5 Gut-Friendly One-Bowl Meals For Busy Professionals

Good gut bacteria reduce risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, obesity and may even improve your sleep pattern. Here is one way to load up on foods that help good bacteria thrive. (You can thank us later!)

23 Jan 2023

Your digestion reflects what you eat. From the moment you put food in your mouth, your body works hard to break down the food and unlock the essential nutrients your body needs. It then efficiently cleans the leftovers and sends them out of the body.

Approximately 100 trillion micro-organisms (most of them bacteria, but also viruses, fungi, and protozoa) exist in the human gastrointestinal tract. This “good gut microbiome” or “gut flora” helps in maintaining the right balance of the gut for physical and mental health, immunity, and more.


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We spoke to Dr. Nikita Suresh, Ph.D. nutritionist and lifestyle coach about the importance of gut health. She explains, “Gut health plays a huge role in not just healing digestive issues but also in immunity, mental health, and absorption and metabolism of nutrients.”


Related story: 5 Nutritionist-Approved Drinks For kids that Improve Gut Health


What Are The Symptoms Of An Unhealthy Gut?

Your digestive system possesses good gut bacteria, which help regulate digestion and support the immune system. However, disturbance or imbalance in gut bacteria can cause discomfort and physical symptoms like gas, bloating, irritated bowel, heartburn, and even unintended weight gain or loss. Besides, frequent inflammation, diarrhoea, or constipation is also a sign of an unhealthy gut. When left unattended, it directs to dysbiosis (imbalance) in the gut microbiome and (in the worst case scenario) to colorectal cancer.

“An unhealthy low-quality diet and additive-laden food such as refined foods, sugar, low fibre, and junk foods can impact the stomach health, skin, and disturb sleep patterns too,” explains Dr. Nikita.


Symptoms of unhealthy gut


Related story: Can Gut Health Affect Hormonal Balance?


What To Eat To Improve Gut Health?

Diet can hugely impact the gut microbiota. Being a busy professional, maintaining a good gut can be a challenge. To keep the digestive system working efficiently, one should consume foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics. “For optimal gut health it’s best to eat a diet rich in fibre , including sources rich in pre and probiotics,” suggests Dr. Nikita.

“In the long run an unhealthy diet can impact the immune system therefore consuming a diet that lacks fibre is a risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and obesity,” warns Dr. Nikita.


Some foods that are beneficial for gut health are:

Complex carbohydrates

  • Legumes
  • Seeds
  • Fruits & vegetables


Prebiotics rich food


  • Kefir
  • Tempeh
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Yoghurt
  • Buttermilk


Related story: Good Gut Food: Prebiotics And Probiotics


To help you boost your good-gut bacteria count, Dr. Nikita shares 5 one-bowl meals for busy professionals that promote healthy gut bacteria growth.


Recipe 1: One-Bowl Rajma Methi Pulav

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  • 360.7
  • 2.5
  • 7/10

Easy Steps


Soak basmati brown rice for 2 hours.


In a pressure cooker, add ½ tbsp cold-pressed sunflower oil, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise and peppercorns.


Add 1 sliced onion, ginger-garlic paste, coriander powder, red chilli powder and a pinch of turmeric. Fry well.


Add 1 cup methi leaves and 1 cup pre-boiled rajma and mix well.

Ingredients List
  • ½ tbsp cold-pressed sunflower oil
  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1 cup boiled rajma
  • 1 cup methi leaves
  • 2 clove
  • 2 inch cinnamon
  • 2 cardamom
  • 1 star anise
  • A few peppercorns
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • A pinch turmeric
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • ½ tbsp red chilli powder
  • Salt as per taste

Add ½ cup of water, bay leaves, and a pinch of garam masala powder. Put 1 cup rice (soaked & drained) with salt as per taste.


Set the cooker for 2-3 whistles. Serve hot.

Nutritive Value
  • Energy: 360.7 cal
  • Carbohydrates: 46.2 gm
  • Protein: 14.5gm
  • Fat: 13.65gm
  • Fiber: 17.07gm

Related story: Fermented Foods To Improve Gut Health


Recipe 2. Garlic-Brown Rice Paneer Bowl

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  • 5/10

Easy Steps


Soak one cup of brown for 30 minutes. Use double the amount of water with a pinch of salt and pressure-cook rice.


In a pan add a teaspoon of ghee on high heat. Add chopped garlic till it turns golden brown. Add cooked rice to this and mix well.


In a pan heat ½ tbsp of olive oil and add sesame seeds. Let it crackle and turn brown, add broccoli ( or veggies of your choice).

Ingredients List
  • 1 cup brown Basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tbsp garlic chopped
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 100g paneer
  • ½ cup broccoli/cauliflower

Add paneer and saute for a minute. Serve with garlic rice.

Nutritive Value
  • Energy: 698.5 cal
  • Carbohydrates: 32.6gm
  • Protein: 25.9gm
  • Fat: 51.3gm
  • Fiber: 5.7gm


Related story: Spinach And Paneer Mini Frittatas


Recipe 3: Pumpkin Soup


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  • 4/10

Easy Steps


In a pan, add and heat 2 tbsp coconut oil. Add chopped onions and fry till they become light golden and tender.


Add garlic, turmeric, chilli flakes, crushed ginger, chopped coriander leaves and saute well.


Now add pumpkins (cubed), masoor dal and water. Pressure cook till 1 whistle.


Allow it to cool down. Then, make a fine paste in a mixer grinder.

Ingredients List
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 inch crushed ginger
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1/4 cup masoor dal
  • 1 tbsp grated coconut
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 200 g pumpkin

Pour it in a bowl and garnish with grated coconuts and coriander leaves. Serve warm.

Nutritive Value
  • Energy: 322.6cal
  • Carbohydrates: 33.63g
  • Protein: 8g
  • Fat: 16.9g
  • Fiber: 17.3g


Related story: Lemon Coriander Soup


Recipe 4: Gut-Friendly Balls


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  • 1/10

Easy Steps


Mix 100g rolled oats, 50g jowar flakes, 50g bajra flakes with 2 tbsp roasted flax seeds and 100g of unsweetened butter and half cup water.


Roll into balls.

Ingredients List
  • 100g rolled oats
  • 50g jowar flakes
  • 50g bajra flakes
  • 2 tbsp roasted flax seeds
  • 100g of unsweetened butter
  • ½ cup water
Nutritive Value
  • Energy: 325.7cal
  • Carbohydrates: 28.6g
  • Protein: 6.5g
  • Fat: 17.5g
  • Fiber: 6.2g


Related story: Dry Fruit Ladoo Or Granola Bar


Recipe 5: Rajma Fried Rice


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  • 99.5
  • 10
  • 2/10

Easy Steps


In a pan sauté jeera till it pops. Add garlic slices, and fry well.


Add sliced onions and fry well. Add chopped green chillies. To this add cooked Rajma, add salt and fry well.


Add cooked rice and mix well. Garnish with coriander.

Ingredients List
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup cooked Rajma
  • 1 medium size onion
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp jeera
  • 2 green chillies
  • Pinch of salt
Nutritive Value
  • Energy: 99.5cal
  • Carbohydrates: 18.9g
  • Protein: 3.6g
  • Fat: 0.62g
  • Fiber: 3.36g


Related story: Indian Berry Smoothie Bowl


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