Home » Blog » Tracking Macros » Macro Food List: The Ultimate Guide
Macro Food List

Macro Food List: The Ultimate Guide

Embarking on a macro diet adventure? This extensive guide to macro foods is just what you need! In this article, we’ll delve into macros, explore how to recognize them and provide an all-encompassing list of macro foods.

In this article, we will discuss what macros are, how to identify them, a comprehensive list of foods with their macros, and how to use them to make healthy meals.

Stick around to get all the information you need to start your macro diet journey!

Why listen to me?

I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist with a Bachelor’s degree in human nutrition and extensive clinical weight loss experience. I produce evidence-based nutrition content through my blog (Noah’s Nutrition), podcast (Strength Phase Nutrition), and social media. I also run the Lean Blueprint Community.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links (clearly marked*). As an Amazon affiliate, if you click on one of the links, I may receive a commission, at no cost to you.

What are macros?

Macros (short for macronutrients) are the three categories of nutrients that make up the calories in the food you eat. The three macros are protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Each macro is measured in grams and provides energy (calories). (See table below)

Macronutrient Calories per gram
1 gram of protein4 calories 
1 gram of carbohydrate 4 calories
1 gram of fat9 calories

In addition to energy (calories), each macronutrient with essential nutrients. Let’s look at each macronutrient and answer the following questions what is protein, what are carbohydrates, and what is dietary fat? 

Download the macro food list.

Macro Food list

Get your FREE copy of the Macro Food List

Download your copy of the macro food list and subscribe to the email list!

What is protein?

Protein is one of the three macronutrients, along with carbohydrates and fats, that our bodies need in relatively large amounts to function properly. The 2022-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that 10-35% of all daily calories are protein.

Proteins are complex molecules made up of chains of amino acids that play several vital roles in the body. They contribute to the growth, repair, and maintenance of tissues like skin, muscles, and organs and produce enzymes, hormones, and antibodies. (1)

The body can produce some amino acids, known as non-essential amino acids. However, we must obtain nine essential amino acids from our diet as the body can’t produce them.

Protein can be found in plant and animal foods, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, tofu, and seeds. 

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients, along with proteins and fats, that are crucial for the body’s optimal functioning. The 2022-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that 45-65% of all daily calories are carbohydrates. (2)

Carbohydrates are primarily used for energy. They are broken down into glucose, which can be used immediately for energy or stored in your body’s cells for later use. They are essential for fueling muscular activity and brain function.

Whole food sources of carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, are rich in fiber and vitamins and minerals. The fiber found in these foods aids in digestion and can help control blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy weight.

It’s worth noting that not all carbohydrates are created equal. There are two categories of carbohydrates, simple and complex.

Simple carbs: foods like white bread, pastries, and sugary drinks, are quickly absorbed by the body and can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels. 

Complex carbs: foods like whole grains, legumes, and vegetables, are absorbed more slowly and provide sustained energy.

You’ll obtain complex carbohydrates and other crucial nutrients if you prioritize consuming whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

What are dietary fats?

Fat is one of the last of the three macronutrients, alongside protein and carbohydrates that the body needs in substantial amounts for normal function.

Fat is important for the body as it provides energy, helps absorb vitamins, insulates, produces hormones, and protects organs. (3)

Fats can indeed be found in both plant and animal sources. It’s important to note that not all fats are created equal. There are four main types of fats: saturated fats, trans fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats.

Saturated and trans fats, often found in processed foods, meats, and dairy products, are typically solid at room temperature and are associated with higher LDL cholesterol levels, leading to cardiovascular disease if consumed in excess.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and found in foods like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish. These fats can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels and provide essential fatty acids the body can’t produce.

So, while fats are an essential part of our diet, choosing healthier fats and consuming them in moderation is important.

Beyond Macronutrients: The Nutritional Wealth of Food

Food is not just about macronutrients; it is also a valuable source of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients our bodies need to function at their best. While macronutrients are important, it is crucial to recognize the numerous other benefits of food.

