Eating 30 plants a week is recommended to optimise gut health, where 80% of our immune system is located. Below are 8 tips to easily consume 30 different plant foods a week, recipes, weekly meal plan, a free downloadable checklist and a full list of the benefits.
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- Benefits of eating 30 plant foods a week
- What counts as 1 plant point?
- 8 tips to eat 30 different plants a week
- Example weekly plan
- 30 plants a week checklist
- Other plant based eating posts
- Other health and wellness posts
Benefits of eating 30 plant foods a week
Plant foods were the original food God provided for humans (Genesis 1:29). Plant foods are nutrient dense, packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein. They support the immune system, increase energy, reduce inflammation, help balance blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of illness (1, 2, 3).
80% of our immune system is in our gut (4). One of the biggest determinants of gut health, regardless of the specific diet you follow, is the number of plant foods we eat (5):-
- Whole grains,
- Beans & legumes,
- Fresh herbs & spices.
Each individual plant food feeds a specific type of good bacteria in the gut (6).
- Broccoli feeds a different type of good bacteria to cauliflower.
- Savoy cabbage feeds a different type of good bacteria to sweetheart cabbage.
- Jazz apples feed a different type of good bacteria to Braeburn apples.
Gut health and the diversity of the good bacteria is linked with a reduced risk of and a decrease in symptoms for those with:-
- Chronic fatigue,
- Chronic pain,
- Autoimmune conditions,
- Skin conditions and
It’s commonly recommended to eat at least 30 different plant foods each week as a study found that people consuming this number had a significantly more diverse microbiome and good bacteria in the gut compared to those who only consumed 10 (13). However, the more we consume the greater the number and diversity of good bacteria in the gut, which boosts our immune system (14).
What counts as 1 plant point?
Each particular type of fruit and vegetable, bean, legume, nut and seed equals 1 point each week, with herbs and spices counting as 1/4 point.
- Fruit – apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, cranberries, gooseberries, grapes, kiwi, melon, oranges, peaches, pears, pomegranate, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries etc.
- Vegetables – artichokes, beetroot, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, cucumber, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuces, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, rocket/arugula, spinach, turnip, watercress etc.
- Beans & Legumes – aduki beans, black beans, butter beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas, haricot beans, kidney beans, lentils, mung beans, pinto beans etc.
- Nuts – almonds, Brazil, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia, pecans, pine, pistachios, walnuts etc.
- Seeds – chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower etc.
- Whole grains – amaranth, black rice, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa, red rice, teff, wild rice. White rice doesn’t count as it has the whole grain removed which reduces the nutrients.
- Herbs & Spices – basil, chives, coriander, ginger, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme, turmeric etc.
The portion size doesn’t matter for it to count as a point but an average serving size for each category is:-
- Fruit and vegetables – 80 grams/1 cup
- Whole grains – 1/4-1/2 cup/40 grams
- Nuts & Seeds – 1 ounce/30 grams
- Beans & Legumes – 1/2 cup/120 grams
- Herbs & Spices – 1-2 tbsp
Each variety of an individual food counts as a point separately. For example:-
- Cos lettuce counts as 1 point and little gem lettuce counts as an additional 1 point.
- Bramley apples count as 1 point while Jazz apples count as an additional 1 point.
- Red grapefruit counts as 1 point while white grapefruit counts separately as an additional 1 point.
How to eat more plants – 8 tips to eat 30 different plants a week
Increasing the number of plant foods you eat doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are 8 tips that help me:-
1). Meatless Monday
One day where you switch meat for beans, legumes or jackfruit. For example:-
- This Jackfruit Chilli Con Carne which uses jackfruit and mixed beans instead of beef.
- Use tempeh instead of chicken
- Replace beef or Turkey mince with lentils or tempeh processed in a food processor when making spaghetti bolognese or hot pots etc.
- Replicate the taste and texture of tuna by replacing it with jackfruit and dulse flakes like in this Jackfruit Tuna Salad.
