When you first start tracking your macros, you might feel confused or overwhelmed by not knowing what foods contain what macros. To make the learning process easier I’ve compiled a list of single macro foods to help you classify foods into the right macronutrient category: protein, carb, or fat.
How can you learn and use single macro foods? Single macro foods provide all of their calories from a single macronutrient: protein, carbs, or fat. Choosing single macro foods can help you to meet your macro goals for one nutrient (i.e. protein) without overconsuming another nutrient (i.e. fat).
Many articles and lists of foods by macronutrients actually get it wrong – they’ll give you so-called sources of protein that actually have more fat or carbs than protein or sources of fat that are also high in carbs.
In this list of single macro foods, I made sure to only include foods that have more than 80% of their calories from one macronutrient.
I’ve also included a list of foods that contain multiple macronutrients so that you know how to properly classify foods that AREN’T single macro foods
Check out our complete guide on How To Track Your Macros.
- Most foods actually provide their calories from a mixture of macronutrients, but some foods provide most of their calories from one macronutrient in particular.
- Many foods that are thought to be a good source of a single macronutrient are actually poor sources of that macronutrient (i.e. peanut butter being called a protein source).
- Learning to properly identify single macro foods can help you to meet your macronutrient targets and create balanced meals.
What Are Single Macro Foods?
“Single macro” foods are foods that provide most of their energy (calories) from one macronutrient (protein, carbs, or fat).
Some examples of this would be oils which provide all of their energy from fat.
While single macro foods do exist, the majority of foods are made up of two or three of the macronutrients.
Of the foods that are made up of multiple macronutrients, some will provide most of their energy from one primary macronutrient with minimal amounts of the other two nutrients, while others contain higher amounts of energy from multiple macronutrients.
For the purposes of this article, here are our definitions:
- Single Macro Foods: At least 80% of caloric energy from 1 macronutrient
- Mixed Macro Foods: Less than 80% of caloric energy from 1 macronutrient (calories come from a mixture of 2 or more macros)
You can think of “Single Macro Foods” as excellent sources of that particular macronutrient.
Why Are Single Macro Foods Important?
Single macro foods are important because they can help you to meet your macronutrient targets without overconsuming other macronutrients.
Some people find it hard to consume enough protein without overconsuming fat, so choosing single macro protein foods would be beneficial.
Single macro foods can help to ensure that your calorie consumption is properly balanced and you’re consuming adequate amounts of carbs, protein, and fats to suit your goals.
For example, we often recommend an overall macronutrient ratio that provides 30% of daily calories from protein, 40% from carbohydrates, and 30% from fat. Each meal or snack in the day would ideally have a source of protein, a source of carbohydrates, and a source of fat.
Knowing the single macro foods from each category is helpful when it comes to thinking of what combinations of foods you need to eat to get an appropriate amount of protein, carbs, and fat at each meal or snack.
Of course, over time, as you learn more about mixed macro foods (also called combination macro foods), you will know when a food is providing both protein AND carbs, or protein AND fat, or carbs AND fat, or a mixture of all three, and how to combine it with other foods to create an overall balanced meal.
But that is a skill that takes time and experience to build. A great way to build that skill is to start by learning the single macro foods and making meals that combine them in a balanced way.
Once you know the single macro foods, you will know what to order at a restaurant, or what to pick at a party, BBQ, or other social events with food so that you stay on track with your macro targets.
Single Macro Foods List
The foods in this list encompass single macro foods, meaning that each option will provide at least 80% of its calories from one macronutrient. Each list is structured from the highest percentage of calories from that macronutrient to the lowest.
Note: Foods that do not appear in this list are likely mixed macro foods, which I’ll discuss in the next section.
Protein Single Macro Foods
To get protein single macro foods, it’s important to focus on the leanest cuts of meat and fat-free sources of dairy. Fattier sources of meat, higher-fat dairy products, and plant-based proteins will have less than 80% of their calories coming from protein.
You can find higher fat protein sources in the Protein + Fat Macro Foods list in the next section, and most plant-based sources of protein (other than plant-based protein powder) will be in the Protein + Carbs Macro Foods.
|Food||Serving Size||Protein (grams)||Calories||% cal from protein|
|Egg whites||½ cup (126g)||13.9||56||99%|
|Shrimp||4 oz (112g, raw)||22.5||95||95%|
|Protein powder, whey isolate||1 scoop (30g)||27.0||121||89%|
|Protein powder, brown rice||1 coop (30g)||24.0||110||87%|
|Tuna, canned||1 can (110g, drained)||26.0||120||87%|
|Chicken breast, boneless & skinless||4 oz (112g, raw)||25.27||119||86%|
|Turkey, extra lean ground||4oz (122g, raw)||35.5||169||84%|
|Turkey breast, boneless & skinless||4 oz (112g, raw)||26.5||128||83%|
|Tilapia||4 oz (112g, raw)||22.5||108||83%|
Carb Single Macro Foods
Outside of sugars and syrups, which should be consumed in moderation, the best sources of carbohydrates are fruits and fruit juices, vegetables, and some types of grains.