Incorporating a diverse array of foods, including lean protein, low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, into your daily diet ensures you receive all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Read more about the 5 food groups at MyPlate.

FOOD IS MORE THAN MACROS. VEGETABLES are High in fiber, potassium, fiber Vitamin A, Vitamin C. FRUIT is High in Vitamin C potassium folate and fiber. GRAINS are High in thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, (B vitamins)fiber, iron magnesium. DAIRY is a good source of Vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin (in products fortified with vitamin D), riboflavin, vitamin B12, potassium, zinc, choline magnesium and selenium are all present in dairy products. Protein is a good source of Healthy fats, B vitamins, iron, vitamin D, choline.

What is the macro diet?

A macro diet is a dietary approach that emphasizes tracking macros, the grams of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats you consume daily. This diet is popular among athletes and individuals aiming to lose weight, as it promotes accountability for food consumption. (4)

By monitoring your macros, you can tailor your nutrient intake to align with your specific body requirements and goals. The macro diet doesn’t advocate for food restriction; it encourages healthy choices based on individual needs.

This diet doesn’t categorize foods as “bad” or “good.” Rather, the focus is on discovering a nutritional balance that best suits your needs and lifestyle. I suggest reading the Pros and Cons of tracking macros.

How to use macros in your diet?

Your calories and macros will be based on your gender, height, weight, and activity level. 

To start using a macro diet approach, you need to identify three things: how many calories you need per day, your goals, and the macronutrient ratios or targets you are trying to achieve. 

  • Calculate your daily caloric needs based on age, gender, weight, height, and physical activity level. 
  • Identify your dietary goals, such as weight loss, muscle gain, or maintenance. 
  • Use your goals to determine the right number of calories and macronutrient ratios to aim for.

Understanding how to balance your intake of calories, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates (the macronutrients) is key to successfully implementing this diet strategy. This is a simplified version, if you want to dive deeper, check out macros for cutting or lean bulking macros.

How to use macros in your diet

To start using a macro diet approach, you need to identify three things: how many calories you need per day, your goals, and the macronutrient ratios or targets you are trying to achieve. 

  • Calculate your daily caloric needs based on age, gender, weight, height, and physical activity level. 
  • Identify your dietary goals, such as weight loss, muscle gain, or maintenance. 
  • Use your goals to determine the right number of calories and macronutrient ratios to aim for.

Understanding how to balance your intake of calories, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates (the macronutrients) is key to successfully implementing this diet strategy. This is a simplified version, if you want to dive deeper, check out macros for cutting or lean bulking macros.

How to start tracking macros

There are a few different ways to start tracking macros, including keeping a physical food journal, using a macro tracking application, and using a meal plan. You can learn more about tracking macros with the post on what is flexible dieting.

Food Journal

Maintaining a food journal is one effective method for keeping track of your macros. This involves checking the nutrition facts labels of all the food items you consume, noting each ingredient’s calorie count, protein, fat, and carb content, and adding them together.

This method is ideal for those who are extremely technology averse. And I have created a weight loss journal to help you stay organized. Using the weight loss journal and this macro foods list, you should be able to track your macros easily. 

Food tracking application 

The second way to track your macros is to use a macro-tracking app. Some common apps include:

  • MyFitnessPal
  • Lose It!
  • Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyNetDiary

Cronometer is my personal favorite as it offers a comprehensive dietary analysis and includes a database of food items as well as a recipe creator.

Macro meal plan

A useful method of incorporating macros into your diet is by devising a macro meal plan. Although it may prove challenging at first, it is an effective method of comprehending the nutritional value of your food. Learn about creating a macro meal plan.

I believe the best way to start tracking macros is to simply track the food you are currently eating and see how that aligns with your macro targets and dietary goals. Over time you will begin to see patterns that you can modify to suit you best.

While this overview is good, consider reading the Counting Macros For Beginners and Dietitian’s Tips For Tracking Macros resources. 

How to build macro-friendly meals

Building macro-friendly meals can initially seem daunting, but it’s quite simple. All you need is some knowledge about macros and a few simple tips.

