Macro Food List
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If you are looking to start a macro diet journey, then this comprehensive macro food list is for you!
Macronutrients are the three categories of food that provide calories:
Macro tracking is all about making healthy choices that fit your specific needs. This diet is not about restricting food but rather knowing what you need and being able to fulfill those needs.
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!
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.
Simply put, macros (short for macronutrients) are the three categories of nutrients that make up the calories in the food you eat. While we are here I am going to shorten once more and call carbohydrates – carbs.
They are carbs, protein, and fat.
Each has a different calorie value per gram:
Protein is a nutrient that is essential for the growth and repair of tissues in the body. It is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. (1)
Both animals and plants offer sources of protein.
Some examples of high-protein foods include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts.
Carbohydrates provide your body with energy that your brain and muscle LOVE! (2)
Plus whole food sources of carbs are typically high fiber vitamins and other important nutrients.
They are found in foods like grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Fat is a nutrient that provides your body with energy and helps you absorb essential vitamins. (3)
Fats are found in both plant and animal foods. Some high-fat foods include oils, nuts, seeds, meats, and dairy products.
Food has more than just macros. It has important vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients our bodies need to function properly.
While macros are important, we can’t forget all the other amazing things that food can do.
Yes, certain foods are rich in protein, carbohydrates, or fat.
However, you may also get those macros from other meals.
So don’t be discouraged if one of your macronutrients is low.
Just try to include a wide range of foods in your daily diet to guarantee you get all the nutrients your body requires.
The macro diet is a way of eating that focuses on counting macros, or the number of grams of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats you consume each day.
This type of diet is often used by athletes and people who are trying to lose weight because it helps them to stay accountable for their food intake. (4)
By tracking your macros, you can ensure that you are getting the right balance of nutrients for your body and specific goals.
The macro diet is not about restricting food but rather making healthy choices that fit your needs.
There are no “bad” or “good” foods, but rather it is all about finding what works best for you.
The first step in starting the macro diet is to figure out your macro needs.
This will be based on your gender, height, weight, and activity level. (5)
There are a few different ways to calculate your macros, but the most common is to use an online calorie/macro calculator. that takes into account your weight, height, and activity level.
The Mayo Clinic has by far the best calorie calculator.
It’s important to remember that any calorie calculator is only a guess.
With that being said, it is a good starting point to help you get an idea of how many grams of each macro you need to eat each day.
Once you have identified your macros, you can start to make healthy meal choices that fit your specific needs.
Now that you know what macros are and how to identify them, it’s time to start using them in your diet!
There are a few different ways to do this. You can use a macro-tracking app to keep track of your food intake.
Some common apps include:
My personal favorite is Cronometer. It’s a little more detailed than the other apps and it also has a built-in food database as well as a recipe builder.
Another way to use macros in your diet is to create a macro meal plan.
This can be a little more difficult at first, but it can be a great way for you to learn what the food you are eating contains.
If you want to learn more, the next blog on noahsnutrition.com/blog is about Building a Macro Meal Plan.
I also offer Custom Macro Meal Plans. Request a macro meal plan.
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The best way to start is by including a variety of healthy foods in your diet and then tracking how many grams of each macro you consume.
This will give you a better idea of where you are at, and you can start to make minor tweaks to improve.
Remember, the macro diet is not a one-size-fits-all approach.
You need to find what works best for you and your body.
So experiment and have fun with it!
For more information on the macro diet or to schedule a one-on-one call, visit noahsnutrition.com.
Building macro-friendly meals can seem daunting at first, but it’s actually quite simple. All you need is a little bit of knowledge about Macros and a few simple tips.
Here are a few things that you should know for building macro-friendly meals:
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.
It is important to know the difference between portion size and 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.
More on this in a bit.
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…
Using a *food scale and weighing your food will be the most accurate in terms of 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 for sure 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 measurements. Also, know that the nutrition facts listed are based on the product’s raw uncooked weight.
