If you’ve ever done a “bulk”, like the Macrostax Muscle Gain plan, you know that hitting all your macros in one day can be tough–especially when you’re already feeling full, or you don’t have time at work to sit down and eat. On the other hand, if you’ve done a “cut”, like the Macrostax Fat Loss plan, you know that it can be hard just staying within your macros on certain days! Well, we have a solution for that. Below is a list of simple food swaps you can make for when you’re cutting (eating less) or bulking (eating more). Additionally, you can use these same swaps for when you’re simply just feeling a little hungry, or a little full on any given day, or between your rest day and workout day macros. These tips should help you learn food densities for some common items so you can make your own macro-smart decisions on the fly!
1. Almond Milk vs. Whole Milk
Almond milk only has 30 calories (1g carbs, 1g protein, and 2g of fat) per serving! And it can be used as a milk or cream replacement in anything–shakes and smoothies, coffee creamer, lattes, etc. Whole milk has 150 calories per serving (12g carbs, 8g protein, 8g fat). For the same serving size of 1 cup, you can cut your macros or increase your macros with the same creamy taste.
2. Egg Whites vs. Eggs
If you love some good ol’ fashioned eggs in the morning, this is another excellent food swap. One whole egg contains 80 calories (6g protein and 5g of fat), whereas one egg white contains 15 calories from just protein (3.5g) and no fat. If you’re swapping your whole eggs for egg whites, you can still make them scrambled, or as an omelet. If you want a little extra pizazz, you could throw in some healthy mixed veggies and low fat cheese!
3. Chicken Breast vs. Steak
As we all know, chicken breast is one of the ultimate go-to proteins because of its high protein and low fat profile, plus its versatility in any dish. Steak and other cuts of red meat usually contain much higher amounts of fat marbled through the meat (usually around 40%), which means you’re using quite a bit of your fat macros for the day on a food that isn’t providing any extra volume. But if you’re having a hard time hitting your fat macros, steak would be a great option to help you hit your target.
4. Tuna vs. Salmon
The same concept applies to these two types of fish. Tuna, either canned albacore or sushi-grade ahi, contains less than 1g of fat for a regular 3-ounce serving, providing a nearly pure protein punch for your macros. Salmon is another common protein source, and while it is high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, it is nearly 40% fat, meaning it has 11g of fat and just 17g of protein for a 3-ounce serving.
5. Powdered Peanut Butter vs. Peanut Butter
If you haven’t tried powdered peanut butter yet, you need to hop on that bandwagon! Made from peanut flour, the peanuts have been pressed to expel most of the oil and fats, leaving us with a lot of protein instead, and most importantly, that same peanut butter taste we all know and love. Two tablespoons of regular peanut butter contains almost 200 calories (16g fat and 8g of protein). Switch to the powdered variety and you’ll get only 50 calories (1g fat and 2g of protein). That’s a big difference!
6. Spaghetti Squash vs. Spaghetti
Spaghetti squash isn’t just for keto and low-carb lovers! This is a great option for anyone that wants to enjoy their favorite pasta sauce with an extra veggie boost. For a 100g serving, swapping regular spaghetti for spaghetti squash will cut your carbs in half from 30g to 15g.
7. Shirataki Noodles vs. Noodes
Shirataki noodles, sometimes called konjac noodles, are made from glucomannan, a fiber from the root of the konjac plant found in Asian regions. Also dubbed “miracle noodles”, they are virtually calorie-free. The only calories come from the actual fiber of the main ingredient. One serving contains less than 3g of carbs and 5 calories! Comparatively, a bowl of pasta is usually about 60g of carbs. So, a bowl of spaghetti bolognese would be a great option after a long workout. But an Asian noodle bowl from shirataki would make a great dinner on a rest day.
8. Lettuce vs. Rice
Ever made a grain bowl or a salad bowl? Swapping lettuce for rice (or vice versa) as the “base” in your bowl is a good way to mix up the carb densities, like the option above. Whether it’s an Asian, Tex-Mex, or Mediterranean style dish, using a lettuce mix will take up only about 5g of your carbs, for the same size bowl. If you’re looking to use more carbs, swap a cup of rice in instead, and that will be 45g of carbs. Another option? Split your bowl with half lettuce and half rice to meet in the middle!
9. Whole fruit vs. Dried fruit
Whole fruit provides more volume because of its high water content. However, dried fruit is a great way to get carbs in (especially before a workout), if you don’t want to fill yourself up too much. For example, a 1-ounce serving of dried apple chips has 27g of carbs, and a 1-ounce serving of a regular apple has only 4g carbs. You can use any fruit option here (mangoes, apricots, raisins, kiwi, pineapple, apples, etc.)!
10. Ice Cream vs. Sorbet
This list wouldn’t be complete without a dessert swap option! Traditional ice creams are made with heavy cream (and lots of sugar) which is what makes them so delicious. There’s even a little bit of protein in there from the dairy. If you’re looking for another summer-time sweet option, sorbet would be the way to go. Sorbet is made from fruit/fruit juices, water, and sugar, so it’s pretty much fat free and can still satisfy your sweet tooth.