Counting macronutrients means having the freedom and flexibility to eat the food that you love. Getting caught up in the magic of fitting your favorite foods into your daily routine means we often forget about the importance of micronutrients.
On Saturday, John hit his macro goals eating only meat, bread and candy. Afterwards he felt sluggish. He didn’t train particularly well and felt bloated.
On Sunday John ate the exact same macros, but got them from more leafy greens and some healthy fats. After that he felt a million dollars and trained really well!’
You’ve probably experienced this yourself. So if you’re hitting your macros every day why does it seem to matter where they’re coming from?
Micronutrients. Micronutrients, micros for short, are the essential vitamins and minerals required for the growth and development of your body. Don’t let the name ‘micro’ fool you, as they play just as big a role as macros.
Macros and micros perform equally important functions for the body. Think of micros as the salt and pepper to your cheese and tomato sandwich. Without salt, your sandwich isn’t as good and satisfying as it should be. Something crucial is missing. The same goes for micros and your body.
- Macros need micros to utilize and facilitate energy production.
- Ever heard of ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away?’ That’s because micronutrients fuel your immune system.
- Protein may help repair, grow and strengthen your muscles, but micros like magnesium, potassium and calcium play the main role in normal muscle function.
- The above micros are also electrolytes. Electrolytes are natural power sources that actually carry a charge. We need electrolytes to survive.
- Calcium isn’t only found in dairy. Fruit and vegetables are also calcium rich. This is essential to promoting healthy bone formation and overall bodily health.
- The immune system needs Vitamin C during and after intensive physical training.
- Vitamin B + Minerals
For healthy muscle function and the metabolism of carbs, the body needs B Vitamins and minerals. These include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and pantothenic acid, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc.
Fibrous foods rich with micronutrients include:
Nuts, grains and seeds
- Dried pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
Legumes and beans
- White beans
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
- Lima beans
- Brown rice
- Whole milk
- Yogurt or Kefir
Fruits and vegetables
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
Ok - there are SO MANY micronutrients! How in the world are you ever going to ensure you’re ingesting all of them?
It would take you all day to analyze the exact micronutrient content of your food and we don’t recommend doing that.
Here are 4 tips to ensure you’re getting a well-rounded dose of <strongall of your micronutrients:
- Hit your fiber goal
We recommend clients to aim for 10-15g of fiber per 1000 cal a day. This is because fibrous foods contain a vast majority of your micronutrients. By eating fiber rich foods you’re ensuring that you’re getting a big dose of your daily micros.
- Swap packaged for produce
Processed, packaged foods have little to no micronutrient value whereas fresh produce has plenty! When you’re planning your meals try to make choosing fresh produce over packaged food an easy choice.
- Replace grains
Cauliflower rice and zucchini noodles are not just a great way to fill your carbs, but they are also an easy way to get your micros in. Try swapping the base of your meals with vegetable alternatives.
We love to see people choosing the right foods for their body! Please share your creative, IIFYMicros meal with us using #TeamWAG!
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Love what you learned but still want more guidance and support? Hire a 1:1 coach who will get to know you, your lifestyle and your unique needs and create results that you can sustain long-term. If you're not quite ready to go all-in on hiring a coach, check out our Macro Calculation Cheat Sheet & 18 Tracking Tips and Tricks for macro counting!