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4. Eat mostly plant foods

Whole grain oatmeal topped with fresh fruit

A closer look at the recommendations for reducing your overall cancer risk

  • Eat 5 or more servings of colourful non-starchy vegetables and fruits every day
  • Balance starchy vegetables, roots or tubers with non-starchy vegetables, fruits and legumes
  • Eat a variety of whole grains and/or legumes with every meal
  • Limit refined starchy foods

What is a plant-based diet?

A "plant-based diet" includes more plant foods, such as vegetables and fruits, whole- grains and legumes (beans), and less animal foods. Plant foods that are low in calories, high in nutrients and dietary fibre should fill 2/3 or more of your plate, while animal foods, such as cheese, meat, fish, poultry and eggs, should make up the rest. The plant-based diet is not a vegetarian or weight loss diet; it follows Canada's Food Guide.

A plant based plate, showing two thirds occupied by plant foods, including vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains and cereals. The remaining third is occupied by eggs, cheese, meat, poultry or fish.

A plant-based plate

Why eat a plant-based diet?

Eating mostly plant foods, such as a variety of colourful vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes (dried peas, beans and lentils), daily may lower your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and obesity, and helps you achieve a healthy body weight while promoting your overall health.

Non-starchy vegetables, fruits, roots and tubers include: apples, berries, cantaloupe, oranges, pears, beets, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, eggplant (aubergine), garlic, green leafy vegetables, Jerusalem artichoke, okra, parsnips, parsley, rutabaga, Swiss chard, turnip and more.

Starchy vegetables, roots and tubers include: cassava, corn, plantain, potato, sweet potato, taro, yam, yucca and more.

Add plant foods to every meal

Breakfast

  • Whole grain cereal topped with fresh fruit
  • Whole grain cereal with fresh or dried fruit
  • Low-fat cottage cheese with fresh and/or dried fruit
  • Whole grain English muffin or bread with peanut, hazelnut or almond butter
  • Vegetable omelette with peppers, mushrooms, onion and spinach

Lunch

  • Mixed green salad with chick peas, cucumber, red onion, red pepper, topped with tuna and lemon vinaigrette
  • Whole grain tortilla wrap with hummus, roasted or fresh vegetables, arugula or green-leafy vegetable and feta or goat cheese

Dinner

  • Chili, soups or casseroles with legumes and vegetables
  • Whole wheat couscous or brown rice with stir-fried bok choy, broccoli, red pepper, mushrooms, bean sprouts
  • Whole wheat pasta with garlic, onions, tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms, topped with basil and shavings of hard cheese

Snacks

  • Yogurt with fresh or dried fruit, chopped nuts and bran cereal
  • Vegetables or a whole grain pita with hummus or yogurt-based dip
  • Whole grain toast with tomato and avocado slices and fresh basil

For more information on the plant-based diet, visit Your Nutrition Connection's Plant-Based Diet and Breast Cancer Risk.