You may be surprised to see that bread, legumes, and some whole grains aren’t found on this list. These options contain higher amounts of protein and/or fat, making them mixed macro foods.
|Food||Serving Size||Carbs (grams)||Calories||% cal from carbs|
|Dates, dried||1 oz (28g)||21.3||79||100%|
|Raisins||1 oz (28g)||22.5||85||100%|
|Apple juice||1 cup (250mL)||28.0||114||98%|
|Cassava (yuca), raw||100g||38.1||160||95%|
|Figs, fried||1 oz (28g)||18.4||71||94%|
|Honeydew melon, raw||100g||9.1||36||94%|
|Orange juice||1 cup (250mL)||25.8||112||92%|
|Acorn squash, raw||100g||10.4||40||92%|
|Rice, white||45g, dry||36||164||92%|
|Sweet potato, raw||100g||20.1||86||91%|
|Butternut squash, raw||100g||10.5||40||90%|
|Pumpkin, purée||⅓ cup (83mL)||7.0||30||87%|
|Rice, brown||45g, dry||34.3||165||84%|
Fat Single Macro Foods
Oils and butter are the best single macro sources of fat. Other single macro sources of fat include nut and seed butters, which often have a higher percentage of fat than the nut or seed themselves due to their fibrous outer skin being removed.
Foods like cheese and hummus which are often thought of as fat sources have too much protein (cheese) and carbs (hummus) and are therefore mixed macro foods.
|Food||Serving Size||Fat (grams)||Calories||% cal from fat|
|Coconut oil||1 tbsp (15g)||13.5||122||100%|
|Olive oil||1 tbsp (13g)||13.5||119||100%|
|Avocado oil||1 tbsp (14g)||13.6||120||100%|
|Macadamia oil||1 tbsp (14g)||13.6||120||100%|
|Canola oil||1 tbsp (14g)||13.6||120||100%|
|Sesame oil||1 tbsp (14g)||13.6||120||100%|
|Peanut oil||1 tbsp (13g)||13.5||119||100%|
|Butter||1 tbsp (14g)||11.5||102||100%|
|Ghee||1 tbsp (13g)||12.7||112||100%|
|Macadamia nuts, raw||1 oz (28g)||21.5||204||95%|
|Pecans, raw||1 oz (28g)||20.4||196||94%|
|Olives, green||1 oz (28g)||4.3||41||94%|
|Pine nuts||1 oz (28g)||19.4||191||91%|
|Brazil nuts, raw||1 oz (28g)||19.0||187||91%|
|Walnuts, raw||1 oz (28g)||18.5||185||90%|
|Coconut, dried, unsweetened||1 oz (28g)||18.3||187||88%|
|Hazelnuts, raw||1 oz (28g)||17.2||178||87%|
|Olives, black||1 oz (28g)||3.1||33||85%|
|Coconut milk, canned||⅓ cup (75g)||11.0||120||83%|
|Almond butter||1 tbsp (16g)||8.7||96||82%|
|Peanut butter, smooth||1 tbsp (15g)||8.0||90||80%|
|Sunflower seed butter||1 tbsp (16g)||8.8||99||80%|
Mixed Macro Foods List
Protein + Fat Macro Foods
A lot of foods that people commonly think of as sources of protein actually also have a lot of fat. In many cases, these foods provide more of their calories from fat than they do from protein.
This list is ordered from highest % of protein and lowest % of fat to lowest % of protein and highest % of fat.
For example, peanut butter is at the bottom of this list because it provides most of its calories from fat, not protein; therefore, peanut butter is NOT a good source of protein.
