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.
“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 a FREE nutrition plan that’s personalized for your body, goals, and lifestyle, check out the Precision Nutrition Calculator.)
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).
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.
Precision Nutrition’s nutrition experts collaborated to categorize foods along the continuum, allowing for multiple perspectives, debate, and decision making.
- 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.
If you’re a coach, or you want to be…
You can help people build nutrition and lifestyle habits that improve their physical and mental health, bolster their immunity, help them better manage stress, and get sustainable results. We'll show you how.
If you’d like to learn more, consider the PN Level 1 Nutrition Coaching Certification.