Michi's Ladder is a guideline for healthy nutrition. The higher up on the list you eat, the better off you'll be. We've also provided details as to whether these foods are good sources of protein (P), carbohydrates (C), or fat (F). You'll notice that tiers 4 and 5 don't contain this information—that's because these foods aren't healthy, so you shouldn't look to them for nutrition. They're "treats." Finally, if a food has an asterisk (*) before it, that means we consider it a nutrient-rich superfood.
Note on frying: Foods should be eaten raw, steamed, grilled, poached, baked, or broiled. Frying automatically drops even the best foods into tier 5.
These foods should make up the bulk of your diet. You'd be hard-pressed to overeat these foods. They're also great choices to add if you're not feeling full on your regular eating plan.
More essential, nutritious foods to fill your plate. Plenty of super foods here, too, but exercise a little restraint. They can be more caloric and/or less beneficial than items in the Pious Tier, so it's possible to overindulge.
Apples, skinless C
Applesauce, no sugar added C
Buffalo (bison) P
*Chai seeds PC
Chicken breast, boneless, skinless P
Coconut meat F
Coconut water, plain C
Corn on the cob C
Cottage cheese, low-fat PF
Cream cheese, nonfat or low-fat P
Eggs, whole PF
Fish (other than fresh anchovies, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, fresh sardines, or water-packed sardines) PF
Fruit, dried C
Granola, raw, no sugar PFC
Juice, fresh-squeezed w/ pulp, no sugar C
Milk, nonfat, low-fat PC
Muesli, raw, no sugar PFC
Nut butters, raw PF
*Nuts, raw PF
Oatmeal, old-fashioned, or steel-cut, unflavored, no sugar PC
Consider these foods neutrally beneficial. They can serve a purpose in a healthy diet, but they don't need to be staples. Don't eat too much of them, because more from tier 3 means less from tiers 1 and 2.
Almond milk PFC
Bagels, whole-grain C
Beef, ground, extra-lean, 95% lean PF
Beef, tenderloin, 90 to 93% lean PF
Bread, whole-grain FC
Canadian bacon (nitrate-free) PF
Cereal, whole-grain (low sugar) PFC
Cheese (low-fat and full fat) PF
Crackers (whole-grain) FC
Chicken and turkey, ground, 95% lean PF
Chicken and turkey, dark meat, skinless PF
Chocolate, dark FC
Coconut milk, canned F
Coffeehouse drinks (latte or cappuccino, no syrups or sweeteners) C
Crackers, whole-grain FC
Flour, whole-grain (wheat, buckwheat, rice, etc.) C
Not much good about these foods, but in moderation, they shouldn't be deal-breakers. You may notice how many American staples populate this tier. Maybe that's part of the reason the U.S. has become such a chubby nation.
Applesauce (sugar added)
Beef, ground, less than 80% lean
Bread, refined flour
Duck, boneless, skinless
Fowl, with skin
Frozen fruit bar
Fruit, dried, sugar added
Jam or marmalade, no sugar added
Jerky (beef, pork, or venison)
Macaroni and cheese
Nut butters, processed, roasted, or with additives
Named in honor of the heart attack-inducing lobster dish, this tier is filled with foods that can make your health—not to mention your diet—take a turn for the worse. Avoid these foods as best you can.
Results may vary. Exercise and proper diet are necessary to achieve and maintain weight loss and muscle definition. Consult your physician and follow all safety instructions before beginning any exercise program or using any supplement or meal replacement product. The testimonials featured may have used more than one Beachbody product or extended the program to achieve their results. The information on our Web sites is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. If you experience any pain or difficulty with exercises or diet, stop and consult your healthcare provider.
The views and opinions of authors, trainers, experts and any other contributors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect the attitudes and opinions of Team Beachbody or Beachbody. These views and opinions shall not be attributed to or otherwise endorsed by Team Beachbody or Beachbody, and may not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes without the express, written consent of Beachbody.
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