The American Gut Project, one of the largest studies to date of the human microbiome, found that people who regularly eat 30+ different types of plant-based foods per week had more varied gut bacteria, and consequently, a healthier microbiome, than people who eat 10 or fewer. I wondered – is that a lot? Do I eat 30 different plant-based foods in a week? Do my kids? I wasn’t sure. So, I pulled out a pen and paper and enlisted my family’s help in tallying up the fruits and vegetables we’d eaten that week.
As it turned out, we easily hit 30. But, keep in mind, my kids are teenagers. I think it might have been a different story when they were younger. When I recall their persistent attachment to hot dogs, quesadillas, and mac’n cheese, I’m not confident we would have hit that mark all the time. And that’s fine! Nobody needs to start stressing about eating 30 plant-based foods per week, ok?? Nevertheless, it can serve as a helpful guideline. And taking stock of your own family’s tendencies can be a valuable exercise.
Download this checklist, or for younger kids, download this fun game board! Print one of them and place it someplace everyone will see it (say, the fridge).
Pick a week and start tracking!
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