2). Buy 1 new plant food each week to add to your diet
When doing your food shopping, simply select a new fruit, vegetable, nut, seed, bean, legume, herb or spice to try for the first time.
3). Switch the variety and type of each individual food you buy
- Buy Royal Gala apples one week and Braeburn apples the next.
- Switch between red, savoy, sweetheart and white cabbage.
- When making rice dishes, alternate between black, red, wild and brown rice.
- Buy Tenderstem broccoli one shop and purple sprouting broccoli the next time.
- Switch between red onions and white onions.
- Alternate between pink, red and white grapefruits.
- Alternate between watermelon, honeydew, galia and cantaloupe melons.
- Vary the mushrooms you use, alternating between Shittake, chestnut, button, portobello etc.
4). Buy variety packs instead of single
This allows you to easily consume multiple different types of plant foods instead of just one without any additional time or effort required. For example, buy:-
- Mixed nuts instead of just walnuts.
- Mixed berries instead of just strawberries.
- Mixed beans instead of just kidney beans.
- Mixed grapes instead of just green ones.
5). Disguise foods
Blend lots of fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices into smoothies, smoothie bowls, dips and spreads. Add grated vegetables like beetroot, carrot and courgette/zucchini into burgers and meatballs. This is an especially great tip for fussy eaters who don’t like certain fruits and vegetables, where other foods can mask the taste of them.
Some examples of recipes doing this are:-
- Mixed Berry Chaga Smoothie Bowl which has the leafy green romaine lettuce added to it.
- Basil pesto served with this Sprouted Buckwheat Salad which has grated courgette/zucchini disguised in it.
6). Enjoy fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables sticks for snacks
These are easy grab and go snacks. Fruit, nuts and seeds don’t require any preparation (although you can Activate Nuts and Seeds to make them easier to digest and maximise the nutrients) while cucumber, celery, courgette/zucchini and carrot can easily be cut into sticks. Enjoy vegetable sticks with dips like this Sprouted Lemon Dill Hummus for extra plant points.
Related Post: Activate Nuts and Seeds (Instructions & Benefits)
7). Simple plant based swaps
Take your favourite everyday foods and meals and replace the standard ingredients with plant based alternatives. For example:-
- Replace spaghetti with spiralised butternut squash, parsnip, beetroot, carrot or courgette/zucchini.
- Replace tacos and wraps with cabbage leaves or collard greens.
- Replace burger bun with large flat portabello mushrooms.
- Switch lasagna sheets for butternut squash, sweet potato or courgette slices.
- Replace eggs, butter and oil in baking with unsweetened apple sauce, mashed banana or pumpkin purée like in this Chocolate Pancake Recipe Without Eggs, Milk or Sugar.
- Replace regular flour with buckwheat, cassava, coconut, green banana, oat or tigernut flour, like in these Healthy Bliss Balls With Wild Blueberries & Lemon.
- For toast replace bread with sliced butternut squash or sweet potato.
- Replace butter on toast and sandwiches with mashed avocado.
- Use a medjool date or mashed banana instead of refined sugar or syrups like in this Carrot Cake Flaxseed Pudding and Tropical Popsicles.
For other healthy food swaps, this Eat Well post has some more food and drink substitutes that caters for numerous dietary requirements.
Related Post: 20 Healthy Food & Drinks Swaps (For Numerous Dietary Requirements)
8). Eat Seasonally
Eating seasonally involves eating foods when they’re able to be grown locally. The specific foods able to be grown locally differs during each month of the year. Therefore, one easy way of varying and increasing the number of different plant foods you consume is to buy foods when they’re in season. This Eat The Seasons post has a month by month guide detailing when individual fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices are in season.
