Why 30-a-Week Is the New 5-a-Day

Forget your 5-a-day, the latest advice when it comes to eating healthily is all about variety rather than quantity, namely that we all ought to be consuming 30 different vegetables every week.

According to the American Gut Project, people who ate more than 30 different plant foods each week had a more diverse gut microbiome than those who ate much fewer. A healthy gut has many systemic benefits including protecting us against harmful diseases and pathogens and supporting our immune system.

The research also showed that people who achieved this weekly quota had more bacteria that produced short chain fatty acids, which improve the gut health by protecting against inflammation, maintaining intestinal barrier integrity and regulating mucus production.

If the directive sounds like a challenge, the good news is that it’s not strictly speaking only vegetables that count; fruit, nuts, seeds, grains, beans, herbs and spices are all included. Although that should make the task easier, it could still be tricky given that instead of naturally aiming for a diverse array of fruit and vegetables, we tend to rotate the same few over and over. In fact, 90% of the world’s intake consists of just 15 crop plants, which proves just how narrow our focus is when it comes to plant-based eating.

What to eat for breakfast

Breakfast is a great meal to pack full of fruit and veg and starting the day off successfully will give you the encouragement to you need to continue through the day. If toast is your breakfast of choice then opt for seeded breads spread with nut butter and sliced bananas. Berries, nuts, seeds and chia seeds can all be added to porridge or granola easily. If you prefer a bigger breakfast to start the day, include plenty of plant-based sides like kale, tomatoes, mushrooms and avocados and if smoothies are your thing, make sure you include plenty of greens, berries and seeds. A spoonful of Workshop’s Organic Vanilla Pea Protein Formula will add a dose of satiating protein while Essential Greens will top up your fruit and veg intake and Gut Cleansing Formula provide you with an extra serving of fibre.

What to eat for lunch

Soups are an easy way to get plenty of your serving in one meal, as are roasted vegetables which can be easily chucked into a salad alongside some chickpeas or beans.

What to eat for dinner

Instead of cooking one or two vegetables with your meat or fish for dinner, push yourself to try five or six. Look out for wholegrain versions of rice and pasta or if stews appeal in the winter months then make sure you add plenty of pulses and vegetables and top off with a sprinkling of seeds.