The 800 gram Challenge in a Nutshell
What is the 800 gram challenge? Well unlike most macro coaches out there, we strive to teach people practical nutrition habits that they can use to maintain their health and body composition, even when they’re not able to weigh & measure or track. If you’ve read our last few blog posts, you’ll know that we’ve been focusing on balancing the notion that “you can eat anything you want,” with ensuring that your body still gets all the essential vitamins & minerals it needs.
We’ve looked at quantifying our daily fiber intake, we’ve discussed the 80/20 rule & how that relates to macros, so how can we quantify healthy or balanced eating even further? Enter the 800 gram challenge.
The 800 gram Challenge in a Nutshell
The 800 gram challenge rule of thumb has been around for a while but I got turned on to it by my friend EC Synkowski, you can listen to us chat about it on this episode of the podcast.
What is the 800 gram challenge? I’ll sum it up for you:
1 – Eat a total of 800 grams (in weight) of fruits and vegetables each day.
2 – No foods are restricted and you should still be hitting your macro numbers.
3 – Fruits and Vegetables count regardless of cooked, canned, frozen, or fresh.
4 – Dried fruits and vegetable as well as juices don’t count.
That’s it! At minimum try to stick to these requirements but if you want to make it more challenging, then don’t forget that you’re in charge.
What foods to include?
These foods are fruits & should be included:
You should also include:
- Corn (not popcorn at the movies!)
- Fermented or pickled foods
- Tomato Derivatives, ie salsa, sauce, just make sure the ingredients are only vegetables and spices.
Take a look at our FREE Superfood Shopping List for a comprehensive resource of all the kinds of food we put in our shopping cart.
DOWNLOAD SUPERFOOD SHOPPING LIST
What food not to include?
- French Fries…in case you were wondering
If you’ve never done this before, 800 grams might seem a bit daunting. Check out this picture to give you an idea of what that might look like (photo courtesy of CrossFit Roots).
I recommend you set yourself up for success but pick a challenging quantity to start and then be consistent with increasing that quantity every few days or once a week. Maybe start at 400 grams and each week add another 100 grams until you fulfill the 800 gram challenge.
Having recently implemented this myself I can tell you it’s not always easy and you can’t beat yourself up if you miss your goal for the day. My number one priority is always hitting my macros at the end of the day but this is now my second focus. It also allows me to plan ahead so on those days where I anticipate falling short of the mark – like when I’m traveling – I can consider taking a greens supplement to take care of my body’s micronutrient needs.
Here’s a list of tips and tricks I’ve learnt along the way.
1. Add fruit to everything!
I start most days with a bowl of oatmeal (about 50 grams) and I always add a minimum of 100 grams of fruit, typically banana or blueberries.
2. Bags of spinach.
I grab these at Publix as they are super easy to prepare, I just rip it open, throw it in the microwave for one minute and pour it onto my plate, an easy way to get 255 grams.
3. Retrain your brain.
While I still love finishing each day with a “treat” I have found fruit is a great alternative. One of my favorites is to make a big bowl of fruit and add either some low-cal syrup or light cool whip to it. It’s an easy way to get some grams in but still stay macro friendly.
Roz recently had a client ask how she could hit the 800 gram challenge without eating through the majority of her carbs – she was hitting 125 grams of her daily carbs from fruits & veggies alone and was starting to notice less sustained energy in her workouts.
Roz went through her diary to see what she ate to hit her 800 gram quota and thought it might be helpful to share a “laundry list” of what it looked like with you (some of these foods contain other macros but we are just looking at the carb contents):
250g spaghetti squash = 16g carbs
140g mushroom = 4.9g carbs
100g asparagus = 4.4g carbs
85g spinach = 3.4g carbs
80g iceberg lettuce = 1.4g carbs
80g strawberries = 6.1g carbs
63g apple = 9g carbs
100g sweet potato = 22g carbs
60g blueberries = 5.6g carbs
Total weight consumed = 958g
Total carbs consumed = 72.8g carbs
Reducing the amount of carbs consumed could easily be achieved by eating more leafy greens and less fruit or starchy carbs like sweet potato. But eat what you enjoy!
My final word. Just like tracking your macros with us this has to be long-term and sustainable, so keep it low stress. It’s a great challenge and I truly believe a worthwhile endeavor that will leaving you feeling amazing from the inside out!
What do you think of the 800 gram challenge? Have you tried it? Let us know by commenting on our post below!