There is a simple method which can help you cover your daily needs, including all the nutrients without counting calories. It’s called plate method.
Let’s see how it works
- ½ of the plate covered by vegetables and fruits
- ¼ of the plate contains grains and starches
- ¼ of the plate includes protein
- a little bit space is for “healthy” fat and dairy alternatives
- while water is in sufficient quantity
In more detail
Vegetables & Fruits
Vegetables and fruits are great sources of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Variety and seasonality is the key to consume all their benefits.
Choose: green leafy vegetables as well as dark orange and yellow ones
Prefer: Bright colored fruits. Consume the whole fruit instead of juices, because they are able to offer you much more fiber.
- Add them as a snack or into your smoothies
- Prefer fresh vegetables and fruits. If you can’t eat them fresh then freeze them to consume than all the year
Grains and Starches
Grains are great sources of fiber, protein, B complex vitamins and zinc.
Choose: oat, whole wheat pasta, millet, barley, rice, buckwheat, amaranth, teff, whole wheat bread and Dinkel( Zea ) products as well as starchy vegetables as : corn, sweet potatoes, pumpkin
Emphasize in complex carbs (whole grain products) because they have better effect to your blood glucose levels and keep you full for longer time.
Legumes, soya and nuts are good sources of: protein, fiber, iron, calcium, zinc and vitamins of B complex.
Choose: legumes, beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, mung beans, as well as tempeh, seitan, soya and products (milk, yogurt) and tofu
More info at: “Plant based protein”
- Several people complain about indigestion because of legumes. this is due to oxalates. Soaking them from the previous night is a good technique or try choosing shelled legumes.
- In the market there are plenty of meat substitutes and products of those. Them may taste good and save you a lot of time but, they lack nutrients. That’s why you should consume them as least as possible. Make your own from legumes (ex. vegetable patties), cheese (from nuts), or milk (oat, almond, etc.). We will show you the way!
Focus on “healthy” fats and consume them with moderation. Prefer unsaturated fatty acids and reduce or avoid saturated fatty acids and trans fat).
Choose: avocado, olives and olive oils, nuts, seeds and their butters (almondbutter, peanutbutter, tahini, etc.)
More info at: “Omega 3”
- Choose foods that are in omega 3 fatty acids as chia seeds, flaxseed and purslane.
- Use olive oil in your salads and don’t exclude it from your diet. The fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed passively and must be transported with dietary lipid
- Use a small handful of nuts as a snack in your day.
- Prefer nut butters without salt and sugar.
B12, is one of most important vitamins because B12 directly linked to our nervous system and lack of this vitamin it will lead to anemia. In plant based foods isn’t enough to cover our daily needs. That’s why consider taking it with a form of a supplement.
More info at: “Β12”
Vitamin D or “sunshine” vitamin is necessary for calcium absorption and for our immune system.
Supplementation to this vitamin concerns all of us (vegans, vegetarians or carnivores).
Sun exposure for 20-30 minutes without sunscreen or make up is capable to produce the amount of D that we need.
Blood tests for this vitamin, will define the daily needs of this vitamin that you have to take as a supplement.
More info at: “Vitamin D”
Calcium is one of the most important metals for our bone structure.
In this category we tend to categorize dairy products, but there are more foods that contain calcium.
Our daily needs are 3 portion from enriched products to calcium.
Choose: bok choi, kale, tahini, sesame, almonds, molasses, enriched plant based milk and subs and dried fruits
Many of them have protein also (nuts and nut butters, plant based milk and yogurt).
Pay attention to food labels for calcium per portion.
More info at “Calcium”
To sum up:
- Try to have variety in your diet and focus on the plate method (½ vegetables and fruits, ¼ plant based protein, ¼ grains and starches).Small portion of your daily food routine must contain healthy fats as a snack or side (nuts and nuts butters, avocado, olives and olive oil).
- Supplements may needed for coverage of B12 and D vitamins (check regularly with blood tests).
- Prep your meals and limit as much as you can «junk food» .
Food plate method is a tool that is based in Harvard study and Canada’s updated food guide. The modification directed at those who follow a plant based diet. This tool can be modified according to gender, weight, age and other conditions. That’s why consider taking advice from health scientists, to guide you to for the proper use of this method.