Why 30-a-week is the new five-a-day: Advice from Registered Dietitian Sasha Watkins on why we should all be eating 30 plant types a week

Research shows that people who eat more than 30 different plant types a week have a more diverse gut microbiome[1], which is why Registered Dietitian Sasha Watkins is encouraging everyone to aim for 30 a week, to help not only our gut, but also our overall health and wellbeing.

Sasha advises: “We are all aware of the 5-a-day rule, however, evidence shows eating 30 different plant-based foods a week may be linked with better gut health, and in turn can have a positive impact on your energy levels, mood, weight and general health.

“People who are eating a variety of plants each week have a more diverse microbiome – a group or microorganisms that live both on and inside our bodies. These microbes contribute to our health in many ways, from supporting our immune system to helping us digest food to produce energy.

“Different plant types contain distinct types of fibre, prebiotics and ‘bioactives’, that nourish different microbes. Microbial diversity is linked with better gut, heart and brain health[2] and to thrive, these microbes need to be fuelled with a diverse range of plant foods.”

Each plant-based food has a plant type score, which then contributes to the suggested 30 points a week.

Foods such as fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, beans and pulses, nuts and seeds all count as 1 point each – with herbs and spices contain ¼ point each.

Sasha, who is Co-Founder of Field Doctor, continues, “Challenging yourself to consume 30 plant types a week may seem daunting, but once you understand what foods contribute to the plant type score, it can be achieved easily through snacking, cooking and trying different combinations each week. Wholegrains, nuts, seeds and spices all contribute towards your 30-a-week.

“It’s important to highlight that raising your plant score each week doesn’t have to be difficult. It could simply be a case of blending leftover fruit and veg into a smoothie (rather than throwing it away), topping your morning porridge with fruits and seeds or adding extra frozen vegetables to your meal when cooking.

“You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can reach the recommendation of 30 different plant-based foods each week and your health will thank you for it.”

To make achieving your weekly 30 score even easier, Field Doctor (who produce nutritionally supercharged frozen meals) have developed 20 meals which are a convenient way to contribute to your weekly total.

Each Field Doctor meal is rated with a ‘plant diversity score’ and consuming just two meals  each week, can give over the recommended 30 weekly plant types.

Field Doctor’s range of meals are suitable for those following a vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, gluten-free, low calorie or low FODMAP diet.

Delivered directly to your door, the meals have been carefully created with sustainably sourced produce by registered dietitian Sasha Watkins and Michelin trained chef, Matt Williamson to taste great and make you feel better inside and out.

Believed to be the first and only brand in the UK to have launched a range of low FODMAP meals, suitable for people with a sensitive gut or IBS. Field Doctor’s scientific expertise ensures all meals are balanced and packed with a healthy balance of plant-based foods, and good fats.

As members of LEAF, Field Doctor are committed to sustainable farming practises and try where possible to support suppliers who echo this belief. Meals are packed with a variety of plant types not only for nutritional benefits but to support the planet and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Prices for individual meals start from £5.95 for a single portion and £9.90 for a meal for two (just £4.95 per portion if sharing).

[1] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10408398.2019.1632258

[2] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10408398.2019.1632258