40 Carb 30 Protein 30 Fat Meal Plan (Science-Backed)

If you’ve heard about the 40/30/30 diet, you may wonder what it entails and if it will help you achieve the results you’re looking for. As a Dietitian, I’m here to walk you through everything you need to know about this diet! I also provide a sample meal plan that you can download below.

Key Takeaways

  • When following this macro split (40 carb, 30 protein, 30 fat) it is important to include higher fiber carb sources, lean protein sources, and healthy fats to manage hunger.
  • The 40-30-30 meal plan is suitable for those wanting to optimize their physique by losing fat and maintaining (or building) muscle, such as recreational lifters or competitive bodybuilders.
  • This meal plan is not suitable for endurance and power/strength athletes, as they require a much higher carb intake to fuel long workouts and high-intensity training protocols. 

What Is A 40C/30P/30F Meal Plan?

What Is A 40C30P30F Meal Plan

The 40C/30P/30F plan is a dietary approach that recommends a relatively low carbohydrate intake, a high protein intake, and a balanced fat intake.

The 40C/30P/30F plan aims for a macronutrient ratio of:

  • 40% of total calories from carbs
  • 30% of total calories from protein
  • 30% of total calories from fat

Here’s an example of a 40C/30P/30F plan, based on a daily intake of 2200 calories:

  • Carbs (4 calories per gram)
    = 2200  X 40% = 880 calories
    = 880 / 4 = 220 grams
  • Protein (4 calories per gram)
    = 2200 x 30% = 660 calories
    = 660 / 4  = 165 grams
  • Fat (9 calories per gram)
    = 2200 x 30% = 660 calories
    = 660 / 9 = 73 grams

So the targets are:

  • Carbs: 220 grams
  • Protein: 165 grams
  • Fat: 73 grams

This macro ratio comes from the “zone diet”, a diet that was developed approximately 3 decades ago by an American biochemist, who claims that by following this diet one can lose body fat more easily, reduce aging, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases (also improving blood sugars).

Who Would Benefit From a 40C/30P/30F Meal Plan?

Who would benefit from a 40c30p30f meal plan

With this diet being lower in carbs, it would be better suited for those trying to lose weight or athletes who are looking to change their body composition (e.g. lowering body fat percentage while maintaining or increasing lean mass conservatively).

So, you might be asking yourself why changing macro ratios would benefit these groups of people in particular. 

The answer is that based on evidence, higher protein intakes and lower carb intakes have been shown to preserve muscle mass when calories are restricted for weight loss.

One study found that by reducing carbs and increasing protein during a weight-loss phase, body composition was improved.

The study compared those who followed a 41C/30P/29P macro split and another group who followed a 58C/16P/26F macro split.

While both diets produced similar weight loss results (15 lbs and 16.5 lbs respectively), more muscle was preserved in the 41/30/29 (high protein) diet.  

That said, this macro split will only result in weight loss if calories are adjusted for weight loss. Meaning, that you need to be in a calorie deficit (fewer calories than you need to maintain your weight).

Who Would NOT Benefit from a 40C/30P/30F Meal Plan?

Who would not benefit from a 40c30p30f meal plan

This plan and macro ratio would not be suitable for endurance athletes, or power/strength athletes aiming to gain significant mass and strength because these groups of athletes require higher intakes of carbs to support their training and performance.

Endurance athletes need high carb intakes because they need to maximize carb availability and energy stores in the body to fuel lengthy training sessions. Think marathons or Ironman races. 

The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) recommends 8-12 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight for endurance athletes.

For example, an endurance athlete weighing 60kg will need between 480- 720 grams of carbs to support their performance.

Power/strength athletes also rely on energy from carbs and glycogen stores to fuel high-intensity resistance-based workouts, particularly when the body needs to produce quick energy. Think CrossFit. 

As such, the ISSN suggests these athletes consume 5-7 grams per kg of bodyweight. 

For example, a CrossFit athlete weighing 60kg will need between 300-420 grams of carbs per day to maximize their performance.

In both scenarios, either for endurance athletes or power/strength athletes, these ISSN recommendations are typically above the 40% target of calories coming from carbohydrates on the 40/30/30 diet.

40C/30P/30F Shopping List

If you’ve determined that the 40/30/30 macro split meets your needs then it will be helpful to know what to buy to help you reach these targets more easily.

Carb Options

As carbs are lower in this macro split, the carb options that you choose should be nutrient-dense and higher in fiber to keep you full for longer periods and to balance your blood sugar.

I recommend prioritizing certain fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.


  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus
  • Courgette
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower 


  • Apple
  • Berries
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Apricots
  • Oranges
  • Banana


  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Quinoa
  • Lentil/chickpea pasta
  • Ezekiel bread
  • Sourdough bread
  • Wholegrain rice/pasta


  • Chickpeas
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Peas

Protein Options

These should include lean/low-fat protein-rich foods, including lean meat, fish, eggs, plant-based, and low-fat dairy.


