Blog Nutrition A Macro Food List To Craft Your Perfect Diet

A Macro Food List To Craft Your Perfect Diet

Proper body nourishment means more than hitting a particular calorie count. It’s also about the sources of your energy — the macronutrients or macros. What are macros in food? They are carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Compared to micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, you need macros in large amounts as they are essential in greater quantities for life sustenance and maintaining health (9). 

We have prepared a macro food list that will help you tell which food has which macro and make meal planning and grocery shopping much easier. So let’s sort them out. 

What Are Healthy Macros?

“Healthy” macros are the essential macronutrients our bodies need to function properly and maintain good health. These include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

They’re called “macros” because our bodies need them in large amounts. Each macronutrient plays a vital role in keeping the body healthy and functioning at its best. When we consume food, it gets broken down into these three main macronutrients and is used by our bodies for energy, growth, and repair.

The word “macros” may sound intimidating, particularly in fitness circles where it’s often used to refer to strict diet plans. However, understanding and incorporating the right balance of healthy macros into our diet is essential for overall health and well-being.

In this section, we’ll dive deeper into what these healthy macros are, how much of each we need, and where we can find them in our diet.

What Are the Best Macros for Diet?

The general consensus on the ratio of energy that should come from each of the different macros for a healthy diet is (6, 7):

  • Protein — 10-35%
  • Fat — 20-35%
  • Carbohydrates — 45-65%

However, this is not a golden rule, and the wide ranges allow for a lot of flexibility. Tweaking the ratio to better suit health conditions or fitness goals is normal. Historically, humans have consumed vastly different proportions of macronutrients, depending on region, food culture, and time period (5).

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While you can find different recommendations for macros online, they’re all inconclusive. We recommend that you:

  1.  Identify your necessary energy intake in calories based on your lifestyle, fitness goals, and current body weight.
  2. Calculate how many calories should come from each macronutrient. From that, you can also see your preferred intake in grams as fats are 9 kcal/g, carbohydrates are 4 kcal/g, and protein is 4 kcal/g. 

You should keep in mind that many foods can be a rich source of two or even all three macros, so tracking macros gram by gram is much easier with a good digital tracker such as BetterMe’s. However, you can stick to the ratios of suggested foods in your meals and still experience a vast improvement in your diet.

Reasons why BetterMe is a safe bet: a wide range of calorie-blasting workouts, finger-licking recipes, 24/7 support, challenges that’ll keep you on your best game, and that just scratches the surface! Start using our app and watch the magic happen .

What Are Carbohydrates?

You’ve probably heard that carbs are the main source of energy for the human body. The main reasons are:

  • They’re needed for healthy brain functioning.
  • They’re the quickest to digest, as carbohydrates are turned into glucose in the body that can be used immediately. If there’s an excess, this is stored in the liver and muscles.

Essentially, carbs are groups or chains of sugar molecules, but they come in different shapes and some are better for you than others (1). 

  • Simple carbs include monosaccharides such as fructose, glucose, and galactose, and disaccharides such as sucrose, lactose, and maltose (1). Fructose and lactose are found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and dairy. 
  • Complex carbohydrates are starches and fiber and are the same simple sugar molecules bonded in more complex structures. However, it makes a world of difference! Your body takes longer to break down starches and cannot do this with fiber, meaning that they make you feel full for longer (1). Fiber also feeds the beneficial bacteria in the digestive system, and also adds bulk to our stool, promoting regular and easier-to-pass bowel movements.
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So, when choosing carbohydrate-rich food, you should rely more on complex carbs than simple ones. Also, try to avoid or limit ultra-processed foods with added sugars. 

macro food list  

What Are Fats?

For a long time, diet culture marked “low-fat” as good and “fatty” as bad. However, your body needs fat to function properly and in larger amounts than protein. Dietary fats provide fatty acids that are not produced in the body and help absorb many vitamins (9). 

The type of fat is very important. According to The Nutrition Source by Harvard, the rule of thumb is to: 

  • Choose mostly unsaturated fats (vegetable oils, fish, seeds, nuts)
  • Limit saturated fats (red meat, butter, milk and dairy, palm, and coconut oil)
  • Avoid trans fats that are found in ultra-processed foods (10) (these are now banned in many countries, including the US)

Following these recommendations lowers disease risks.

What Are Proteins?

Protein needs vary by level of physical activity as our bodies can’t store it and convert any extra into energy or store it as body fat (9). However, we can get nine essential amino acids from dietary protein, so make sure you meet your daily protein goal (10). Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which are needed to build and repair the body’s tissues. 

