Do You Count Vegetable Calories In bodybuilding

  • By: Dave Moffat
  • Date: December 16, 2023
Do You Count Vegetable Calories In bodybuilding

Bodybuilders work really hard to get their bodies just right. They keep a close eye on the food they eat to make sure their bodies have what they need to do their best and keep getting better.

Eating a balanced diet is really important if they want to succeed, and veggies are a big part of that. They give the bodybuilders the nutrients they need to stay healthy and reach their fitness goals.

But there’s a big question: should they count the calories from veggies or not?

In this blog post, we’re going to talk about why tracking calories is important for bodybuilding. We’ll also discuss why veggies matter in a good diet. Finally, we’ll cover the pros and cons of counting the calories from veggies. This will help you make smart choices about what you eat.

Counting Macros: Should I Track Vegetables in My Macros?

If you’re trying to keep track of your macros for your fitness goals, you might be wondering if you should count the ones in vegetables.

Vegetables are full of important vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These nutrients help keep your body healthy, help you digest food, and help you do your best in your workouts.

Even though most vegetables don’t have a lot of calories or carbs, some do have more carbs and even a little bit of protein and fat.

If you want to be really exact with your macro tracking, it’s usually a good idea to count the macros in the vegetables you eat.

This ensures you know exactly what you’re eating every day. It can help you avoid eating too much or too little of something and messing up your progress.

But remember, it’s important not to worry too much about the small differences in macros in vegetables.

Try to find a good balance and be flexible. Remember that eating nutrient-rich vegetables is really important for staying healthy and reaching your fitness goals.

Vegetables You Should Track In Your Macros

It’s essential to include vegetables in your diet for their health benefits. But, some vegetables have a bigger impact on your daily macronutrient intake and should be tracked.

Here’s a list of vegetables that you should consider tracking in your macros due to their higher carbohydrate, protein, or fat content:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Winter squash (e.g., butternut, acorn)
  • Beets
  • Parsnips
  • Edamame (soybeans)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Artichokes
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Broccoli

Vegetables You Don’t Have To Track ‘Free Veggies’

Compared to some vegetables that can change your macro intake a lot, there are ‘free veggies.’ You don’t need to track these, as they have so few calories and barely any macros.

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These vegetables have lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber but hardly any carbs, proteins, or fats. You can eat a lot of them without messing up your daily macro goals. This makes them a great thing to add to your meals for more nutrition. It also helps you feel full.

Examples of ‘free veggies’ include:

  • Leafy greens (e.g., spinach, lettuce, arugula)
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Bell peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Asparagus
  • Green beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms

Benefits of Vegetables for Bodybuilders

Vegetables are super good for bodybuilders. They’re full of nutrients but low in calories, which helps bodybuilders reach their fitness goals. They have important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These help muscles grow, recover, and keep the body healthy overall.

Vitamins and minerals in veggies do important things in the body. They make energy, help the immune system, and keep bones strong. Antioxidants protect the body from damage and inflammation. This is especially important when bodybuilders are working out hard and stressing their bodies.

Fiber, which is also in vegetables, is great for bodybuilders too. Eating foods with a lot of fiber can help digestion, stop constipation, and keep the gut healthy. Plus, fiber makes you feel full, so it can help bodybuilders control how much they eat and manage their calories better.

Adding many different vegetables to a bodybuilder’s diet gives them the nutrients they need. It helps keep their body healthy and working well. A good diet that includes vegetables can give bodybuilders more energy. It can also make their immune system stronger and help them respond better to their training. By eating a lot of vegetables, bodybuilders can make sure their bodies have what they need to perform at their best and stay healthy in the long run.

Tips for Incorporating Vegetables into a Bodybuilding Diet

  • Prioritizing nutrient-dense, low-calorie vegetables

When incorporating vegetables into a bodybuilding diet, it’s essential to prioritize nutrient-dense, low-calorie options that provide the most significant health benefits without adding excessive calories. These vegetables, such as leafy greens, bell peppers, and zucchini, offer an array of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They have minimal impact on your daily caloric intake.

  • Balancing vegetable intake with other macronutrients

Vegetables are crucial for overall health. It’s important to balance their intake with other macronutrients like protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Make sure your diet includes a variety of food sources. This will provide the necessary nutrients for muscle growth, recovery, and sustained energy levels throughout the day.

  • Experimenting with different preparation methods for variety

To keep your diet interesting and enjoyable, experiment with different ways to prepare your vegetables. This can include roasting, steaming, grilling, or even blending them into smoothies. Changing how you prepare vegetables can reveal new flavors and textures. It can also help you consistently eat these nutrient-rich foods.

  • Emphasizing portion control and moderation
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Even with healthy, low-calorie vegetables, it’s important not to eat too much. Eating too much of any food can mess up your daily macro balance, and that might slow you down on the way to your fitness goals. If you pay attention to how much you eat and have a balanced diet, you can enjoy all the good things about vegetables. This will help you stay on track with your bodybuilding plans.


Adding vegetables to a bodybuilding diet means thinking about whether or not to count the calories from veggies. Keeping track of the macros from vegetables can help you know exactly what you’re eating. However, some low-calorie vegetables might not change your overall intake that much.

In the end, it’s important to think about what you like and what your goals are when you decide how to include vegetables in your bodybuilding diet. Some people might find it helpful to keep close track of everything. Others might prefer to just focus on eating lots of nutrient-rich vegetables. They don’t want to worry about counting everything.

No matter what method you choose, it’s important to have a balanced and flexible approach to eating vegetables. Try to focus on nutrient-rich, low-calorie vegetables and balance them with other macros. This way, you can support your overall health, performance, and progress towards your bodybuilding goals.

Dave Moffat

Hi, I'm Dave Moffat the founder and Chief Editor of and certified International Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist. My passion has always been bodybuilding but with 15 years' experience in weight loss programs too, it's hard not to mention all that when you're working at your fitness level fullest (I hope). When Im not in the gym or spending time away from my family i often think about what advice would help others achieve theirs goals just like these inspired mine.