Sometimes you might not exactly be in the mood to turn on the oven or take the time to cook, but you still want to eat a healthy meal that's good for your gut.
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Quick refresher: Your gut health is influenced by the balance of your microbiome, or the collection of microbes that live inside your gut, according to the Mayo Clinic. This affects not just your digestive health, but your overall health, which is why it's such a big deal.
There are a variety of foods that can have a positive influence on your gut health, such as:
- Prebiotic-rich fibers: Artichokes, asparagus, fennel and leeks
- Fermented foods rich in probiotics: Kefir, yogurt and kimchi
- Fiber-rich foods: Whole grains, fruits and vegetables
- Resistant starches: Uncooked oats, legumes and unripe bananas
To make it simple for you to adopt a gut-healthy diet, we've put together seven healthy and delicious no-cook meals that are good for your gut and require absolutely no heat.
1. Overnight Strawberries and Crème Oatmeal
Overnight oats are a great time-saving, no-cook alternative to traditionally cooked oats. Rather than cooking oats on a stovetop or in a microwave, overnight oats thicken in the refrigerator overnight.
Similar to cooked oats, overnight oats provide you with fiber and prebiotics. When it comes to resistant starch, though, overnight oats are actually a better source than cooked oats, according to a February 2020 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study. Because resistant starches can be destroyed in the cooking process, keeping the oats uncooked will ensure that you are getting a greater dose.
2. PB Banana Breakfast Chia Pudding
This breakfast recipe stars chia seeds as the main ingredient. Chia seeds are gut-healthy seeds that are popular for their gel-like properties and numerous nutrition benefits. When water is added to chia seeds, they "gel" up and expand in size, almost resembling tapioca. A one-ounce serving of chia seeds provides 10 grams of fiber, according to the USDA.
This recipe is also low-FODMAP, meaning it is free of short-chain carbohydrates that are difficult for people to digest when they have certain digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A low-FODMAP diet is recommended for those with IBS, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Get the PB Banana Breakfast Chia Pudding recipe and nutrition info from Nutrition Starring You.
3. Banana Chai Smoothie
This easy breakfast smoothie recipe is packed with prebiotics and probiotics. Oats, banana and honey serve as the prebiotic sources in this recipe, whereas kefir has beneficial probiotics. In addition, the smoothie also provides you with an ample amount of fiber coming from oats and bananas.
Get the Banana Chai Smoothie recipe and nutrition info from Street Smart Nutrition.
4. Kimchi Power Salad With Edamame and Quinoa
This plant-based salad only requires 15 minutes to put together and is as filling and delicious as it is nutritious. Cruciferous vegetables, such as the kale and cabbage in this recipe are a good source of fiber, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A standout ingredient in this salad, kimchi is a fermented food that provides healthy bacteria for your gut.
Get the Kimchi Power Salad With Edamame and Quinoa recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Shaved Vegetable Salad With Sardines
If you're looking for a no-cook salad that is sure to impress, this recipe is for you. The complimenting textures and colors of this salad would jazz up any lunch or dinner. The variety of fruits and veggies in this recipe provide you with plenty of gut-friendly fiber. Bonus: The fennel contains beneficial prebiotics as well.
Get the Shaved Vegetable Salad With Sardines recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Smashed Chickpea Club Sandwich
If you're in the mood for something heartier than a salad and still don't want to turn the oven on, then this sandwich is perfect for you. Loaded with fiber-rich whole grains and chickpeas, it's no surprise that this healthy gut recipe has an impressive 17 grams of fiber per serving.
Get the Smashed Chickpea Club Sandwich recipe and nutrition info here.
7. Lentil Raisin Spinach Salad
Here's another no-cook, gut-friendly salad for you — this time, featuring lentils. Lentils are a source of prebiotic fiber, which provides food for the good bacteria in your gut. Lentils are also one of the few legumes that are actually low-FODMAP, making them tolerable to those on a low-FODMAP diet. You can buy the legume pre-cooked or make a big batch in the beginning of the week for days of stress-free meals.
Get the Lentil Raisin Spinach Salad recipe and nutrition info here.