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Here's the formula for building a gut healthy bowl

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

You've rung the bell and completed medical treatments for breast cancer. But now you're left wondering: How can I start healing my gut? You also want something that is both economical and convenient. Start here with a gut-healthy bowl.

If you’re looking for a quick, convenient, and healthy meal, look no further than a humble bowl filled with gut-healthy ingredients. What are the necessary ingredients for healing your gut after treatments? They include plant protein, fiber, probiotics, prebiotics, and a powerhouse combination of vitamins and minerals.

Quinoa and Bean bowl
A gut healthy bean and quinoa bowl

The gut healthy formula

Start with the right components: Bean, grains or leafy greens, vegetables, and flavor add-ins. Packed with protein and fiber, beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein that can help keep you full and energized for hours. Plus, they are super affordable and available.

Here's my formula for building your own gut-healthy bowl:

  1. First select your favorite type of grain as the base for your bowl. Popular choices include quinoa, brown rice, farro, or even whole-wheat couscous (technically pasta but the whole-grain variety fits nicely into this category). Cook according to package instructions and set aside. You can even use hummus as your base! Nutrition tip: If you're looking to reduce carbs at some meals, use leafy greens as your base and less grains.

  2. Next up is protein! As mentioned before, beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein that can help keep you full and energized for hours. Try chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans—or all of them! Lentils are also a great option if you want something a bit different. Utilize canned beans for added convenience, just be sure to rinse and drain them before adding to the bowl.

  3. To amp up the nutritional value of your bowl even more, add some colorful vegetables, both raw and cooked. Pre-roasted vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are excellent additions as are raw vegetables like tomatoes, red pepper, scallions, and canned options like corn and artichoke hearts. Think "color" here to include various health-promoting antioxidants.

  4. Once you have all of your components ready, toss them together in a bowl and top with fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro for added flavor and texture. You can also drizzle on some extra virgin olive oil and toss in some nuts/seeds for healthy fats. Add lemon juice to increase the satisfaction level with a bit of brightness + Vitamin C!

Customize your gut healthy bowl with the flavors and textures you love. For example, for a black bean bowl, choose quinoa as your base. Add canned and drained black beans for protein, then frozen corn and chopped red pepper for your color-filled vegetables. For your add-ins, choose minced scallions, garlic, cilantro, cayenne, lime juice, and cumin. Done!

Gut healthy bowl themes

Want to try a different theme? Use this formula:

  • 1 cup quinoa or other grain

  • 1 1/3 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed, roasted

  • 3 cup broccoli, heads only, roasted

  • 1 Tbs olive oil

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 4 carrots, peeled and shredded

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced

  • 1/4 cup pepitas, raw

Ginger Lime Quinoa Veggie Bowl
Ginger Lime Quinoa Veggie Bowl

But wait there's more! Try this Ginger-Lime Quinoa Veggie Bowl.

  • 1 cup cabbage, red, shredded

  • 2 Tbs cilantro, chopped

  • 1 cup edamame, frozen

  • 1 cup quinoa, frozen (or pre-cooked)

  • 3 scallions, chopped

  • 1 orange, segmented

  • 2 cup spinach

  • 2 Tbs sesame seeds

Got the formula? Grain + Protein + Veggie + Add-ins. Now go forth and build your a gut-healthy bowl.

As a registered dietitian nutritionist who works with people experiencing cancer, I’d love to help. I offer clients support to plan, shop, and prepare more nutritious and healthy meals for yourself or your family. Here is my link to book a chat about making sure to meet your nutritional needs.


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