vegetables at a farmers market

30 Plants a Week Checklist

Your gut is home to trillions of microorganisms which play a pivotal role in your overall health, influencing everything from immune function to your mood. One simple yet transformative principle that benefits your gut microbiome is eating more plants and diversifying your diet.

In this article, we’ll discuss the research and rationale behind the popular trend of eating 30 plants a week with a free checklist. 

Why is Gut Diversity Important?


Your gut bacteria interact with your body in various ways to aid digestion, support the immune system, regulate metabolism, and more. A healthy gut contains a bountiful and diverse community of gut bacteria and allows for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients from food. 

A diverse microbiome also protects you against harmful pathogens and inflammation. In fact, research suggests that a lack of diversity in gut bacteria is associated with an increased risk of various health conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune disease, and even mental health disorders (1, 2, 3). 

By eating a wide range of plant-based foods, you supply your gut microbiome with the diversity it craves, promoting a healthier balance of bacteria and potentially reducing the risk or severity of disease.

Benefits of 30 Plants a Week

In 2018, scientists published a study showcasing results from the American Gut Project (4). The subjects of this study shared information about their eating habits and provided a stool sample. Participants who ate 30 or more plants per week were more likely to have higher levels of good gut bacteria than those who ate 10 or less plants per week. The stool samples of the 30+ plant group also showed higher levels of healthy chemicals produced by gut bacteria. 

Let’s review a few more benefits of eating 30 plants a week, beyond the impact on healthy gut bacteria.

Dietary Fiber

Eating fiber-rich foods ensures the survival and growth of good gut bacteria which then provide benefits like reduced inflammation, healthy estrogen metabolism, regular bowel movements, and more. You should aim to eat 25-35 grams of fiber per day. 

Not only does fiber prevent constipation and promote regularity, but it also helps regulate blood sugar, promotes healthy cholesterol levels, and supports weight management by promoting feelings of fullness. By aiming to eat 30 different plants per week, you naturally increase your fiber intake, reaping these health rewards. 

Phytochemicals

Eating 30 plants a week provides the body with more phytochemicals, which are natural compounds found in plants that offer desirable health benefits. It is the phytochemicals that give plant-based foods their unique color. For example, lycopene and beta-carotene are phytochemicals found in red foods, like tomatoes. Anthocyanins are found in blue and purple foods, like berries, and quercetin is found in brown and white foods, like quinoa and beans. 

The popular phrase "eat the rainbow" lies in the concept of eating a diverse range of plant-based foods, each boasting a unique color and array of phytochemicals.

 By incorporating plants of various colors into your diet, you provide your body with a broad spectrum of phytochemicals, maximizing their potential health benefits.

Culinary Techniques

Eating 30 different plants a week may demand some extra effort in food preparation, but it doesn't have to be daunting. Experimenting with new foods allows you to explore diverse cooking techniques, experiment with spices and herbs, and refine your culinary skills. This is invaluable because it often leads to surprising discoveries. For example, steamed brussels sprouts offer one taste and texture, but when roasted and topped with savory parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, and balsamic vinegar, they become a completely different vegetable, showcasing the transformative power of cooking methods and flavor combinations.

What is Considered a Plant?

Many people mistakenly assume that the 30 plants a week checklist only includes fruits and vegetables. However, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains are also considered plants and play a key role in optimizing gut health and diversity. Plus, these foods offer additional benefits like anti-inflammatory fats and satiating complex carbohydrates.

To reap the most benefits out of eating 30 plants a week, we also recommend incorporating our PFC method. This approach uses an acronym to guide your meal planning, emphasizing the inclusion of foods with protein, fat, and fiber-rich carbohydrates in every meal and snack. This strategy provides you with essential macronutrients to keep you full and satisfied.  Plus, the PFC method prevents the exclusion of entire food groups, promoting balanced, diverse, and sustainable eating habits.

Tips to Improve Diet Diversity 

Humans are creatures of habit, and this affects eating habits as well. Diversifying your diet may take some effort at first to expand your palate, cooking skills, and recipe collections. Here are a few actionable tips to help increase the plants in your diet and diversify the foods you enjoy each day.

  • Expand whole grain options with foods like quinoa, farro, and steel cut oats.
  • Diversify protein sources with plant-based options like beans, lentils, tofu, and nuts.
  • Find creative swaps, like replacing overnight oats for chia seed pudding or spaghetti noodles for chickpea pasta.
  • Consider innovative smoothie additions like frozen cauliflower, avocado, or ginger root.
  • Buy various nuts in bulk and store excess in the freezer for later use. Top your salads, oatmeal, or yogurt with different nuts each time.

Key Takeaways

Following a 30 plants a week checklist can support the diversity of your gut microbiome and promote optimal health from the inside out. Remember, it's not about perfection—it's about progress. Even if you fall short of 30 different plants a week, every time you choose to incorporate a plant into your meal, your gut is reaping the benefits. 

Get started with our Free 30 plants Per Week Tracker


Every time you choose to incorporate a plant into your meal, your gut reaps the benefits. This simple yet valuable tracking sheet allows you to establish a baseline of your plant intake so you can set goals and work towards consuming 30 plants per week over the course of a month.

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