Here are a few things that you should know for building macro-friendly meals:

Nutrition Facts label

A good place to start is understanding a nutrition Facts label. Each food label tells you the number of servings per container plus the weight and volume measurements of each serving. It will also list the calories, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and fat per serving.

Serving size

A serving size is a particular amount of food, usually in weight (in grams) or volume.

This amount is based on the nutritional information listed on the label. Serving sizes help you know exactly how much you eat of a specific food. (6)

The most accurate way to know if you are eating one or more servings of food is to weigh the food on a kitchen scale.

The serving size for peanut butter is 2 tablespoons or 33 g.

More on this in a bit.

Portion size

Another thing to consider when tracking macros is portion size. 

Although the new nutrition facts label has “The serving size reflects the amount that people typically eat or drink.”

Often times we eat/drink more or less than the serving size.

For example, a serving of M&M’s is 1 oz or 28 grams which on the package is about 32 pieces.

One serving of M&M gives you 140 calories, 5 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of protein.

I don’t know about you, but I would probably eat more than one serving of M&M at a time.

Not a bad thing, just something to be aware of.

The only way to know if you ate 1 serving or more is to…

  1. Count each individual M&M.
  2. Measure out 1 oz (1/4 cup) worth of M&M’s
  3. Weigh-28 grams of M&M’s

Portion size

Another thing to consider when tracking macros is portion size. Although the new nutrition facts label has “The serving size reflects the amount that people typically eat or drink.” Often we eat/drink more or less than the serving size.

For example

One serving of M&M’s 

1 oz or 28 grams, about (32 pieces on the package)

Serving

  • 140 calories, 
  • 5g fat
  • 20g carb 
  • 1g protein.

I would probably eat more than one serving of M&M at a time. Not a bad thing, just something to be aware of.

The only way to know if you ate 1 serving or more is to…

  1. Count each M&M.
  2. Measure 1 oz (1/4 cup) worth of M&M’s
  3. Weigh-28 grams of M&M’s

Weighing food

Using a *food scale and weighing your food will be the most accurate regarding precise macro tracking.

This is because it accounts for the difference in serving size versus the actual portion size.

Plus, depending on the ingredients, there may also be a difference in the weight and marcos between different brands or types of food.

In addition, the FDA allows for a 20% margin of error when measuring the volume of a serving size.

The only way to know is to use a food scale to weigh your food.

When you are weighing your food, use the same scale every time. This will help you to be consistent with your recordings.

Also, the nutrition facts listed are based on the product’s raw uncooked, “as-is” weight. You can choose to weigh your food before or after you cook it, as long as you consider the water gain/loss when cooking.

Measuring with cups or using a comparison like a deck of cards is equal to 3 oz of meat can also be helpful, but it might need to be more accurate because the weight and volume of different foods can vary.

Using the hand exchange model for measuring portion sizes comes in handy when you do not have access to a full scale. A serving of fat is roughly the size of the top portion of your thumb serving of protein is equal to a deck of cards or the palm of your hands and a serving of carbohydrates is the size equivalent of your fist

Measuring food 

While weighing your food is the gold standard and will give you the most accurate macros, it is not always possible. 

So, if you cannot weigh your food, you can use volume (*cups, tablespoons, etc.) to measure your food.

You can use volume to measure your food if you cannot weigh it. This is especially handy for measuring things like fruits and vegetables. 

A general rule of thumb is to use 1 cup as a serving size for fruits and vegetables.

A general rule of thumb is to use 1 cup as a serving size for fruits and vegetables.

How to track your macros

Using the information on the nutrition facts label, plus knowing the difference between a serving size and a portion size and how to weigh or measure accurately, we are ready to track our macros.

Keeping track of your total daily macro intake has been made convenient by apps like Cronometer

Step one: Weigh out each of the ingredients you plan to eat.

Step two: log your food by adding each ingredient to the designated mealtime.

  • Using the barcode scanning feature. This allows you to scan the bar code with your phone’s camera and will automatically pull up the food you were searching for
  • You can also manually search for the food you are eating. This can bring up mixed results because the name of the food may sometimes be different from what they are written on the food product.