Now you can choose to weigh your food before or after you cook it, taking into consideration the water gain/loss when cooking.
You probably aren’t going to be able to weigh everything you eat. It might look really awkward if you pulled out a food scale at a restaurant.
Measuring with cups or using a comparison like a deck of cards is equal to 3 oz of meat can also be helpful, but might not be as accurate because the weight and volume of different foods can vary.
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.
Using the information on the nutrition facts label, plus knowing the difference between a serving size and a portion size and how to accurately weigh or measure, we are ready to track our macros.
Keeping track of your total daily macro intake has been made really convenient by apps like Myfitnesspal or Cronometer.
Both of which offer a free version.
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.
Either can do this:
Step three: consistently log what you eat and try to within your allotted daily macro budget. This will help you stay on track with your goals
Step four: Adjust as necessary. You will need to adjust accordingly if you find that you are consistently over or under your daily macro budget.
This may mean eating a bit less or more on some days or choosing different sources of macros.
Protein can be found in many food sources, including animals and plants.
One important thing to note is that not all protein sources are created equal.
Some protein sources, like red meat, are high in fat and cholesterol. Other protein sources, like white fish, are lower in fat and cholesterol. While protein sources like edamame and quinoa are high in carbohydrates
This is important to keep in mind when trying to budget your daily macros.
Below is a list of protein macros categorized by their fat and carbohydrate content.
There are two types of carbs: simple and complex.
Simple carbs are made of one or two sugar molecules and are digested and absorbed quickly.
Complex carbs are made of three or more sugar molecules and are digested and absorbed slowly.
This is important because while simple carbs and complex carbs will both “fit” into your macros, simple forms typically will not keep you full for long, nor will they provide much in the form of fiber.
Being that complex carb take longer to digest and break down than simple carbs. This is why they provide lasting energy for the body.
Some good sources of complex carbs include whole-grain bread and pasta, brown rice, quinoa, oats, barley, beans, lentils, and peas. Dairy products like yogurt, milk, and cheese are also good sources of complex carbs.
Added and naturally occurring sugars are also considered carbs. Added sugars are found in foods like candy, cookies, cake, and soda.
Naturally occurring sugars are found in fruits, honey, and agave.
Dietary fats are an important part of a healthy diet. They provide essential fatty acids that the body cannot produce on its own and help absorb many vitamins.
There are two main types of dietary fats: saturated fats and unsaturated fats.
Saturated fats are found in red meat, butter, milk, and dairy products, and they raise LDL cholesterol levels, which can lead to heart disease.
You do want to limit your intake of saturated fats to no more than 10% of your daily calories.
Unsaturated fats are found in vegetable oils, fish, seeds, nuts, and they lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
When tracking fat macros it’s important to be mindful that fat is the most energy dense, compared to carbohydrates or protein.
This means that even a small amount of fat can contain a lot of calories.
1 gram of fat has 9 cal calories.
The macro food list is a great way to help you get started on what foods have protein, carbs, and fats.
By now you should also have a good understanding of how to identify your macro needs.
Plus you know what is on a nutrition facts label and accurately measure and weigh out portion sizes.
Protein can be tricky, however, now you understand which protein sources have solely protein, fats and protein, and carbohydrates and protein.
Whether it’s oats, whole grain, cornmeal, or sweet potatoes, this list will give you an idea of some of the best sources of carbohydrates to include in your diet.
When it comes to fats, you’ll want to be mindful of the types of fat you’re consuming. Saturated and unsaturated fats are both important, but you’ll want to minimize your intake of saturated fats.
If you need help figuring out your macros, building a macro meal plan, or want coaching to reach your goals don’t hesitate to book a free 15-minute consult with me.
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This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be 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.
Noah Quezada is a registered dietitian nutritionist. Noah specializes in helping people develop lifelong habits and skills that lead to a long and productive healthy life. Noah’s goal is to provide evidence-based nutrition information through blogging, video, podcasting, and coaching.