Calculating Macros on Your Busy Schedule

Having trouble tracking macros on a busy day? Follow these tips for a healthy diet tracking macros when you have limited time.

Counting macros is a great baseline for a wholesome, flexible diet. Meal restrictions are based on the amount of carbs, proteins, and fats you consume, leaving you with a wide variety of tasty options. On a busy day, when you may not have time to cook, you can technically head to the drive-through for some fast-food (if it fits your macros). Be careful, though, because this flexibility can render your efforts useless.

Learning how to improve your eating habits in a way that works with your lifestyle is one of the most effective ways that you can achieve (and maintain) the results you want. While it may take a few weeks to optimize the process for your schedule, teaching yourself how to fit your diet into your life (not changing your life to fit your diet) is the smart way to see lasting benefits.

Counting Macros On the Go

Making the decision to start a healthy diet is a big step, but it is often the easiest one in the process. Once you have committed to a specific food-based lifestyle, like counting macros, you may realize that sticking with the commitment is more difficult than you think.

You might spend the majority of your time in an office at work, be constantly running around between client appointments, or you may simply not have the energy or time to cook, making it hard to stick to your macros. Add in the very real cravings for comfort food, snacking, and carb-rich cheating, and your macros become the furthest thing from your mind. Fortunately, there are many ways to simplify macro counting to make it an easy part of your daily routine.

Have a Macro-Backup Plan

It may be easy to fit fast-food items into your macros, but these meals won’t necessarily help your body feel energized. Though it might be a convenient option, car food will eventually kill your macro-counting diet. Learning a few hacks and tricks can prevent this from happening, and can empower you to stick to a healthy meal plan throughout your busy schedule.

Look for restaurants near you that you can order takeout from, and find a healthy option from their online menus. Between looking at lunch specials and smaller portions, you can easily find something to eat for around $10, which would likely be close to what you would spend at a fast-food restaurant.

For times when fast-food is your only option, you can hit up Taco Bell and order a taco or burrito Fresco Style while staying within your macro count. Medium also put together a great list of healthy options that you can get at other fast-food restaurants:

  • Chick-fil-A – Grilled Chicken Sandwich and a Fruit Cup
  • Taco Bell – Chicken Burrito Supreme®
  • Starbucks – Reduced-fat Turkey Bacon and Egg White Breakfast Sandwich and an Unsweetened Grande Iced Coffee
  • Arby’s – Chopped Farmhouse Salad  with Roast Turkey and a Roast Beef Classic
  • McDonald’s – Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad and a Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait
  • Chipotle – Burrito Bowl

Counting Macros When Eating Out

Dining out is a core part of many social interactions, including getting together with your friends or going on a date. Deciding which entree to order can be hard enough without having to also think about how it will fit in to your dietary needs! Luckily, there are some easy ways to simplify the process, which can reduce your options, and make ordering a lot easier for you you.

Use Your Resources

The hardest part about going out to eat while on the macro diet is knowing how much of each macronutrient is in the dish you want to order. Fortunately, you can easily get around that with the help of your Lifesum calorie counting app. It can also help you keep your serving sizes and portions straight, which can get confusing. In addition to counting the calories from each food group, it also helps you make sure that you are getting enough healthy calories so that you don’t feel tired and hungry.

Though this app is useful for counting the macros in all your meals, it is especially important when you eat out. The Huffington Post reported that almost all restaurants entrees exceed the nutrition recommendations set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These excessive portion sizes can lead to unhealthy diet choices, all of which could have easily been avoided. Even if the dish you want to order is excessive, you can eat half at the restaurant, and save the rest for a later meal. This will not only keep you on track with your diet, but can also help you save money on food.

Make a List

To avoid getting to a restaurant and discovering there aren’t any healthy options available to you, make a plan in advance. Most restaurants post their menus online, giving you plenty of time to look through them and find options before you get to the restaurant. If they don’t, you can also call ahead for the menu. Over time, you will get better at recognizing which dishes you can and can’t eat. In the meantime, you can make a list of restaurants and dishes that fit your macro count as you order them to make it easier for next time.

This trick also works for food items you might buy when you have an especially busy day, like at a vending machine, or when you’re on the road at a gas station. The longer your list gets, the easier it will be for you to stick to your macro count when you’re in a hurry or when you’re travelling.

Counting Macros at the Office

Your work meals largely influence your diet, since you likely eat at least one meal every day at work. It’s important to make sure the meal you pack for work fits into your macro counts and is made up of whole foods, foods that have gone through minimum processing and contain no additives or artificial ingredients.

Planning Your Meals

It might sound like a hassle, but planning your meals doesn’t have to be stressful or time consuming. To make planning your meals easier, you can do the following:

  • Create a shopping list so you know what you need
  • Buy the freshest ingredients possible
  • Designate a weekend day to prepare foods to package and freeze in advance
  • Freeze prepared meals that can be cooked in a crock pot while you’re out of the house

The Lifesum diet planning app can help you find meal plans that feature natural and nutrient-rich ingredients in support of your macro tracking. Once you know what you are going to make, you can shop and cook enough for a few meals that you can freeze and eat later in the week. This means you won’t have to cook every day to prepare for work. You can also look for easy-to-cook meals that you can make in a crock pot or even meals that don’t require any cooking.

Counting Macros at Home

Just because you have a busy schedule doesn’t mean that you don’t have time to relax and wind down. On a lazy day at home, you might spend a few hours watching TV in bed, which will likely tempt you to pair your screen bingeing with snack bingeing. This can wreck your macro needs. To avoid this, you need to prepare yourself by stocking up your fridge and pantry with foods that have more balanced macronutrients than typical snack foods, such as:

  • Bananas
  • Walnuts
  • Eggs
  • Low-sugar yogurt

Easy Meals

Just as meal planning doesn’t have to be a very difficult task, neither does making a single macro-friendly meal at home. When you are hungry and need to make yourself something to eat, you can try making healthy meals with few ingredients. Fewer ingredients means less prep, cook, and clean time, which can have you back on your comfy couch eating a healthy meal in a short period of time.

You can also whip up something in your kitchen that doesn’t require any cooking. There are plenty of recipes for food to eat when you don’t want to cook. They generally involve fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins and fats. These types of recipes are great for snacks or meals, just make sure to assess and track them on your macro calculator. Eating portioned meals is a big part of macro-counting, but doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want on the side.

Counting macros can be a great way to incorporate a healthy diet into a healthy lifestyle, but it can be a lot of work at times. By using the tools and resources available to you and having the right mindset, you can maintain your macro diet without compromising your busy schedule, social life, or down time.

All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice. If you have or think you are at risk of developing an eating disorder, do not use the Lifesum app and seek immediate medical help.