In a previous article, we discussed how you can use your hand to track and gauge macronutrients to create well-balanced meals. The hand is a great reference point for beginners who want to ensure they’re building meals that provide them with macronutrient amounts that feed into their goals from a habit-forming standpoint.
Basically from a topical point of view, we can always use our hands to ensure we’re doing things like 1) eating enough protein at each meal, 2) consuming enough vegetables throughout the day, and 3) getting in enough fat, based on our goals. However, how can we take it a step further and fluctuate macronutrients with our hands to coincide even more with our goals?
In this article, we’re going to discuss the next level of using your hands to track nutritional habits and progress through strategic meal composition. For example, we’ll discuss questions like, what would a high-carb meal look like in reference to using our hand to outline macronutrients? How does our intake coincide with all of this?
[Want more out of your nutrition? Grab our affordable 12-week powerbuilding and nutrition bundle!]
Basic Parameters We’ll Need
When building strategic nutritional habits that relate to your goals, you do not need to be over-the-top meticulous to the tee with your tracking. However, we will likely need a baseline idea of what your intake is to ensure you’re taking progressive steps towards your goals.
If we lack a ballpark idea of how much we should consume on a daily basis, then it will be more challenging to compose meals with strategy, as we really don’t know how much of what macronutrients we should be consuming. To help you out, we wanted to provide a list of three parameters that everyone should aim to know and achieve on a daily basis.
- Parameter 1: Establishing goals.
- Building goal-focused cognizance is crucial for changing nutritional habits as it can lay the framework for eating patterns that will actually get us towards our goals. Goals can be specific or broad, and we’d suggest beginners keeping things broader to acclimate to slower, more steady dietary changes.
- Parameter 2: Estimating intake.
- Again, we do not need to track intake every single day and be spot-on accurate, but we will need a baseline understanding of how much we should be consuming to achieve our goals in a strategic means (dieting, gaining, and maintaining).
- Parameter 3: Eating protein at every meal and hitting daily protein goal.
- Despite gaining, dieting, or maintaining goals, a good method to employ to hedge our bets for ensuring regular muscle gain and preservation is to make sure we’re eating protein at every meal and hitting our daily protein goal.
- Generally speaking, a goal of .8-1g of protein per lb of bodyweight will suffice for most and we can easily use this number to see “how many palms” of protein we should eat a day (author’s note: it’s worth pointing out that this can increase/decrease based on goals and we discuss this in-depth in Pheasyque Lab’s Nutrition course).
Once we’ve established these three parameters, we can then begin to shift our meal composition with our hands with more strategy. This is also why we’re not always the biggest fans of blanket dietary approaches when establishing meal composition, as this lacks the context needed for true goal-focused progression.
If you want a goal-focused approach and a calculator to help you find your maintenance intake, along with establishing your ideal macronutrient breakdown, then sign up for Pheasyque Lab’s nutrition course Cut, Gain, and Maintain!
Scaling Meals Based On Your Goals
In the context of using our hands to build meals when working towards goals, we’ll essentially increase and decrease the amounts of macronutrients accordingly based on our ideal composition of the meal, and use our hands as reference points.
Remember, these are the hand-focused allotments for fat, carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables.
- Protein: Palm-sized portion, roughly 20-30g of protein.
- Carbohydrates: Cupped-hand portion, roughly 20-35g of carbohydrates.
- Fat: Thumb-sized portion, roughly 10-20g of fat.
- Vegetables: Fist-sized portion.
Below, we’ll go through a few examples of what different meals could look like in practice while eating towards macro goals. Please note, the examples below are only templates and ideas to help provide you with an idea of how we can use our hands to more strategically alter macronutrient intake per our goals.
High-Protein, Low(ish)-Carb Meal
Let’s say the goal is eating a high-protein meal with a lower volume of carbs. One could double their protein service, so use two palms to gauge intake, then use a half cupped-hand and thumb to provide the meal with the rest of its calories. In addition, a fist of vegetables is also a good idea to include.
High-Protein, High-Carb Meal
Let’s say you finish a workout and want to consume a meal that’s high in protein and carbs. In this case, these two macronutrients would be increased while fat would likely be decreased slightly.
Remember, your intake should factor into how much you’re influencing the composition of the macronutrients.
High-Carb, Moderate Protein Meal
For the individual that wants to eat a high-carb meal with moderate protein and lower fat, then the meal could look like the following.
Remember, we’re trying to keep protein intake consistent to achieve ours, so likely there will always be at the bare minimum and half-palm of protein on the plate!
The hands can be awesome tools to help you build meals with macronutrient compositions that coincide with your goals. When shifting meal composition, remember the parameters discussed above and try to build consistent staple meals that you enjoy and work for you.
There’s no right or wrong way to build meals and using our hands is one of the many tools we can use to achieve our goals!