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When choosing between plant- and animal-based protein, it’s a good idea to include more plant protein because animal products generally contain saturated fats (10). But there’s no need to worry; in our cheat “sheet of macro” food list, we’ve included lean animal-based protein sources to pick from too.

How Do I Figure out My Macros?

Now we’ve answered the question “what are macronutrients?” what’s next?

  • You can strive for a balanced diet by tracking your macros — also known as a macro diet. Keeping up with all the macros can be challenging, but you can use the BetterMe app to calculate macro goals and log what you eat quickly. 
  • You can use this knowledge to follow a specific diet plan that suits your needs or preferences, e.g. Keto (high-fat, low-carb).
  • You can make small changes to make your nutrition healthier by swapping some sources of your macros for more healthy options. 

Macro Food List

Our macro list for food contains excellent examples of sources of each macronutrient, so you can plan your meals and know what to reach for at the grocery store. As each category is so varied, this macro-friendly food list is not exhaustive but is meant to give you an idea of how many options you have for a balanced diet. 


  • Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, grapes, oranges, pears
  • Vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, pumpkin
  • Grains: brown rice, quinoa, oats, whole-wheat bread, pasta, couscous
  • Legumes: black beans, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, baked beans
  • Dairy: milk, yogurt, cottage cheese


  • Meat: lean beef, chicken breast, turkey, pork tenderloin
  • Fish and Seafood: salmon, tuna, shrimp, cod, tilapia
  • Plant-Based: tofu, tempeh, edamame, seitan
  • Legumes: black beans, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans
  • Dairy: Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, cheese
  • Whole Eggs
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macro food list


  • Healthy Oils: olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, other vegetable oils
  • Nuts and Seeds: almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds
  • Avocado
  • Fatty Fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines
  • Dairy: cheese, butter, full-fat yogurt (in moderation as these are fairly rich in saturated fats)

Mixed Macronutrients (foods that contain a balance of two or all three)

  • Nuts, seeds and Nut Butters: peanut butter, almond butter
  • Whole Eggs
  • Dairy: whole milk, cheese
  • Soy Products: tofu, tempeh
  • Fatty Fish: salmon and others
  • Beans and legumes

Read more: Macro Friendly Recipes: Finding Balance Between Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats

How Much Macros Should I Eat to Lose Weight?

To determine the appropriate macronutrient (macro) intake for weight loss, you’ll need to consider your total daily calorie intake, activity level, and individual goals. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Calculate Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE):

Use an online macro calculator to estimate your TDEE based on your age, sex, weight, height, and activity level.

Step 2: Set Your Caloric Deficit:

To lose weight, you should aim for a caloric deficit of 500-1,000 calories per day, which typically results in a weight loss of approximately 1-2 pounds per week. This can be achieved through a combination of diet and exercise.

Step 3: Determine Your Ideal Macro Ratio:

Macronutrient ratios differ depending on individual goals, but for weight loss, the recommended ratio is often somewhere around 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. However, some people may feel better with a higher or lower intake of certain macros. Experiment and find out what works best for you.

Convert these percentages into grams by multiplying your total daily calorie intake by the percentage for each macro and dividing it by the number of calories per gram (carbohydrates and protein contain 4 calories per gram, while fat contains 9 calories per gram).

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Assuming your calorie intake goal is 2,000 calories per day, your daily macro breakdown may look like this:

  • Carbohydrates: 800 calories (40% of 2,000)
    • 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
    • Therefore, you need approximately 200 grams of carbohydrates per day.
  • Protein: 600 calories (30% of 2,000)
    • 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
    • Therefore, you need approximately 150 grams of protein per day.
  • Fat: 600 calories (30% of 2,000)
    • 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
    • Therefore, you need approximately 67 grams of fat per day.

Step 4: Track Your Macros and Adjust Accordingly:

Use a food-tracking app to ensure you meet your macro goals. Based on your progress, you may need to adjust your macro ratios or overall calorie intake.

Remember, weight loss is not just about the quantity of macros you consume. It’s also about the quality. Focus on incorporating whole, nutrient-dense foods into your diet, and listen to your body’s hunger and satiety cues.

macro food list  

BetterMe app will provide you with a host of fat-frying fitness routines that’ll scare the extra pounds away and turn your body into a masterpiece! Get your life moving in the right direction with BetterMe!


  • What are healthy macros?

