I find most diet and food tracking apps to be a chore to use. All that measuring, weighing, counting, searching, and logging. I just can’t keep up with it!
Fortunately, eating a varied and healthy whole food plant-based diet is naturally low-fat (10% or less of total calories) and it provides plenty of protein, (around 10% of total calories) without a lot of effort.
But if you are new to eating plant-based, or are concerned that you may be missing some nutrients, it can be helpful to have some guidelines to follow to ensure that “varied and healthy” part.
The app makes getting your essential nutrients simple. Just check the boxes of “servings” in each category as you go through your day, and if you hit all 24 you’ve got your bases covered.
So what are Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen?
Beans – 3 servings (¼ cup hummus or bean dip; ½ cup cooked beans, spit peas, lentils, tofu or tempeh; 1 cup fresh peas or sprouted lentils)
Berries – 1 Serving (½ cup fresh or frozen; ¼ cup dried)
Other Fruits – 3 Servings (1 medium-sized fruit; 1 cup cut up fruit; ¼ cup dried fruit)
Cruciferous Vegetables – 1 Serving (½ cup chopped; ¼ cup Brussels or broccoli sprouts; 1 Tbsp. horseradish)
Greens – 2 Servings (1 cup raw; ½ cup cooked)
Other Vegetables – 2 Servings (1 cup raw leafy vegetables; ½ cup raw or cooked non-leafy vegetables; ½ cup vegetable juice (Yesss!); ¼ cup dried mushrooms)
Flaxseeds – 1 Serving (1 Tbsp. ground)
Nuts – 1 Serving (¼ cup nuts or seeds; 2 Tbsp. nut or seed butter)
Spices – 1 Serving (¼ tsp. ground turmeric; any other salt-free herbs and spices you enjoy)
Whole Grains – 3 Servings (½ cup hot cereal or cooked grains, pasta or corn kernels; 1 cup cold cereal; 1 tortilla or slice of bread; ½ bagel or English muffin; 3 cups popped popcorn)
Beverages – 5 Servings (12 oz. water, herbal tea)
Exercise – 1 “Serving” (90 min. of moderate intensity activity; 40 min. of vigorous-intensity activity; Can be broken up throughout the day)
Vitamins – 1 Serving each Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D
The app makes it easy to learn more about these important, nutrient-dense foods.
For instance, when you click on the information link on Cruciferous Vegetables, you’ll find a list of vegetables that are in this category, as well as links to videos on nutritionfacts.org about this important vegetable group.
Understanding why you are checking the boxes makes it all the more interesting, and helps you commit to a new way of eating.
Learning to eat a varied and healthy whole food plant-based diet for optimal health can be fun and delicious.
Look at the app when building a meal to help you with ideas. If you have a large green salad with 1/2 cup of chickpeas, 1/2 cup of tomato, and 1 cup of cucumber, you can check off 5 boxes in one meal. Add some mushrooms, check another box. Sprinkle on some hempseeds, check a 7th box.
You can even set a daily reminder in the app to help you remember to check your Daily Dozen.
You may not need to use the Daily Dozen app for long. Once you get the hang of what makes a balanced diet, you’ll intuitively reach for the foods that fuel you well – without the tedious calorie counting and macronutrient tracking.