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Breaking down Macro-nutrients

Nutrients are split into two groups 

  1. Macro-nutrients: Carbohydrates, protein and fat

  2. Micro-nutrients: Vitamins and minerals

Today let’s talk about macro-nutrients. Macro-nutrients make up the majority of our diet as we consume these in higher quantities than micro-nutrients.

  • Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates are our biggest source of energy and are particularly important for individuals with an active lifestyle as we need to consume enough carbs to replace the energy burned.

  • Protein:

Protein is needed for growth and repair of muscle and body tissue. Protein is particularly important if you are physically active, or if you are an older adult. Older adults tend to lose muscle at a faster rate than younger adults.

  • Fats:

Fats are an important part of our diet. However, fat has more calories per gram than carbs and protein and some fats are not healthy for us. 

  1. Fats that are solid at room temperature often contain saturated and trans-fats which are not healthy for us. E.g. Butter, margarine, lard

  2. Fats that are liquid at room temperature such as oils that come from plants and seafood are better for us. E.g. Avocados, nuts, seeds, seafoods such as salmon

Macro-nutrients provide the body with the energy it needs to function optimally. To ensure we get enough macro-nutrients from food it is important to eat a balanced diet with sources of carbs, protein and fat at every meal. 

Quick tip: While cooking, think ‘Do I have a source of carbs, protein and fats included in this meal’ 

If the answer is no, try and add the missing component. 

Food sources of carbs, protein and fat.

Most foods contain a combination of carbs, protein and fat. Some foods are high in one specific macro-nutrient, while other foods contain high amounts of two nutrients and fall into two macro-nutrient groups.

Sources of Carbs include:

  • Whole grains: brown rice, wholewheat pasta, whole grain bread

  • Vegetables: peas, potatoes, corn, other starchy veggies

  • Fruits: Mangoes, bananas, figs and apples

  • Beans and legumes: black beans, lentils, chickpeas

  • Dairy products: milk and yogurt

Why not check out some of our carb-friendly recipes available on the Recipe section of our website, available to members

Sources of protein include:

  • Poultry: Chicken and turkey

  • Eggs: particularly egg whites

  • Red meat: beef lamb and pork

  • Seafood: tuna, salmon, shrimp and cod

  • Dairy products: milk, yogurt and cheese

  • Beans and legumes: black beans, lentils and chickpeas

  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews and pumpkin seeds

  • Soy products: tofu, edamame and tempeh

Why not check out some of our protein rich recipes available on the Recipe section of our website, available to members

Sources of fat include:

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Coconut: fresh, dried and coconut oil

  • Avocados: fresh and avocado oil

  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews and pumpkin seeds

  • Fatty fish: salmon and herring

Check out some of our healthy fat recipes available on the Recipe section of our website, available to members


By Nutritionist Lisa McGee

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