Step three: consistently log what you eat and be within your allotted daily macro budget. This will help you stay on track with your goals.

Step four: Adjust as necessary. You must adjust accordingly if you are consistently over or under your daily macro or calorie budget. This may mean eating less or more on some days or choosing different sources of macros.

About this macro food list

To make this macro food list easier, I have divided this list of foods based on their macronutrient content – protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Since some foods contain more than one macronutrient, I have organized them into specific categories.

The USDA Food Data Bank was used for most calories and macronutrients. These values may vary slightly depending on the specific product or brand. 

Protein

Protein can be found in many food sources, including animals and plants. Some protein sources, like red meat, are high in fat. Other protein sources, like white fish, are lower in fat. In comparison, protein sources like edamame and quinoa are high in carbohydrates.

Below is a list of protein-rich foods categorized by fat and carbohydrate content.

  • Lean protein (vegetarian, dairy, pork, poultry, beef, and seafood supplements) 
  • High protein, high-fat macros (dairy, pork, poultry, and beef)
  • High carbohydrate and high protein macros (vegetarian)

Be sure to check out all of the high protein meal plans ranging from 1300-calorie meal plans and calorie deficit diets to 3500 calorie meal plans and 7-day meal plan for muscle gain

Lean protein sources

are foods that provide high amounts of protein while containing relatively low-fat levels. Some of the protein sources on this list could be categorized as pure protein (99% of calories from protein). 

Vegetarian sources

Protein  Serving Size CalCarbProFat
Tofu3oz/85g1227g15g2g
Seitan3oz/85g1639g17g7g
Tempeh3oz/85g90>1g15g8g
Edamame3oz/85g1034g10g8g

Dairy & eggs

Protein  Serving Size CalFatProCarb
1% Milk1cup/244g1032g8g12g
2% Milk1cup/244g1225g8g12g
Low Fat Cheese1oz/28g501g8g1g
Greek Yogurt5.3oz/170g1001g17g6g
Low Fat Cottage Cheese4oz/113g1632g286g
Egg whites3oz/84g440g9g1g

Pork & Poultry

Protein  Serving Size CalFatProCarb
Pork chops4oz/113g1434g25g0g
Pork loin roast4oz/113g1363g26g0g
Pork tenderloin 4oz/113g1233g24g0g
Turkey bacon1oz/28g352g6g0g
Turkey breast 4oz/113g1352g27g0g
Ground turkey (90% lean)4oz/113g1709g21g0g
Ground chicken (90% lean)4oz/113g1295g25g0g
Chicken breast4oz/113g1353g25g0g

Beef

Protein  Serving Size CalFatProCarb
Ground beef (95% lean)4oz/113g1556g24g0g
Ground beef (93% lean)4oz/113g1728g24g0g
Ground beef (90% lean)4oz/113g19911g23g0g
Eye of round roast4oz/113g1454g26g0g
Sirloin tip4oz/113g1748g24g0g
Top round roast4oz/113g1454g27g0g
Bottom round roast4oz/113g1476g24g0g
Top sirloin steak4oz/113g1495g26g0g
Beef liver4oz/113g1505g23g0g

Seafood

Protein  Serving Size CalFatProCarb
Cod4oz/114g94>1g20g0g
Tilapia 4oz/116g1112g23g0g
Tuna3oz/85g73>1g17g0g
Halibut4oz/114g1042g21g0g
Red snapper4oz/114g1141.5g23g0g
Flounder4oz/114g802g14g0g
Shrimp4oz/114g97>1g23g0g
Crab4oz/114g96>1g21g0g
Mahi-mahi4oz/114g97>1g21g0g

Supplements

Protein  Serving Size CalFatProCarb
Whey protein (dairy)1/3c/32g113>125g1g
Whey isolate (dairy) 1 scp/34g1301g25g4g
Casein protein2 scp/30g1100g26g0g
Hemp protein2oz/56g2026g24g6g
Egg protein 1 oz/28g1070g23g0g
Pea protein1 scp/30g1072g23g1g

Explore more about low-calorie protein powders if you’re interested in learning about the options with the fewest calories.

