Diet Advice

Top 15 Healthy Carb, Protein, and Fat Rich Foods

By Ted KallmyerUpdated February 11, 2024

Best foods for counting macros

If you are counting macros for weight loss (or muscle gain), choosing foods dominant in a single macro (carb, fat, or protein) is helpful.

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

Tracking your macros is about food freedom (eat anything as long as it meets your macros).

For optimal health, choose from the following list of carbs, proteins, and fats.


The best starchy or complex carbs

Don’t be afraid of carbs.

You can eat carbs and still reach your fat loss or muscle-building goals.

  1. Oatmeal (old-fashioned or Steel Cut)
  2. Yams (almost the same as sweet potatoes)
  3. Brown rice (I love basmati, 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

The best protein-based foods

What should you eat to hit protein goals? Protein is a vital ingredient in making productive muscle gains.

FoodProtein per 8 oz (227 g) serving
Boneless/skinless chicken breast52 grams
Canned solid white albacore tuna71 grams
Ahi tuna steak56 grams
Lean turkey breast cold cuts (nitrate-free)44.5 grams
Pork loin47.5 grams
Lean ground turkey (99%)54 grams
Egg whites20 grams (5 eggs worth)
Whey Protein (About Time brand)25 grams (per scoop)
Tilapia filets42 grams
Swai filets40 grams
Shrimp (peeled)32 grams
Lean brisket47 grams
Venison steak67.6 grams
Beef jerky120 grams
Turkey jerky104 grams
Cod40 grams
Lean ground grass-fed beef (96%)48 grams
Salmon48 grams
Canned chicken breast30 grams
Lean bison46 grams
Collagen Peptides18 grams
FoodProtein per 8 oz (227 g) serving
Seiten56 grams
The Plant Era protein powder21 grams (per scoop)
Vegan protein powder (About Time brand)24 grams (per scoop)
Tofu27 grams
Tempeh32 grams

Also, consider nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans) and pumpkin seeds – although they have a high amount of fat.

For non-vegan, there is also Greek yogurt (avoid yogurts high in sugar).

The best protein supplements and powders

To get 170 grams of protein, you must eat 1.7 kg of chickpeas (vegetarian) or 750 g of chicken breast.

That’s where protein supplementation comes in. What is the best protein powder for muscle gain?

Vegan – most are based on pea protein isolate.

  • About Time – a clean protein with 25 g per scoop. Sweetened with Stevia.
  • Orgain – most popular

Are you trying to gain weight? Learn how to lose fat and build muscle simultaneously using the body recomposition calculator.

The best sources of healthy fats

  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, learn which fats you need and which ones to avoid.

How much fiber should I eat?

Aim to get around 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed.

Eating foods in the healthy carb category gives you more than enough fiber (both soluble and insoluble).

Focus on eating a variety of vegetables and fruit with some complex carbs added daily.

Need help figuring out your fat loss strategy?

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