Plant Points: What Counts and How to Get Your 30 a Week

A variety of different foods that count towards 30 plant points

In recent years, there’s been a growing conversation online and in the media around getting your “30 plant points a week”. But what exactly counts as a plant point? And why is it important to aim for 30 a week?

In this blog, I’m going explore the research behind this hype, break down what types of plants count towards your weekly plant points and share some easy tips on how to get 30+ different plants a week.

Let’s dive straight in!

Why 30 Plant Points a Week?

Plants contain certain fibres (also known as prebiotics) that feed the trillions of micro-organisms (aka microbes) living in our digestive tract.

In recent years, it’s come to light just how important it is to look after these microbes, as they have a number of functions that can support our health and wellbeing, such as:

  • Helping us absorb essential nutrients
  • Modulating of our immune system and gut barrier
  • Balancing blood sugar levels
  • Communicating with our brain

This suggests that including a diversity of plants in your diet could help improve your gut health.

But plants have benefits way beyond our gut microbes. They are also nutrient powerhouses which contain an abundance of beneficial compounds, such as vitamins, minerals and polyphenols, that help nourish our body and reduce the risk of disease.

So aiming to eat 30 different plants a week could help you get a range of health benefits, for both you and your gut!

What Counts as Plant Point?

Now to answer the important question: what counts?

Unlike your 5 a day, which is mainly limited to fruits and vegetables, plant points also include whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes, as well as herbs and spices!

Each plant type only counts once, so if you have a banana every day of the week, this will only count towards 1 of your plant points.

The goal here is to get as much variety into your diet as possible, so instead of eating the same plants every day, we should aim to mix things up and get a variety of different plants into our diet throughout the week.

Here’s a quick guide to what foods count and how many plant points they’re worth:

30+ Plant Points a Week Example

Now that we know what counts as a plant point, it’s time to think about how you can get 30 a week.

Below I have put together an example of what 30 plants a week might look like, but remember, I have only listed the foods that count towards the plant points. So any duplicates throughout the week will not count again and are not shown here (e.g. if you had a vegetable and lentil soup for lunch on the Tuesday and Wednesday, the vegetables and lentils in this soup will only count once).

However, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t eat leftovers or repeat the same meals. The purpose of counting plant points isn’t meant to be strict or overcomplicate what we eat, it’s just a good indicator of how much variety is in our diets. And the more variety – the better!

As you can see, this totalled up to just over 30 plants in a week (30.25 plant points), so this is a great example of what a nutritionally varied diet might look like.

Easy Ways to Get 30+ Plant Points

Achieving 30 plant points a week might seem out of reach right now – and that’s ok!

Slow and steady changes that last a lifetime are far better than quick unsustainable changes that last a week, so take your time to increase your plant intake and experiment with what works and what doesn’t.

To help get you started, here are some tips to increase your plant points:

1. Sprinkle Plants Onto Meals

An easy way to increase the plant points in a meal is to sprinkle foods like nuts, seeds, berries or greens over them. Here are some tasty ideas:

  • Top pasta dishes with fresh rocket or basil
  • Add a tablespoon of flaxseeds or toasted nuts to porridge
  • Swap soup croutons for roasted chickpeas
  • Add a mix of berries to a bowl of cereal
  • Garnish curries with a handful of coriander
  • Sprinkle chia seeds over toast

2. Change Up The Way You Cook and Prepare Veg

If you find yourself getting bored of vegetables, try changing how you prepare or cook them. By making vegetables more appealing, you’re more likely to incorporate them into your meals and increase the number of plant points you’re getting.

Go beyond boiling and steaming and try different cooking methods like roasting with herbs and spices, or stir-frying with ginger and garlic.

You can also change up the texture of vegetables by grating them or give them a flavour boost by pairing them with condiments or dressings.

3. Sneak Legumes Into Meals

Another way to boost your plant points is by adding a tin of beans or lentils to your favourite dishes. This works well with curries, stews, chili and pasta dishes.

If a whole tin is too much, start with a few tablespoons and gradually increase the amount each time. You don’t have to completely forgo meat either; a combination of half meat and half beans or lentils is a great starting point and a budget-friendly way to stretch your food.

4. Blend Plants Into Soups and Sauces

Creating plant-rich soups and sauces is one of the easiest ways to increase your plant points.

Some delicious soups and sauces to consider are:

  • Three-bean chilli soup
  • Lentil and root vegetable soup
  • Tomato and basil pasta sauce with hidden vegetables
  • Creamy butternut squash mac and cheese sauce

5. Plant Snacks

Choosing whole plant-based snacks over highly processed snacks can be an easy way to boost your plant points. Some favourite plant snacks include veggie sticks with dip, sliced fruit with peanut butter, edamame, roasted chickpeas, and nuts.

6. Choose Mixed Varieties In The Supermarket

Another easy way to multiply your plant points is to opt for mixed tins of beans or mixed bags of frozen fruits and vegetables when you’re at then supermarket. You can also find mixed varieties of microwavable rice and grains, such as quinoa and bulgur wheat.

Making this simple swap can significantly increase the number of plants points you have in one sitting.

7. Plant-Rich Smoothies

Throwing plants into a blender is a great way to tally up those plant points.

Plant ingredients like chia seeds, flaxseeds and avocado make great additions to smoothies, along with fruits and vegetables, for a dose of healthy fats.

8. Swap Some Meat for Plant Protein

If you consume meat, challenging yourself to go meat-free for 1-2 days a week can encourage you to experiment with new recipes and explore plant-based sources of protein.

For some extra plant points, base your meals around whole plant proteins such as edamame, nuts (e.g., peanuts and almonds), beans, chickpeas, and lentils.

Recipes With 5+ Plant Points

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