Since this is Stony Brook and we are all bio/pre-med I’m going to make the assumption that you know what a carbohydrate, a fat, and a protein all are. What you may not know is what you should eat and how much you should eat. This post is going to cover the basics, it won’t drown you in an overabundance of facts, that will come in time, but it will point you in the correct direction.
Step 1: Calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Your BMR is the amount of calories your burn in an average day. An equation won’t give you an exact figure but it will give you a ballpark estimate of how much you should be eating. This website provides a great calculator that includes the Harris-Benedict Equation which accounts for exercise.
Now, if you’re trying to gain weight, add 500 calories. If you’re trying to lose weight, subtract 500 and if you’re happy where you are, leave it the same.
Step 2: What should your diet consist of?
I’m a fan of the 40/30/30 split. That means that 40% of your calories should be from protein, 30% from carbohydrates and 30% from fat. Protein and carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram and fats contain 9 calories per gram.
Protein sources should consist of: beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork, eggs, protein powders or any other lean meats.
Fat sources should consist of: coconut oil, olive oil, fish oil, nuts and seeds, grass-fed butter, or eggs.
Carbohydrate sources should consist of: any and all vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy greens, etc. Minimize intake of very starchy grains and vegetables such as breads, pastas, white potatoes, and rice. Occasional intake is fine but these should not be the cornerstone of your carbohydrate choices.
Step 3: Tools for success
The Lose It! iPhone and Android app is a great choice for calculating calories on the go. For the number-cruncher, NutritionData will break down the content of food to the individual fatty acids, vitamins and a whole lot more.
Step 4: Don’t Overthink, Don’t Stress
You don’t need to stress if you diet isn’t perfect. The negative effects of stress are much worse than the negative effects of a 90% perfect diet. If you want to have a slice of pizza with friends or a few drinks, that’s fine, just don’t do it in excess and keep it within your macros.