‘What Should I Eat?!’ How to Choose the Best Foods | Precision Nutrition

‘What should I eat?!’ Our 3-step guide for choosing the best foods for your body. [Infographic]

By Brian St. Pierre, MS, RD, CSCS

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This easy-to-use visual guide shows you how to make healthier nutrition choices, and determine the best foods for your body, goals, and taste buds. In fact, our simple three-step process helps you create a customized healthy-eating menu in just a matter of minutes. And the best part: Nothing’s off limits.

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“What foods should I eat?”

It’s a question we hear often. Sometimes in desperation.

Not because of the easy choices—spinach, duh!—but because of the not-so-obvious ones that cause confusion.

Foods that have been demonized then celebrated. Or celebrated then demonized. Or that come in so many forms it feels impossible to know the best choice.

Over and over, we’re asked:

  • Are potatoes good or bad?
  • What about eggs?
  • Can I eat pasta?
  • Is cheese okay?
  • Do I have to live without bacon? (We told you about the desperation.)

To add to the confusion, it’s not always obvious how to classify a food. Is it mostly protein? A carbohydrate? A fat? Many people know to eat a mix of these macronutrients, yet aren’t sure how that looks in “real food”. The result: more questions.

That’s why we created this handy, visual food guide. It’s designed to help you make healthier choices, no matter your knowledge of nutrition.

But don’t expect a list of “approved” and “off-limits” foods. Instead, we like to think of foods on a spectrum from “eat more” to “eat some” to “eat less”.

This approach promotes one of the most crucial philosophies that runs through our nutrition coaching method: Progress, not perfection.

Use our continuums to make choices that are “just a little bit better,” whether you’re eating at home, dining out with friends, or dealing with banquet buffets on a work trip.

Plus, learn how to:

  • Incorporate a mix of proteins, vegetables, carbohydrates, and fat.
  • Strategically improve your food choices—based on where you are right now—to feel, move, and look better.
  • Customize your intake for your individual lifestyle and (of course) taste buds.

As a bonus, we’ve even provided you space to create your own personal continuum. That way, you can build a delicious menu of healthy foods that are right for you—no questions asked. (And if you want to make better beverage choices, check out our ‘What should I drink?!’ infographic.)

Download this infographic for your tablet or printer and use the step-by-step process to decide which foods are right for you (or your clients). 

Download the tablet or printer version of this infographic to discover your own personal “eat more,” “eat some,” and “eat less” foods (or, if you’re a coach, to help your clients).

Notes

Overview

This continuum of foods is broadly applicable to eating styles throughout the world, offering a framework for personalizing food choices to fit individual needs, preferences, and goals.

Each individual’s food list will depend on their:

  • eating style (e.g. keto, plant-based, Mediterranean, etc.),
  • activity level and type (e.g. professional triathlete, weekend warrior, desk worker, etc.),
  • goals (e.g. improve relationship with food, gain muscle, lose fat, promote health),
  • and more.

These helpful lists often evolve over time, as we all grow and change.

Process

Precision Nutrition’s nutrition experts collaborated to categorize foods along the continuum, allowing for multiple perspectives, debate, and decision making.

We considered:

  • Health/nutrition data
  • Recommended daily intake
  • Reward and palatability value
  • Nutrient density (macronutrients, micronutrients, phytonutrients, zoonutrients)
  • Level of processing

The goal here was not a “perfect, undebatable” list, but rather a practical, effective tool to help people progress toward health goals.

Exceptions are everywhere

A food that’s “eat less” for one person may be “eat more” for another. Some examples:

  • For a plant-based eater who struggles to get enough protein to meet their needs, protein powder may go from “eat some” to “eat more”.
  • For someone who already eats 2-3 servings of fatty fish per week, fish /algae oil may move to “eat less”. Conversely, someone who rarely eats fatty fish might benefit from categorizing fish /algae oil as “eat more”.
  • Sugary drinks are typically categorized as “eat less”. But endurance athletes may consider them an “eat some” item during training, and possibly even “eat more” during competition. Similarly, for individuals who struggle to gain lean mass, it may be beneficial to place a sugary protein + carbohydrate drink in the “eat some” category for consumption during exercise.
  • For someone who values environmental sustainability above all else, your personal spectrum will again look different (such as putting meat, water-hungry nuts like almonds, and other resource-intensive foods in the “eat some” or “eat less” categories).

Ultimately, context matters. The continuum is meant to be broadly applicable to most people. And yet it can never be fully accurate for any single individual. This is why we’ve provided you the tools and guidelines to make your own spectrums and lists.

Click here to read about the creation of the food continuum.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—such as helping them make better food choices that match their personal preferences—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 30% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 30% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

Spots open April 8th — don't miss out! Get on the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification presale list today.

If you're interested in the Level 1 Certification, we strongly recommend you join the presale list below. Spots are limited and open just twice per year.

We'll send you more info about the program, and give you the chance to register 24 hours early — and save up to 30% off the general price.