Use this guide will help you put together balanced and nutritionally sound meals using a plate method.
Load up half of your plate with greens, non-starchy vegetables, fruit and/or berries for Fiber, Calcium, Potassium, Folate (folic acid) and Beta Carotene (to be converted into Vitamin A), E, K and C.
Load up ¼ of your plate with grains and starchy vegetables like rice, oats, peas, sweet potatoes and corn for extra Fiber and Protein, Magnesium, Selenium, Iron and B vitamins (Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Folate).
Load up the final ¼ of your plate with beans and legumes like black beans, kidney beans, soybeans (or soy products like tofu and tempeh), lentils and chickpeas for Protein, Fiber, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, extra Potassium and Zinc.
Note: It's OK to occasionally load ½ your plate with grains instead of beans and vice versa. The ratio doesn't have to be 1:1 every time either but it's recommended.
Make sure to top your plate with healthy fat sources like seeds, nuts, nut and seed butter based sauces or ¼ of whole avocado for Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and additional vitamins and minerals.
Add a Calcium-fortified plant-based yogurt or soy milk to your meals whenever you can. It's not necessary to add it all the time but if you need extra Calcium it's a good way to get it. Use plant-based milk, yogurts and creams for sauces and as an additional ingredient in your meals.
Add seaweed to your meals once a week for additional Iodine and mushrooms for Vitamin D. Make sure you get some sunlight for Vitamin D or take a supplement.
Use colour to guide you. You should have a colorful plate in front of you. The more different colours you can add, the better. Focus on adding something green like leafy greens and broccoli to your plate and/or something orange like squash, carrots or sweet potatoes.
If your diet is 100% plant-based (or close to it) take a B12 supplement on a regular basis.