Macronutrients: Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates
If you’re new to healthy eating, don’t worry about timing for now. Start by improving the overall quality of your food and incorporating basic, healthy eating habits into your life. My philosophy is this: Don’t restrict what you can eat, rather, add nutritious food to your eating habits. Once you build a foundation of nutritious eating, then consider adding the nutrient timing habit.
Remember, when you’re hungry, your body isn’t craving calories, it’s craving nutrients.
The body uses nutrients to efficiently absorb vitamins and minerals. There are two categories of nutrients derived from food: micronutrients which are minor nutrients and macronutrients, which are the major nutrients the body needs to function optimally: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Think of your body as a building. The protein are the bricks, the carbohydrates are the mortar, and the fat is the furniture.
Be sure to eat an appropriately sized portion of lean protein and good fats with every meal. It is ideal to consume lean protein within 90 minutes of exercise to help rebuild muscle fibers broken down through physical activity.
The macronutrient we can manipulate in nutrient timing are carbohydrates. Eat carbohydrates that are higher in fiber and lower in simple sugars, such as beans/legumes and vegetables.
The body can better handle carbohydrates during and after physical activity. For fat loss, consume carbs in larger quantities within 3 hours of exercise. Outside of the 3-hour window, consume fewer carb dense foods and mostly lean protein and healthy fat. For maintenance, the body can generally handle carbohydrates throughout the day.
The Best Time to Eat Carbs
There are two basic categories of carbs - fiber-rich and starchy. Each should be eaten at different times to get the most benefit.
Fiber-rich carbs. Eat them often and at any time of day (especially for veggies). These include:
Starchy carbs. Eat these within the 3 hour window after working out:
sprouted grain breads, pastas
long grain rices
Lean Protein Sources
Chicken | 30 g
White Fish | 22 g
Egg whites | 6 g
Greek yogurt | 15 g
Cottage Cheese | 15 g
Lentils | 18 g
Black Beans | 15 g
Split Peas | 16 g
Kidney Beans | 13 g
Oats | 10 g
Quinoa | 9 g
Natural Peanut Butter | 8 g
Pumpkin seeds | 8 g
Flaxseed | 8 g
Healthy Fat Sources
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Natural Peanut Butter
Healthy Macronutrient Proportions
A healthy, proportionate diet contains 45-50 % of daily caloric intake from carbohydrates, 30 % of calories coming from protein, and 20 % of calories coming from fat.