Related Post: Eat The Seasons (Month By Month Guide)
Example weekly meal plan to achieve 30 plant points
- Breakfast – Overnight Oats With Mixed Berries (6 plant points)
- Lunch – Root Vegetable Soup (7 plant points)
- Dinner – Jackfruit Chilli Con Carne (14 plant points)
- Breakfast – Chocolate Pancake Recipe Without Eggs, Milk & Sugar (5 plant points)
- Lunch – Sprouted Buckwheat Salad With Basil Pesto (15.25 plant points)
- Dinner – Stir fry with tenderstem broccoli, pak choi, sugar snap peas, baby corn, shittake mushrooms, mung beans, sesame seeds, lime and ginger served with black rice (9.25 plant points)
- Breakfast – Muesli with pomegranate, currants, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, oats & sprouted buckwheat (7 plant points)
- Lunch – Jackfruit Tuna Salad (11.75 plant points)
- Dinner – Pumpkin And Mushroom Risotto With Spinach (7 plant points)
- Breakfast – Mixed Berry Chaga Smoothie Bowl (7 plant points)
- Lunch – Butternut squash toast with mushroom duxelles and cress (5 plant points)
- Dinner – Tuna Bolognese served with pea penne (10.25 plant points)
- Breakfast – Grain Free Porridge With Apple & Pear (6 plant points)
- Lunch – Mackerel quinoa salad with white flesh sweet potatoes, beetroot, fennel, asparagus, parsley & mint (5.5 plant points)
- Dinner – Curry with sweet potato, cauliflower, peas, courgette/zucchini and kale served with red rice (9 plant points)
- Breakfast – Tropical Fruit Overnight Oats (6 plant points)
- Lunch – Rainbow Nourish Bowl (9.25 plant points)
- Dinner – Vegan Hash With Sprouted Lentils & Activated Walnuts (7.75 plant points)
- Breakfast – Granola made with oats, almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios served with coconut yoghurt and berries (6 plant points)
- Lunch – Collard green wraps with sprouted lemon dill hummus, cucumber, courgette/zucchini, carrot and red cabbage sticks, sliced avocado and radish sprouts (10.25 plant points)
- Dinner – Stew with aduki beans, pinto beans, salsify, savoy cabbage, celery, swede, leeks, celeriac and amaranth (9 plant points)
Weekly Total: 83.5 different plant points
30 Plants A Week Checklist
Click to download a free PDF checklist to allow you to record the plant foods you eat each week and help you reach your 30 plant points goal.
Other Plant Based Eating Posts
Other Health & Wellness Posts
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8 thoughts on “Eating 30 Plants A Week (8 Tips & Checklist)”
Such great tips! Especially the recommended serving sizes and menu ideas. Can’t wait to implement all of this into our routine.
Thank you very much Rob, I really appreciate it. I hope it benefits you all.
This is a different approach to diet/healthy eating than I’ve seen before and very interesting! I eat loads of fruits and veggies every day, some whole grains (I used to eat Paleo so just recently added some whole grains back in), and lots of nuts & seeds. The variety issue is intriguing. My variety has actually reduced in the past year because I discovered food intolerances to lots of nuts, seeds, plus some fruits and legumes. Also egg whites – I was eating eggs for breakfast every day so switched to whole oats, hence the addition of some whole grains! I will keep this in mind as I try to avoid the stuff I’m sensitive to. Great post – very thought-provoking!
Thank you very much for your comment Sue. I used to suffer from a lot of food intolerances too so can relate to how restrictive it can be. Fortunately I’ve been able to add back in all beans, legumes, whole grains and nuts and seeds again and the more variety and different foods I eat the better I feel. I hope you’re well. Wishing you all the best.
So many brilliant ideas in this post. The checklist at the end is inspired! Such a great easy way to check just by printing this list you created and ticking items them off each day. 🙂 Thank you.
You’re welcome. Thank you so much Juliette, I really appreciate it. I hope it helps you 🙂
So many healthy options! In particular, the Sprouted Lemon Dill Hummus is a great, refreshing spin on regular hummus. Thanks for sharing such a great collection of delicious options for meatless eating.
You’re welcome Melinda, thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased you like the recipes, the Sprouted Lemon Dill Hummus is a favourite of mine too.