Tips & Tricks for Macro-Friendly Alternatives to Crowd Favs

Jenny Bender, S2 Badass Intern

Busy schedules equal less time for meal preparation and more quick, take-out temptations. However, whipping up cuisine in your own kitchen can help you stretch your macros by allowing complete control over the ingredients in your recipes. Cooking dinners and packing lunches will help spare you from consuming rich and excessive portions of take-out food. Planning and cooking does not need to be tedious or time consuming. With a few simple ingredients, and smart “swap-outs” you can assemble a delicious and nutritious meal without spending hours over the stove.

Home cooking should not feel like a chore—it should be fun, innovative, and economical. Below are some macro-friendly alternatives to some of our clients favorite meals. Each offers a balance of macros while also keeping convenience in mind. I have included  a vegetarian and non-vegetarian option for each meal. Try, enjoy, and modify the recipes to fit your preferences.

Breakfast

Easy Egg Muffins (serves 8)

  • 7 large eggs or egg whites

  • ¾ cup spinach

  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper and onion

  • ¼ cup milk

  • ¼ cup low-fat or part-skim shredded cheese

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 375 degrees and spray 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick spray. Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Pour equally into 8 of the muffin tin spots—each cup should be almost full. Bake in oven for 18-22 minutes until puffy. Eat right away or store in fridge for up to 1 week. Pair with whole grain toast and avocado or salsa for more sustenance.

Overnight Oats (serves 1)

  • ½ cup old-fashioned, rolled oats

  • ½ cup milk or almond milk

  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey

  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar or stevia

  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

  • ½ Scoop of your favorite protein powder

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover, and let set overnight in refrigerator. Oatmeal will be ready to go in the morning. Top with a sprinkle of nuts or ½ sliced banana to add more flavor, if desired.

Lunch

Lemon Garlic Tuna Burgers (serves 1-2)

  • 1 (5 oz) chunk light tuna

  • 1 egg or egg white

  • 2 Tbsp. crushed corn flake cereal, ground-up nuts, or rolled oats (instead of bread crumbs)

  • 2 tsp. lemon juice

  • 2 Tbsp. parsley

  • 1 Tbsp. salt-free lemon pepper seasoning (Mrs. Dash)

  • 2 Tbsp. shredded low fat cheese (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Using hands, form into 2 patties and place in non-stick skillet. Cook both sides on medium-high until browned. Serve on a whole grain sandwich flat or on top a bed of mixed greens. For extra flavor, add onion, tomato, mustard, avocado, or Sriracha.

Flatbread Pizza (serves 1)

  • 1 whole grain flatbread (I use Flat-out)

  • ¼ cup tomato puree

  • ¼ cup shredded 2% cheese or 1 low fat cheese stick

  • Oregano and garlic powder to season

  • Veggies: spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, onions

Preheat oven for 375 degrees and spray baking sheet or pizza pan with non-stick spray. On flatbread, evenly spread tomato puree and sprinkle on the shredded cheese. Add your preferred veggie toppings and garnish with oregano. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until crust is toasty and stable.

Dinner

Salsa Verde Chicken (serves 4-6)

  • 4 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breast

  • 1 (16 oz) jar of salsa (green salsa for “verde” or regular salsa)

  • 1 can of diced green chilies

  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin

  • Splash of lime juice for flavor

In a crock-pot, combine all ingredients. Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours. Using a fork, shred chicken and continue to stir mixture until evenly combined. Serve with warm corn tortillas or on top a bed of greens.

Spaghetti Squash with Sautéed Veggies (serves 4)

  • 1 large spaghetti squash

  • 1 medium diced onion

  • 3 cups spinach, chopped

  • I (15 oz) can of diced or chopped tomato

  • 1 (8 oz) package of baby portabella mushrooms

  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice spaghetti squash in half (microwave for 2-4 minutes to soften skin, if needed) and scoop out seeds. Place face-down on baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes until tender. Let cool. In a medium skillet, sauté onion, spinach, garlic, tomatoes, and mushrooms with salt and pepper. Using a fork, shred spaghetti squash into a large bowl and then combine with sautéed veggies. Mix well to evenly distribute ingredients. Top with feta cheese or stir in 1 cheese wedge (I use Laughing Cow brand) for creaminess and extra flavor.

Snacks

Banana Ice cream (serves 1)

  • 1 very ripe banana, frozen (peel, slice, and freeze for at least 6 hours)

  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter or peanut butter powder

  • 1 Tbsp. rolled oats or chocolate chips

Thaw frozen banana until you are able to mash it with a spoon. Continue to mash and whip until a smooth, creamy consistency is reached. Mix in remaining ingredients. Enjoy guilt-free.

Baked Veggie Chips (serves 1-2)

  • 1 medium sweet potato

  • 1 medium turnip

  • 1 medium beetroot

  • I medium zucchini

  • 1 large carrot

  • 1 tsp. sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice all vegetables into thin slivers, making sure each piece is equal in size. In a bowl, toss with salt, pepper, and a spritz of non-stick spray or oil. Spread out slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 min. Flip slices over and bake for another 10 min until crispy. Let cool and devour.

Look forward to hearing your reviews and feedback! Happy macro-ing.