A Reference for 40 40 20 Diet Meal Plans

Looking around for a diet to follow, it would not be surprising if you came across the “40 40 20 diets”.

Perhaps you are trying to bulk up and are looking for 40 40 20 diet meal plans. 

Either way, you’re here looking for references and more details about the 40 40 20 diet.

The short answer is that this diet is best for bodybuilders, but there’s more to it. 

Continue reading, as this article will go through these details thoroughly.

A Well Built Young Man Wearing A Black Tank Top.

What Is the 40 40 20 Diet?

The “40:40:20” diet is well-known because many of the best bodybuilders in history have used it.

One such bodybuilder who made it famous was Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

It is a macronutrient (macro) split/macro tracking diet, with 40% carbs, 40% protein, and 20% fat making up the total daily calories.

This macro split is used by bodybuilders who want to “cut” (lose weight), “maintain,” or “bulk” (gain weight).

To stick to the diet, you must eat at least five meals daily.

Meal replacement drinks are allowed, but at least three of the five meals must be solid food. 

Bulking diets thrive and recommend that you eat five meals a day.

The most common macro target for “cutting” bodybuilders is still 40:40:20.

However, bodybuilders who are “bulking” may prefer 50:30:20 because the protein targets are easier to reach.

Does the 40 40 20 Diet Work?

Many people have shown that meal plans for the 40-40-20 diet work well.

This is because 40-40-20 helps keep the amount of protein and carbs in your body balanced.

You should take in and digest the proper nutrients to keep your body healthy.

Their goal is to help you get enough nutrition for your body.

After that, the body can function normally again.

Macronutrients help our bodies grow, change, repair, and get the fuel they need to work.

All these are collectively termed “macronutrients,” and each one does different things for the body.

What Is a Macronutrient Diet?

Macronutrient dieting is a way to lose weight that focuses less on the foods you eat and more on how they are made up in terms of their macronutrients. 

Compared to micronutrients, macronutrients are the nutrients we need in larger amounts.

We need less and less every day. 

You might be able to meet your micronutrient goals by taking multivitamins, but you need whole meals to meet your macronutrient goals.

You may know the names of the macronutrients better than you know what they are.

Macros are made up of protein, carbs, and fats.

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Amino acids, which are often known as the “building blocks” of the body, are the components that make up proteins.

Everything from the smallest cell to the biggest muscle is made of proteins. 

The body has a hard time making proteins from amino acids, so it needs protein from food to meet this need.

Most meats, like chicken, fish, and steak, are good protein sources. 

But you can also get protein from chickpeas, lentils, and tofu, among other plant-based foods.


Glucose or sugar is what most people call carbohydrates.

Its stored form is called glycogen, giving the body a very convenient way to get energy when it is active. 

Carbohydrates can come from many different foods, like bread, rice, and vegetables.


Fats have gotten some bad press in the past, but they are actually necessary for our bodies.

It helps your body absorb vitamins and is essential for your hormones. 

Carbohydrates are necessary for life, but the body can’t live without fat.

For long-term health, it’s best to make sure you’re getting monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from good sources. 

You can get these from avocados, nuts, and some oils.


  • Many of the best bodybuilders in history have used the diet, which shows that it works.
  • Protein has long been shown to help people lose weight, and scientific studies are starting to back this up.


  • Because it is high in protein and low in carbs, it might not be the best diet for vegetarians or vegans.
  • If you are following a “bulking” diet, you must consume a lot of protein.
  • Not everyone can eat five meals a day, especially when working full-time.

Example of 40 40 20 Diet Meal Plans for One Day (1500 Calories)

Example of 40 40 20 Diet Meal Plans for One Day

For the 40/40/20 low-carb diet, you can use the following list of foods as a guide:

Stove Ground Turkey


Put chicken breasts in the oven and season them without salt.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes have been baked at 350 degrees for a while.

Rice: The right amount of rice is cooked in the microwave for your meal. On high heat, cook for 5 minutes. 

After 5 minutes, heat the food for 15 minutes at 50% power.

Then put the rice outside and let it sit for 5 minutes.

All the above ready-made items provide 1463 calories, 151 grams of protein, 151 grams of carbohydrates, and 33 grams of fat.

This is definitely a menu that fits the diet, and you can consistently follow it weekly.


With the following foods, breakfast has 314 calories, 25 grams of protein, 27 grams of carbs, and 11 grams of fat:

  • 1 cup whites of eggs
  • One slice of Sargento Cheddar cheese cut very thinly
  • 50 g of butter
  • One medium banana


After breakfast, you can have a snack that gives you 210 calories, 23 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fat based on the following ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • One scoop of protein powder from Clean Simple Eats
  • One teaspoon of syrup without sugar
  • 1/2 milligram of cinnamon


At lunch, you’ll give your body 250 calories, 28 grams of protein, 26 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of fat.

  • 3 ounces of chicken breast, cooked
  • One large cucumber
  • 100 grams sweet potato
  • 1/2 milligram of cinnamon
  • Seasoning for chicken from Miss Dash


Eat a snack with 157 calories, 18 g of protein, 27 g of carbs, and 3 g of fat after lunch:

  • 85 g of grapefruit
  • One teaspoon sugar
  • 1 Chocolate Brownie Built a Bar
  • Dinner
  • Dinner has 354 calories, 28 grams of protein, 42 grams of carbs, and 10 grams of fat. To lose weight, people need to cut calories. 

Here are some things that you can use to make dinner:

  • 3 ounces of cooked ground turkey, 93%
  • 1 cup grilled broccoli
  • 1/2 cup brown rice


In the 40/40/20 diet, the last meal of the day should have about 150 calories, 26 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbohydrates, and 3 grams of fat:

  • Legion Protein Powder
  • 6 oz of Almond milk.
  • Ice

This is the meal you can use for the first week.

During the week, people can make the same dishes repeatedly or in bulk to save time. 

People can also switch out dishes with the same number of calories for ones with new flavors.

Related Reading: What Is Chirothin Diet – Learn More Here.

Final Thoughts

Though this diet works and is famous, remember that it is recommended only for people trying to bulk up.

This means people who are working out or are serious about going to the gym. 

For many other people’s bodies, it can be considered too much.