There’s a lot of conflicting advice about the best way to eat, but one thing that almost everyone agrees on is that eating more plants is good for you. Plant foods are a great source of nutrients, including biologically active polyphenols and fiber that feed our gut microbes and benefit our health in many other ways.
Many of us struggle to eat enough plants or tend to eat the same fruits and veggies every day without much diversity. Generally speaking, a diet that is rich in a diverse range of plant-based food groups is associated with more diverse and healthy gut microbiome.
If you aren't sure where to start, take a look at the gut boosters in your microbiome report that have been specifically selected for you based on your ZOE Microbiome Health Index. For this week, we encourage you to add these boosters to at least one meal a day.
For more inspiration, we've also rounded up 8 top tips for getting more plants on your plate:
- Meat-free Monday is a great place to start when it comes to including more plant-based foods in your diet.
- Plan ahead by preparing extra roasted vegetables and grains and store them in your refrigerator to use throughout the week. Cooking in bulk can save you both time and money, ensuring that you have plant-powered meals ready to go whenever you need them.
- Use your freezer. Did you know that frozen fruits and veggies are just as (if not more) nutritious than fresh ones? Stock up your freezer with frozen veggies and fruits that score well for you and will boost your gut bugs.
- While you're at it, stock up the pantry too! Canned fruits, vegetables, lentils, and beans are great plant-powered ingredients with long shelf-lives, so they’re always available when you need to prepare a meal.
- Mix it up and try to include a new fruit, vegetable, grain, or legume in your diet each week, keep an eye on what produce is in season, and experiment with new plant-powered recipes. The possibilities are endless!
- Forget drab salads. You can play around with incorporating texture and crunch with toasted nuts and seeds, experimenting with different ways of preparing produce such as spiralizing or grating, using fresh herbs for extra flavor, or adding in cooked and cooled grains to bulk it up.
- Find fruit that has a great ZOE score for you and turn it into a delicious dessert. Get adventurous with how you prepare it (poach, bake, grill, etc.), or play around with fiber- or flavor-rich toppings like nuts, seeds, and spices to make things interesting.
- Super-green boost. Green leafy vegetables like kale, Swiss chard, spinach, or cabbage can be chopped up finely and added to cooked dishes. They’ll wilt down and push up the plant power of your dish in a flash without giving you salad fatigue!