What is Ryan’s Ladder?
Ryan’s Ladder is a slightly modified version of Michi’s Ladder (created by Beachbody) and is intended for use during the 90/10 Nutrition Challenge Groups. The purpose of the ladder is to divide food into 5 Tiers that can be used to guide your food choices throughout the day. During the 90/10 Nutrition Challenge, participants aim to eat 90% of their daily calorie total from Tiers 1 and 2 while allowing 10% to come from Tiers 1, 2, 3, or 4 and nothing from Tier 5.
Ryan’s Ladder is not a complete diet plan but rather a food guide that allows you to look for foods in higher Tiers to substitute for foods that you may be eating on a regular basis from the lower tiers. This system works especially well during the 90/10 Nutrition Challenge as the participants are able to see where foods fall that they would normally plan to eat and what foods they can substitute for them to meet the 90/10 ratio that they are aiming for in the challenge.
Some Additional Guidelines
Just like with any nutrition program, using Ryan’s Ladder takes some common sense as well. Here are just a few guidelines for using this ladder:
1) The ladder does not give any guidelines for variety in eating. For instance, you could eat only bananas every day and be eating in the highest Tiers of this ladder. Obviously, this is not the intent of the ladder. Make sure you are getting something from each category at every meal and eat with variety because that is the spice of life. Try starting with a veggie, then adding a protein, and then a little healthy fat when planning a meal from the upper Tiers.
2) Along the same lines, I have left some foods in the upper Tiers that have some nutritional value but also can be dangerous if overused. For instance, I have cheeses and 100% whole wheat bread in the upper tiers. This can easily be misused and cause you to gain weight. Vegetables can usually be eaten without worrying too much about quantity. However, things like cheese, bread (and other grain items), yogurt, avocados and nuts (to name only a few) should not be eaten in this manner. Use those items that are more calorie dense and contain high amounts of fat and carbs in a controlled manner. Use guideline 1) to help.
3) Food that is in the upper Tiers but is deep fried is automatically dropped to Tier 5. Eating deep fried veggies is not a Tier 1 choice. Foods should be grilled, baked, boiled, broiled, poached, or lightly sauteed to remain in their listed Tiers.
4) If there is a food that you can’t seem to find on the ladder, you can often find it’s closest counterpart and you will likely be in the same Tier. However, you can always email email@example.com for judgement call on what Tier a food falls into. Also, if it really isn’t on the Tiers, the reality is that the food is probably a lower Tier food. Most of the whole foods available today are covered in the upper Tiers and categories for the non-whole foods are covered in the lower Tiers.
5) The goal is to have each and every food on the Tiers linked to it’s own information page complete with recipes, nutrition info, cooking ideas, etc. If you see a food that does not have a hyperlink, I likely just haven’t completed the page for that food yet. In the meantime, you can email me for ideas or feel free to send me some to put on any of the pages.