So, your coach or a macro calculator told you to eat 300 grams of carbs daily, but you’re unsure how? As a Nutritionist, I’m here to help you reach that goal in the healthiest, most sustainable way possible (without feeling uncomfortably full).
- Divide your daily goal of 300 grams into several smaller objectives––for example, 80 grams at breakfast, 80 grams at lunch, 50 grams as an afternoon snack, and 90 grams at dinner.
- Complex carbs are better for your overall health because they provide more stable energy; however, simple carbs are better for workouts because they offer faster energy and won’t keep you feeling “stuffed.”
Who Should Be Eating 300 Grams of Carbs A Day?
Eating 300 grams of carbohydrates might seem like a high target for those who are sedentary or lightly active, but most athletes require at least 300 grams of carbohydrates to support their performance.
Active Individuals & Athletes
According to the Journal of Sports Medicine, carbohydrate recommendations for athletes should be:
“6–10 g/kg of bodyweight depending on gender and physical fitness level of the individual, total training load, energy expenditure, type of physical activity and environment.”
Based on this recommendation, athletes weighing approximately 50kg (110 lbs) require 300 grams of carbs daily.
Realistically, most athletes will weigh more than this and need greater than 300 grams of carbs daily to support their training.
Another study on carb intake for athletes breaks this down, explaining that those with general training needs (strength or skill-based athletes) will require 5-7 g/kg/day, but endurance athletes will require 7-10 g/kg/day.
Therefore, strength athletes who require 300 grams of carbs daily weigh 43-60kg (95 to 132 lbs), whereas endurance athletes needing the same intake weigh 30 to 43 kg (66 to 95 lbs).
Those with active lifestyles outside their training (e.g., manual laborers) will have even higher carbohydrate requirements than those suggested above.
Sedentary & Lightly Active Individuals
Sedentary or lightly active individuals will require fewer grams of carbs per kilogram (or pound) of body weight.
A more appropriate carb intake for these individuals is 2.5 to 3.5 g/kg, meaning those requiring 300 grams would weigh 86 to 120 kg (190 to 264 lbs).
7 Tips For Reaching 300 Grams of Carbs Per Day
Now that you’ve determined you should eat 300 grams of carbs per day, I’ll share my top tips for consistently meeting this goal.
1. Start With Breakfast
One sure way to consume 300 grams of carbohydrates daily is to start the day off with a high-carbohydrate breakfast to get ahead.
Rather than having a small breakfast or fasting until noon, fix yourself a high-carb meal.
A high-carb breakfast will get you closer to your goal and provide energy to start your day on the right foot.
Here are four ideas, each providing 55-60+ grams of carbs:
- A cup of cooked oatmeal topped with a tablespoon of honey and half a banana (sliced)
- Smoothie with one medium banana, a cup of strawberries, ¼ cup dry oats, and a tablespoon of honey
- Pancakes with a scoop of protein powder, a cup of dry oats, two eggs, and a cup of milk, served with two tablespoons of maple syrup
- A cup of Greek yogurt with ¼ cup of granola, half a cup of mixed fruits (kiwi, berries, apple, etc.), and a tablespoon of honey
For more ideas, check out the meal plan below.
2. Eat Carb-Rich Snacks
Take advantage of carb-rich snacks to help you meet your target.
Most high-carb snacks are fast-digesting, meaning they won’t keep you satiated, so consuming larger amounts of carbs will be easier without getting overly full.
As an added benefit, these fast-digesting snacks are the perfect pre-workout option to fuel your training.
Here are a few simple, carb-rich snacks to enjoy between meals:
- Banana: 30+ grams of carbs in a large one
- Dried fruit: 23 grams of carbs per ounce
- Rice cakes: 14 grams of carbs per two cakes
- Bagel with jam or honey: 45-50+ grams of carbs
- Granola bar: 15-30 grams of carbs per bar
3. Sip On High-Carb Smoothies
Smoothies are the most convenient option for taking in carbs while on the go.
You can have a smoothie as a meal or snack, depending on the serving size and proportion of other nutrients (protein & fat).
Smoothie options include:
- One banana, a cup of pineapple, and a cup of coconut water = 55 grams of carbs
- One banana, half a cup of oats, a tablespoon of honey, and a cup of milk = 80 grams of carbs
- A cup of strawberries and blueberries, one banana, and half a cup of milk = 65 grams of carbs
- A cup of strawberries and blueberries, one apple, and a cup of apple juice = 80 grams of carbs
If you need more carbs to reach your 300-gram goal, boost the carb content of any recipe by adding oats, honey, or fruit juice or topping it with dried fruit.
