Carbohydrates help the body convert and store energy. Fiber is a type of carb that’s special in that the body doesn’t digest it. Because fiber doesn’t break down into glucose like most carbs, it keeps you fuller for longer. There are a variety of foods that contain fiber, and fiber supplements can also be helpful for keeping you fueled and satiated. (Here are a few that nutrition experts highly recommend.)

Proteins help the body repair cells and create new ones. Because they’re complex molecules by nature, proteins take the body a little longer to digest so they also keep you fuller, for longer (not as long as fiber or fats, but longer than your average carbs).

Finally, fats help the body absorb micronutrients, store energy, and assist in other functions. Their role as a sidekick to the other macronutrients makes them an essential part of your diet.

“In order to make any meal truly balanced, it’s recommended to include all three macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats,” Bouvier explains. And depending on your health goals and stage in life, your body will need a particular combination of these macros throughout the day to keep you in tip-top shape. 

Including all three macros may not be doable for every meal, but there are plenty of hours (and meals) in a day to get all of the nutrients you need. Remember that when you design your lunches. It may be easier on some days to make or have a well-rounded meal; others not so much. Snacking in the middle of the day can also help keep you satisfied if you include some nutritious heavy hitters.

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