Pantry staples for specific diets like Whole30, paleo, or keto may come to mind pretty easily, but what about macro-counting? When you count your macros, you are still encouraged to eat the foods you love every day. So what exactly do you need to buy that will not only be versatile enough to make multiple (delicious) meals out of but will also help you hit your macros throughout the week? Take a look at our top 10 essential pantry items listed below for macro success!
1. Berries (or other fruit!)
Fruits are a fantastic carb source, and berries are our top choice! Fruits already have a high water and fiber content, as well as vitamin and mineral content. Berries, in particular, are loaded with extra antioxidants that help fight inflammation and damage from free radicals. However, what’s even better for macro-counting, is that berries are very versatile: you can blend them into a smoothie, use them to top off your yogurt parfait, add them to baking, or even snack on them individually. If berries aren’t your preferred type of fruit, you can always use your preferred favorites like apples, bananas, oranges, melons, pineapple, etc. Below are five different Macrostax meals you can find in the app that are made with berries!
2. Spinach (or other veggies!)
Vegetables are essential to any healthy diet. Spinach is another nutrient-rich favorite of ours because it’s high in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K1, folic acid, iron, AND calcium. That’s a lot! Another great thing about spinach? It can be added to the mix in almost any dish. Throw some freshly chopped spinach into your eggs or omelet in the mornings, put it in your salad mix, or in a sandwich, in baked casseroles, or even pasta dishes … the possibilities are endless! Check out the below recipes from our app that all get a little extra nutrient boost from spinach.
Healthy fats from nuts, fish, oil, and avocado are another dietary essential. When you’re counting macros, you have a certain amount of fat macros you need to hit. Opt to get your fats from these sources instead of hidden fats in processed and refined foods. Avocado is another one of our favorites here due to its versatility. Avocado is an easy salad topper if you need some fats, or in the morning on your toast, as a side at dinner, and even a creamy smoothie base! If you want to find an alternative to avocado, any nut (almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, cashews, pistachios, chia seeds, etc.) or nut butter will work perfectly. Nuts and nut butters are also very versatile when adding to your meal or dish! Below are some of our favorite avocado and nut-based recipes!
Oats--raw oats, old-fashioned rolled oats, steel-cut oats, quick-cooking oats--are all a form of complex carbohydrates that you’re going to need when counting macros to help you hit your numbers for the day. A great-tasting whole grain, oats provide a lot of fiber, pack nearly 10g of protein per half a cup, and are rich in manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, folate, and more! Oatmeal is a perfect (and easy) meal to make for breakfast, or even a snack, and the flavor variations are endless! See below for our top-rated oatmeal recipes that will have you covered for a whole week of meal prep!
5. Rice (or other whole grains!)
Rice is another high-carb, whole-grain staple to have in your pantry in addition to oats. Rice is great on its own to accompany your main meal, or you can use it as a base (think fried rice skillet). Rich in dietary fiber, manganese, niacin, thiamin, selenium, and magnesium, rice also happens to be gluten-free, which is a great item to have on hand if you have gluten sensitivities. If you prefer other whole grains, or want to experiment a bit, quinoa, barley, millet, farro, bulgur wheat, spelt, and buckwheat are great (and also very healthy) alternatives! Check out our fan-favorite rice recipes below you can find in the app too.
6. Chicken breast (or other lean proteins!)
Ah, chicken breast, the go-to for dieters everywhere! What’s great about chicken breast is that it is probably the most versatile meat to use. Chicken breast specifically is composed of almost all protein with little to no fat--perfect for macro-counters! If you want other options to switch up your chicken routine, you can always opt for turkey breast, shrimp, cod, or tuna--all high-protein, low-fat options. Whether it’s cooked in an oven, pan, slow cooker, or instant pot, chicken can be used as a protein source in any one of your meals. Look at the below most popular recipes from our app!
Eggs can draw mixed opinions from the nutrition community due to the saturated fat content from the egg yolks. But the truth is, egg yolks contain essential fat-soluble vitamins, including A, D, E, and K. Plus, an entire egg is a great source of protein! Eggs are a very quick and easy option in the morning for breakfast, sandwich toppers, or even the hard-boiled version for a salad add-in. Check out some Macrostax egg recipes below!
8. Low-fat yogurt
Non-fat and low-fat dairy products are another great source of protein for macro-counters. Low-fat yogurts make a great on-the-go snack, as does cottage cheese or string cheese. For those that are lactose intolerant or just perhaps dairy-free, non-dairy alternatives don’t have quite as high of a protein content, but they still make for great snacks! Check out our top yogurt ideas below.
Greek Yogurt with Sliced Banana
Simple Greek Yogurt Bowl
9. Protein bar
Protein bars seem to be the essential on-the-go snack, or pre-workout snack! They’re already pre-packaged so they are easy to transport, they are smaller in volume and easy to digest if you’re on your way to the gym, and they usually have the perfect macro-friendly ratio of carbs, protein, and fat. The great thing about protein bars these days is that there are so many options out there--so you’re bound to find one that you love, whether that’s for the flavor profile, the ingredients, the plant-based protein, or the macros. Keep one in your bag so you have something to hit the spot (and keep you on track) if you’re ever in a pinch.
10. Whey protein powder (or collagen peptides!)
In case you haven’t noticed by now, getting your protein is the most important (and often the trickiest) thing to do when you’re counting your macros! This is where supplements can come in handy. Protein powders (whey, casein, or plant-based versions) all fit the bill. Our preferred brand is Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey (check it out here and use code “MACROSTAX” for 20% off)! If you’re ever in a pinch to hit your protein macro target for the day, you can throw protein powder into a shaker with water and you’re good to go. You can add fruit and milk and yogurt for a smoothie, you can add it to yogurt as a mix-in, and you can even do some baking with protein powder for an extra boost in those macro-friendly muffins! Check out our favorite recipes using protein powder below.
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