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A gastro dietitian eats 30 plants a week for a healthy gut microbiome. Here's what she has for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Kim Schewitz   

A gastro dietitian eats 30 plants a week for a healthy gut microbiome. Here's what she has for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Research suggests that gut health is central to overall health.
  • A prominent study found that eating 30 plants a week leads to a more diverse gut microbiome.

From kombucha and kimchi to the countless products on grocery store shelves that claim to be good for your gut, knowing how to tend to your digestive health can be a minefield.

Gut health has become a buzzword in the health world, with emerging research increasingly linking a diverse gut microbiome, a term used to describe the trillions of bacteria and other bugs that live in our digestive systems, to good overall health.

“Looking after your gut health really lowers your risk of things like colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease, and it can look after your mental health,” Gabrielle Morse, a gut health specialist and registered dietitian at The Gut Health Clinic, told Business Insider.

“There's a gut-liver axis, so our gut health looks after our liver. There's a gut-brain axis, so our gut and our brain look after each other. There's a gut-skin axis, so our gut and our skin look after each other,” she said.

But there is still a lot that experts don’t know, and the space is fairly unregulated, meaning food manufacturers can make claims that might not be backed by science.

So Morse keeps it simple, aiming to eat 30 plant-based foods a week to keep her gut health in check, an approach that comes from The American Gut Project, a large 2018 study that compared the eating habits and analyzed the stool of around 10,000 volunteers. It found that those who ate a wider variety of plants had more diverse gut microbiomes, meaning they had more "good" bugs in their gut.

And the definition of plants is not limited to fruits and vegetables. It includes whole grains, legumes, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, and even dark chocolate.

“It's not restrictive. It's about crowding your plate with extra items. It's about challenging you to look for new foods,” Morse said. “I just love the fact that the message is go for color and variety, no calorie counting.”

Morse shared what she eats on an average day to look after her gut health with Business Insider.


Morse almost always has oats for breakfast, often meal-prepping portions of overnight oats for the week. This is partly because oats contain beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that has been found to lower cholesterol.

She mixes Greek yogurt or kefir, which contain live cultures that help support the microbiome, with oats.

Morse aims to get at least 10 plant foods into her first meal of the day, including nuts, seeds, and fruits, to reach her weekly goal of 30.

To make the overnight oats, she combines:

  • 50g of oats

  • Chia seeds

  • 500g of Greek yogurt or kefir

  • Frozen mixed berries

  • Juice of an orange

  • Grated apple

  • Peanut butter

For the topping:

  • A generous handful of mixed nuts, including pistachios, walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, and pecans

  • Peanut butter

Put the mixture in the fridge and divide it into portions the following day.


For lunch, Morse either has leftovers from the night before or rustles together what she calls “taking lunch without making lunch.”

To make it, she buys a premade packet of mixed whole grains, which usually contain quinoa, buckwheat, and rice, she said. She’ll also pick up a bag of mixed salad leaves and some tinned mackerel in olive oil.

She mixes half the grains, fish, olive oil, and leaves together and seasons them with some black pepper and lemon juice. “And that would even be two lunches, so then I have the other half the next day,” she said.

Morse also carries a small Tupperware of mixed seeds with her so she can sprinkle some of those on top.

The dish is high in fiber from the whole grains and seeds, which is great for the gut, and high in protein and healthy fats from the fish and olive oil, she said.


Morse approaches dinner by thinking about what food she has in the fridge first. “I can't tell you that I have a spaghetti Bolognese or anything kind of conventional,” she said.

But she’s always thinking about how she can get as many plants as possible into her meal. “Virtually every dish, if I can, we'll have some beans added into it for the protein, for the fiber, I know it helps me poop,” she said.

An example dinner is chopped onion, grated carrot and mushrooms sautéed with two different types of beans and some added stock and topped with cheese.

Morse pairs this with some quinoa, some buckwheat, and some rice.