The Foundation of a Nourishing Plate

You’ve set a goal to eat healthier. How do you know where to start?

There’s no need to stress tracking calories, counting macros, or studying the latest fad diet. Start with the basic plate: 1/2 veggies, 1/4 whole grains, 1/4 high protein source (legumes), + accessories.

There’s a reason I labelled this the FOUNDATION of a nourishing plate. These foods are the basis of your meal, but there is so much room to expand and add flavour! Got a bean, rice & veggie bowl? We love to add organic corn chips and chipotle mayo as an accessory to make it even more enjoyable!

Let’s talk accessories – additions to your meal that can range from a sprinkle of flavour to a couple tablespoons of extra bulk. I keep them to small amounts because they can add a lot of calories or be overpowering to a meal, aka: small doses = big punch! These can be:

  • Nuts & seeds
  • Fresh herbs or dried spices
  • Fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, coconut yogurt)
  • Vegan aiolis, oils and vinegars, or organic sauces
  • Animal products

What this can look like:

  • Fruit & veggie smoothie with soy milk, plant protein, and a slice of sourdough toast with nut butter.
  • Whole wheat pizza with marinara, tempeh “sausage”, vegan cheese and balsamic green salad.
  • Fried brown rice with frozen veggie blend, tofu “eggs”, and cashews; soy sauce, sesame oil, and spices to season.
  • Kale caesar salad with farro, sunflower seeds and roasted BBQ chickpeas.
  • Black bean tacos on corn tortillas with cabbage slaw, mango salsa, sauerkraut, and garlic aioli.

Common concern: “plants don’t have complete proteins.” By eating a diversity of plants (30 or more per week), your body will take the necessary amino acids from each food to utilize and help your body build proteins for muscle, bone, nerve functions, energy, and many other important chores they do for us. A food does not need to be a “complete” protein source to be nourishing. Our bodies are so much smarter at taking what they need from our food and expelling the rest than we give them credit for. Keep it simple, and strive for variety.

I really want to highlight why I put whole grains and legumes on the plate. These foods are so often demonized as “indigestible” or “gas-promoting”, but in actuality, they are longevity foods that we as a whole society don’t eat enough of. They provide a range of vitamins, minerals, and cancer-fighting phytonutrients, while giving an amazing balance of carbohydrates (hello FIBER!), protein, and healthy fats. Not to mention, they are inexpensive! If they do cause digestive discomfort for you, this is something we can work on together through private nutrition coaching.

Check out my free list of pantry staples to get started.

Finally, my biggest tip is to use salad sized plates or bowls for your meal! With nutrient-dense plants as the foundation of your meal, it’ll fill you up faster than you think. And if you’re still hungry once that plate is gone, just have a little more. This is the beauty of finding food freedom.

Interested in learning more? Email me at to book a private coaching package to transform your lifestyle and live nourishment-first!


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