Here is a complete meal plan made with gut healthy recipes to help reduce inflammation, improve your digestion, and more! Made with healthy and gluten-free ingredients, these recipes are sure to become staples in your diet. Keep reading to pick out your favorite recipes and find the best tips to improve your gut health for good!
Disclosure: Lindsay Cotter is a certified nutrition specialist, and does not have a medical degree. The information in this post comes from reliable medical resources, but should not be taken as medical advice. We recommend that you consult with your doctor before starting any new eating program or making changes to your diet.
Meals for Good Gut Health
If you’ve been around a while, you’ll already know that I’m all about utilizing wholesome, nourishing foods to help improve my health. If you’re new here, well, now you know, too! I’ve always been passionate about health and wellness, but I would say I only truly began to dial in my focus on nourishing foods when I became ill with a parasite back in 2006. A parasite I caught while working at an orphanage in Africa.
To say the least, it harmed my gut health and my digestive system was in serious need of a reboot, but I wouldn’t have changed that experience for the world! So I focused on healing my gut by reducing inflammation and rebuilding my gut lining. However, the tricky thing about gut health is that it looks different for everyone. Of course, it’s important for those with allergies and intolerances to follow gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, and low carb diets based on their individual needs.
Determining the best approach is not always easy. What’s healthy for one person’s gut may not be healthy for another’s even if only temporarily. For example, if you have bad gut flora, consuming raw veggies or cultured foods can cause you to feel ill and create bloat due to an inability to digest it. Yet, for others, consuming these foods can help reduce bloat and regulate digestion. There are tons of factors that can negatively impact your gut health, including these 7 common triggers. As a result, understanding how to treat your symptoms and consume healthy foods for your individual needs can be confusing.
Luckily, through years of trial and error, I’ve learned what foods cause flare-ups and how to create delicious meals to help manage my symptoms. The easiest and most widely used method to identify triggers is to implement a low FODMAP diet. So, whether you’re experiencing gut distress and are looking to eliminate problem foods, simply want to improve your digestion, or are somewhere in between, I’m giving you a complete meal plan to help you get started along with my best gut-friendly tips and tricks to help you optimize your health with recipes you’ll love!
Follow the meal plans below, or pick and choose your favorite recipes to create your own!
Let’s Talk Prebiotics
Crucial to gut health and digestion, prebiotics are a type of indigestible fiber that come from carbs and other natural foods like those listed here. They help feed the good bacteria in our gut and prevent the development of fungus and other harmful bacteria types. Plus, they’re pretty tasty when consumed in recipes like those listed in the recipes for good gut health below! If you suffer from bloating, constipation, or similar symptoms, try giving this meal plan a try.
Breakfast – This Detoxifying Green Smoothie is made with kiwi and celery to naturally detox the body and reduce inflammation.
Lunch – Try incorporating artichokes and asparagus into your day by adding them to soups, omelets, and more for added prebiotics. A few of my favorite recipes include Instant Pot Steamed Artichokes, Creamy Artichoke Pea Soup, Asparagus Fries, and Baked Salmon and Asparagus.
Dinner – Blueberries are a prebiotic and are high in antioxidants and a good source of vitamin C! Toss them on a salad (like this Broccoli Detox Salad), add them to a side, or use them to make gut-healthy meals like this Superfood Baked Salmon!
What Are Probiotics?
Now that we’ve got prebiotics covered, let’s talk about probiotics which are the good bacteria fed by prebiotics in your gut. They are crucial to maintaining a healthy immune system and regular digestion, but they are often not included in the average diet. The good news is that I have tons of recipes to improve gut health that feature common foods rich in probiotics. Get started with a probiotic rich gut friendly meal plan below, and take a look at these 17 foods to include in your day to day diet for improved digestion!
Breakfast – This Orange Probiotic Immunity Boosting Smoothie is made with healthy probiotics from kefir and full of fiber thanks to chia seeds and fresh produce.
Lunch – For gut healthy lunch ideas try incorporating foods like tempeh (make sure it’s organic and gluten free) and miso with recipes like BBQ Tempeh Vegan Quinoa Salad or my Miso Mango Chicken Salad Cabbage Wraps.
Are Resistant Starches Good for You?
When it comes to gut health, there can be quite a bit of confusion regarding resistant starches. Resistant starches are those that cannot be digested by the body and function as soluble fiber. In most cases, foods that contain resistant starches such as cooked and cooled potatoes, beans, and lentils are beneficial to your health. How so? Well, these indigestible fibers actually feed the good bacteria! However, if you suffer from digestive issues, they may actually worsen symptoms and cause gas, bloating, diarrhea, and other IBS-related symptoms. Therefore, these foods are considered to be high FODMAPs and are often avoided for those suffering from IBS or SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth).
What are Low FODMAPs? Are they Gut Healthy Foods?
FODMAP foods are different groups of carbohydrates known for causing digestive distress. They’re found in a wide variety of foods to varying degrees. As a result, different foods are classified as being either high or low on the FODMAP scale depending on the degree at which these different carbs are found within them. For those looking to eliminate gut irritants, it is often advised to follow a low fodmap diet. If you think certain foods may be negatively impacting your gutor suffer from IBS (not IBD), try implementing the good gut health meals below!
Low Fodmap Notes: Be sure to check servings for these lower fodmap ingredients at MONASHFOODMAP.COM
Breakfast – For breakfast recipes to improve gut health, I like to keep things simple with Low FODMAP Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins packed with antioxidants to help get you going. Or a simple smoothie like this super fruit kale smoothie (with maple syrup substitute).
Lunch – This Strawberry Spinach Salad with Low fodmap Granola Croutons is a quick lunch filled with plant-based iron and vitamin C! My homemade buckwheat granola recipe is low fodmap friendly (omit the cashew) and makes for a great salad topper or yogurt topper. It’s made with toasted groats, gluten-free oats, pumpkin seed, coconut oil, cinnamon, and pumpkin seed.
GF OATS/Buckwheat – Low FODMAP in servings up to ½ cup (low fodmap Grains)
Nuts/Seeds – walnuts (¼ c serving) or pumpkin seed (2 tbsp serving)
Dinner – Dinner doesn’t have to be complicated, for gut-healthy meals try making wraps with Grain-Free Naan Bread filled with shredded chicken or no mayo chicken salad. Then, swap the honey for maple syrup in this Sweet and Spicy Fresh Salsa, and add a lower lactose raw cheese such as goat cheese or feta (low fodmap for 40 grams) to finish off your wrap!
Ingredient Essentials for Recipes to Improve Gut Health
Ready to get started? Download the printable below, (or PDF HERE), and head to your local grocery store to stock up on all the ingredients you’ll need to get started making gut healthy recipes!
More Ways to Make Gut Healthy Meals
Not looking for a full meal plan but interested in making your day-to-day meals more gut friendly? We’ve got you covered with a few simple tips you can incorporate today!
- Add flavor and dimension to your meals with gut-friendly herbs and spices such as ginger, basil, mint, cinnamon, and curry (turmeric).
- Cook your veggies thoroughly
- Watch your fiber intake! Consuming too much can be just as harmful as not consuming enough. Consuming whole food fibers to get that extra nourishment! The total recommended intake is between 25 and 30 grams per day.
What is your favorite recipe from this meal plan? Let me know in the comments below!