I’m an avid habit-tracking (and bullet journaling) enthusiast, and one of the things that I try to check off daily is “Smoothie, Salad, Soup or Smoothie”. Even if my other meals are monotonous and dull, just having that one “S-meal” (as I call it) per day helps ensure that I ingest a wider variety of foods. A diversity of whole, plant-based foods is enormously beneficial, particularly for our gut microbiome: those little bugs that keep our immune system ticking love a good colourful meal of fibre! The more diversity, the better.
Plus, you don’t need to have a recipe or any specific ingredients on hand – just make sure your fridge and pantry are adequately stocked week-to-week, and then use whatever’s around to throw together a healthy, balanced meal. Smoothies and salads are great in summer, soups and stews are perfect in winter. Here’s some inspo:
Smoothie (1 large serving or 2 small)
Make only as much as you’ll have in a sitting, smoothies are best enjoyed immediately.
- 1/2 banana (peeled and frozen overnight)
- 1 handful blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 cup fruit (whatever you have on hand)
- 1/3 cup oats
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric (or a knob of fresh)
- 1/2 cup soy milk or yoghurt
- 1/2 cup water
Total foods: 7
Salad (1 large serving or 2 small)
Make a larger batch and store in the fridge (minus the dressing) to eat in the following days.
- 1/2 cup whole grains (e.g. rice, bulgur wheat, quinoa)
- 1/2 cup beans/chickpeas (or 1 cup sprouted lentils)
- 1/2 cup broccoli florets
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 cup mixed veg (e.g. tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, mushrooms)
- 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp flax oil (or extra-virgin olive oil)
Total foods: 9
Soup/Stew (2 servings)
Make a big batch, and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers to eat another time.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 carrot
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 cup cruciferous veg (e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage)
- 1 small potato (or sweet potato)
- 1 handful fresh mixed herbs (or 1 tbsp dried)
- 1 cup other vegetables (whatever’s on hand)
- 2 cups leafy greens
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup whole grains (to serve separately)
Total foods: 11-14
If you’re aiming to hit the 40 plants per week target that’s often recommended for optimal gut health, then this is a great way to achieve that.
Need some help? Download this PDF to track your weekly plant intake.