Macronutrients 101

What are macronutrients?

Carbs, fats, and proteins are the nutrients—or macronutrients—your body needs in large amounts for energy. Macronutrients are essential to everyday fueling at work, at home, and during training. You might need different amounts of macronutrients depending on your age, activity, fitness and weight goals, lifestyle, and health. The right mix of carbs, fats, and protein can help optimize your performance, readiness, and well-being.

Where are macronutrients found?

Some foods and drinks contain one macronutrient while others contain 2 or even all 3 macronutrients. Examples of common foods and the macronutrient(s) they contain are listed below. In general, fill ¾ of your plate with carbs and ¼ of your plate with protein. Make sure to include fats for a well-balanced meal or snack too.

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Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are your main source of energy or “macronutrients.” Some foods contain all of these macronutrients, while others contain just one or two. By knowing which foods have particular macronutrients, you can better plan your meals for optimal health and performance.

Carbs

  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Corn
  • Fruit
  • Oats
  • Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Veggies

Carbs / Protein

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Quinoa
  • Yogurt

Proteins

  • Chicken
  • Egg whites
  • Fish/seafood
  • Lean beef
  • Lean pork
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low-fat Greek yogurt
  • Low-fat milk
  • Soy
  • Turkey

Protein / Fats

  • Cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs
  • Fatty/oily fish (tuna, salmon)
  • Full-fat yogurt
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Nut butters
  • Whole milk

Fats

  • Avocado
  • Butter
  • Canola oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Flaxseed
  • Olive oil
  • Olives

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