A Nutritionist’s Must-Have Shopping List: The Five Best Plant Foods to Include in Your Diet

A leading nutritionist has unveiled the top five plant-based foods to be included in your diet each week to maintain health year-round.

Fiona Tuck from Sydney said it is important to consume a wide range of vegetables, legumes and whole grains to ensure that the body gets important vitamins, nutrients and fiber.

“We know that different foods contain different prebiotics and phytonutrients, therefore diversity is important,” Fiona told FEMAIL.

Sydney nutritionist Fiona Tuck (pictured) said it is important to consume a wide range of vegetables, legumes and whole grains to ensure the body gets important vitamins and nutrients

Sydney nutritionist Fiona Tuck (pictured) said it is important to consume a wide range of vegetables, legumes and whole grains to ensure the body gets important vitamins and nutrients

Vote

Which of these foods do you eat the most?

  • Broccoli 92 votes
  • Chickpeas 9 votes
  • Oats 37 votes
  • Flaxseed 4 votes
  • Spinach 23 votes
  • None of the above 10 votes

Cruciferous vegetables

Fiona’s Choice – Broccoli

First, Fiona mentioned that it is important to incorporate ‘cruciferous vegetables’ into your diet – foods from the cabbage family.

These plant-based foods can include broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, which are a good source of nutrients a fiber.

“Cruciferous vegetables provide a superfood plant compound called sulforaphane, which has been shown to have a number of important protective health benefits,” Fiona said.

These foods also contain high sources of vitamins A and C to reduce the risk of inflammation and prevent disease.

Her chosen cruciferous vegetable was the humble broccoli because it is high in fiber, low in calories and rich in vitamins C and K.

“Broccoli contains minerals such as choline, which help raise blood sugar levels, it is also anti-inflammatory, supports liver health and detoxification and may even help protect against certain cancers,” Fiona said.

First, Fiona mentioned that it is important to incorporate cruciferous vegetables into your diet ¿plants from the cabbage family.  These plant-based foods can include broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, which are a good source of nutrients a fiber

First, Fiona mentioned that it is important to incorporate cruciferous vegetables into your diet – plants from the cabbage family. These plant-based foods can include broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, which are a good source of nutrients a fiber

Fiona’s top five pantry staples

Extra virgin olive oil

Frozen mixed berries

Canned legumes

Dried herbs and spices – chili, rosemary and turmeric

Brown rice

legumes

Fiona’s Choice – Chickpeas

Fiona called legumes as one of the ‘healthiest plant-based foods’ that offer a number of benefits.

“Legumes offer prebiotic and resistant starch benefits that help nourish the beneficial microbes in our gut,” she said.

Legumes not only help keep your gut healthy, but help lower cholesterol levels.

They also degrade slowly, which means you stay full for longer.

Fiona’s favorite legumes are chickpeas – which can be bought wet or dry in supermarkets.

“Chickpeas are incredibly versatile and can be added to salads, soups, stews and made into hummus for healthy snacking,” she said.

‘Chickpeas are rich in nutrients such as fiber, potassium, B vitamins, iron, magnesium and selenium, supporting intestinal and heart health.’

Whole grains

Fiona’s Choice – Oats

You should also include whole grains, such as oats, barley and rye, in your weekly diet.

Fiona said whole grains are rich in fiber, prebiotics and beta-glucan to promote gut and heart health.

Oats were Fiona’s favorite whole grains, as they are an ingredient that can be added to smoothies, pastries or soaked overnight for breakfast.

Oats, which are a fabulous source of fiber, help gut health, heart health, blood sugar balance can help lower cholesterol as part of a healthy diet, ‘she said.

Fiona called legumes one of the 'healthiest plant-based foods' offering a number of benefits

She said that legumes not only help keep your gut healthy, but help lower cholesterol levels

Fiona called legumes one of the ‘healthiest plant-based foods’ offering a number of benefits

Omega 3

Fiona’s choice – Flaxseed

To increase brain health and reduce the risk of inflammatory disease, Fiona recommended eating plant-based foods high in omega-3s.

Nuts and seeds like flaxseed, chia, hemp and walnuts are rich in omega 3 and can be consumed instead of fatty fish as a plant-based alternative.

Fiona said that flaxseed is a ‘superfood’ for skin, hair, hormone and digestive system.

“Packed with nutrients including lignans, antioxidants, fiber, protein and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) or omega-3, flaxseed can help lower cholesterol and relieve constipation as part of a healthy diet,” she said. .

Green vegetables

Fiona’s Choice – Spinach

To maintain health through the changing seasons, Fiona’s last recommendation is to fill your plate with a side of green vegetables.

Spinach, green beans, cabbage and kale are said to be the ‘healthiest’ on the list of green vegetables.

“Spinach is another good source of vitamins and minerals such as beta-carotene – a skin-loving nutrient – and iron, plus phytochemicals that can help with inflammation and disease protection,” she said.

How to make Fiona Tuck’s Moroccan chickpea stew:

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 brown onion, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 red pepper, finely chopped

1 thumbnail size of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

200 g canned chopped tomatoes

1 x 400g canned organic chickpeas

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes (or to your liking)

1/2 cup chicken stock

2 large handfuls of washed spinach leaves, chopped

Small handful each fresh coriander and parsley leaves, washed and finely chopped

Squeeze lemon juice

Brown rice or cauliflower rice, for serving

Method:

Add the oil to a non-stick pan, then add the garlic, onion, celery, paprika and fry gently until soft.

Stir in the ginger and spices, then add the broth, tomatoes and chickpeas.

Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until mixture is thickened.

Add the peas and spinach and stir until the peas are cooked through and the spinach has withered.

Remove from the heat and stir in the coriander, parsley and lemon juice.

Serve with cauliflower rice or brown rice.

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