What is your current activity level?
🧍‍♂️Sedentary
🚶 Moderately active
🏃 Very active
This will help us personalize your experience
Blog
>

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

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

Table of Contents

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. 

{{splash}}

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. 

{{local}}

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

Breakfasts

  • 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. 

Lunches

  • 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. 

Dinners

  • 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. 

Snacks

  • 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

Breakfasts

  • 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. 

Lunches

  • 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. 

Dinners

  • 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. 

Snacks

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

Week 3

Breakfasts

  • 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. 

Lunches

  • 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. 

Dinners

  • 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. 

Snacks

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

Week 4

Breakfasts

  • 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. 

Lunches

  • 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. 

Dinners

  • 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.

Snacks

  • 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. 

Takeaway

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. 

Frequently Asked Questions

References

View all references
Nourish has strict sourcing policies and prioritizes primary sources, including medical organizations, governmental agencies, academic institutions, and peer-reviewed scientific journals. Learn more about our medical review process and editorial guidelines.

See a Registered Dietitian with Nourish

  • Covered by insurance
  • Virtual sessions
  • Personalized care
Schedule an appointment

Frequently asked questions

No items found.

Find a virtual dietitian in {State}

Find a dietitian near you

Covered by insurance.
Question 1

Are you more thirsty than usual?

Question 1

Are you urinating more than usual?

Question 1

Is your blood sugar level consistently high?

Question 1

Do you experience extreme hunger or fatigue?

Question 1

Do you have blurry vision or numbness and tingling in your hands and feet?

Question 1

Do you experience frequent infections or slow-healing wounds?

Question 1

Do you have a family history of diabetes?

Your Result

Your results are in!

While you don’t seem to be at risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes based on this quiz, please contact your healthcare provider with any concerns. If you want to learn more about diet and lifestyle changes with diabetes, find a registered dietitian covered by insurance with Nourish.

Your Result

Your results are in!

You should seek guidance from your healthcare provider about the possibility of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

