Nutrition 101 Recap: Top 5 Tips to Eat More Nutritiously [INFOGRAPHIC]

by Elle Penner, MPH, RD
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Nutrition 101 Recap: Top 5 Tips to Eat More Nutritiously [INFOGRAPHIC]

Throughout this Nutrition 101 series we’ve counted calories, compared carbs, and highlighted the pros of lean protein, healthy fats and a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Nutrition can be complicated enough, so to simplify things we compiled all of the infographics into one!

You can read the full text of each deep-dive post in the links above, but to summarize, here are my top 5 tips to help you eat more nutritiously:

1. When it comes to carbs–the more natural & whole, the better. Go for complex carbs like 100% whole grain breads and pasta, brown rice, starchy vegetables (just leave the nutrient-rich skins on those potatoes), legumes, nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Limit simple sugars from refined grains, processed snack foods, sweets, and sugar-sweetened beverages.

2. Keep protein lean. It’s perfectly okay to indulge in breakfast sausage and cheeseburgers on occasion. But on an everyday basis, there are plenty of great lean proteins to choose from! Some good meat-free options include beans, peas, quinoa, lentils, tofu, low-fat yogurt and 1% milk. Fish is another great source of protein that can also be rich in healthy Omega-3s. And as far as meats go, cuts that have round, chuck, or loin in the name are usually leanest, along with chicken and turkey breast.

3. Make healthy fats your friend. Add avocados, nuts, seeds and nut butters and fatty fish like salmon into your weekly menu. Cook with oils like olive or grape seed instead of butter or lard. Make salad dressings with flaxseed oil for a healthy dose of Omega-3s. You can even substitute avocado for butter when baking!

4. Incorporate colorful foods into every meal. From dark greens to red berries, orange bell peppers and white onions, the colors in fruits, vegetables and even proteins are associated with important vitamins and minerals. Eating a rainbow of colorful foods, especially fruits and vegetables, is an great way to get a variety of micronutrients in your diet.

5. Make the most of your calories. Eat a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats at each meal and choose foods rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. A good way to do this is to fill your plate with 3-4 food groups at each meal. Eat a combination of protein foods, whole grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and incorporate the groups you miss into other meals and snacks throughout the day.

Nutrition can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember, healthful eating does not mean eating perfectly. It’s about making more nutritious choices most of the time, nourishing our bodies with real food and enjoying the occasional treat along the way!

To get all of the details and read the individual posts, here they are broken down for your reading pleasure:

Calories | Carbohydrates | Proteins | Fats | Vitamins & Minerals

I hope you enjoyed the series and learned some nutrition basics in the process. If you have a specific nutrition question, feel free to leave it in the comments. The questions with the most votes will inspire my future posts!


  • kenna44cat

    I left a detailed comment but it disappeared.

    It was about cholesterol. My doc put me on a low cholesterol diet and excluded things like eggs, shrimp, chocolate in all forms (even hot chocolate from a mix), almonds and almond milk, margarine, red meat, lamb, butter, a lot of foods I like but now am avoiding. I read that eggs and shrimp are now considered all right, for example, and wonder about the list he gave me of foods to avoid. I think it might be genetic. My diet generally is quite low in fats. Any comments on this or help with a low cholesterol diet at least for the next two or three months until I get tested again? Thanks very much.

    • webbqt

      Each person is different I think. My husband had bypass surgery at 32 and he has scrambled eggs every morning. The best his cholesterol has ever been was when he was doing the south beach diet. It was avoiding bad carbs that did it. We thought he was lactose intolerant, but once he cut out bad carbs he could have all the cheese he wanted (within reason of coarse). I’m finding that each person reacts to each food in their own way. I say look at it as finding food allergies. Keep all these foods out of your diet until your next blood test. If it’s actually lower than you know something in this list causes you problems. You can add 1 or 2 items in at a time and if it goes back up stay away from that item. He has stayed pretty much away from bad carbs so his blood test have been pretty good, even with eggs every day.

      • princesstoadstool82

        i just got tested again for mine, and i lowered it, i stopped eatting butter, and cream. stopped eating maccas kfc or hungry jacks, i use low fat milk. eat good oils, like avocardo,and olive oil.. eat salmon, and tuna.. and changed to wholemeal bread and pasta.i’ve also started weight lifting all these things helped me to lower mine 🙂 good luck to you..

        • granlong65

          My husband and I started eating old fashioned oatmeal that has 5 grams of fiber per serving for breakfast at least 5 days a week in addition to cutting back on carbs and fats and red meat. It has lower both our cholesterol.

  • AlyssaHolister

    Love it!

  • Thank you very much for this information. I’ve not seen nutrition broken down as clearly as this.

  • steph

    I think your doctor gave you too strict a list of things to avoid. I’m an RD and the recommendation is to have less than 200mg of cholesterol a day from foods if you have high cholesterol, this would allow you to have eggs, shrimp, red meat on occasion, but would mean you need to limit these types of foods. Many websites will give you the cholesterol in certain foods. More importantly is limiting the amount of saturated fat in the diet, again to less than 7% for most people that means less than 25 grams per day. Some of the things like almonds or almond milk I have no idea why your doc would say to avoid these, both would help lower cholesterol.

