protein!
2. Input your evening meal into MyFitnessPal 1st thing in the morning
Before I go to work in the morning I take some meat out of the freezer for later, or at least i'll have rough idea of what my evening meal might be.
If you've taken the meat out the freezer simply input the macros from the meat or just scan the barcode of your serving into your MyFitnessPal Tracker.
I might also have an idea that with the portion of meat i'm going to eat, there will be some carbs alongside it, but I haven't decided on rice or potatoes or even fajitas yet. But that's not a worry... I'll simply put one of them down as I can always change it later on - but this will help ensure I am saving a percentage of my intake for my evening meal - you should do the same too.
3. You CAN eat out
Most restaurants - especially the big chains - will have the macronutrient values of their dishes online or already input into the MyFitnessPal App.
Simply tap "Nando's Chicken Livers" (I really hope you have tried those little meaty morsels sent down from the gods) into MyFitnessPal and voila! you have the macros. You can account for the calories and eat accordingly.
But what if the restaurant doesn't have its ratios online or on MyFitnessPal?
Getting close enough will do. Food labels have an error ratio of up to 20% so you actually never get as close as you may want to any way, but the absolute 100% accuracy pales into insignificance compared to the consistency.
Last time I ate out at my local I had a pizza. They don't have a website and they obviously are not on MyFitnessPal, so I put in the closest pizza I could find on MyFitnessPal and went from there.
Is it thick or thin base? The one I had was a 12inch thin base pepperoni with extra anchovy (by the way, the anchovy tactic ensures know one else wants a slice). I simply input pizza express pepperoni pizza in on a thin base 12 inch as it was actually pretty close. Was it exact? I'm not really sure. Was it a million miles away? I doubt it, but its close enough.
4. Combine number 2 and 3
If I know I am going to be heading out with friends for some food later on and have a rough idea of where, i'll spend all of 2 minutes and jump online, check out the menu and input into my tracking what I am most likely to order.
Plus, this saves me a headache at the table when it comes to ordering, as i'm terrible at deciding what to eat amongst a vast array of options for fear of food envy. I usually end up pressure ordering and making my decision on impulse while the waiter is....waiting.
By doing that I know I have to eat less than normal during the day to account for the extra food later on, thats just logical dieting.
Another scenario - A few weeks back I was out all weekend helping a friend of mine. We were on our feet all day long, we had not taken any food with us, just some coffee and he'd packed some crisps. We were at our destination for 14 hours and the only food options on site were McDonalds, KFC and a crappy burger van.
My friend really wanted a KFC, so we went. I thought I can ride this one out. Now I hadn't already put KFC into my tracking and my phone had died, but what I didn't know and, what the good thing about KFC is, that all their calories are on the menu for you to see as your queuing. Granted they don't have the macro values but the calories will do for now to help make a practical quick decision.
I spotted the Zinger Burrito at 700 (ish) calories. Did 700 cals fit in my daily allotment at the time of 2700? Yes, and burrito went down!
When I got back and resuscitated my phone back to life I input the Burrito which was on MyFitnessPal and realised I still had loads of food to chow down on that I couldn't realistically get it all in as it would be late when I got back home, so on the way home I grabbed another one.
Clearly that's a one off but it shows that its the bigger picture that counts.
Nobody eats by accident, everything comes down to choice.
Enjoy your food, be accountable and be consistent.