4. Opt For Starchy Vegetables
Prioritizing starchy vegetables over leafy green vegetables can help boost your carbohydrate intake and get you closer to your 300-gram goal.
For example, opt for roasted harvest veg like sweet potato, beets, Brussels, and carrots instead of a salad with lettuce, tomato, and cucumber.
My favorite starchy vegetables are:
- White potatoes: 31 grams of carbs per cup
- Sweet potatoes: 27 grams of carbs per cup
- Beets: 13 grams of carbs per cup
- Green peas: 21 grams of carbs per cup
- Corn: 29 grams of carbs per cup
5. Set A Carb Target For Each Meal & Snack
Break down your goal into bite-sized chunks by setting a goal for each meal and snack.
These mini-goals help you stay on track throughout the day rather than trying to cram in 150 grams of carbs at the end of the day.
To set carb goals for each meal, consider how many meals and snacks you eat daily and divide the 300 grams of carbs between meals.
For example, let’s say you eat three meals and a snack:
- Meal 1 (breakfast): 80 grams of carbs
- Meal 2 (lunch): 80 grams of carbs
- Snack (afternoon): 60 grams of carbs
- Meal 3 (dinner): 80 grams of carbs
6. Use An App to Track Your Carb Intake
The best way to ensure you eat 300 grams of carbohydrates daily is to track your intake with an app (my top pick is MacroFactor).
Too many people make the mistake of eyeballing their portion sizes, which is unreliable.
A far better approach is to use a food-logging app and a scale to weigh everything you eat.
Using an app to track your carb intake shows you how consistent you are and where you could improve.
It also teaches you which foods are higher and lower in carbs, which can inform future decisions.
7. Substitute Some Foods With High-Carb Alternatives
Swapping out foods you eat regularly for higher-carb alternatives is an easy way to increase your carb intake.
You can swap similar items (e.g., toast for a bagel) or choose a higher-carb brand of the same foods (e.g., All Bran Cereal instead of Special K).
When grocery shopping, read nutrition labels to see which brand or food item is higher in carbohydrates.
Here are a few simple substitutions to instantly boost your carb intake:
- One bagel (49 grams of carbs) instead of two pieces of whole-wheat toast (24 grams)
- Half a cup of granola cereal (35 grams) instead of half a cup of a low-carb cereal (25 grams)
- Two ounces of dried fruits (46 grams) instead of a large apple (31 grams)
- One ounce serving of crackers (17 grams) instead of an ounce of nuts (6 grams)
- A cup of fruit salad (32 grams) instead of a cup of vegetable salad (often less than 10 grams unless you add dressing)
Sample Meal Plan: 300 Grams of Carbs
Meal Plan #1
This sample menu has 311 grams of carbohydrates.
Breakfast (88 grams of carbs)
- 2 slices of toast with jam: 40g
- 1 medium banana: 27g
- 1 small apple (21g)
Lunch (94 grams of carbs)
- 1 cup of cooked quinoa: 39g
- Grilled chicken breast: 0g
- Steamed broccoli (2 servings): 12g
- 1 medium orange: 12g
- 2 cups of grapes: 32g
Afternoon Snack (44 grams of carbs)
- 1 granola bar: 20g
- 1 cup of mixed berries: 24g
Dinner (85 grams of carbs)
- 1.5 cups of cooked pasta: 65g
- Marinara sauce (1 serving): 10g
- Grilled vegetables (zucchini, bell peppers, onions): 10g
Meal Plan #2
This sample menu has 312-317 grams of carbohydrates.
Breakfast (97 grams of carbs)
- 1 cup of cooked oatmeal: 27g
- 1 banana, sliced and added to oatmeal: 27g
- 1 tablespoon of honey drizzled on top: 17g
- 1 cup of orange juice: 26g
Lunch (106 grams of carbs)
- 1.5 cups of cooked brown rice: 75g
- 6 oz grilled chicken breast: 0g
- 1 large apple: 31g
Dinner (109-114 grams of carbs)
- 2 medium-sized baked potatoes: 74g
- 1 large steak: 0g
- Steamed veggies: 5-10g
- 1 medium-sized muffin: 30g
Meal Plan #3
This sample menu has 303 grams of carbohydrates.
Breakfast (90 grams of carbs)
- 1 cup of cereal: 55g
- 1 cup of skim milk: 12g
- 1 small banana, sliced on top: 23g
Lunch (89 grams of carbs)
- 2 large baked sweet potatoes: 74g
- Salmon (prepared as you prefer): 0g
- Side salad with lettuce, tomatoes, and a light dressing: 15g
Afternoon Snack (23 grams of carbs)
- 1 oz of dried fruit: 23g
Dinner (101 grams of carbs)
- 1.5 cups of cooked spaghetti: 60g
- 3 medium-sized meatballs: 6g
- Marinara sauce (1 serving): 10g
- 1 slice of garlic bread: 25g
Complex vs Simple Carbs: Which Should You Have?
