Counting Macros

How To Count Macros on a Vegan, Vegetarian, or Plant-Based Diet

By Ted KallmyerUpdated June 29, 2022
vegan macro calculation

Counting macros while on a vegan or plant-based diet is a great idea because it ensures that you are giving your body all of the essential nutrients that it needs in order to thrive.

As a macros coach, I’ve helped hundreds of people meet their weight loss goals and muscle-building goals but there is some confusion when it comes to the right diet plan to follow if you’re vegan or plant-based.

Can you count macros when vegan or vegetarian?

The simple answer is yes, most definitely.

A macro-based approach can be used in conjunction with any dietary preference. The macro philosophy is about eating the foods you prefer and still reach your fat loss and/or fitness goals.

Eating vegan, plant-based, or vegetarian is no different.  However, there are some adjustments that can help make reaching your macro goals more realistic and manageable.

A Comprehensive Vegan Macro Diet Plan

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3 Tips for Vegan or Vegetarian Macro Dieting

The Best Vegan Macro Ratios

  • 25% protein
  • 45% carbohydrates
  • 30% fat

One of the most challenging aspects of doing this diet when plant-based is hitting the recommended protein target, especially if you are weight training or strength training.

While eating more protein has been shown to increase the rate at which muscle mass can be added, the human body can still build muscle with fewer grams of dietary protein although the process will take longer.

There are many great athletes that are vegan and you would never know it by looking at their physiques.

For vegetarians and vegans, a more realistic macro ratio would be 25-30% protein 40-45% carbs, and 30-35% fat.

This will make hitting your macro targets much more achievable when eating whole plant-sourced foods since most plant-based protein-rich foods also come with their fair share of carbs and or fat.

Fiber Grams

Since plants are often rich in fiber, vegans and vegetarians often get a lot over the course of the day. This is one of the reasons a vegan diet can be so healthy. However, if you are consuming 30-50 grams of fiber a day, you may need to eat more carbs to compensate for the indigestible nature of fiber.

On nutritional labels, fiber is included in a food item’s total carbs but much of the fiber you eat isn’t digestible and doesn’t provide the body with energy.

If you are active and trying to lose weight, it’s important that you are fueling that activity properly – avoiding too much of a calorie deficit.

Vegans should really eat about 50-75% of their fiber intake back as more carbs. For example, if you eat 50 grams of fiber in a day, you should eat an additional 37.5 grams of digestible carbs to compensate for the indigestible carbs that are included in your total carb goal.

The other option is to track net carbs but this can be challenging since most tracking apps track total carbs and not all foods have been calculated to show their net carb amount.

vegan meal

Sample Vegan Macro Diet Meal Plan

Here’s a sample rest day and a sample exercise day from a vegan flexible dieting meal plan. The calories and macros for the day are also included at the end of each day.

Rest Day


  • 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal (1/4 cup raw)
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 scoop vanilla Vega protein powder (or similar)


  • 1 banana with 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter


  • 1 cup Campbell’s Organic Lentil Soup (or similar)
  • 1.5 cups broccoli
  • 1-ounce walnuts


Stir fry: Saute the veggies in a nonstick skillet until they are slightly tender. Toss in the Seiten and seasonings. Stir till heated. Serve over cooked quinoa.

  • 5 ounces Seiten
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 cup onion
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • Garlic, ginger, and soy sauce to taste.
  • 2 clementines (to offset undigestable fiber grams)

Total approx. 1547 calories


  • Protein: 99 g  (25%)
  • Carbs: 173 g (45%)
  • Fat: 51 g (30%)
  • Fiber: 34 g

Exercise Day


  • 1 slice whole-wheat toast
  • 1/2 cup vegan refried beans
  • 1/2 medium sliced avocado


  • 1-ounce almonds


  • 6 ounces Tofu
  • 4 cups spring salad mix
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 medium apple



  • 1 cup white beans
  • 2 cup zucchini
  • 3 mini sweet peppers
  • Sauté the above with 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 ounce whole wheat pasta (1 oz offsets the undigestible fiber grams )
  • Top with 1 cup organic marinara (Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 squares dark chocolate (72%)

Total: approx. 1940 calories


  • Protein: 119 g (25%)
  • Carbs: 204 g (42%)
  • Fat: 72 g (33%)
  • Fiber: 42 g

Getting Enough Plant-Based Protein as a Vegan

Even with adjusting macros in a way that requires less protein, some may struggle with knowing what to eat to get their protein grams in.

Plus, there’s the added difficulty of making sure you are getting enough complete protein since many plant protein sources lack all the essential amino acids.

A good rule of thumb is to combine plant proteins. Usually eating a legume along with a grain does the job nicely.


  • Beans and rice
  • Lentils and rice
  • Hummus on whole-grain toast

Seeds and nuts are high in protein and hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and quinoa are among some that contain complete proteins.

Here are some good resources for identifying good sources of plant proteins. (Some lists include dairy and eggs since some vegetarians eat those foods.)

  1. No Meat Athlete
  2. One Green Planet
  3. Eat This Not That
  4. 107 High Protein Vegan Recipes

The more densely the food is in protein the less impact it will have on your other macros.

Plant-Based Protein Supplementation

For those more interested in building muscle and strength training, a plant-based protein supplement can really help with getting some extra protein in. These supplements have come a long way over the years and there are many brands that taste delicious.

I suggest you choose a brand that is at least 20-30 grams of protein per scoop and one that’s low in carbs and fat.

Vegan Protein Brands

I tried The Plant Era and it’s lightly sweetened with stevia while using plant protein derived from peas and brown rice to provide a wide range of amino acids. It also includes vitamin B12 which often can be lacking in vegan diets. It comes in dark chocolate and strawberry basil flavors. You can try it or learn more here.

Another brand I’ve tried is Vega Sport Protein (see at Amazon).
Mezcla Bars are also a good option. They are plant-based and contain 10 grams of plant protein. I recently tried some and they are also delicious. A lot of plant protein bars can taste “gritty” but Mezcla uses pea crisp for a much better texture. Also, each bar is only 160 calories. Here’s their website.

Being a vegan or vegetarian isn’t a deal-breaker when it comes to macro counting and this is just another way this eating method embraces flexibility.

With a little planning and adjusting you can be successful in reaching your diet and fitness goals regardless of whether or not you eat meat.

FAQs about vegan weight-loss diets.

Do vegans count calories?

Not all vegans do, but if you are trying to lose or gain weight as a vegan, counting calories can be helpful for getting your energy balance right. You have to be in a negative energy balance (calorie deficit) for fat loss to occur. Counting calories or macros helps one achieve this.

Do vegans need to eat more calories?

No, vegans will have the same calorie requirements as other people with similar stats and activity. The only thing vegans need to account for is all the fiber they eat as discussed above. Vegans may need to eat more carbs to make up for the increased undigestable fiber they consume on a daily basis.

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.


  • tina

    Thank you for this. I recently started a vegan diet, and even more recently started logging on MyFitnessPal and watching my macros. The highest protein percentage I’ve gotten so far only 16%. I’m hoping that by following some of these recommendations I can find a better balance.

    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

      Hi Tina, Great! Glad we were able to help.

  • Jonna

    I was considering the premium version. It appears to contain both the fat loss and muscle gain versions, but NOT the vegan/vegetarian version which is what I need most. Is this correct?

    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

      Hi Jonna, It includes the Vegan version as well but you just have to request it after purchase.

  • Shirlee

    Today I ate 190g carbs–45g fiber. should I have eaten more digestible carbs? What happens if I don’t?

    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

      Hi Shirlee, It just means you are in a slightly higher calorie deficit on days like that. Alternatively, you can eat 30-40% of your fiber grams as digestible carbs.

  • Taylor B

    I found this article and the calculator very enlightening and I look forward to implementing these changes to my macro tracking as my weight has plateaued. My question is on exercise days, should I be eating back the calories that I expend? For example, if I adhere to my calorie intake of 1500 and run 5 miles (around 400 calories are burned for my size and pace). So my total intake is now at 1100 calories for the day…do I need to eat an extra 400 calories?

    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

      Hi Taylor, Glad this article was helpful. I’m a tad confused with your question. If your TDEE is 1500 and you run and burn 400 calories, your new TDEE would be 1900 calories for that day.

  • Hannah spear

    This is incredible. Thank you thank you thank you!

    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

      You’re welcome, I’m glad you found it useful.

  • Isaure Moorehead

    before I download your book, does it have a macro chart for commonly used high protein vegan items/sources?

    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

      Hi Isaure,

      The book doesn’t contain a list. In reality, there aren’t any plant-based whole foods that are predominantly protein. However, plant-based food products are created to satisfy this need like vegan protein powders, seiten, and isolated soy protein products.

  • Melissa Willis

    Is it ok to to count macros on a vegan diet, doing intermittant fasting too.. eating between 12pm and 8pm. Since i’m on day 5 of this and feel super full all the time!!
    My friend worked out my ratio as Protein 90g, carbs 240g and fat 60g.. 1860 calories…that sound right? Im also finding it hard to keep the fibre down..the first day was about 70grams!! then managed to keep it just under 50grams since..Its so hard!!!
    Im 38 yr old woman, who goes to gym 5 days a week – mix of HIIT classes, yoga and weight training and walks 30 minutes every day..Im 5ft 10 and weight 72kg..trying to lean up and define muscles.. Hope its ok to ask!!!

    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

      Hi Melissa, You can do both and it seems like you’re in a good starting place, but I couldn’t say for sure without looking at all your stats and lifestyle factors as part of a coaching relationship. See how your body responds and after 2 weeks make adjustments as needed. Also, there’s nothing wrong with having a lot of fiber but you do need to eat some of those calories back since about 60-70% of fiber doesn’t provide energy but is included in your total carb amount.

  • Shannan

    Is this book available in hard copy?

    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

      Hi Shannan, Thanks for your interest but it is only available in electronic form.

  • Jennifer Morales

    Hi there! I just came across this website today, and I was SUPER excited to find out that the coaching program that has a vegan option. Could I ask your thoughts about the importance (if any) that macros play between endo/meso/ectomorph body types?

    I had read an article earlier this week that suggested different macro percentages between the body types. It also mentioned that people can be a cross between two body types, which might make it a bit harder to pin point what might be best for yourself.

    Falling into the endomorph body type, it advised someone like me to lay low on carbs and pump up the fat. For this article, it’s advising “25-30% protein 40-45% carbs and 30-35% fat”.

    Appreciate your time reading this!

    • James (Moderator)

      Hi Jennifer, the science around the endo/ecto concept is vague. However, we’ve found there is a small portion of people who can be more sensitive to carbs than others. I suggest you get a set of macros (and if you go the coaching route, our coach will figure the best macros for both resting and exercise days). Then you monitor. If things aren’t changing for you, we adjust the macros. What sort of exercise you are doing can also play a critical part in you reaching your body composition goals.

    • Anonymous

      This is a wonderful article! Thank you for not writing off vegans in the way a lot of fitness folks do! It’s ironic that I am looking into purchasing your ebook BECAUSE it was teased or shoved down my throat in the way a lot of other articles are. THANK YOU!

      • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

        Thanks for taking the time to say that. I’m glad you found it useful.

  • Roy Arrowood

    I thought that it was hard for me because I was a vegetarian. Then I started looking at meat labels and realized something. Veggie meats are leaner than any meat on the market. My macros told me to hit 170p 170c 37f. If I eat nothing but the leanest chicken (55g protien for every 15g fat) I would still hit my fat limit before my protein. Interestingly if I eat nothing but tofurkey (14g protien for every 3g fat) I hit fat and protien Max at the same time with a little fat to spare. So actually eating meat is a disadvantage. What this really tells me is two fold. 1.) I will achieve superior results far more easily with a vegan supplement 2.) I could technically hit my macros on nothing but beer and tofurkey lol. Which tells me that macros are clearly not all I should be considering.

    • Bob Feltersnatch

      What could go wrong!?!?

  • Nikki

    what macros as a vegan should I follow if I am trying to lose weight? Currently I am doing 120 carbs a day as a vegan because I read this was accurate for weightloss. Now as I read this article I am not sure if I am on the right track. I am losing some weight but I don’t want to become deficent.

    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

      Hi Nikki, it’s not about carbs but creating a calorie deficit. Use our calculator to find what’s best for you and then adjust your macros like this article advises.

  • Vince

    This is one of the things I like most about flexible dieting and related concepts. You can change them and apply them to pretty much any diet type – regardless of whether that diet is simple or complex.

    • James (Moderator)

      Agreed. There’s a lot of energy spent agonizing over various diet regimes… clean eating, paleo, atkins, etc. But flexible dieting is exactly that… flexible.