The 12 food groups you want in your life right now!

Dr. Michael Greger's Daily Dozen

The Daily Dozen is a list of 12 categories to consume/do daily. It includes 10 food groups and then a drinks category and exercise category and can be a really helpful way to keep an eye on whether you’re eating a balanced diet and including all of the key nutrients. I definitely find that as a student (who is not a keen/particularly good cook), I tend to repeat the same foods and dishes way too often, so the daily dozen really helps us make sure that we are actually getting a broad enough range of meals. Aiming for a whole-food, plant-based diet can be a really helpful step towards motivating yourself to eat healthily, but just because you’re eating whole foods doesn’t mean you’re eating a range of foods. 

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After a lot of research into the nutrient benefits of countless foods and food groups, Dr Michael Greger devised a checklist for himself, where he could check to make sure he was including all the good stuff (the essential macro, micro and phytonutrients) he wanted in his diet.

Image Credit: @michaelgregermd (Instagram)

So, what are the categories?

Beans

            3 servings per day

Berries

            1 serving per day

Fruits

            3 servings per day

Cruciferous vegetables

            1 serving per day

Greens

            2 servings per day

Vegetables

            2 servings per day

Flaxseed

            1 serving per day

Nuts

            1 serving per day

Grains

            3 servings per day

Spices

            1 serving per day

Beverages

            1750ml per day

Exercise

            Once per day

And finally they recommend Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D supplements for those following a plant-based diet.

Image credit: @nutrition_facts_org (Instagram)

Sounds like a lot? 17 portions of fruit and veg a day?! But we have to remember that according to ‘Plant Based Ireland’, the original food pyramid was initially planned with 9-11 portions of fruit and veg a day, before commercial interests reduced the recommendation to 5 and refined carbohydrates and animal products took their place.

To be honest, you’d be surprised how easily you can knock off a good few of the Daily Dozen categories in just one meal. In fact, we find it actually helps us plan our meals as we get more creative trying to pack in another category, making it that little bit more nutritious. And if you don’t manage to get them all, it’s not the end of the world, it just means you’re more conscious of trying to squeeze in a couple extra.

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If you do fancy taking a look it’s available for free on the Apple and Android App Stores, where you can download the app ‘Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen’ and easily track your intake. 

Be sure to tag us in any creative dishes you discover so that we can all help each other to pack our everyday meals full of nutrients!