Megan Callahan, MS, RD, LD
Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian

January 9, 2021

Health buzzwords fill television, social media, podcasts and newspapers every January as the new year kicks off. You may have heard of “counting your macros” when it comes to wellness goals as a way to lose weight and develop more muscle in the gym. Counting macros – or macronutrients – is not a new concept and can be helpful in reaching a variety of health goals.

Macronutrients are needed in larger amounts for your body to function properly and provide balance to your eating plan.

The Top 3 Macros
• Complex carbohydrates (more fiber) should make up 45% to 65% of your total daily calories. They provide glucose and are a quick source of energy.
• Lean proteins (less fat) should make up 10% to 35% of your total daily calories. They promote muscle recovery and growth, providing structure to our skin and curbing hunger.
• Healthy fats (plant-based/fish) should make up 20% to 35% of your total daily calories. They help absorb vitamins, promoting healthy cells and a healthy nervous system.

Every person’s body is different when it comes to the amount of macros needed during the day. This is where a Hy-Vee registered dietitian comes in handy. We can work with you to determine your daily calories needs and what percentage of each macro will help keep you feeling good and functioning at your best.

One simple way to start counting your macros is to plan your meals with a balance between the top three macros on your plate to maximize your nutrient intake and energy output. Complex carbohydrates include foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole-wheat bread. Proteins include lean beef, tofu or salmon. Healthy fats include olive oil, almonds and avocadoes.

To get you started, try this simple weeknight meal that combines all three macros, tastes great and will help you absorb vitamins. The leftovers would make a great lunch for the next day.

Lemongrass Chicken Veggie Soup
Serves 4

All You Need:
3¾ tsp Gustare Vita olive oil
1 cup Hy-Vee Short Cuts chopped white onions
¾ cup Hy-Vee Short Cuts chopped green bell peppers
¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp refrigerated lemongrass paste
6 cups Hy-Vee no-salt-added chicken broth
1 (6-oz) boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 (12-oz) pkg Hy-Vee broccoli florets, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
1½ cups Hy-Vee frozen baby lima bean
1 (6-oz) pkg Hy-Vee snow peas, trimmed and halved
8 oz Hy-Vee Short Cuts zucchini noodles
Radish slices, for garnish
Lemon wedges, for serving

All you do:

  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and peppers; cook until softened. Add parsley, garlic, ginger and lemongrass paste. Cook 1 minute. Add broth and chicken breast. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes or until chicken is done (165 degrees F). Remove chicken and shred into bite-size pieces.
  2. Add broccoli, lima beans and snow peas to pot. Bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes. Return chicken to pot and add zucchini noodles; heat through. Garnish with radish slices, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 270 calories, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g transfat, 30mg cholesterol, 440mg sodium, 31g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 7g sugar (0g added sugar), 21g protein. Daily Values: Vitamin D 0%, Calcium 10%, Iron 15%, Potassium 15%. Recipe source: January 2021 Hy-Vee Seasons magazine. The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.