A whisper from the woods

Food for thought, April 2022

Apr 4, 2022

The plate method & a chickpea salad

The food we eat and the water we drink are fuel for our bodies.

Our bodies need a variety of nutrients to function correctly. Diversity is key when it comes to nutrition.

Different nutrients play different roles in our bodies – some are structural elements, some give us energy, some regulate our metabolic processes, and some are a combination.

Eating a diverse diet increases our chance of acquiring all our essential macronutrients and micronutrients, thus promoting good health, reducing the risk of disease – as well as keeping our diet interesting with different flavours and textures.

There is an easy and practical way of making sure we follow a diversified diet. This is the plate method.

According to the plate method, our meals should follow a 2:1:1 proportion. That means half of the plate is filled with non-starchy vegetables and fruits, one quarter with a protein source, and the remaining quarter with carbohydrate-rich foods. These are the 3 major groups on the plate.

Fats, plant-based dairy substitutes, and supplements are not mentioned but they are the 3 pillars that support this balanced meal.

As an example, check out the two images below:

The overall recommendation from the scientific community is to follow a plant-based diet, i.e., to emphasize whole grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. If you eat a wide range of these foods, you will be less likely to miss out on important nutrients. It does not have to be complicated. The plate method works as a guideline to help you compose your meals. It is not a strict rule.

The food you eat does have an impact on the environment.

Nowadays, the big majority of the world’s population’s calories come from 6 crops only. This is not only detrimental to our health but to the planet’s health, too.

Wheat field. Image courtesy of Antony Trivet from Pexels

Just like our bodies, ecosystems need a variety of agents to keep their natural flows running. Intensive monocultures lack, among other things, the diversity that allows that system to run smoothly – soil bacteria and fungi, pollinators, insects, pest-control species. All have a crucial role to play.

Having a biodiverse food system means enjoying a multitude of foods, allowing one to enjoy a healthy diet.

I am happy to share with you a wonderful salad recipe I recently discovered. It is amazingly simple to prepare. You can combine it with other ingredients according to the plate method discussed above.

Chickpea & Pickle Salad


  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 2/3 cup pickles
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/3 cup cilantro/parsley
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (you can use the pickle juice)
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice


  • Finely chop the pickles, red bell pepper, red onion, and cilantro.
  • In a bowl, roughly smash the chickpeas, using a fork.
  • Mix everything together and add the seasonings.
  • Adjust the seasoning according to your taste.

I hope you get to try this recipe. If you do, share your thoughts with us! Talk to us about the plate method, too. What do you think about this idea?

Thank you for being here!

Download your printable recipe card here:
Food for thought: Chickpea & Pickle Salad

Lettuce and spinach, bell pepper rice, chickpea and pickle salad, cherry tomatoes, and tofu

Please share this. Thank you!


  1. Jennifer Troyan

    This looks great as well as easy to make. I am going to try it! Thank you for sharing the recipe and the idea of the plate method.

    • Kika Gusmao

      Hey Jennifer, Thank you so much for your comment! I look forward to seeing your creations 😄


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