January 09, 2019

Beginners: Starting macros can feel like learning a new language. In many ways it is. You are reading labels, taring scales, and adjusting serving sizes to hit that targeted +/-3. And the panic sets in when you’re starving and staring at your MFP diary numbers which don’t mean much except that they are not where you need them to be.

Two pieces of advice:

  1. Keep it simple
  2. Think Protein

Many of us don’t need variety and can eat the same menu for days on end while dropping weight and feeling satisfied and content. This is actually a good way to start. Fiddle with that diary until you hit your numbers and copy/paste until you’re ready to apply changes.

But if you crave variety, there are still simple combinations you can use to keep your numbers in check and mix things up.

PROTEIN FIRST. Build your meals around these and let the “snacks” take care of the rest, adjusting serving size as needed.

Breakfast =

PROTEIN: egg whites (+ fat = whole eggs), shakes

Carbs: fruit, salsa, yams, lavash, cereal  

Carbs/fat: avocado

Carb/Protein: P28 Bagels (online/Wegman’s)

Fat: butter


PROTEIN: deli meat, grilled chicken, tuna, fish, shrimp

Carbs: lettuce, lavash, shirataki noodles, ekekiel bread, pita

Carbs/fat: avocado/avocado toast

Fat: dressing, mayo, cheese

Dinner =

PROTEIN: Chicken, fish, ground turkey, turkey/chicken sausage, tofu, shrimp

Carbs: cauliflower rice, rice/pasta (weighed raw), shirataki noodles, lettuce/boston lettuce

Fat: dressing, mayo, cheese, marinara (Rao’s lower carb)


  • Salad with Protein
  • “Pasta” with sauce, chicken, and cheese
  • “Rice” bowls with salsa and lean protein
  • Boston lettuce wrap tacos
  • Open-face LOADED lean meat lavash sandwiches

 Snacks to fill in:

  • Protein bars
  • Fruit
  • LOTS of veggies with dip
  • Halo
  • Yogurt
  • Sugar free jello
  • Oh SNAP pickles
  • Peanut butter
  • Cookie butter
  • Nuts (small portions)

 Use your charts to figure out where to look for:

  • Need Carbs?
  • Need Protein?
  • Need Fat?
  • Need Carbs/Protein?
  • Need Carbs/Fat?
  • Need Fat/Protein?
  • Need High Volume/Low Macros?

Doctor things up with seasoning. Salsa goes a long way and is very macro friendly in most varieties. Yellow mustard is free! Sprouts add a kick.

Don’t think crazy. Think simple! Protein first in your three main “meals.” Then plug in what you want and adjust serving size until you’re where you need to be. Then repeat. Copy/paste until you’re ready for change.

Plan to eat every 2-3 hours. And it doesn’t need to be a lot. Pack snacks when you’re away from home.

If you’re able to plan the night before, do so. Have your dinner prepped for a few nights in advance if you can. Macros is like a game. Hit your numbers, and watch the scale drop.

If you’re like me, and Halo is what drives you—plug it in first, and work the day around a reasonable portion. Throw in some cheerios for crunch if you have some carbs left which helps it last longer.

It will take time to build an inventory. Triple check those entries in the beginning to make sure they’re accurate, especially for foods that are becoming go-tos. You’ll shortly know just what to add to finish off those numbers, and the less work you have to do on the go, the more sustainable this becomes.

No new artist picks up a brush and transforms into Picasso. She starts with reds, yellows, and blues until one day, it becomes a master piece.

Keep it simple, beginners. Genius is on the horizon!