October 13, 2021 (Updated: May 13, 2022)
When you’re first learning about macros-based nutrition, it can be challenging to get the numbers just right. You may hit unexpected hiccups and bumps in the road that you haven't planned for. It is a good idea to have a list of single macro foods handy so that you can get your numbers in order and fit your macros where they need to go. Learn more about which single macro foods can help you quickly hit macros goals at the end of every day.
A single macro food is just a food whose macronutrient distribution heavily favors one macro over the other 2.
For example, peanuts have a very high fat content paired with a lesser amount of carbohydrates and protein. Over 70% of the calories in a peanut come from fat, which makes it a particularly useful food to manipulate your fat intake without bothering your carb or protein totals. That is the whole idea of single macro foods. It's just food that you can use to increase your intake of a macro that is falling behind the others as you eat throughout the day.
You may have heard the term "Macro-Friendly" relating to recipes. While this may sound like there are "good macros" and "bad macros", all it usually means is that it provides a reduced carb, reduced fat, of increased protein recipe. The reason this is referred to as "Macro-Friendly" is that it is pretty easy to find yourself going over on carbohydrates and fat, or coming up short on protein. If this isn't true for you, then you will have a significantly easier time dialing in your macros at the end of the day.
Meeting protein macros is often challenging for people to accomplish with traditional eating habits. As you transform your diet to macros-based eating, consider adding in meal prep for a few protein-dominant foods that you can toss in at the end of the day if your numbers don’t add up to what they should.
Choose lean cuts of turkey or chicken. If you trim any remaining skin and fat and roast with herbs and seasonings only, you can prep these options at home for lower cost, higher protein, and less than a gram of fat per serving.
Scrambled egg whites have four grams of protein per serving. However, be cautious with how you cook the eggs, because oils and other fats can add to your other macros categories. Some people hard-boil eggs for a quick bite. Rather than eat the whole egg, only eat the whites, reserving the yolks for sauces, rapid fat consumption, or other dietary uses.
Pure whey protein powder is a fast way to fix your macros if you are in a hurry or have already eaten. You can mix protein powder into almost anything, but go for water to quickly drink to get your numbers in order without throwing other categories out of whack. This is an excellent late-night fix when all your meals have been consumed but you’re still off the mark.
Tofu is a great single macro food, and not just for vegans! Tofu can be a great snack on its own, prepared in a frying pan or an air fryer. Just make sure that you find yourself a marinade that works for you. Keep in mind that in order to keep tofu as a single macro food, your marinade can't contribute a significant amount of fat or carbohydrates.
Fat is often a part of other foods that you consume throughout the day. As such, it likely won’t be a number that you have a hard time with hitting your macros goals. However, the good news about fats is that it is easy to fix if you are missing your count. Fats are often easily obtained by grabbing just a small portion of something that requires little prep on your part; just be sure that your choice doesn’t also have protein and carbs to skew your other numbers.
Nuts have both carbs and protein, so save these if you’re a little under on all counts. However, fat is the dominant macro and can get you to your correct number in a hurry. One ounce of pecans contains more than 20 grams of fat and just four grams of carbs with two grams of protein.
As most of you are probably aware, butter and oils are pretty much pure fat. And while they may not be something you will want to sit down and eat on their own, adding some extra oil to a meal is an easy way to add some extra fat (and flavor!) to a meal if you’re low on you fat macro.
Avocados are one of the few fruits or vegetables to have most of its calories come from fat. While it does contain a few carbs, over 75% of calories are from fat. 1 cup of cubed avocados contains 10 grams of fat, with just 6g of carbs and 1g of protein.
Much like fat, getting to the goal post of carb macros is usually not a problem. Controlling your carb intake is more likely to be one of the first hurdles you encounter as you begin your macro journey. Remember that even though carbs break down to just sugar, complex carbs with other minerals and nutrients are a better choice for advanced nutrition.
Keeping doctors away since time immemorial, apples can also help you hit your carb count, ringing in at 25 grams of carbs. This fruit has no protein and no fat, and you can eat it on the go with no meal prep involved, so it is a quick and straightforward fix.
The over 20 grams of complex carbs in sweet potatoes will help you hit your macros in a single serving. Low races of fat and just a few grams of protein make this choice a great addition.
Keeping a bag of prunes around can be beneficial for more than just hitting macros. Thanks to high fiber and no fat and protein, these quick snacks that come in resealable bags will help you stay regular and hit your carb macros. A handful of dried prunes has over 35 grams of carbohydrates.
Remember, as you become more familiar with macro meal planning, hitting your macros every time will become second nature. Until then, helpful lists of single macro foods and macros tips and tricks are valuable resources to keep nearby. For more support, download the macro meal planning app Prospre to help you keep track of macros as you go through the day.