Confession: I’m dedicated to wellness, but I’m also kind of lazy. So whenever I find a “health hack” that’s beneficial for my body and requires almost zero effort, I’m in. My latest foray into effortless self-care? Easy vinaigrette recipes to pour on top of salad, chicken, quinoa bowls, and more — all packed with ingredients that support the digestive system and ease bloat.
Like many women, I find it a challenge to treat myself to a nutritious breakfast or lunch. When my alarm clock goes off, I have a million things to do — shower, get dressed, walk the dog, squeeze in some morning meditation — and food prep drops down to the bottom of my list, where it inevitably falls off. I end up grabbing a croissant with my Starbucks coffee or ordering in for lunch… and my stomach always enacts revenge later. Am I the only one who feels chronically bloated after a to-go bagel?
For this reason, meal prepping has always been a compelling concept to keep me from falling into a self-care rut, but I’m one of those people who hates eating the same thing day after day. If you’re in the same boat, let me introduce you to my favorite health hack du jour: I meal prep plain chicken, bulk quinoa, and steamed veggies to use in breakfast and lunch bowls, and I rely on three simple, rotating vinaigrette recipes to switch up my flavors on the daily. They each take about a minute and a half to whip up, and make meals so much tastier — not to mention easier on the digestive system.
Here are some of my gut-healing go-tos.
Lemon + Olive Oil + Apple Cider Vinegar
Combine juice from half of a lemon with two tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and mix well. Use it to flavor a quinoa and veggie bowl, or in place of your usual salad dressing. Lemon serves to kick start digestion, while olive oil offers healthy fats (which are essential to make, um, elimination easier). Apple cider vinegar is the star of the show, though: It helps rebalance the healthy bacteria in the gut and also has antiviral, anti-yeast, and antifungal benefits.
Coconut Yogurt + Garlic + Mint + Olive Oil + Lemon
If you’re a fan of mediterranean food, this dressing is going to change your life, I promise. Consider it the gut-healthy version of tzatziki sauce. Mix a half cup of coconut yogurt with a teaspoon of olive oil, a half teaspoon of lemon juice, a clove of garlic, and fresh mint. I personally pour this on top of grilled chicken with rice, and it’s like I’m indulging in a shish kabob platter — except, you know, good for me. Look for coconut yogurt made with coconut kefir to deliver probiotics (aka, good bacteria) to your gut while you chow down.
Avocado Oil + Coconut Kefir + Dijon Mustard + Honey
In the mood for something sweet? Whip up a batch of health-conscious honey mustard vinaigrette with a tablespoon of coconut kefir, two tablespoons of avocado oil, and a teaspoon each of mustard and honey. The kefir provides the gut with probiotics (important for restoring balanced bacteria levels) and kills yeast, resulting in fewer sugar cravings. Avocado oil adds healthy fats, and has even been shown to be beneficial to the cardiovascular system. The dijon mustard and hint of honey are just for flavor — because you deserve it.
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