Carbohydrates should be the primary source of energy in the diet. Carbohydrates, as implied by their name, are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. One gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories. Approximately 45 to 65 percent of caloric intake should be from carbohydrates. For the person eating 2,000 calories a day, this amounts to 900 to 1300 calories from carbohydrates. Athletes may need to eat more carbohydrates before a competition to provide the body with more easy-to-use energy.
Protein is another important macronutrient made up of amino acids. The amino acids contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, making them different from carbohydrates and the only macronutrient to contain nitrogen. Proteins aren’t a primary source of energy in the body, but they help in tissue growth and repair. Like carbohydrates, proteins provide 4 calories for every 1 gram of protein. Protein intake should be anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of your daily calories, accounting for 200 to 600 calories or 50 to 150 grams of protein.
Fats are the macronutrient essential for energy while our bodies are at rest. Fats, like carbohydrates, are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. It is important to have some fats in our diet for fat-soluble vitamins and because the body needs fat for protection. However, fat should come from unsaturated sources such as vegetable and olive oils. Fats contain 9 calories for each gram consumed. Fats should make up no more than 30 percent of your diet, at most 600 calories in a 2,000-calorie daily diet.
In order to lose weight, you need to eliminate overall calories, not macronutrients, from your diet. Approximately 500 calories a day should be eliminated either through exercise or eating less. According to the American Dietetic Association, the proportions of macronutrients consumed should stay the same. The elimination of carbohydrates, fats or proteins to lose weight is not only unhealthy but also dangerous. The American College of Sports Medicine advises that for the body to function properly, it is important to consume adequate amounts of the macronutrients and no fewer than 1,200 calories a day for women and 1,800 calories a day for men.
Macronutrient Rich Recipes
Quick and Easy Veggie Chili
Make this simple yet tasty recipe and enjoy for dinner or for lunches throughout the week. Substitute black beans or pinto beans or use a combination of your favorite. Note that this recipe makes a small batch, so double it if you want leftovers.
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
2 teaspoons no-salt-added chili powder
2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt added kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
Sliced fresh jalapeño peppers (optional)
Heat a large saucepot over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes or until beginning to brown and stick to the pan. Stir in 1/2 cup broth and cook 3 to 4 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender and most liquid has evaporated. Stir in chili powder and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth, beans and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, about 30 minutes or until vegetables and beans are tender and sauce is thickened. Stir in black pepper. Serve with cilantro and jalapeños, if using.
Per serving: 230 calories (10 from fat), 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 43g total carbohydrate (15g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 13g protein
Creamy Spring Asparagus Soup
Serve this delightful spring soup with crusty bread or top with homemade croutons.
1 tablespoon butter
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), woody stems snapped off and discarded, spears cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Melt butter in a medium pot over medium low heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, add asparagus and simmer gently until potatoes and asparagus are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat ad set aside to let cool slightly.
Carefully transfer soup to blender in batches and purée until smooth. Return soup to pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, whisk in sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with chives and serve.
Per serving: 140 calories (50 from fat), 5g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 20mg cholesterol, 480mg sodium, 19g total carbohydrate (4g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 5g protein
Whole Wheat Pasta with Tomatoes and Veggies
Makes 2 servings
Carrots, celery and greens make tasty additions to this quick tomato sauce with Italian spices. The nuttiness of whole wheat pasta adds to the deep flavors of the dish. You’ll be eating dinner in no time!
4 ounces whole wheat pasta
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup water or low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely chopped Swiss chard or kale
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, about 1 3/4 cups
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Nutritional yeast (optional)
Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/4 cup pasta cooking water.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes or until beginning to stick to pan. Add water, carrots, celery, garlic and Swiss chard and cook 5 minutes or vegetables are tender. Stir in tomatoes, basil, thyme and red pepper. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are very tender and sauce is thickened. Stir in reserved pasta cooking water and heat through, then stir in pasta. Serve with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, if using.
Per serving: 280 calories (15 from fat), 1.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 59g total carbohydrate (10g dietary fiber, 11g sugar), 10g protein
Sesame-Roasted Portobellos with Asparagus Slaw
Crisp asparagus, cabbage and carrot slaw make ideal filling for tender, roasted portobello mushrooms.
4 large portobello mushrooms, gills removed
8 tablespoons Whole Foods Market Organic Shiitake Sesame Vinaigrette, divided
1/4-1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and shaved into slices with a vegetable peeler, or shredded
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, shaved into slices with a vegetable peeler, or shredded
1/4 cup 365 Everyday Value Roasted & Salted Macadamia Nuts, toasted and chopped
Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush mushrooms all over with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette, arrange gill-side down on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and roast, until just tender, about 10 minutes. Pat dry to remove any excess liquid; set aside to let cool. In a large bowl, toss cabbage, asparagus, green onions and carrots with remaining 6 tablespoons vinaigrette. Arrange mushrooms on plates, fill with slaw, garnish with nuts and serve.
Per serving: 240 calories (160 from fat), 17g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 270mg sodium, 16g total carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 5g protein
Chicken Salad with Pineapple and Mango
Serves 4 to 6
Treat yourself to this flavorful chicken and noodle salad filled with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. For a shortcut, make this recipe with a prepared dressing, such as shiitake sesame vinaigrette.
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari, shoyu or soy sauce
2 to 3 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 to 4 teaspoons wasabi powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4 cup untoasted sesame or canola oil
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
5 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup mung bean sprouts
3/4 cup diced pineapple
1 mango, diced
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup cooked chow mein noodles
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, tamari, ginger, wasabi powder, sugar and sesame seeds until blended. While whisking constantly, pour oil into bowl in a thin stream until well blended.
In a large bowl, combine cabbage, romaine, carrots, bean sprouts, pineapple and mango. Pour dressing over vegetable mixture and toss gently to coat. Top with chicken and noodles and serve.
Per serving: 280 calories (120 from fat), 14g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 40mg cholesterol, 500mg sodium, 24g total carbohydrate (4g dietary fiber, 13g sugar), 18g protein
Strawberry Melon Gazpacho
Traditionally made with tomatoes, this refreshing twist on an old favorite can be served as a dessert soup at the end of a hearty meal or as part of a brunch buffet.
2 cups (1-inch cubes) cantaloupe
2 cups (1-inch cubes) seedless watermelon
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 pound organic strawberries, hulled, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Place cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumber, half of strawberries, and lime juice in a food processor and blend until puréed. Chop remaining strawberries and stir into the soup. Refrigerate until chilled.
Per serving: 45 calories (5 from fat), 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 5mg sodium, 11g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 8g sugar),1g protein
Source: Whole Foods