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Macro Food List: The Ultimate Guide

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:

  • protein
  • carbohydrates
  • fat

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.

What are Macros?

Infographic of macronutrients. Each macro has a specific amount of calories per gram. Protein has four calories per gram carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram and fats have four calories per gram.

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:

  • 4 for one gram of carb
  • 4 calories per gram of protein
  • 9 for one gram of fat.

Protein

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

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.

Fats

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 examples of high-fat foods include oils, nuts, seeds, meats, and dairy products.

Food has more than just macros

Food has more than just macros. It has important vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that our bodies need to function properly. 

While macros are definitely important, we can’t forget about all of the other amazing things that food can do for us.

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 that you’re getting all of the nutrients your body requires.

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.

Reference: https://www.myplate.gov/myplate-plan

What is the macro diet?

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.

How to identify your macros

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)

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

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.

How to use macros in your diet

How to use macros in your diet.

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.

Booking Provided by Healthie

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.

How to build macro-friendly meals

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:

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.

Start by looking at the serving size. 
This is what the nutrition facts label is based on. 
Also included is the # of servings in that product
Servings are based on weight (grams) and Volume. 
Next we have the calorie count. 
This will tell you how many calories are in the one serving.
Following that we have the Percent daily value
This is based on a 2000 calorie diet 
You may need more or less than 2000 calories so plan accordingly
A good rule of thumb is Low is 5% or less and High is 20% or more.
There are also regulated nutrition terms that companies can use including:
Low calorie: 40 calories or less per serving.

Calorie free: Less than five calories per serving.

Fat free/sugar free: Less than ½ gram of fat or sugar per serving.

High in: Provides 20% or more of the Daily Value of a specified nutrient per serving.

Choose foods that are low in sat fat added sugar and sodium
Aim for less than >5%
Get Enough Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Fiber
aim high for percentage DV <20%
Looking at the Nutrition Facts Label can be confusing, but it's important to know what to look for.

It is important to know the difference between portion size and serving size.

Serving size

A serving size is a particular amount of food, usually given 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 are eating 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 fat, 2o grams carbs, and 1 gram of protein.

I don’t know about you but I would probably eat more than one serving of M&Ms 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

Weighing food

Using a *food scale and weighing the food you eat is going to 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, be sure to 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, just take 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.

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 definitely the gold standard and is going to give you the most accurate macros, it is not always possible. 

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

You can use volume to measure your food if you are not able to 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.

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 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.

This can be done by either:

  • Using the barcode scanning feature. Which 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 sometimes bring up mixed results because the name of the food may not always be exactly as they are written on the food product.

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. If you find that you are consistently over or under your daily macro budget, then you will need to adjust accordingly.

This may mean eating a bit less or more on some days or choosing different sources of macros.

Macro Food List

Protein

Protein can be found in many different food sources including both 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.

  • Lean proteins macros
  • High protein, high-fat macros
  • High carbohydrate and high protein macros

Macro food list: Lean Protein

Vegetarian sources

Macro food lis for Lean vegetarian sources of protein include, tofu, tempeh seitan and edamame

Dairy 

Macro food list for lean dairy sources of protein, low fat milk, cottage cheese, and greek yogurt.

Pork & Poultry

Macro food list for lean poultry and pork sources of protein, chicken breast, ground chicken, ground turkey, turkey breast, turkey bacon, pork tenderloin, pork chops, per pork loin roast, egg whites.

Beef

Macro food list for lean beef sources of protein include, Ground beef (95%), Ground beef (93%), Ground beef (90%), Eye of round roast, Sirloin tip, side steak, Top round roast, Bottom round roast, Top sirloin steak, Beef liver

Seafood

Lean Protein seafood.

Supplements

Macro food list for lean supplement sources of protein include, whey protein, whey protein isolate, casein protein, egg protein, Pea protein, hemp protein.

Macro food list: Protein that has fats

Nuts and seeds

for high fat and high protein nuts and seeds sources of protein include, peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, almond butter, walnuts, Chia seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds.

Fish

Macro food list for high fat and high protein seafood sources of protein include, salmon, hearing, sardines, mackerel.

Dairy

Macro food list for high fat and high protein dairy sources of protein include, whole milk, full fat Greek yogurt, full fat cottage cheese, cheese.

Beef

Macro food list for high fat and high protein beef sources of protein include, ground beef, filet mignon, T-bone steak, New York strip, skirt steak, ribeye.

Pork & Poultry

Macro food list for high fat and high protein pork and poultry sources of protein include, pork belly, pork shoulder, chicken thighs, and chicken with skin.

Macro food list: Protein With Carbs

Macro food list for sources of protein with carbs include, chickpeas, lentils, black beans, soy beans, soy milk, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, couscous, Kamut, sorghum flour, whole-grain cornmeal.

Carbohydrates

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.

Rice 

Macro food list four sources of carbohydrate specifically rice include basmati jasmine brown wild rice and white rice

Beans 

Macro food list four sources of carbohydrate specifically beans includes, Black beans pinto beans kidney beans lima beans pinto beans.

Potatoes

Macro food list four sources of carbohydrate specifically potatoes include, White potatoes purple potatoes sweet potatoes yellow potatoes russet potatoes yams and red potatoes

Macro food list: Grains 

Macro food list four sources of carbohydrate specifically grains includes, oats pasta quinoa corn amaranth buckwheat rye whole wheat bread white bread tortillas popcorn barley breakfast cereal corn tortillas Farro Kamut

Macro food list: Fruit

Macro food list four sources of carbohydrate specifically fruit includes, apples bananas blackberries blueberries cantaloupe dates grapes kiwis mangoes oranges peaches pineapples pears raspberries strawberries and watermelon

What are dietary fats?

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.

Saturated fats

Mac or list for foods that have saturated fats include red meat butter dairy palm oil and coconut oil

Unsaturated Fats

Macro food list for fats that contain unsaturated fatty acids include vegetable oils fish nuts and seeds.

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.

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