The bottom line is that consuming complex carbohydrates is the best choice for overall health; however, simple carbohydrates are a better carb source before and during training sessions.
Carb quality can significantly impact our energy levels, mood, well-being, and long-term health.
Most notably, we must consider carb structure, determining whether a carb is simple or complex.
Consuming simple carbs is one of the best sports nutrition practices because they provide immediate energy.
Issues arise when you overconsume simple carbs and do not exercise to reduce blood sugar. Therefore, simple carbs are best to eat before a workout.
Some simple carb sources include:
- Breakfast cereals
- Sports drinks
- Fruit juices
- Fresh and dried fruits
Complex carbohydrates digest more slowly and cause a more gradual increase in blood sugar levels. The slower energy release also makes people less likely to experience a sugar crash.
“Many complex carbohydrate foods contain fiber, vitamins and minerals, and they take longer to digest – which means they have less of an immediate impact on blood sugar, causing it to rise more slowly.”– Harvard School of Public Health.
Eating complex carbs is better for stable energy levels, overall cognition, and well-being.
Sources of complex carbs include:
- Sweet potato
- Brown rice
Staying on Track: My Practical Recommendations
The tips and meal plan above can help you consume 300 grams of carbs, but you need to be practical to make this work long-term. Here are my suggestions:
Try New Foods And Recipes
Don’t be afraid to experiment with new foods, combinations, and recipes so that you’re excited about the food you’re eating.
Eating the same foods may be convenient and work for a short time, but over time, you’ll lose motivation if you’re not enjoying your food.
Give Meal Prepping a Try
Meal prepping, cooking more food in advance, and storing it in containers are excellent ways to ensure you have high-carb meals every day of the week.
You can prepare carb sources like potatoes, pasta, and rice with vegetables, meat, and fish and store them in the fridge for several days.
As a coach, I can tell you that most of the time, my clients have a bad week because they weren’t prepared.
Set yourself up for success by carving out weekly time for meal prep.
Increase Your Intake Gradually
Although the goal is to eat 300 grams of carbohydrates daily, it may be unrealistic to reach this goal immediately. If you struggle to eat 200 grams of carbohydrates, 300 will be a real challenge.
It’s best to start small and gradually increase your carb intake over time as you adjust.
Taking a gradual approach is better than drastically changing your habits overnight, getting frustrated, and then giving up.
Not every day is going to be easy.
Sometimes, you might not have enough time to sit down for big meals, and other times, you may not have an appetite, making it impossible to eat 300 grams of carbs.
You won’t always hit your target perfectly, and that’s completely okay.
Rather than beating yourself up for not reaching the mark occasionally, focus on the bigger picture and remember that getting 300 grams of carbs will get easier the longer you do it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Calories is 300 Grams of Carbs?
A gram of carbs provides four calories of energy. So, 300 grams of carbs is 1,200 calories.
Is 300 Grams of Carbs A Day Good For Bulking?
When it comes to bulking, calories and protein are most important as they facilitate weight gain and muscle growth. Your carb intake will affect your energy levels, so eating 300 grams daily and feeling energized for workouts is likely sufficient.
Can You Lose Weight By Eating 300 Grams of Carbs a Day?
Some individuals can lose weight by eating 300 grams a day. Those more likely to lose weight eating 300 grams are larger individuals who are active and endurance athletes, as these people expend the most energy.
Hassapidou MCarbohydrate requirements of elite athletesBritish Journal of Sports Medicine 2011;45:e2.
Burke LM, Cox GR, Culmmings NK, Desbrow B. Guidelines for daily carbohydrate intake: do athletes achieve them? Sports Med. 2001;31(4):267-99. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200131040-00003. PMID: 11310548.
ScienceDirect. Postprandial Hyperglycemia. ScienceDirect. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/postprandial-hyperglycemia
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/carbohydrates-and-blood-sugar/
About The Author
Philip Stefanov is a certified conditioning coach, personal trainer, and fitness instructor. With more than nine years of experience in the industry, he’s helped hundreds of clients improve their nutritional habits, become more consistent with exercise, lose weight in a sustainable way, and build muscle through strength training. He is passionate about writing and has published more than 500 articles on various topics related to healthy nutrition, dieting, calorie and macronutrient tracking, meal planning, fitness and health supplementation, best training practices, and muscle recovery.
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