4-Week Gut Protocol Meal Plan to Heal the GI Tract

4-Week Gut Protocol Meal Plan to Heal the GI Tract

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Key Takeaways

  • The foods you eat can positively or negatively impact the balance of healthy bacteria in your digestive tract. 
  • If you have chronic gastrointestinal symptoms, talk to your doctor to rule out any digestive conditions that may require treatment. 
  • Creating a meal plan that involves a Mediterranean eating pattern, rich in lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, can benefit gut health. 

If you’ve ever searched for a meal plan to improve gut health, there’s a good chance you found some conflicting information. Many protocols or eating plans online are not evidence-based and involve pricey meal replacements or supplements. 

Gut health is a complex topic that’s still not fully understood. While research has identified certain foods and eating patterns that help increase the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract, no one gut protocol has been proven to work for everyone. 

Continue reading to learn more about what to eat for gut health, along with a sample four-week gut protocol meal plan. 

Consider booking an appointment with a registered dietitian through Nourish for personalized guidance on healing your gut

Gut Protocol Basics: Getting Started

A gut protocol is a short-term eating plan consisting of foods that can improve the balance of healthy bacteria in your digestive tract. It also limits foods shown to promote the growth of harmful bacteria. 

People with chronic digestive symptoms, like bloating, upset stomach, constipation, or diarrhea, may choose to follow a gut protocol to learn if their symptoms are nutrition-related. The goal isn’t to restrict specific food choices forever but to identify which foods may be contributing to your gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. 

After the protocol is over, you can pick and choose which foods from the plan made you feel your best and continue limiting those you suspect aren’t helping your gut health. This is best done under the supervision of a registered dietitian specializing in digestive health. 

Digestive Diseases and Gut Protocol Diets

A very important point is that in many people, chronic GI symptoms stem from an underlying digestive disease, like irritable bowel disease (IBS), celiac disease, or Crohn’s disease. In these cases, specific nutrition therapy is used to help manage and treat the condition, and a generic gut protocol may cause more harm than good.  

If you’re considering a gut protocol, it’s best to first talk to your doctor about your digestive concerns so you can rule out any GI disorders that may be causing your symptoms. 

What to Eat for Gut Health

Rather than specific foods, research shows that a person’s overall dietary pattern is what influences gut health. For example, Western diets high in animal products, refined grains, and ultra-processed foods have been linked with higher amounts of harmful gut bacteria that may increase the risk of chronic diseases. 

On the other hand, a Mediterranean-style eating pattern is associated with a healthy balance of beneficial gut bacteria. This is thought to be due to the meal plan’s rich fermentable fiber and polyphenol content, which come from plant foods like whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. 

Foods to Include for Gut Health:

  • Fruits.
  • Vegetables.
  • Whole grains.
  • Lean meat.
  • Healthy fats.
  • Nuts and seeds.
  • Legumes.
  • Probiotics– cultured dairy (yogurt, kefir), fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi), tempeh, miso.

Foods to Limit for Gut Health:

  • Red meat and processed meats. 
  • Refined carbohydrates and added sugars. 
  • Artificial sweeteners.
  • Alcohol.
  • Fried foods.
  • Ultra-processed foods. 

You may have seen recommendations online to avoid other foods for gut health, like soy, gluten, legumes, and dairy. While some people may have individual intolerances to these foods, conclusive evidence to support claims that they harm gut health in the general population is lacking. 

Research shows that soy protein may improve the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Whole grains are a common source of gluten, and they are rich in nutrients and fiber that help healthy gut bacteria grow.  

Cultured dairy products like yogurt can improve gut health by introducing healthy bacteria. Legumes, like beans and lentils, are a good source of prebiotic fiber, which serves as food for the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. 

Consider booking an appointment with a registered dietitian through Nourish for personalized guidance on healing your gut. 

Gut Protocol Meal Plan

Here you will find a meal plan to improve gut health in people without existing digestive disorders. While it includes foods shown by research to improve digestive health, this specific protocol has not been studied in clinical trials. 

Each week includes four breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options to rotate between, utilizing leftovers. Talk to a registered dietitian about the best portion sizes for you. 

This is not a replacement for medical advice, and it’s best to consult with a registered dietitian before making major dietary changes or eliminating any foods from your diet. Making gradual changes to your diet to maximize your tolerance is recommended. Discontinue this protocol if you experience worsening gastrointestinal symptoms.  

Week 1


  • Smoothie made with banana, strawberries, uncooked oats, almond milk, and pea protein powder.
  • Avocado toast on whole grain bread. 
  • Breakfast scramble with eggs, potatoes, and spinach.
  • Yogurt parfait with blueberries and low-sugar granola. 


  • Spinach salad with raspberries, quinoa, chicken breast, sliced almonds, and raspberry vinaigrette.
  • Chicken salad made with avocado on whole wheat toast. 
  • Probiotic cottage cheese, whole grain crackers, carrot sticks, and an apple.  
  • Vegetable lentil soup. 


  • Turkey burger on a whole wheat bun with a side of roasted asparagus. 
  • Grilled chicken breast with garlic herb seasoning, barley flavored with olive oil and garlic, and grilled zucchini. 
  • Baked salmon topped with lemon dill yogurt sauce, served with steamed green beans and quinoa. 
  • Baked potatoes topped with roasted broccoli and tempeh bacon. 


  • Banana with peanut butter. 
  • Guacamole with homemade baked corn tortilla chips. 
  • Kale chips and an orange. 
  • Homemade trail mix with nuts and unsweetened dried fruit. 

Week 2


  • Frittata made with asparagus, mushrooms, and spinach, served with whole-grain toast.
  • Bowl of oatmeal topped with blueberries and walnuts. 
  • Chia pudding made with coconut milk and raspberries, topped with sliced almonds. 
  • Breakfast tacos made with ground turkey and scrambled eggs on corn tortillas. 


  • BLT sandwich made with tempeh bacon on whole grain bread. 
  • Romaine salad with hard-boiled egg, tomatoes, avocado, and a yogurt ranch dressing. 
  • Chicken barley and vegetable soup. 
  • Baked sweet potato topped with sauteed zucchini, bell peppers, onions, and black beans. 


  • Tilapia baked in a foil packet with lemon slices, cherry tomatoes, and asparagus; served with baked sweet potato fries.
  • Turkey meatballs, whole wheat spaghetti, and no-sugar-added marinara sauce with roasted broccoli. 
  • Lentil and vegetable coconut curry. 
  • Baked lemon chicken, roasted baby potatoes, and steamed green beans. 


  • Yogurt with low-sugar granola. 
  • Grapes and walnuts. 
  • Whole wheat toast with almond butter. 
  • Hummus with carrots. 

Week 3


  • Smoothie bowl made with mixed frozen berries, banana, and kefir, topped with fresh berries and chopped almonds. 
  • Spinach and mushroom omelet with a side of breakfast potatoes. 
  • Overnight oats made with grated apple, yogurt, almond milk, sliced almonds, and cinnamon.
  • Whole grain toast topped with peanut butter and banana slices. 


  • Salad with baked miso tempeh, mandarin oranges, sliced almonds, and a carrot ginger dressing. 
  • Black bean soup topped with chopped tomatoes and red onions.
  • Grilled sandwich made with avocado and sauerkraut on whole wheat bread. 
  • Chicken pesto pasta made with whole wheat pasta. 


  • Baked tandoori chicken with a spiced yogurt marinade, roasted onions and bell peppers, and brown basmati rice. 
  • Grain bowl with farro, crispy roasted chickpeas, and roasted Brussels sprouts with a lemon garlic tahini dressing. 
  • Stuffed bell peppers with ground turkey, black beans, zucchini, and brown rice. 
  • Soy ginger salmon, roasted broccoli, and brown basmati rice. 


  • Apple with peanut butter. 
  • Frozen yogurt bark with fruit. 
  • Probiotic cottage cheese with whole wheat crackers. 
  • Blueberries and almonds. 

Week 4


  • Egg cups cooked with broccoli, quinoa, and bell peppers, served with a whole-grain English muffin.
  • Peanut butter banana-baked oatmeal. 
  • Probiotic cottage cheese with fresh pineapple. 
  • Whole wheat tortilla rolled up with peanut butter, apple slices, and low-sugar granola. 


  • Warm salad with barley, roasted butternut squash, pine nuts, and spinach. 
  • Chickpea salad sandwich on whole wheat bread (Filling: mashed chickpeas, avocado, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Top with tomato slices and greens). 
  • Whole wheat pita pocket with hummus, chicken breast, tomatoes, red onion, and spinach.
  • Tuna salad made with olive oil mayo on whole wheat crackers served with cucumber slices and an orange. 


  • Salmon burger on a whole wheat bun with a side salad. 
  • Tempeh baked with peanut sauce, stir fry vegetables, and brown rice. 
  • Chicken fajitas served with corn tortillas, fajita vegetables, guacamole, pinto beans, and salsa. 
  • Turkey chili.


  • Yogurt with raspberries. 
  • Chocolate pudding made from avocado, banana, and cocoa powder. 
  • Pear with toasted walnuts. 
  • Tzatziki yogurt sauce with carrot sticks and whole wheat pita. 

Tips for Meal Preparation

The best way to minimize foods that may harm your digestive health is to prepare most of your food at home. Aim to go grocery shopping once per week so your kitchen is stocked with gut-friendly snacks and meal ingredients. 

This four-week gut protocol plan incorporates leftovers, which can be a great way to cut back on the amount of cooking. If you don’t prefer leftovers, consider preparing individual meal components in advance, like a batch of whole grains that can be used across several recipes. 


There is no gut protocol proven to work for everyone. If you have chronic digestive symptoms, consult your doctor first to rule out gastrointestinal disorders and get evidence-based treatment. 

To improve gut health in the absence of a GI condition, focus on increasing fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and fermented foods while limiting alcohol, added sugar, and ultra-processed foods. 

Managing Gut Health with a Registered Dietitian

If you are interested in following a gut protocol, consider booking an online consultation with a gut health nutritionist through Nourish. You’ll be connected with a dietitian specializing in gut health, who can safely guide you through nutrition changes to help your symptoms. 

Nourish accepts most insurance plans, with 95% of our patients paying $0 out of pocket. 

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