  • Beef (low-fat mince or eye of round)
  • Pork (tenderloin or sirloin)
  • Venison (Sitka)
  • Veal (sirloin)
  • Chicken or turkey breast (skinless)


  • Shellfish
  • Whitefish (i.e. haddock)
  • Salmon
  • Tuna


  • Tofu
  • Soy-based products
  • Pea based products
  • Edamame

Dairy and Eggs

  • Cottage or ricotta cheese
  • Skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
  • Greek or Skyr yogurt (unflavored)
  • Eggs

Fat Options

These should be primarily unsaturated fats. I recommend limiting your saturated fat intake to 10% of total fats at most.


  • Avocado
  • Avocado oil

Nuts and Seeds

  • Walnuts, cashews, and almonds 
  • Chia, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds

Vegetable Based Oils and Spreads

  • Olive oil or spread
  • Sesame seed oil

Oily Fish

  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon 
  • Herring

40C/30P/30F Meal Plan

The following meal plan is based on a 2000-calorie diet.

The macro ratio is as follows: 200 grams (800 calories) of carbs, 150 grams (600 calories) of protein, and 67 grams (600 calories) of fat.


Meal #1: Breakfast

  • Scrambled eggs x3, mushrooms, tomatoes
  • Ezekiel bread, 3 slices

470 calories / 45g Carbs / 35g Protein / 18g Fat

Meal #2: Lunch

  • Grilled chicken breast, 110g
  • Cooked quinoa, 100g
  • Canned kidney beans, 100g 
  • Olive oil, 5ml 
  • Spinach and cauliflower

449 calories / 43g Carbs / 40g Protein / 13g Fat

Meal #3: Snack

  • Protein scoop, 25g 
  • Semi-skimmed milk, 250ml
  • Banana, 100g

328 calories / 36g Carbs / 33g Protein / 6g Fat

Meal #4: Dinner

  • Grilled Salmon, 150g 
  • Roasted white potatoes, 200g
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Grilled fennel
  • Olive oil, 5ml

555 calories / 50g Carbs / 37g Protein / 23g Fat

Meal #5: Snack

  • Greek yogurt, 100g
  • Berries, 100g
  • Chia seeds, 10g

165 calories / 21g Carbs / 13g Protein / 2g Fat

Total Macros and Calories

  • Carbs (39.6%): 195g, 780 kcal
  • Protein (32.1%): 158g, 632 kcal
  • Fat (28.3%): 62g, 558 kcal
  • Calories: ~1970

Have Any Questions?

With any meal plan, you may have questions. Feel free to reach out and let me know how I can help! Check out the contact page or email editor@feastgood.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does the 40/30/30 Meal Plan Affect Blood Sugar Levels?

  • Question from reader: “I have diabetes. Is the 40/30/30 meal plan a good option for managing my blood sugar levels?

The 40/30/30 meal plan emphasizes a balanced intake of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. While the diet could help in managing hunger through higher fiber carb sources, it doesn’t specifically address blood sugar management.

If you have diabetes, it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider before making significant changes to your diet.

The 40/30/30 meal plan could potentially help stabilize blood sugar levels due to its lower carb and higher protein content, but individual responses can vary.

Can I Follow the 40/30/30 Meal Plan as a Vegetarian or Vegan?

  • Question from reader: “I’m a vegetarian/vegan. Can I still follow the 40/30/30 meal plan effectively?

Yes, you can follow this meal plan as a vegetarian or vegan, but you’ll need to be mindful of your protein sources.

Legumes, tofu, tempeh, and plant-based protein powders can be good options to ensure you meet your protein requirements.

Keep in mind, however, many plant-based protein sources are also high in carbs, so it’s important to track your macro intake more carefully.

How Does the 40/30/30 Meal Plan Interact with Intermittent Fasting?

  • Question from reader: “I’m currently doing intermittent fasting. Can I combine this with the 40/30/30 meal plan?”

Generally speaking, you can combine the 40/30/30 meal plan with intermittent fasting as long as you meet your caloric and macronutrient targets within your eating window.

However, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to ensure that the combined approach meets your nutritional needs and health goals.

At FeastGood.com we don’t specifically promote fasting as a nutritional strategy.

Other Macro Ratios

We’ve published other articles discussing alternative macro ratios:


Layman DK, Boileau RA, Erickson DJ, Painter JE, Shiue H, Sather C, Christou DD. A reduced ratio of dietary carbohydrate to protein improves body composition and blood lipid profiles during weight loss in adult women. J Nutr. 2003 Feb;133(2):411-7. doi: 10.1093/jn/133.2.411. PMID: 12566476.

Burke LM, Hawley JA, Wong SH, Jeukendrup AE. Carbohydrates for training and competition. J Sports Sci. 2011;29 Suppl 1:S17-27. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2011.585473. Epub 2011 Jun 9. PMID: 21660838.

Kerksick, C.M., Arent, S., Schoenfeld, B.J. et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14, 33 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0189-4

About The Author

Giulia Rossetto

Giulia Rossetto is a qualified Dietitian and Nutritionist. She holds a Masters in Human Nutrition (University of Sheffield, UK) and more recently graduated as a Dietitian (University of Malta). Giulia aims to translate evidence-based science to the public through teaching and writing content. She has worked 4+ years in clinical settings and has also published articles in academic journals. She is into running, swimming and weight lifting, and enjoys spending time in the mountains (she has a soft spot for hiking and skiing in the Italian Dolomites).

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