Macro bowls are popping up everywhere these days…with new restaurants touting the “build your bowl” method, there’s a sound reason why. Macro bowls stand for “Macronutrient bowls”, the premise of having all 3 macronutrients in your meal or “bowl”.
So what are macronutrients? There are 3 macronutrients our bodies require to live and thrive, found in food:
Our bodies require ALL three. This is why extremely low-carb diets or low-fat diets don’t work…our bodies needs a proper balance of ALL macros, not just mainly one or two! They all provide difference functions to the body and are needed for a variety of reasons to keep your body healthy. For example, carbohydrates are the ONLY fuel source for our brains. Without enough carbs, our brains don’t get the proper nutrition they need, and you will feel run down, unfocused, tired, and unable to work your best at work or school. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which help raise our blood sugar to provide us energy. (Ever wonder why people who cut carbs are usually on edge, tired, or in bad moods all the time?)
Protein is made up of amino acids, which help with many functions of the body including muscle synthesis, maintenance, and growth. If you don’t eat enough calories from carbohydrate or fats, your body may break down muscle to use protein for energy, aka NOT good to lose muscle that you’ve worked hard in the gym for!
Fat is the third macronutrient, which many people fear. Fat is needed by the body and all of us require a certain amount! Fat does NOT make you fat. Fat helps regulate body temperature, hormone production, and tissue growth. It’s all about choosing the right kind of fats. Limit your consumption of unhealthy fats like fried food, baked goods, bacon and other fatty meats, whole milk, butter, and icecream. Increase healthy fats in your diet like avocado, nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil, flax, and chia seeds.
Bolay (shown above) is my new favorite restaurant which has the macro bowl premise down. When you walk in, you choose a “base” (usually your carbohydrate i.e. rice noodles, sweet potato, rice), then you pick from colorful veggies (low-carb and nutrient-packed i.e. brussel sprouts, cauliflower, mushrooms, kale), a protein (meat, tofu, fish, chicken, pork) and a topping which usually includes a sauce (made from olive oil, healthy fat) or cheese (another fat). Each time you get a bowl you have all 3 macros!
Want to know how much you need of each during the day?
Here’s a list of the Dietary Reference Intakes of Macronutrients. Check out how much you need based on your gender and age!