Top 15 Healthy Carb, Protein, and Fat Rich Foods

Filed under Food Choices

What foods are good for macros?

If you are counting macros for weight loss (or muscle gain), it’s helpful to choose foods dominant in a macro (carb, fat, or protein).

Not sure of your macro targets? Quickly calculate them here.

Tracking your macros is all about food freedom (eat anything as long as it meets your macros). However, for optimal health, choose from the following list of carbs, proteins, and fats.

The best starchy or complex carbs

  1. Oatmeal (old-fashioned or Steel Cut)
  2. Yams (almost same as sweet potatoes)
  3. Brown rice (I love basmati, a long grain rice)
  4. Sweet potatoes
  5. Multigrain hot cereal (mix or barley, oats, rye, triticale, and a few others)
  6. White potatoes with skin (glycemic index be damned!)
  7. 100% whole wheat bread
  8. 100% whole wheat pasta
  9. Beans and lentils (great for healthy chili recipes)
  10. Cream of rice hot cereal
  11. Quinoa
  12. Couscous
  13. Pumpkin
  14. Butternut squash
  15. Fresh Beets

The best carb-rich fruits

  1. Grapefruit
  2. Apples
  3. Blueberries
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Oranges
  6. Bananas
  7. Peaches
  8. Grapes
  9. Strawberries
  10. Pineapple
  11. Blackberries
  12. Plums
  13. Pears
  14. Acai berries
  15. Mango

The best veggies lower in carbs but high in nutrients

  1. Broccoli
  2. Kale
  3. Asparagus
  4. Spinach
  5. Salad greens
  6. Tomatoes
  7. Peppers (green and red)
  8. Onions
  9. Mushrooms
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Zucchini
  12. Carrots
  13. Green beans
  14. Peas
  15. Cauliflower

Yes! You can eat carbs and still reach your fat loss or muscle building goals. Learn how to count your macros and transform your body.

Top 15 Protein-Rich Foods

  1. Eggs
  2. Organic protein powder
  3. Chicken breast
  4. Salmon (wild Alaskan)
  5. Turkey breast
  6. Canned tuna (solid white)
  7. Nuts (walnut, almonds, pecans)
  8. Pumpkin Seeds
  9. Tofu
  10. Seitan
  11. Top round steak (grass-fed beef)
  12. Flank steak (grass-fed beef)
  13. Codfish
  14. Greek yogurt
  15. Rainbow trout

Are you trying to gain weight? Find out how to gain lean muscle mass by eating the right macronutrients.

15 Healthy Fat Sources

  1. Flaxseed
  2. Almonds
  3. Olive oil
  4. Avocado (see our delicious avocado ice cream recipe)
  5. Walnuts
  6. Virgin coconut oil
  7. Salmon (wild-caught)
  8. Peanuts
  9. Clarified butter
  10. Ripe olives
  11. Peanut oil
  12. Hemp seed oil
  13. Pecans
  14. Cashews
  15. Dark chocolate

If you are confused about saturated fat, dig deeper into which fats you need, and which ones to avoid.

What About Fiber?

Choose foods in the healthy carb category, means you are getting more than enough fiber both soluble and insoluble.

Focus on eating a variety of vegetables and fruit with some complex carbs added in each day.

If you’re not a fan of vegetables, you could try cold pressed juice for extra phytonutrients and soluble fiber.

These lists certainly aren’t definitive but they can be a great guide for those trying to clean up their diets, remove processed foods, and satisfy their daily macro amounts.

Do you have any additions to the above lists?

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Ted Kallmyer is an ISSA certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, author, and macros coach. He has helped hundreds of clients reach their body transformation goals.
Updated March 22, 2022

275 Comments

  • Marcilio Vazzoler 4 months ago

    Hello Ted,
    That’s a very good piece of information. I am curious about canned sardines. I’ve read recently that’s even better than tuna because of the concentration of mercury that tuna might have.
    And also broccolis might affect sexual Hormones and eating too much spinach (over a cup a day) gives you kidney stones.
    All this information are from reliable Studies.
    Any advice on those, please
    Just for the record, I eat broccoli, spinach and sardines almost every day and not sure if I should stop, (with broccoli and spinach)
    Thank you very much

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 4 months ago

      Hi Marcilio, I think the takeaway here is that variety in your diet is key and all foods should be eaten in moderation. Too much of any food can potentially have nutritional and health implications. I suggest trying to vary your diet a bit more. We have so many foods to choose from so break out of the routine and add in some different meals.

      Reply
  • Rebecca 9 months ago

    My sad situation is that while some of these carbs are “encouraged” (for want of a better word) I am also on an anti-inflammation diet and unfortunately several of these aren’t allowed. When I spend a day eating fruit and salad (which I’ve done often- even though the AI diet says no fruit (but as you said, that can be damned) my macros show all carbs and very little fat and protein. That can’t be good. So my question is this… if I stick to this list re carbs and protein and fat… will that ultimately also help with inflammation reduction?

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 9 months ago

      Hi Rebecca, One of the biggest causes of chronic inflammation is out-of-balance triglycerides. When you eat too many omega 6 rich fats, this causes inflammation, and carbs seem to contribute to the problem. The easiest solution is to take an omega 3 supplement daily and to limit the omega 6 rich oils like soybean and sunflower oils.

      Reply