  • Siberianmomma

    This is great. Thanks. Planning to make a copy to hang on the fridge and teach my kids!

    • night echo

      please let us all know how you managed to print such a huge picture. my printer doesn’t hold paper that big. and neither does my fridge.
      i have to agree with polly – if i can’t print it out, it’s not helpful.

  • David_Wave

    Thank you for this informative infographic. I hate to complain but I found it difficult to read the small print such as sources for vitamins.

    One question I have is if my sole protein source for one week is one type of nut what is going to happen to me?

    • Taylor B.

      SOLE source for protein?? Well, to get anywhere near the amount of protein that you should be getting each day, you’ll have to eat A LOT of nuts…and doing so will put your total fat off the charts. For example, almonds have about 6g of protein per serving (28 nuts) and 15g of total fat. So you’ll either be getting not enough protein or too much fat…

      • David_Wave

        I’m not planning on doing it. I just want to know how important it is to get every amino acid every day.

  • David Collier

    Very useful and the way the info is relayed using images, works for me.
    Thanks :0)

  • Ina J

    This is very useful article! I love how it is explained in pictures.

  • mrs grimsdale

    great information I am sure I will find it useful when I have absorbed it. I also thought of making a copy as a reminder to myself to keep me on track if that’s ok.

  • jb

    how many carbs is too many for a type 2 diabetic per day?

  • Lauriann

    Awesome! Clearly stated, easily understood!! Thank you

  • Vanessa

    This is such a fantastic info graphic. Well done! The only thing I could possibly advise is that you should have included ‘magnesium’ as a very important mineral equal to the importance of iron.

  • Megan

    Great way to break it all down – thank you. I am not a big fan of milk (and most diary products) so I opt to use fat free milk. I eat a very low carb, high vege & protein diet – would I benefit from low fat milk in order to absorb the vitamins? Or is Fat Free milk fine? I eat tuna about once or twice a week as well as eggs and salmon so I should be getting a pretty good source of vitamin D?

  • KathyB

    This is an excellent quick reference! Thanks! Would be nice if it were broken down into pages and saved as pdf so it could easily be printed.

    • polly

      I completely agree – this information is useless to me unless it can printed.

  • f.sumaiya

    should we avoid coconut oil all together.
    my father is heart patient and undergone surgery since a year from now.
    please advice on this.

    • Tami Proctor

      When my father had a heart attack a few years ago the nutritionist told us no coconut oil. Now is seems to be the in thing but I am not sure if it is not just a fad.

  • Clinton Yorkie

    where is the magnesium in this list? very importent

  • Don

    Today’s bread is toxic to the body plus very fattening. Farmer’s feed grain to their livestock to fatten them up.

  • Food lover

    We take a really good liquid vitamin with 100% of some vitamins and minerals. We try to eat healthy but I get concerned on getting too much of some. I have high cholesterol and a thyroid problem. I’m 65 and a little overweight. I recently had a pacemaker and get confused on how to eat. Loved this article!

  • John

    Thanks so much for this series of articles Elle, I really enjoyed this immensely.

  • knowingoneify

    This is out of data – carbohydrates are the reason everyone is obese and suffering from diabetes and other metabolic disorders – please look up LCHF – Low Carb High Fat – check out dotdietdoctordotcom or look up LCHF – please, for yourself and your family.

  • knowingoneify

    I need to clarify – breads, pasta, starchy veggies, simple carbs and sugar is killing America – the carbs in veggies that grow ABOVE GROUND are great – fruit is natures candy and will send your glucose level through the roof – fruit IS NOT an obese person’s friends.
    Just look up LCHF – forget the stupid comments – please just look it up!

  • jerilea

    If a person is trying to lose fat, why would they want to eat 65% carbs that end up being stored as fat in your body? Don’t we want to get our bodies to start burning that carbs that are already stored as fat?

  • Lindsay Turner

    Real appreciate your knowledge

  • Debra Carter Allen

    I really need some help. I have several health issues; RA, DDD (degenerative disc disease), Osteoarthritis, Sorjens disease, bad knees, neropathy in my feet, thyroid disorder and hypoglycemia. I’m at my heaviest weight ever 225 and just turned 56. I have been trying to watch what I eat to lose weight with no luck at all somewhat because I’m limited in my exercise.
    My problem now is, I recently was diagnosed with high tryglicerides and all the “good fats” and other healthier choices I have been eating, such as yogurt w/fruit, boiled egg, whole grains, almonds, apple w/peanut and/or almond butter and cooking with coconut oil and olive oil….I’m now being told to avoid because of the tryglicerides! I’m so confused and frustrated, I don’t know what to do…..what can I eat?
    I know I probably need to see a nutrition a list but my funds are so limited. Please help

  • Myles Omel

    Thank you for not making the necessary understanding of nutrition too complected. Most of the time, these kind of charts put me to sleep: not this time. Good for you.