If you want to learn more about diet and lifestyle changes with diabetes, find a registered dietitian covered by insurance with Nourish.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Charleston
SC
South Carolina
32.7884363, -79.9399309
Paterson
NJ
New Jersey
40.916611, -74.172188
Palmdale
CA
California
34.576469, -118.116096
Lancaster
CA
California
34.697472, -118.144524
Murfreesboro
TN
Tennessee
35.845619, -86.390266
Santa Rosa
CA
California
38.547134, -122.816383
Eugene
OR
Oregon
44.052151, -123.091187
Shreveport
LA
Louisiana
32.523659, -93.763504
Clarksville
TN
Tennessee
36.527279, -87.360336
Cary
NC
North Carolina
35.7882893, -78.7812081
Salem
OR
Oregon
44.944099, -123.040283
Newport News
VA
Virginia
37.087082, -76.473015
Chattanooga
TN
Tennessee
35.0457219, -85.3094883
Akron
OH
Ohio
41.0842496, -81.6777863
Providence
RI
Rhode Island
41.823990, -71.412834
Tallahassee
FL
Florida
30.438255, -84.280731
Peoria
AZ
Arizona
33.7528919, -112.4902079
Sioux Falls
SD
South Dakota
43.536388, -96.731667
Yonkers
NY
New York
40.930790, -73.898293
Fayetteville
NC
North Carolina
35.052666, -78.878357
Rochester
NY
New York
43.156578, -77.608849
McKinney
TX
Texas
33.214561, -96.614456
Moreno Valley
CA
California
33.920891, -117.261162
Fremont
CA
California
37.548271, -121.988571
Frisco
TX
Texas
33.150673, -96.823608
Spokane
WA
Washington
47.658779, -117.426048
Boise
ID
Idaho
43.6008183, -116.2421086
Port St. Lucie
FL
Florida
27.273270, -80.342148
Irving
TX
Texas
32.814018, -96.948891
Winston-Salem
NC
North Carolina
36.096260, -80.243736
St. Petersburg
FL
Florida
27.773056, -82.639999
Laredo
TX
Texas
27.507130, -99.507500
Jersey City
NJ
New Jersey
,
Buffalo
NY
New York
42.8867166, -78.8783922
St. Louis
MO
Missouri
38.627003, -90.199402
Chandler
AZ
Arizona
33.3062031, -111.841185
Durham
NC
North Carolina
35.994034, -78.898621
Lincoln
NE
Nebraska
40.806862, -96.681679
Pittsburgh
PA
Pennsylvania
40.440624, -79.995888
Greensboro
NC
North Carolina
36.072701, -79.793900
St. Paul
MN
Minnesota
44.954445, -93.091301
Newark
NJ
New Jersey
40.735657, -74.172363
Lexington
KY
Kentucky
38.040585, -84.503716
Stockton
CA
California
37.957703, -121.290779
Honolulu
HI
Hawaii
21.306944, -157.858337
Cleveland
OH
Ohio
41.499321, -81.694359
Arlington
TX
Texas
32.7355816, -97.1071186
Oakland
CA
California
37.804363, -122.271111
Long Beach
CA
California
33.770050, -118.193741
Raleigh
NC
North Carolina
35.779591, -78.638176
Omaha
NE
Nebraska
41.256538, -95.934502
Colorado Springs
CO
Colorado
38.833881, -104.821365
Fresno
CA
California
36.737797, -119.787125
Albuquerque
NM
New Mexico
35.084385, -106.650421
Memphis
TN
Tennessee
35.117500, -89.971107
Washington DC
WA DC
Washington, DC
38.889805, -77.009056
Las Vegas
NV
Nevada
36.169941, -115.139832
Seattle
WA
Washington
47.606209, -122.332069
Charlotte
NC
North Carolina
35.2272086, -80.8430827
Sacramento
CA
California
38.590576, -121.489906
Richmond
VA
Virginia
37.540726, -77.436050
Surprise
AZ
Arizona
33.629002, -112.330170
Mesa
AZ
Arizona
33.415184, -111.831474
Louisville
KY
Kentucky
38.252666, -85.758453
Des Moines
IA
Iowa
41.586834, -93.624962
Lakewood
CO
Colorado
39.704708, -105.081375
Kansas City
KS
Kansas
39.112701, -94.626801
Reno
NV
Nevada
39.529633, -119.813805
Tacoma
WA
Washington
47.258728, -122.465973
Aurora
CO
Colorado
39.7405111, -104.830994
Oxnard
CA
California
34.197659, -119.175949
Amarillo
TX
Texas
35.221996, -101.831299
Henderson
NV
Nevada
36.039524, -114.981720
Vancouver
WA
Washington
45.633331, -122.599998
Gilbert
AZ
Arizona
33.352825, -111.789024
San Bernardino
CA
California
34.115784, -117.302399
Columbus
GA
Georgia
27.800583, -97.396378
Hayward
CA
California
37.668819, -122.080795
Milwaukee
WI
Wisconsin
43.038902, -87.906471
Lubbock
TX
Texas
33.576698, -101.855072
Norfolk
VA
Virginia
36.850769, -76.285873
Tulsa
OK
Oklahoma
36.153980, -95.992775
Garland
TX
Texas
32.914341, -96.636559
Fort Lauderdale
FL
Florida
26.124161, -80.143593
Tucson
AZ
Arizona
32.248814, -110.987419
Salt Lake City
UT
Utah
40.760780, -111.891045
Corona
CA
California
33.875670, -117.568840
Madison
WI
Wisconsin
43.073051, -89.401230
