One of the hardest things with any diet, is the temptation of junk foods. So, of course, the more exposed you are to this temptation, the harder it is. If you are counting macros with a family then you definitely understand the struggle.
The nice thing about IIFYM, is the flexibility it gives. No single food group is off limits. If your fam is having a pizza night, there is a good chance you can make a slice fit. But, eating “junk” on a regular basis is not realistic.
So today we’re sharing some of our tips for how Scott & I manage to stay on track even with a family. Warning, it’s not super easy & sometimes it takes a little extra time.
You may be thinking: well, you’re both tracking so that’s easier. But, it’s not. We have different goals & different stats, so our macros are very different. On top of that, we have 2 young kids who love to snack and don’t always [NEVER] want to eat salads or protein with a side of veggies lol.
Just starting out? Check out our beginner’s guide!
Onto the tips:
Be open to making meals individually. The best case scenario is that everyone eats the same meals. You only dirty one pan. And everyone’s cool with it. But, that doesn’t really work–especially if you’re trying to track accurately.
Maybe we all have eggs & toast for breakfast, but making 1 collective batch makes it hard to track accurately. Plus, it doesn’t always align with MY macro counts for the day. So, I decided to just be cool with making separate batches.
When I make eggs, I keep everyone’s needs and preferences into account. They’re happier & so am I. Why? Because now instead of having to track 2 whole scrambled eggs for myself because I was trying to save myself a few minutes of cooking, I can now track 1 whole egg & 2 egg whites & better hit my protein & fat goals for the day.
In other words, no one has to compromise. I get my mix of whites & whole eggs, Farrah gets her scrambled whole egg, David gets his 2 egg whites, and Scott gets his 3 eggs sunny side up. We’re happier, and it only took an extra 3 minutes of cooking.
Same goes for waffles. Yes, I could whip up 1 large batch of batter & be done with it. But again, harder to track accurately. It’s just as easy to measure 1 batch of dry waffle mix at a time. 53 g of Kodiak cakes, add water, mix & pour onto hot waffle maker. While that’s cooking I weigh out Scott’s 53 g grams. Done. Easy. Yes, it’s slightly more work, BUT ’tis the life when you’re trying to track super accurately.
Have go to snacks. This is where meal prep comes into play. Cut up all the fruit the day you get it & have it ready. You can also have a bunch of pre-packaged snacks that various family members like at the ready.
Pre-log your food. If you know you’re having a pizza night on Friday & it’ll be hard to resist a slice, then don’t resist! Just log it in MyFitnessPal ahead of time & work breakfast, lunch, & snacks AROUND that meal. Maybe that means you’re lunch needs to be a salad with very little dressing, but that’s okay. You will survive.
For dinners, have easy add ons for people who are hungrier (or have more macros). We typically have the same structure for our dinners. There’s a lot of variety, but most of the time the macro breakdown is similar. Between 20 & 30 grams of protein, 20 g carbs or less, and very little fats. Scott knows that. If he has more macros available to him, or if I do, we keep some easy add ons around. Microwavable Quinoa & Brown Rice Packs are an easy side to add extra carbs to dinner. Another option: eat dinner as is and then have some of the previously mentioned go-to snacks afterward.
For the kids, we also use easy add ons. For example, on taco salad night, they don’t usually want the salad. They will eat the taco meat with some tortilla chips, greek yogurt (in place of sour cream) & then a side of fruit. Easy & I didn’t have to cook anything extra; I just arranged their plates differently.
Learn how to track complicated meals. You can definitely make large batches of family friendly meals & still track pretty accurately. While the ideal meal for tracking is one where you can separate the meat from the various sides, there IS a way to track soups, stews, chili, etc. I go over this in my post on tips for weighing your food.
Invest in an air fryer! This is not a must, but if your family is anything like mine, we LOVE fried foods. Fried foods are pretty much never macro friendly. But, if you have an air fryer, you can make healthy versions of chicken wings, french fries, and even chicken nuggets that are still crispy without the oil. We love this Gourmia Digital Air Fryer.
No matter how long I baked my chicken wings, they NEVER got crispy. The air fryer solved this. And now we have so many more family friendly meals we can eat, that won’t hurt our macros. A current family fave are homemade chicken nuggets in the air fryer!
If other members of your family are also tracking macros… they are responsible for making their meals fit! Scott knows what type of meal is usually for dinner & will work all his other meals & snacks around it. I do the same. If you are old enough to track macros, then you are old enough to be responsible for your food choices.
Similarly, never blame someone else for falling off your diet. You chose to eat the meal that didn’t fit your macros. It is no one else’s fault. The sooner we take accountability for our actions, the sooner we stop letting circumstances rule our decisions. We are not victims to the food in our homes.
Even if the only food available to us day in and day out was McDonald’s, there is a way to make it work. You don’t have to have 3 double cheeseburgers. You can choose salad, grilled chicken breast, yogurt, etc.
YOU have the power to control your food choices. Your environment does not, and your family does not. Counting macros with a family is just harder because you are surrounded by more temptation, but it is not impossible.
Thanks for reading! If you have any additional tips be sure to share them below!
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