The Macro Counting Diet Strategy (Incl. Cherry Tomato Salad Couscous recipe with a Healthy Macro Mix)

September 27, 2019

Tomato Couscous salad recipe for macros counters

Download a printable version here.

-- By Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian at Providence Health

What is old is new again, only instead of calling it macronutrients it is called macros.  Macros refers to the major nutrients found in our edible foods (otherwise known as carbohydrates, fats and proteins) that are required fuel to run our bodies. Macro counting is one of the many trends or diet fads being touted to help you count calories, lose weight, improve body composition, and maybe even regulate hormones.  

 The macro counting strategy recommends that your daily food intake consist of:

  • 40 to 60% carbohydrates 
  • 30 to 35% fats 
  • 20 to 30% protein

There’s some significant variation in those recommendations, and they vary from person to persona and lifestyle to lifestyle. Your activity, age, height, weight, sex, and body fat percentage are often factors in customizing your recommended percentages.  

Most people start monitoring their macros by aiming for breakdown below:

  • 50% carbohydrate 
  • 30% fat
  • 20% protein 

The macro counting strategy seems to be helpful with portion control and an awareness of where your calories are coming from. Is it groundbreaking? Is it the final solution to save our population from obesity? I’d say it is just another tool that might be used to help us get to a healthier platform. If it works for you, that’s great.

Today's recipe is for a salad that has a healthy mixture of the macros…some carb, fat and protein. 

If you’re interested in learning more about healthy carbs, join us for our upcoming Providence Cooks!  class, Tuesday, October 1, 6 PM, at Providence Health-Northeast.

Cherry Tomato Couscous Salad

Recipe Source: Love and Lemons at


  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes, (half for roasting, half raw)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 cup dry Israeli couscous
  • 1½ cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, more if desired
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Leaves from 6 sprigs fresh thyme, more for garnish
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, more for garnish
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Roast the cherry tomatoes (this step can be made in advance): Preheat the oven to 300°F. Slice 2 cups of the cherry tomatoes in half, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkles of salt and pepper, and place cut side up on a baking sheet. Roast 60 to 90 minutes (the time will depend on the size and juiciness of the tomatoes), or until shriveled and browned around the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Cook the couscous according to the package directions until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
  3. Increase the oven heat to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chickpeas on the baking sheet and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkles of salt and pepper. Roast 20 minutes, or until crispy. Remove from the oven and toss with the smoked paprika.
  4. In the bottom of a large bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the lemon juice, garlic, thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Add the cooled couscous and toss. Slice the remaining raw cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the bowl with the roasted tomatoes, the chickpeas, basil, cucumbers, and feta. Top with more fresh herbs and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Season to taste.

Nutrition Information: 192 calories, 11 gr fat, 8.2 mg cholesterol, 718.2 mg Sodium, 17.7 gm carbohydrate, 6.7 gm protein.


Join Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian, for her monthly award-winning Providence Cooks! cooking classes in Columbia, SC. The class tackles various dietary hurdles by creating, with her team of chefs, a multi-course gourmet meal that promotes health and fits within dietary restrictions. All guests enjoy the healthy sit-down meal with live Q&A from Kay, the chefs, and other special health expert guests. It's a must-try for people interested in healthy eating without losing the flavor and joy of eating. 

Call 800.424.DOCS (3627)
to learn about the next Providence Cooks!