Healthy macros are the three main macronutrients that make up our diet: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. These macros provide your body with the energy it needs to function properly, and are required for many structures and functions within the body. The key to maintaining a healthy body is to find the right balance between these macros (9).

In our previous post entitled 4 Macronutrients, we mentioned that water can also be considered a macronutrient by some definitions, but it does not provide energy in the same way as the other three. Instead, water plays an essential role in keeping the body hydrated and helps transport nutrients and oxygen throughout the body (8).

  • What are the best macros for dieting?

All three macros are essential for a healthy diet, but the ideal ratio may vary depending on individual goals and needs. It’s generally recommended to get 45-65% of your daily calorie intake from carbohydrates, 10-35% from protein, and 20-35% from fat. However, this can be adjusted according to personal preferences and dietary requirements (9).

For example, someone who is looking to lose weight may benefit from a slightly higher protein intake to help with satiety and muscle preservation. At the same time, an athlete or bodybuilder may need more carbs for energy and muscle building. It’s important to consult a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to determine the best macros for your specific needs.

  • How much macros should I eat to lose weight?

Losing weight requires a calorie deficit, which means that you need to consume fewer calories than your body burns. While macros are important for overall health and weight loss, the most crucial factor for weight loss is creating this caloric deficit (2).

So first, you need to determine your daily calorie needs based on your age, sex, height, weight, and activity level. Then, you can adjust your macros accordingly to create a balanced and sustainable calorie deficit.

For example, if your daily calorie needs are 2,000 and you want to lose weight, you can aim for a deficit of 500 calories per day by consuming 1,500 calories.

Of these 1,500 calories, you might aim for 40% carbohydrates (600 calories), 30% protein (450 calories), and 30% fat (450 calories). 

If you’d like a low-carb diet, you can aim for 20% carbohydrates (300 calories), 40% protein (600 calories), and 40% fat (600 calories).

Check out our previous blog, Eating Too Much Healthy Food, for more information on creating a sustainable calorie deficit.

  • How do I figure out my macros?

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommended daily intake of macronutrients is as follows (3):

  • Carbohydrates: 45-65% of calories
  • Protein: 10-35% of calories
  • Fat: 20-35% of calories 

To calculate your macros in grams, you can use a macro calculator or follow these steps:

  1. Determine your daily calorie needs using an online calculator or by consulting a registered dietitian.
  2. Multiply each macro percentage by your total daily calories and divide by the number of calories per gram for that macro (4 calories for carbohydrates and protein, 9 calories for fat).
  3. The resulting numbers are the recommended grams of each macro you should aim to consume every day.
  • What are the healthiest fats to eat?

The healthiest fats to consume are unsaturated fats, which include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They can be found in foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish such as salmon.

They’re the healthiest because (4):

  • They can help lower bad cholesterol levels, particularly when they replace saturated fats in your diet
  • They may reduce the risk of heart disease, particularly when they replace saturated fats in your diet
  • They provide essential fatty acids that your body needs for many functions
  • They are a great source of energy and help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
  • They can keep you feeling full and satisfied, preventing overeating.

Saturated fats, which are found in foods such as meats, butter, cheese, and ultra-processed snacks, should be consumed in moderation as they may increase the risk of heart disease when they’re consumed in excess. These should be replaced with healthier fat sources wherever possible.

In a previous post, Is Dextrose Bad For You, we highlighted the dangers of ultra-processed food due to certain additives. The same applies to unhealthy fats, which are often used in these types of food. Opting for a diet that is rich in unsaturated fats and limiting your intake of saturated fats can have a significant impact on your overall health (4)

The Bottom Line

Understanding what’s on your plate is the first step to being more mindful about nutrition. An app like BetterMe makes calculating your needs and tracking daily macros easy. However, you can use a macro diet food list to compose healthy balanced meals with all three necessary macronutrients without too much difficulty.

So as long as you keep the macros in mind, you can craft a varied diet that’s both enjoyable and brings you closer to your goals.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Carbohydrates (n.d.,
  2. Calorie Deficit: What To Know (2020,
  3. Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020,
  4. Eating healthy fats has many benefits  (2020,
  5. Macronutrients and Human Health for the 21st Century (2020,
  6. Micros vs. macros: Everything you need to know (2020,
  7. The benefits of counting macros and how to do it (2021,
  8. Water (n,d,
  9. What Are Macronutrients? (2021,
  10. What Should I Eat?: Protein, Fats and Cholesterol (n.d.,


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