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How to Build a Meal to Hit Your Macros

Updated: Jan 17


meal with quinoa, salmon, green beans, tomatoes
Photo credit: Ella Olsson, Unsplash

When you’re first learning macros, each meal can feel like you’re building a puzzle, but it does get much easier with practice!


I always encourage clients who are new to macros to pre-log as much of their food for the day as possible. Getting into the habit of doing this can save you time and help you hit your targets. After all, it is hard to correct when you realize at the end of the day you still need more protein but you have no more carb or fat macros left. Planning ahead helps!


Step 1: Start with a high protein food:

  • Chicken, turkey, or other poultry

  • Beef, pork, lamb, or other meat

  • Fish or seafood

  • Tofu, tempeh, seitan, or faux meat

  • Pea protein crumbles or TVP

  • Nonfat Greek yogurt

  • Low fat cottage cheese

  • Egg whites

  • Protein powder


Step 2: Add a supporting protein:

(These foods contain protein in smaller amounts and may be higher in fat and/or carbs)

  • Seeds, nuts, or nut butter

  • Protein pasta or rice

  • Sprouted or protein breads or wraps

  • Beans, lentils, peas, edamame

  • Cheese

  • Dairy or protein-fortified non-dairy milk

  • Nutritional yeast

  • Whole eggs

  • Whole grains and quinoa


Step 3: Add fruits or veggies


Step 4: Check the macros for your meal and adjust as needed to hit your goals


List of foods with carbs, fats, and protein macros


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