Protein sources that have fat

Protein sources contain foods that deliver both protein and a significant amount of fat. 

Nuts and seeds

Protein  Serving Size CalFatProCarb
Peanuts 1 tbsp/16g978g4 g4g
Peanut Butter1 tbsp/16g978g4g4g
Almonds1 oz/28g16414g6g6g
Almond Butter1 tbsp/16g989g3g3g
Walnuts 1 oz/28g18519g4g4g
Chia seeds1 tbsp/10g493g2g4g
Sunflower seeds 1 oz/28g17516g5g6g
Flax seeds1 tbsp/7g373g1g2g

Fish

Protein  Serving Size CalFatProCarb
Salmon4oz/114g23715g24g0g
Herring4oz/114g22316g19g0g
Sardines3oz/84g1649g21g0g
Mackerel3oz/84g1335g20g0g

Dairy & eggs

Protein  Serving Size CalFatProCarb
Eggs44g685g6g0g
Whole milk1cup/244g1498g8g12g
Full-fat Greek yogurt 5.3oz/150g1276g13g5g
Full-fat cheese1oz/28g1159g7g1g

Beef

Protein  Serving Size CalFatProCarb
Ground beef (85% lean)4oz/113g24317g21g0g
Ground beef (75% lean)4oz/113g33128g18g0g
Ground beef (70% lean)4oz/113g37534g16g0g
Filet Mignon4oz/112g1808g25g0g
T-bone4oz/113g1747g25g0g
New York Strip4oz/113g24617g23g0g
Skirt Steak4oz/113g22014g23g0g
Rib-eye4oz/113g29420g20g0g

Pork & Poultry

Protein  Serving Size CalFatProCarb
Chicken with skin4oz/113g19611g24g0g
Chicken thigh4oz/113g22317g19g0g
Pork shoulders4oz/113g21014g20g0g
Pork Belly (Bacon)4oz/113g44442g15g0g

Protein that has carbs

Protein  Serving Size CalFatProCarb
Chickpea3oz/84g3215g17g54g
Quinoa 3oz/84g3135g12g55g
Black Beans3oz/84g2901g18g53g
soybeans 3oz/84g1256g11g9g
Soy milk1cup/243g1004g7g8g
Sorghum flour1/2cup/121g2172g5g46g

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an essential part of our diet and a primary energy source. They are mainly divided into two categories: simple and complex.

Simple Carbohydrates are composed of one or two sugar molecules, making them quick to digest and absorb. However, they typically don’t keep you satiated for long and are low in fiber. 

Complex Carbohydrates, on the other hand, consist of three or more sugar molecules. They are slow to digest and absorb, providing a steady release of energy over a longer period. They also tend to be high in dietary fiber, which aids digestion and keeps you feeling full longer. 

Rice

Carb Per 100gCalFatProCarb
Arborio100 g3741.037.5180.89
Basmati100 g3550.77.878.5
Brown100 g1230.972.7425.58
Jasmine100 g1600.5334
White100 g3741.037.5180.89

Beans 

Carb Per 100gCalFatProCarb
Black100 g1320.548.8623.71
Pinto100 g1700.59.832.5
Kidney100 g1270.58.6722.8
Lima100 g1060.356.419.83
Navy100 g1400.628.2326.05

Potatoes

Carb Per 100gCalFatProCarb
Purple100 g67.60214.2
Russet100 g790.12.119.1
Red100 g870.22.319.6
Yellow100 g1191.9223.4
Sweet potatoes100 g860.051.5720.12
Yams100 g670.11.3416.3

Grains 

The difference between whole grains and refined grains are whole grains offer a greater nutritional bang for your buck (or calorie). The goal should be, ½ of all the grains you eat should come from whole grains. Read the high-fiber cereal list for a few good ideas. 