|Food||Serving Size||Protein (grams)||Fat (grams)||Calories||% cal from protein / |
% cal from fat
|Bison, extra lean ground||4 oz (112g, raw)||24.2||2.1||122||79% P / 21% F|
|Pork tenderloin||4 oz (112g, raw)||23.5||2.4||122||77% P / 23% F|
|Rabbit, wild||4 oz (112g, raw)||24.4||2.6||128||76% P / 24% F|
|Venison (deer), wild||4 oz (112g, raw)||24.1||3.0||130||74% P / 26% F|
|Pork chop, lean||4 oz (122g, raw)||25.1||3.8||142||71% P / 29% F|
|Chicken thigh, boneless & skinless||4 oz (112g, raw)||23.0||4.1||131||70% P / 30% F|
|Trout, rainbow, wild||4 oz (112g, raw)||22.9||3.9||133||69% P / 31% F|
|Beef, extra lean ground (96%)||4 oz (112g, raw)||24.0||5.0||140||69% P / 31% F|
|Duck breast, boneless & skinless||4 oz (112g, raw)||22.2||4.8||138||64% P / 36% F|
|Lamb chop, lean||4 oz (112g, raw)||22.4||7.7||159||56% P / 44% F|
|Salmon, Atlantic, wild||4 oz (112g, raw)||22.2||7.1||159||56% P / 44% F|
|Trout, rainbow, farmed||4 oz (112g, raw)||22.3||6.9||158||56% P / 44% F|
|Salmon, Atlantic, farmed||4 oz (112g, raw)||22.9||15.0||233||39% P / 61% F|
|Eggs, whole||2 large eggs||12.6||10.6||155||33% P / 62% F|
|Bacon, pork||1 oz (28g)||9.6||9.9||133||29% P / 67% F|
|Cheddar cheese||1 oz (28g)||6.5||9.4||114||23% P / 74% F|
|Milk, whole||1 cup (250mL)||7.7||7.9||149||21% P / 48% F|
|Pumpkin seeds||1 oz (28g)||8.5||13.9||163||21% P / 77% F|
|Egg yolks||2 large yolks||5.3||8.8||107||20% P / 74% F|
|Peanut butter, smooth||1 tbsp (15g)||3.0||8.0||90||13% P / 80% F|
Protein + Carbs Macro Foods
Along with plant-based sources of protein, many low-fat and non-fat dairy products also provide a significant number of calories from carbohydrates.
This list progresses from highest % of protein and lowest % of carbs to lowest % of protein and highest % of carbs.
For example, many people think quinoa is a great source of protein but as you can see, quinoa has very little protein compared to carbs so it’s not the best protein option.
|Food||Serving Size||Protein (grams)||Carbs (grams)||Calories||% cal from protein / |
% cal from carbs
|Scallops||4 oz (112g, raw)||13.5||3.6||77||70% P / 19% C|
|Greek yogurt, plain non-fat||¾ cup (175g)||17.3||6.1||100||69% P / 24% C|
|Skyr yogurt, plain non-fat||¾ cup (175g)||18.1||6.5||105||69% P / 25% C|
|Mushrooms, raw||100g||3.1||3.3||22||56% P / 30% C|
|Edamame pasta||3 oz (85g, dry)||36.4||30.4||273||53% P / 30% C|
|Black bean spaghetti||3 oz (85g, dry)||35.7||49.8||272||53% P / 38% C|
|Milk, fat-free||1 cup (250mL)||8.3||12.2||83||40% P / 60% C|
|Broccoli, raw||100g||2.8||6.6||34||33% P / 56% C|
|Lentils, canned||½ cup, drained & rinsed||8.9||19.9||115||31% P / 66% C|
|Cauliflower, raw||100g||1.9||5||25||30% P / 59% C|
|Artichokes, raw||100g||4.2||13.5||60||28% P / 69% C|
|Zucchini||100g||1.2||3.1||17||28% P / 56% C|
|Kidney beans, canned||½ cup, drained & rinsed||6.3||17||98||26% P / 69% C|
|Black beans, canned||½ cup, drained & rinsed||7.1||22.4||120||24% P / 72% C|
|Chickpea pasta (Banza)||3 oz (85g, dry)||16.5||52.5||285||23% P / 63% C|
|Chickpeas, canned||½ cup, drained & rinsed||5.4||17.1||106||20% P / 62% C|
|Bread, whole wheat||1 large slice||5.4||18.4||108||20% P / 68% C|
|Quinoa||45g, dry||6.4||28.9||166||15% P / 70% C|
|Oats, quick||45g, dry||5.9||30.5||171||14% P / 71% C|
|Bread, white||1 large slice (43g)||3.8||21.3||114||13% P / 76% C|
Carbs + Fat Macro Foods
Many commercially processed snack foods like chips, crackers, cookies and cake would fit into this category; however, this list is focused on minimally processed whole foods that you should be consuming more often.
This list progresses from highest % of carb and lowest % of fat to lowest % of carb and highest % of fat.
What surprised some of my clients about this list is that these nuts are higher in carbs and fats than protein, because oftentimes nuts (particularly almonds) are referred to as a great source of protein (they’re not).
|Food||Serving Size||Carbs (grams)||Fat (grams)||Calories||% cal from carbs / |
% cal from fat
|Cashews, raw||1 oz (28g)||8.6||12.4||157||22% C / 71% F|
|Pistachios, raw||1 oz (28g)||7.7||12.8||159||19% / 72% F|
|Cashew butter||1 tbsp (16g)||4.4||7.9||94||19% C / 76% F|
|Sesame seeds, raw||1 oz (28g)||7.1||12.8||176||16% C / 65% F|
|Almonds, raw||1 oz (28g)||6.1||14.2||164||15% C / 78% F|
Using this information as a guide, it will be much easier to meet your macronutrient targets. Especially if you’re like me and often left with weird combinations of macronutrients and you wind up playing macronutrient tetris at the end of the day to try to hit your goals.
Single Macro & Mixed Macro PDF Download
- Best Single Macro Foods – Complete List (click to download PDF).
About The Author
Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement. Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete. She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing.