Macros Diet Meal Plan
These 500-calorie dinners are balanced for the three macronutrients (carbs, fat and protein) to help you eat healthy and even lose weight.
A macros diet is a style of eating where people track their carbohydrates, fat and protein-and aim to eat within a certain range each day-as a guide for healthy eating or as a strategy for weight loss. In this meal plan, we put together 7 days of healthy 500-calorie dinners that are balanced for the three macronutrients (carbs, fat and protein) and are healthy, balanced meals to enjoy even if you're not following a macros diet. Most people can lose weight eating 1,500 calories a day and when we break down the calorie totals by meal, 500 calories is a healthy amount to have at dinner to stay satisfied throughout the evening. When paired with a healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks, these delicious dinners will help you meet your daily nutrient needs and can help you lose weight.
Related: Read more about the Macro Diet
Day 1: Carne Asada Tacos
Carne Asada Tacos: These flank-steak soft tacos are so tasty and easy, they should be in everyone's repertoire. Plus they're made with fresh corn tortillas (not fried) and topped with a quick homemade salsa made with avocado, tomato, onion and a bright squeeze of lime. Serve these tasty tacos with 1 serving of tortilla chips.
= 506 calories, 48 g carbs, 22 g fat, 32 g protein
Day 2: Pressure-Cooker Mac & Cheese
Pressure-Cooker Mac & Cheese: Make a healthier version of classic macaroni and cheese with this recipe that adds broccoli for a nutritional boost-an easy, cheesy way to eat more vegetables. Using an electric pressure cooker, such as the InstantPot, gets dinner on the table in just 30 minutes. To balance out the meal, serve with 1 1/2 cup mixed greens topped with 1/4 cup grated carrot and dressed with 2 teaspoons each olive oil and red-wine vinegar.
= 501 calories, 53 g carbs, 25 g fat, 20 g protein
Day 3: Lemon Sopressata Chicken
Lemon Sopressata Chicken: You'll only need 5 ingredients and 30 minutes for this healthy chicken recipe. Serve with 1 large red potato seasoned with salt and pepper and 1/2 cup steamed green beans.
= 516 calories, 67 g carbs, 13 g fat, 33 g protein
Day 4: Lentil & Roasted Vegetable Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
Lentil & Roasted Vegetable Salad with Green Goddess Dressing: Goddess dressing typically gets its umami-ness from anchovies, but we use miso in this super-green salad recipe to keep it vegetarian. To balance out the meal, serve with a 4-inch whole-wheat pita round and 1/4 cup hummus.
= 496 calories, 52 g carbs, 25 g fat, 20 g protein
Day 5: Smoky Shrimp, Corn & Pea One-Pot Pasta
Smoky Shrimp, Corn & Pea One-Pot Pasta: Make your sauce and pasta all at once with this fast weeknight pasta dinner recipe. By using the exact amount of water you need to cook the pasta-no colanders here-the starch that cooks off into your pasta water, which you usually drain away, stays in the pot, giving you delectably creamy results. To balance out the meal, serve with 2 cups salad topped with 3/4 cup grated carrot and dressed with 1 tablespoon each olive oil and red-wine vinegar.
= 497 calories, 55 g carbs, 21 g fat, 28 g protein
Day 6: Roasted Chicken Thighs, Potatoes & Scallions with Herb Vinaigrette
Roasted Chicken Thighs, Potatoes & Scallions with Herb Vinaigrette: Roasting chicken thighs directly on top of the vegetables bastes the scallions and potatoes with delicious drippings in this healthy dinner recipe. Serve with 1 cup cooked wild rice to balance out the meal.
= 518 calories, 53 g carbs, 22 g fat, 28 g protein
Day 7: Beef Kofta with Bulgur & Kale Salad
Beef Kofta with Bulgur & Kale Salad: Whole grains take too long to cook, you say? Well, say hello to bulgur, which can be ready in less than 15 minutes. Try this Middle Eastern-inspired healthy dinner recipe topped with plain yogurt or store-bought tzatziki for an extra hit of creamy flavor. Serve with a 4-inch whole-wheat pita round.
= 525 calories, 49 g carbs, 23 g fat, 32 g protein
More About the Macros Diet
The macros diet trend has been climbing its way up in the ranks of trendy diets. And while it's trendy, the idea of eating within a certain range of macronutrients is Nutrition 101. The Institute of Medicine has been using macro ranges as guidelines for healthy eating for years.
The new popular version of this style of diet is the "If It Fits Your Macros" plan, also known as IIFYM for short. The idea is to eat foods that fit within your unique macronutrient distribution range (that is, a particular balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein), while simultaneously cutting calories to burn fat and lose weight. Unlike diets that cut out certain foods, like the Whole30 and Paleo plans, the IIFYM diet has no restrictions on what you can eat. You're allowed to enjoy french fries, burgers and pizza galore! As long as it all fits within your daily macro range.
A balanced and flexible approach to eating is how we do things at EatingWell, but where other macro diet plans can fall short is in acknowledging the importance of micronutrients-the vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A and iron, that our bodies need. These micronutrients come from healthy whole foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, calcium-rich dairy and healthy fats. If you're filling up on pizza and french fries, you may hit your macro range but miss out on the valuable micronutrients whole foods provide. Plus, if you're trying to lose weight, research has shown nutrients like vitamin D can help.
In this meal plan, we show you what a balanced, nutrient-packed macros plan looks like. Whether you're trying to lose weight or simply want to get a healthy dinner on the table, this delicious plan will help.
Watch How To Make Italian Sausage & Kale One-Pot Pasta