How You Can Make Sure the Calories You Eat Matter

Are you hitting your nutrient goals or just eating the amount of calories your calorie tracking app tells you? Learn how to pick nutritious foods.

Whether you’re interested in building muscle, losing fat, or maintaining your weight, you need more than just the right ratio of calorie intake to energy expenditure. For long-term health and peak performance, you also need to make sure that you’re getting the right nutrients in your daily diet. Find out how you can make sure the calories you eat matter and discover just how much you can learn from using a food tracker app.

What a Daily Food Log Can Reveal About Your Diet

When you use a food tracker app to create a daily food log, you’ll get a detailed look at exactly what you’re eating and how many calories you’re consuming on a daily basis. Of course, tracking your calorie consumption is essential, since you’ll need to consume less than you need to lose weight, just as much as you need to maintain, and a bit more than you need to put on muscle mass.

Yet the best food trackers do more than just record your caloric intake. They also help you identify patterns in your eating habits. You might have noticed that you tend to be hungry in the mornings, but you might not have realized that you consume 75 percent of your daily calories before noon. With a clearer picture of how and when you eat, you can take steps to ensure that the calories you consume keep you fueled throughout the day.

Even more importantly, food trackers also reveal your diet’s food quality, which can substantially affect the outcome of your diet plan. After all, you could be achieving a calorie deficit with great success every single day. But if the majority of your calories come from sugary diet treats or convenience foods, those calories might not be as high-quality as they should be. Keeping a daily food log can help you keep your food quality high.

How to Sustain a High-Quality Diet

Recent studies have shown that a high-quality diet plays an important role in keeping you healthy, which means calorie counting and sustainable eating should factor equally into your diet plan. Rather than getting your daily calories from processed or high-glycemic foods, you should focus on fresh and unprocessed whole foods. The best way to do this is to zero in on macronutrients and micronutrients.

How to Get the Macronutrients You Need

A high-quality diet includes a healthy balance of three macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. All of your calories come from these three macros, which are the building blocks of your food. While a typical macro breakdown is 50 percent carbs, 25 percent protein, and 25 percent fat, there are various macro ratios. Such as a higher percentage of fat for people eating keto diet foods. Different ratios work better for different people. Your size, activity level, and fitness goals all affect your ideal macro breakdown.

Whether you’re going for a high-protein or a low-carb meal plan, you’ll want to ensure that your macros come from whole foods. Try to prioritize the following energy sources for your macros:

  • Proteins: These should come from lean beef, fatty fish, turkey, chicken, and eggs.
  • Fats: These should come from nuts, avocados, and healthy oils like olive and coconut.
  • Carbs: These should come from whole grains, leafy greens, and brightly colored veggies.

Note that sugary sweets, many starches, and alcoholic drinks don’t make the macro cut. Try to avoid getting your calories from these sources.

How to Get the Micronutrients You Need

While macros are essential to any high-quality food diet, you can’t forget about micronutrients, which are the vitamins and minerals in the food you eat. For optimal health, it’s essential to get 100 percent of your recommended daily value of each one. If you’re chronically deficient in any of the essential micronutrients, you could put yourself at a higher risk of developing diseases and illnesses. Try to get your micronutrients from the following high-quality sources:

  • Vitamin A: This vitamin keeps your eyes sharp, and you can get it from brightly colored vegetables.
  • B Vitamins: This group of vitamins helps you do everything from metabolize food to increase stamina, and you can get them from lean meats, eggs, and other healthy protein sources.
  • Vitamin C: This vitamin builds and repairs tissue, and you can get it from fruits and veggies.
  • Vitamin D: This vitamin keeps bones and cells strong, and you can get it from fatty fish and eggs.
  • Vitamin E: This vitamin repairs tissue, and you can get it from healthy oils and seeds.
  • Vitamin K: This vitamin helps your blood clot, and you can get it from leafy greens.
  • Calcium: This mineral keeps your bones strong, and you can get it from yogurt and leafy greens.
  • Iron: This mineral keeps your blood healthy, and you can get it from lean meats and some leafy greens.
  • Potassium: This mineral keeps just about all of your systems going, and you can get it from veggies and nuts.
  • Sodium: This mineral balances your fluids, and you can get it from table salt.
  • Zinc: This mineral is essential for a healthy immune system, and you can get it from nuts and some whole grains.

Why You Can Benefit From a Food Tracker App

Balancing caloric intake with micro- and macronutrients and your gym routine might sound like a lot. That’s where a food tracker can help, especially if you want to keep an eye on your health for the long term. Based on your personal data and your health goals, a food tracker app can calculate your daily needs in terms of calories, carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

As you input what you’ve consumed during the day, the app can keep you up to speed on where you’re doing well and which nutrients to seek out. With this information in hand, you can make better choices about where you get your calories and ensure that your diet focuses on high-quality foods rather than empty calories.

No matter what your short- or long-term health goals are, you’ll benefit from using a food tracker and a daily food log. From macronutrients and micronutrients to calorie intake and physical activity, you can have all of your essential health information at your fingertips.

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.