Food List “Cheat Sheet” For Balanced Eating

The following is a condensed list of common food items. This list will help you learn how to categorize food items into protein, carbohydrates and fat and how to create balanced meals. Follow the list below to aide with balanced eating!

Choose 1 Protein:

Lean Protein

  • chicken / turkey – breast
  • pork tenderloin
  • 99% lean grd. turkey
  • shrimp / cod / tuna
  • egg whites
  • protein powder
  • LF / NF cottage cheese
  • LF / NF plain Greek yogurt

Non Lean Protein

  • chicken / turkey – dark meat
  • pork chop
  • 93% lean grd. turkey
  • salmon / orange roughy
  • tofu
  • filet mignon / grd. beef (99-96% lean)
  • regular cottage cheese
  • regular plain Greek yogurt

Choose 1 Fat:


  • nuts / nut butters
  • oils like olive or canola
  • avocado / guacamole
  • salad dressing
  • mayonnaise
  • flax seed
  • butter / margarine
  • egg yolks

Choose 1 or 2 Carbs:

If having 2 carbohydrates in one meal, such as brown rice and broccoli for example, aim to have smaller portions of each to keep your blood sugar from spiking.

Complex Carbs

  • brown rice
  • oatmeal / cereal
  • potatoes / yams
  • quinoa
  • pasta
  • whole grain bread
  • Couscous
  • Butternut squash

Carb Rich Fruits

  • Apple
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Orange
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Blackberries

Lower in Carbs But High In Nutrients

  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Kale
  • Beans
  • Salad Greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Cauliflower

Please Note:

Though cheese contains a small amount of protein and mostly fat, consider it your source of fat. Add additional protein and carbohydrates to create a balanced meal. Please note that cottage cheese is very high in protein and therefor considered a protein.

Milk has a combination of protein, carbohydrates and fat (unless using fat free or skim). To add milk to a meal, it’s best to read the nutrition label and then add protein, carbohydrate and fat to make a complete meal.

All food items are either a protein, carbohydrate or fat (or combination). Because of this, all foods can be included in your plan by figuring out what the food is (protein, carbohydrate, fat or combo) and then adding the missing macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate or fat) to create a balanced meal. If you are unsure what the food item is, simply check the nutrition label.

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