Weeknight dinners always pose a challenge for me. Just like you, we are very busy during the week. Thinking about how to cook something fast and healthy is another layer of stress that I just don't want during the day. I am constantly on the lookout for easy dinners that can either be prepped on the weekend or cooked quickly without much prep.
Plus, the recipes have to support a healthy gut! When you are suffering from bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, bloating, brain fog or abdominal pain, food can seem like the enemy. But it doesn't have to be that way!
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The recipes listed below have three main ingredients that are known to support a healthy gut: cauliflower, radicchio (pronounced ra-DIK-kio) and cabbage. Below are the gut health benefits of each:
All Have a Bitter Flavor.
Bitter tasting foods may help to stimulate the digestive system and improve the absorption of food because it triggers the production of stomach acid, which facilitates a variety of digestive processes when the food you’ve eaten makes its way to the intestinal region. Also, bitter tasting food may increase the production of digestive enzymes, which further aids food absorption. Those extra enzymes may help prevent food malabsorption and leaky gut. (Source: NBC News)
All are High in Fiber.
Fiber works by both bulking up the stool and retaining water. In addition, bacteria help digest the fiber which produces healthy ingredients for the colon such as short chain fatty acids. Fiber can be beneficial for both diarrhea and constipation depending how much fluid is also taken in with the fiber. Fiber can actually become a constipating agent if the amount of fluid taken in is too low. (Source: Everyday Health)
All are Excellent Sources of Vitamin C.
Studies show that when vitamin C is too low in our diet, it contributes to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth; it may impact transit of good bacteria found in the intestines, and creates a low-grade inflammatory response. When we have adequate amounts of vitamin C there are beneficial effects both on the intestinal cells and good bacteria composition and function. (Source: Science Direct)
There are many other health benefits that cauliflower, cabbage and radicchio contain but the above are the primary gut health benefits. Below are a variety of recipes that are simple and quick to make. Especially since there are solutions in the grocery store that can make life easier, such as using frozen cauliflower or using pre-shredded cabbage (think coleslaw mix).
Roasted Cauliflower Street Tacos from Live Eat Learn. This is a perfect meal-prep recipe. Make the cauliflower on the weekend and pre-cut any toppings your family loves on tacos. Then all you need to do is heat and eat. The recipe takes 45 minutes in total if you make it without any prep.
Roasted Cauliflower Farro Salad from Eat Love Eats. There are a lot of great ingredients in this salad that makes it great for lunch or dinner. Serve this with a cup of vegetable soup or grilled chicken breast if your family needs more than a salad for dinner.
Spaghetti with Sauteed Radicchio and Onions from Kitchen Belleicious. This recipe is so simple and really takes no time to cook at all. It is light and filling. If you are gluten-free, substitute gluten-free pasta to be gentle on the gut. Serve with a side salad to add more veggies to the meal.
Radicchio Salad with Lentils and Roasted Acorn Squash by Naturally Ella. This is a healthy salad that can easily be a main dish given its richness from the lentils and squash. The radicchio is chopped and used as part of the dish although not cooked. I would modify this recipe by steaming or sauteing the radicchio so the bitter flavors are brought out.
Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Bowl from Cooking Classy. Unstuffed cabbage rolls can be made with or without meat. It is a perfect meal prep recipe - make it on the weekend and simply reheat it.
Easy White Bean Cabbage Soup from Making Thyme For Health. This soup is vegan, grain-free and so easy! The recipe uses canned beans and canned tomatoes, which helps it cook up quick. Serve with a mixed green salad for a satisfying dinner.
I hope this post inspires you to eat more cauliflower, radicchio and cabbage to help heal your gut. Loaded with fiber, vitamin C and bitter tasting, these ingredients need to be part of your dinner routine. To make recipes go faster, don't be afraid to use frozen and pre-chopped options found in the grocery store.
Do you think you will make any of the recipes I shared? Let me know by leaving a comment below.