Huntsville
AL
Alabama
34.7014286, -86.6597495
Kansas City
MO
Missouri
39.099728, -94.578568
Irvine
CA
California
33.684566, -117.826508
Chula Vista
CA
California
32.640072, -117.084038
Denton
TX
Texas
33.215530, -97.132446
Aurora
IL
Illinois
41.7571701, -88.3147539
Baton Rouge
LA
Louisiana
30.4494155, -91.1869659
Columbus
OH
Ohio
39.961178, -82.998795
Baltimore
MD
Maryland
39.2908816, -76.610759
Detroit
MI
Michigan
42.331429, -83.045753
Chesapeake
VA
Virginia
36.7183708, -76.2466798
Atlanta
GA
Georgia
33.7489924, -84.3902644
Birmingham
AL
Alabama
33.5206824, -86.8024326
Scottsdale
AZ
Arizona
33.501324, -111.925278
Cincinnati
OH
Ohio
39.103700, -84.513610
North Las Vegas
NV
Nevada
36.201946, -115.120216
Riverside
CA
California
33.980602, -117.375496
Plano
TX
Texas
33.019844, -96.698883
Minneapolis
MN
Minnesota
44.977753, -93.265015
Salinas
CA
California
,
Anaheim
CA
California
33.836594, -117.914299
Springfield
MO
Missouri
37.208958, -93.292297
Fort Wayne
IN
Indiana
41.077469, -85.137489
Phoenix
AZ
Arizona
33.448376, -112.074036
Bakersfield
CA
California
35.3738712, -119.0194639
Garden Grove
CA
California
33.774269, -117.937996
Anchorage
AK
Alaska
61.2163129, -149.894852
Indianapolis
IN
Indiana
39.768402, -86.158066
Nashville
TN
Tennessee
36.162663, -86.781601
Tempe
AZ
Arizona
33.425522, -111.941254
Mobile
AL
Alabama
30.695366, -88.039894
New Orleans
LA
Louisiana
29.951065, -90.071533
Knoxville
TN
Tennessee
35.960636, -83.920738
Grand Rapids
MI
Michigan
42.963360, -85.668083
Fontana
CA
California
34.102890, -117.435760
Elk Grove
CA
California
38.418129, -121.393257
Cape Coral
FL
Florida
26.5625742, -81.9438802
Grand Prairie
TX
Texas
32.745499, -97.003532
Fort Collins
CO
Colorado
40.588970, -105.082458
Killeen
TX
Texas
31.117119, -97.727798
Modesto
CA
California
37.639095, -120.996880
Oklahoma City
OK
Oklahoma
35.468491, -97.521263
Santa Ana
CA
California
33.745571, -117.867836
Ontario
CA
California
34.063343, -117.650887
Brownsville
TX
Texas
25.9015688, -97.4984005
Montgomery
AL
Alabama
32.379223, -86.307739
Hialeah
FL
Florida
25.857595, -80.278107
Springfield
MA
Massachusetts
42.102051, -72.585762
Toledo
OH
Ohio
41.652805, -83.537865
Pembroke Pines
FL
Florida
26.007765, -80.296257
Overland Park
KS
Kansas
38.974819, -94.683601
Little Rock
AR
Arkansas
34.746483, -92.289597
Glendale
CA
California
34.142509, -118.255074
Roseville
CA
California
38.752125, -121.288010
Wichita
KS
Kansas
37.687176, -97.330055
Huntington Beach
CA
California
33.659485, -117.998802
Augusta
GA
Georgia
33.4709714, -81.9748429
Worcester
MA
Massachusetts
42.271389, -71.798889
Virginia Beach
VA
Virginia
36.852924, -75.977982
Oceanside
CA
California
33.1958696, -117.3794834
Santa Clarita
CA
California
34.456043, -118.571335
Philadelphia
PA
Pennsylvania
39.952583, -75.165222
Corpus Christi
TX
Texas
27.800583, -97.396378
Portland
OR
Oregon
45.512230, -122.658722
Denver
CO
Colorado
39.739235, -104.990250
Boston
MA
Massachusetts
42.3554334, -71.060511
Atlanta
GA
Georgia
33.7489924, -84.3902644
Chicago
IL
Illinois
41.8755616, -87.6244212
Orlando
FL
Florida
28.538336, -81.379234
Jacksonville
FL
Florida
30.332184, -81.655647
Tampa
FL
Florida
27.950575, -82.457176
Long Island
NY
New York
40.757801, -73.940033
Queens
NY
New York
40.728226, -73.794853
Bronx
NY
New York
40.8466508, -73.8785937
Staten Island
NY
New York
40.643501, -74.076202
Brooklyn
NY
New York
40.6526006, -73.9497211
New York
NY
New York
40.712776, -74.005974
San Jose
CA
California
37.342205, -121.851990
San Francisco
CA
California
37.774929, -122.419418
San Diego
CA
California
32.834686, -117.130775
Los Angeles
CA
California
34.052235, -118.243683
El Paso
TX
Texas
31.761877, -106.485023
San Antonio
TX
Texas
29.387428, -98.496574
Dallas
TX
Texas
32.776665, -96.796989
Fort Worth
TX
Texas
32.755489, -97.330765
Houston
TX
Texas
29.760427, -95.369804
Austin
TX
Texas
30.2711286, -97.7436995

Book an appointment with a {category} dietitian

Covered by insurance.

Book an appointment with an online dietitian

Covered by insurance.

Find a

dietitian covered by insurance

No items found.
Mental Health
Intuitive Eating
Hyperthyroidism