Carb Per 100gCalFatProCarb
Oats100 g3896.916.8966.27
Steel cut100 g3796.513.267.7
Rolled100 g342211.275.2
Pasta100 g2882.311.3154.73
Quina100 g3686.0714.1264.16
Corn100 g880.773.0220.73
Amaranth100 g3717.0213.5665.25
Flaxseed100 g5344218.328.9
Buckwheat100 g3462.7111.7374.95
Rye100 g3381.6310.3475.86
Whole wheat bread100 g2523.512.4542.71
White bread100 g2663.338.8549.42
Rice cakes100 g3863.88.179.9
Tortillas100 g28768.749.6
Whole-wheat tortillas100 g40510.639.6667.14

Fruit

Carb Per 100gCalFatProCarb
Apples100590.20.2714.06
Apricots100480.391.411.12
Banana100890.331.0922.84
Blackberries100521.070.849.84
Blueberries1004400.710.4
Cantaloupe100340.190.848.16
Cherries100630.21.0616.01
Clementines100470.150.8512.02
Cranberries100550.21.112.3
Dates1002770.151.8174.97
Elderberries100730.50.6618.4
Figs100740.30.7519.18
Grapefruit100420.140.7710.66
Grapes100670.350.6317.15
Guava100680.952.5514.32
Honeydew melon100360.140.549.09
Jackfruit100950.641.7223.25
Kiwi100610.521.1414.66
Lemons100290.31.19.32
Limes100300.20.710.54
Mango100600.380.8214.98
Nectarines100440.321.0610.55
Oranges100470.120.9411.75
Papaya100430.260.4710.82
Passionfruit100970.72.223.38
Peaches100390.250.919.54
Pears100570.140.3615.23
Pineapple100450.130.5511.82
Plum100910.170.4321.95
Pomegranate100831.171.6718.7
Pear100410.510.739.57
Prunes1002400.382.1863.88
Raspberries100520.651.211.94
Strawberries100320.30.677.68
Watermelon100300.150.617.55

Dietary fats

Dietary fats are an important part of a healthy diet. They provide essential fatty acids that the body cannot produce and help absorb many vitamins.

There are three types of dietary fats:

  • Saturated fats 
  • Unsaturated fats
  • Trans fats 

Saturated fats are found in red meat, butter, whole milk, and full-fat dairy products, raising LDL cholesterol levels, which can lead to heart disease. You want to limit your intake of saturated fats to 10% of your daily calories.

Unsaturated fats are found in vegetable oils, fish, seeds, and nuts, lowering LDL cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease.

When tracking fat macros, it’s important to remember that fat is the most energy dense compared to carbohydrates or protein. This means that even a small amount of fat can contain many calories.

Saturated fats

FatsServing sizeCalFatProCarb
Butter1tbsp/14g10212g0g0g
Full-Fat Cheese1oz/28g1149g7g1g
Beef fat1tbsp/13g879g1g0g
Coconut Oil1tbsp/14g12114g0g0g
Palm Oil1tbsp/14g11914g0g0g
Heavy cream1tbsp/14g506gg0g
Lard1tbsp/14g116g0g0g
Processed Meats (like sausages)2oz/56g16314g9g1g

Unsaturated Fats

FatsServing sizeCalFatProCarb
Avocados50g605g1g4g
Olive oil1tbsp/14g12014g0g0g
Canola Oil1tbsp/14g12014g0g0g
Sesame Oil1tbsp/14g12014g0g0g
Sunflower Oil1tbsp/14g12014g0g0g
Fatty Fish 
Almonds1 oz/28g16414g6g6g
Almond Butter1 tbsp/16g989g3g3g
Peanuts 1 tbsp/16g978g4 g4g
Peanut Butter1 tbsp/16g978g4g4g
Walnuts 1 oz/28g18519g4g4g
Chia seeds1 tbsp/10g493g2g4g
Sunflower seeds 1 oz/28g17516g5g6g
Flax seeds1 tbsp/7g373g1g2g

Final thoughts

The macro food list is a great way to help you get started on what foods have protein, carbs, and fats. This list lets you easily identify food or ingredient and how they fit your daily requirements. For more information, check out my tracking macros category. 

Disclaimer

This content is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *