Counting Macros

Out of a Macro For the Day? Here’s What to Eat

It’s 5 o’clock, you’ve almost hit your 60-gram daily macro limit for fat, and you haven’t had dinner yet. What’s a macro counter to do?

Well, you have two choices:

1. You can go over on your fat macro that day.


2. You can eat foods that are free or very low in this macro.

In this article, I’ll give you suggestions on what to eat if you run out of a particular macro and I’ll explain why going over on a particular macro from time to time will not hinder your overall progress.

Protein Dominant (Pure) Foods

Here are some foods that are rich in protein but free from all or most of the other macros. Use these foods when you need more protein but have already hit or are coming close to your limit on carbs or fat.

Pure Whey Protein Powder: This is great to have on hand and choose brands that have zero carbs and fat or brands that have very little of the other macros. Brands like Isopure and BioSteel are zero carbs and 1 gram of fat per serving.

Very Lean Chicken Breast: This is only about 1.5 grams of fat per serving and could be even less if you remove any visible trace of yellow chicken fat before you cook it.

Fish: Many fish are very low in fat. Here are the top three:

  • Atlantic Cod: 0 carb and .8 grams of fat per serving.
  • Orange Roughy: 0 carb and .8 grams of fat per serving.
  • Mahi Mahi: 0 carb and .8 grams of fat per serving.

Seitan -Chicken Style (Isolated Wheat Protein): 0 grams of fat and just 6 net carbs

Egg whites: 1 egg white provides just a trivial amount of both fat and carbs but 3.6 grams of protein.

Turkey Breast: Roasted turkey breast is just .8 grams of fat per serving and has 0 carbs.

Crabmeat: Alaskan King Crab is just .8 grams of fat per serving and zero carbs. Just skip the dipping butter!

MacroFoodListCoverThumbThis 100+ macro food list comes free with The Macro Solution

Find out more


Carb Dominant (Pure) Foods

Here are some foods that are rich in carbs but free from all or most of the other macros. Use these foods when you need more carbohydrates but have already hit your limit on protein and fat or are about to.

While it would be simple to just eat tablespoons of sugar, I’ll focus here on healthier carb-rich foods.

Fruit: Most fruit is almost fat-free and very low in protein: Here are some to choose.

  • Banana: A medium-sized banana has less than .5 grams of fat and only 1.4 grams of protein.
  • Apples: A large apple has less than a gram of both fat and protein.
  • Blueberries: A cup has .5 grams of fat and only 1 gram of protein.
  • Strawberries: A cup of strawberries has less than .5 grams of fat and only 1 gram of protein.
  • Pears: A large pear has a trivial amount of fat and less than a gram of protein.

Honey: While honey is mainly pure sugar, it does offer some good health benefits1 so use this as a carb boosting sweetener when needed.

Sweet Potatoes: A medium sweet potato has a trivial amount of fat and just 2 grams of protein, but 23 grams of healthy carbs.

Butternut Squash: A cup of roasted butternut squash is virtually fat-free and contains less than 2 grams of protein.

Dried Fruit: Dried fruit is a quick way to boost your carb intake in a hurry. Just choose dried fruits with no added sugar and ones that are unsulfured.

  • Trader Joe’s Unsulfured Apricots: 10 apricots is 50 grams of carbs, 0 grams of fat and only 2 grams of protein, plus 4 grams of fiber.
  • Dried Figs: 5 dried figs delivers 26 grams of carbs, 0 grams of fat, and 1 gram of protein with 7 grams of fiber.
  • Dried Dates: This “as good as candy” dried fruit contains 31 grams of carbs, 0 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein and 3 grams of fiber per 5 dates.


Fat Dominant (Pure) Foods

This is one macro group that I never have trouble reaching and one that I actually have to work at NOT going over, but I recognize that some flexible dieters may not find it as easy.

Especially if you had been stuck in a “low fat” mindset for a long time.

In any event, here are some foods that are rich in fat, but also in healthy fat:

Virgin Olive Oil: This monounsaturated oil has been linked to a lot of health benefits2 so use it when possible to boost your fat grams for the day. 1 tablespoon is 14 grams of fat and nothing else.

Virgin Coconut Oil: This fat has gained wide popularity over the last 5 years and also has health promoting properties. 1 tablespoon contains 14 grams of fat and no other macros.

Grass-fed Butter: Grass-fed butter also packs some nutrition along with the fat. 1 tablespoon is 11.5 grams of fat and has just a trace of carbs and protein.

Nuts: Nuts are high in fat, but do contain some protein and carbs. However, the fat they contain is healthy and by far the dominant macro.

  • Almonds: 10 almonds has 6 grams of fat, 2.4 grams of carbs, and 2.6 grams of protein.
  • Walnuts: 1 oz contains 18.5 grams of fat, 3.9 grams of carbs, and 4.3 grams of protein.
  • Pecans: 1 oz delivers 20.4 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbs, and 2.6 grams of protein.

For a more in-depth article on healthy fats see this article.

Will Going Over On a Macro Ruin My Diet?

Do not stress out if on a few days here or there you are over on one of your macros or under on some others. It will not “ruin” your diet.

The most important thing, in my opinion, is to hit as close to your TDEE as possible.

Macros are more for “fine tuning” your results, while your TDEE determines whether you lose, maintain, or gain.

So yes, strive to meet your macros as these will help you reach your goals as far as body composition is concerned, but eating 20 extra grams of fat on a particular day won’t derail your progress unless it puts you 180 calories over your TDEE.

Looking for More Food Suggestions?

Accelerate Your Diet and Fitness Goals with My Macro Solution System

Step-by-step self-guided program -or- fully customized personal macros coaching. Feel exhilarated as you conquer your goals!

Macros for Fat Loss
Macros for Muscle Gain


  1. Bogdanov, S., Jurendic, T., Sieber, R., & Gallmann, P. (2008). Honey for nutrition and health: a review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 27(6), 677-689.
  2. Cicerale, S., Lucas, L. J., & Keast, R. S. J. (2012). Antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phenolic activities in extra virgin olive oil. Current opinion in biotechnology, 23(2), 129-135.
  3. Lead image: Flickr
Ted Kallmyer is an ISSA certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and is our lead macro coach. If you need help reaching your weight loss/fitness goals see our personal coaching options.
Last Updated: October 10, 2019


  1. Kayla 3 months ago

    Hello! I’m a 32 year old mom of 5 who is trying to lose belly fat and gain a lot of muscle. My husband and I lift weights doing a total body workout 3 days a week. I just recently figured my macros and came up with this. Protein 118,Carbs 295, Fat 79. My goal for calories is 2360. Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing? Do you have any advice?

    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 3 months ago

      Hi Kayla, You’ll have to be in a calorie deficit to lose fat and it seems like 2360 would be too much for that to happen plus you’d be looking at a big surplus on days you don’t lift. I’m happy to do all the calculations for you and get you headed in the right direction.

      • Kayla 3 months ago

        I would love any help I could get!

      • Kayla 3 months ago

        I was reading that if couples sign up together for a plan we get a discount. I was curious how much it costs to have both mine and my husbands macros calculated.

        • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 3 months ago

          Hi Kayla, For just macro calculations the total would be $60. The discount is for coaching programs which start at $99. So for both of you to do the 4 week program, you’d be looking at $168 with the couples discount. This option can be better in the long run because it includes lifetime adjustments and the stand-alone macro calculation does not. If you have any other questions about pricing and coaching could you email me?

  2. Tracy Burkey 4 months ago

    Hi Ted,
    I’ve been counting macros for the past few months using Myfitnesspal app. When I calculated what my macros should be and my goals, (which is loosing some belly fat and increasing my muscle mass), it calculated about 2100 cal/per day, with 40% protein, 30% carbs, and 30% fats. I set my app to a 2000 cal/per day, which works out to 200g protein, 151g carb, and 66g fat.

    I am a 41 yr. old female, I workout 3days a week with heavy weights. My workouts (including warmup, in-between set rest, and burnout) last between 70min-100min),. On my non-workout days, I stay active with my kids (hikes, etc.). I am 5’6 and I started out at 145lb, now I’m down to about 138lbs.

    Do those calculations sound accurate to you? Also, if I’m trying to hit my cards, do I count all of the carbs or just the net carbs? (some of the things I snack on are advertised as keto friendly because of the amount of fiber and sugar alcohols, but my macro app doesn’t distinguish between the two).
    Thanks so much!

    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 4 months ago

      Hi Tracy, Since you have an intense workout schedule that burns a lot of calories, you need to adjust your protein down and your carbs up. Max your protein at 150 g (any more than this will just convert to energy and protein is an expensive energy source), do 30% fat and eat the remainder of your macros as carbs. It’s easier to focus on total carbs and it gives you a little leeway. Since nutritional info, as well as net carbs, is based on “estimation” it’s not always the most accurate. Tracking total carbs gives you a little “buffer”.

  3. Abdulaziz Alyafei 9 months ago

    I am 41 years, i have started Macro dieting on Jan, up to May i have lost 12kg, but since that time i didnt lose anything.
    my current is 86, my hight is 173, i do cycling (1hr high speed 30-35) 3 times a week, i do run sometimes 6-10 (2 – 3 a week).
    when i started my diet i started with 1800c, 40%, 35%, 25%. tried to decrees is to 1570, and 2260, as well as tried to make it 1800 high protein
    but its the same, which made me felt disappointed and started to ruin my diet

    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 9 months ago

      Hi Abdulaziz, It doesn’t seem like you have your weight TDEE calculated correctly given your exercise. I’d love to help and here’s my coaching page: Personalized Macros Coaching

  4. Maggie Chio 11 months ago

    I have been hitting my numbers on protein, carbs, and fats but I still have calories left over.
    I don’t know if there is foods that will help me eat all my calories but not go over on my macros. Any suggestions?

    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 11 months ago

      Hi Maggie, Calories and macros should line up mathematically, but they don’t when tracking in the real world because of errors in nutritional info and the way some foods count fiber. As long as you are close to your macros, you are doing it right. Don’t stress if your calories are slightly over or under.

  5. Adriana 11 months ago

    Hi be been currently macro counting for about six weeks. I have lost 8lbs so far and about 4 inches around my waist not including other areas that I have also lost in inches. I am a 30 year old female currently 137 lbs and I have been consuming 1600 calories most days maybe 5-6 days a week Macro 160g carbs 140 protein 44g fat. I have been working out only the pay couple weeks maybe 2-3 days a week HIIT workout videos for 10 mins. I want to see more changes and I was thinking about cutting my calories down to 1400 calories or making adjustment to my macros while continuing to consume 1600 calories. My body type builds muscle easily. What do you think I should do? Cut calories? Up my protein and cut some carbs?

    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 11 months ago

      Hi Adriana, You should follow the calculations based on your stats and activity level and for weight loss. Don’t get caught in the trap of eating too little. You should have a macro set for days that you workout and another set for days that you don’t. This will help fine-tune things a little more and speed up your results. Your daily diet should match your actually daily energy expenditure while maintaining a safe deficit.

  6. Sylvia

    I have been trying to calculate my micros but am not sure what to put as my activity level. At work Monday to Friday I have a pretty active job. I average about 15000 steps a day and the is a lot of bending and lifting as well. But at the same time I do have the odd day that’s a little easier. I also do easy workouts at home. I’m 50 year old female 125 lb. small and fit upper body. Not so much on the bottom have lol. Your calculator has my at 224 g cards 103 G protein and 62 g fat. Have I picked the right activity level

    • Ted the Macro Coach

      Hi Sylvia, You didn’t describe your home workouts in detail but it seems like you would be moderate on days you also work.

  7. Ina

    Hi Ted!
    How should I set up my macros? I am currently 140 lbs and 6´5 high. I exercise a lot, mostly 5 times a week (combination of weight training, some hiit, yoga, dancing…) For more weight loss, I eat around 1500-1700 calories per day. But somehow I am always over my macros in MFP…I am confused…Thanks

  8. Lauren

    Hey there, I just started keto. I’m about 5’6″ and 220lbs. I took a macros assessment and it says I should be eating 1900 calories, 23 g carbs, 70 g protein, and 169 g fat per day. I’m having a hard time reaching my fat and calorie daily intake by about 40 g fat and 250 calories. Is this going to slow my loss and what can I throw into my menu that’s high in calories and fat, but low in carbs and protein? I feel like I’m already eating tons of butter, and I don’t like avocados. Thanks for your help!

    • Ted the Macro Coach

      Hi Lauren, 1900 seems a little high for weight loss unless you’re doing a lot of exercise. You could also up your protein a tad and lower your fat. Have you tried our calculator? I can also calculate everything for you if you sign up for a coaching option. It seems like you would also need a fat tissue adjustment.

  9. Kathryn

    Hi there! I am 27, 5’5 and 142lbs and my trainer has me 55F, 99C, 100P and 1255 calories.. Would those macros be set for loss, gain or what? and I’m slightly struggling to stay within my macros.. Anytime or tips on low macro foods?

    • Ted the Macro Coach

      Hi Kathryn, Those macros would be for fat loss and if you were sedentary. If you are also exercising, which I assume you are, you should be eating more. Sometimes it’s best if your trainer focuses on teaching you to exercise correctly and lets the nutritional recommendations up to an expert.

  10. Nikki

    This may be a silly question but if I do not go over my carb macro am I able to have a high carb food? Like steak fries that I have been dying for lol!

    • Ted Kallmyer

      Hi Nikki, Yes, one of the joys of flexible dieting is that it allows you to have foods that you crave as long as it fits your macros. Have some steak fries!

  11. Joni

    Hi, my daily macros are 171 protein, 196 carbs and 53 fat. If I go over my fat by 20 grams, but I eat like 80 less carbs, is that OK?

    • Ted Kallmyer

      Hi Joni, if that happens occasionally it’s fine but 20 grams of fat is equal to 180 calories while 80 grams of carbs is equal to 320 calories. You still need to be mindful of your TDEE.

  12. Robyn

    For the last few nights I’ve come close to meeting my fat and protein macros, but haven’t come close to the carb macro. I can balance my diet to come closer if I plan ahead better, but my question is this: does the carb macro mostly provide energy? If I’ve made it to the end of the day and am lacking half of my carb macros do I need to go scarf some rice cakes before bed or am I better off going to sleep without it? I don’t want to take away any weight loss benefits, but if the only benefit is energy I’m okay to skip it since it’s bedtime. Does that make sense? Thanks in advance.

    • Ted Kallmyer

      Carbs are mainly needed for energy but if you have exercised during the day, your body is still working to restore your muscles’ glycogen supplies that were used up during the exercise. You really should get the carbs in to ensure that you are fueling properly and keeping your metabolism humming. Chronic “undereating” can lead to weight loss plateaus and other health problems.

  13. Lakelia Odom

    I am trying to lose weight and i am completely lost i am trying to be on a keto diet however i am confused if i am eating to many proteins and fats right not my carbs intake is about 50g a day i know its not keto but im working my way down can anyone help me as far as where my proteins and fats should be i walk about 30 minutes a day current job I seat the whole day also im 5’2 and weight 207 pounds

  14. Lauren

    I’m trying to lose weight and just started working out a little bit every day doing light cardio and lifting a little bit of weights. I want to count macros but I don’t know if my calculations are right. I’m 5’3, female, 199 pounds, and 21 years old. My calories calculations is 1,803, carbs is 174, protein is 164, and fat is 50. I’ve followed the Keto plan before but now that I started working out a bit I think I’m not eating enough carbs but to me 174 is too much. Please help

    • James

      Hi Lauren, your numbers look about right, however a lot of it depends on your exercise level and how committed you are to it. When we work with clients we often create two different sets of macros – one for their workout days, and one for their rest days – this leads to better results.

      I would suggest aiming for the macros you have for 2-3 weeks and see how you go. If you are coming from a keto background then, yes the carbs will seem high – but it’s all about providing energy to help you exercise well. If you aren’t getting the results you want, look at either more comprehensive workouts, or use the Sedentary setting on the macro calculator.


    FAT TOTAL 67 GOAL 75

    • Ted Kallmyer

      Why are you eating such little carbs? Are you doing a ketogenic diet? If so, you need to search for ketogenic food lists. This one is geared more for flexible dieters.

  16. Lora

    I’ve gone over on my carb macros for the day by 24g but hit my protein and fat right on. Can I hop on the treadmill on a high incline to compensate?

    • James

      I wouldn’t stress. Just reduce your macros the following day by the same amount.

    • Ted Kallmyer

      How many grams of fiber have you eaten? Only about 40% of your fiber provides calories so it gives you a little cushion if you go over on your carbs.

      • Lora

        30g of Fiber today. Thanks so much by the way!!

        • Ted Kallmyer

          Perfect, so you had at least an 18 g buffer then.

  17. Lindsay Lewis

    Hi there. I’m new to macros. I need help. I’m currently training for a marathon on 4 weeks. I am 32 and 5’11”, 143 pounds, I calculate my calories to be 2264, and my Macros 283C/142P/63F. Is this right? Help!!
    I still want enough energy to train and carbs to run long distances. So I did 50%C/25%P/25%F.

    • Ted Kallmyer

      Hi Lindsay, I would have to know how long your runs are. (time and average speed) and what your goals are before I could comment on whether or not the macros listed would be appropriate.

      • Lindsay Lewis

        Average speed short runs are 8:30/mile, long runs 9:00/mile. This week we run 5 days, 5 miles, 8 miles, 5 miles, 5 miles, 20 miiles, then it starts tapering. My goals are to improve performance on marathon day and cut some fat.

        • Ted Kallmyer

          You really should figure out the calorie burn from each run and then add that to your sedentary TDEE to be the most accurate. This will ensure that you are fueling your runs and training properly. You’ll probably need several sets of macros and not just one. Here’s a good resource that can help with calculating your calorie burn from each run. I would also do just a 10% deficit if you are already pretty close to your goal weight.

  18. Jennifer

    What about Sugar, is there not a daily # for sugar?

    • James

      The premise behind macro counting is flexibility in terms of food choices. Ideally your carbohydrate choices would be a combination of green veg and other whole foods, but how much of your carbs are sugar is up to you.

  19. Dawn Findlay

    I go over on my protein every day and under on carbs… I feel hungry all the time if I don’t eat the extra protein..but feel bloated if i eat the correct amount of carbs that had been worked out. Is there any way of adjusting my protein to be higher In my macros ??

  20. Renee

    Gelatin is also pure protein (7g per packet). I make finger jello with unflavored gelatin and herbal tea. Last time I added Truvia (stevia) for a little sweetness, and that made it a bit more palatable.

    • Kristin Ekberg

      Gelatin is protein from connective tissue and not from muscle meat, which is optimal for building muscle. Gelatin lacks certain amino acids and are a weak source for others in comparison to eating say, a chicken breast. The key amino for building muscle is leucine so to compare 1 serving of gelatin to 1 serving of chicken breast its 524 vs 2652. Long story short, you should not be counting gelatin towards your desired protein goal for the day if your goal is to build muscle.