Gut-Loving Summer Recipes for Healthy Digestion

kefir chia pudding with blackberries


Boost your family's gut health: Download our free 'Eat the Rainbow' tracker. Get my copy
Boost your family's gut health: Download our free 'Eat the Rainbow' tracker. Get my copy

Summers are meant for adventure. From camping trips and dips in the water to farmer’s markets bursting with fresh-picked finds, you never know where the day will take you. 

We've gathered our favorite healthy summer recipes to help wake up your taste buds and give your gut a little love. Whether hosting a backyard bash, firing up the grill, or hitting the beach, these crowd-pleasers will carry you through heatwaves and holidays alike—with minimal effort (mostly) in the kitchen. 

Look no further than these mouthwatering dishes, snacks, and fermentation faves to kickstart your summer and help support your digestion.

Flavorful mains

Chicken and black bean quesadillas

This protein-packed recipe from Leah Gail Bodenbach’s Brain Food for Your Baby cookbook will surely be a hit with everyone—especially your little one. In addition to the benefits of protein, it includes healthy fats and added nutrients from sprouted corn tortillas and raw cheese.

Serves: 1-2

Prep/cook time: 10 minutes 


  • 1 tbsp grass-fed butter or coconut oil
  • 2 sprouted corn tortillas*
  • 2 tbsp finely diced cooked chicken
  • 2 tbsp black beans
  • ¼ cup grated raw cheese


  1. In a cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  2. Put 1 tortilla in the skillet. Top with the chicken and beans, followed by the cheese. Place the second tortilla on top. Cook for 2 minutes on each side or until the cheese has melted. Remove from heat.
  3. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 4 or more pieces. Let cool 1 to 2 minutes before serving.

*Using sprouted corn tortillas can be a healthier alternative to white tortillas. If you can't find them, plain corn tortillas or organic whole wheat tortillas are a good option. 

Grilled balsamic mushrooms

Mushrooms are the Cinderellas of the barbecue world, mostly relegated to a second-rate side dish. But with their dietary fiber supporting healthy digestion and promoting a healthy gut microbiome, they should get top billing [1].

Serves: 4

Prep/grill time: 35 min


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/2" thick


  1. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper in a large bowl. Add mushrooms and marinate for 20 minutes. While mushrooms marinate, soak wooden skewers in water. 
  2. Heat grill to medium-high. Skewer mushrooms and grill 2 to 3 minutes per side. 
  3. Garnish with parsley before serving.

Krazy kale salad 

This kale salad recipe from our medical advisor Dr. Elisa Song is as nutritious as it is delicious. Get your kids to help tear up the kale and toss in colorful veggies for a fun family activity. If a salad is a side in your point of view, add your protein of choice.


  • Kale, washed and dried
  • Avocado or olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Dried cranberries
  • Shredded carrots
  • Other optional salad fixings (i.e., pumpkin seeds, mandarin orange slices that the kids can peel themselves, avocado chunks, etc.)


  1. Give each child 1 kale leaf. Have each child pull kale off its stem.
  2. Rip up kale into bite size pieces in a personal salad bowl.
  3. Pour a little oil on top of the leaves and have each child “massage” their kale. Really work it! The more you massage, the more tender the kale leaves get.
  4. Give each child a lemon wedge to squeeze over the salad.
  5. Have each child add condiments to their liking – sunflower seeds, cranberries, shredded carrots, etc. You can get creative here.

Satisfying snacks

A bowl of watermelon mint salad

Watermelon mint salad

This delicious and nutritious salad can be whipped together in a pinch, making it perfect for unexpected guests. Watermelon is full of vitamins A, B6, and C, and is a great source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant [2]. Plus, mint aids digestion and helps to reduce inflammation [3].

Serves: 8-10

Prep time: 15 minutes 


  • 1/2 fresh watermelon, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice (approx. 1/2 a lime)
  • 1 tbsp honey (omit if serving to baby under 1 year old)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped


  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Stir to combine fully.
  3. Serve immediately.

Homemade popcorn with coconut oil

The entire family will love this light, crunchy snack—free of additives, preservatives, and artificial flavors often found in store-bought microwave varieties. Plus, popcorn is a whole grain rich in dietary fiber, which helps support digestion.

Serving size: 12 cups

Prep/cook time: 7 minutes


  • 1/2 cup organic popcorn
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil (or switch out the 1/2 Tbs with red palm oil)
  • sea salt


  1. Heat a large, heavy-bottom pot over medium heat. Do not go over medium heat, or the texture gets chewy and unpleasant.
  2. Add the coconut oil and let it completely melt. Once melted, put a few kernels into the pan and wait for them to pop. That'll help determine if the oil is hot enough.
  3. Once the test kernels have popped, place the rest of the popcorn seeds into the pan and cover.
  4. After the kernels begin popping, shake every 10 seconds until you hear the popping slow down. When it pops every 2-3 seconds, remove the pan from heat and shake continuously for another 10-20 seconds. This helps prevent the popcorn at the bottom from burning.
  5. After 10-20 seconds, or popping is finished, pour into a bowl, salt to taste, and enjoy.

Fermentation faves

Fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut are great for gut health. Both of these recipes are simple and tasty ways to support your digestion. 

Kefir chia pudding

Kefir is a delicious fermented food that’s super easy to make. Packed with probiotics, it supports gut health and boosts the immune system. This make-ahead snack or quick breakfast is sweetened with maple syrup. 

Serving size: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes


  • ¾ cup milk kefir
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • Fruit for topping (optional)


  1. Add the milk kefir (or coconut kefir if dairy-free) to a pint-sized mason jar or small bowl.
  2. Add in the vanilla extract and maple syrup.
  3. Stir well to combine.
  4. Add the chia seeds and fold them until all are coated in the milk kefir mixture.
  5. Top with berries or diced fruit of your choice (optional).

Golden kraut

Take your summer cookouts to the next level with this fermented condiment. Along with its zesty kick, your gut will love the probiotics. Adding turmeric, ginger and garlic helps boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and improve digestion [4], [5].

Serving size: 4

Prep/cook time: 1 hour


  • 5 Lbs. cabbage
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 3-5 tbsp sea salt


  1. Chop or finely grate cabbage and combine in a large bowl with all other ingredients, starting with 3 tbsp. of salt.
  2. Pound the cabbage with a cabbage crusher or other pounding tool for a few minutes. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. The kraut shouldn't taste salty but have plenty of flavor brought out by the salt.
  3. Stuff the cabbage mixture into a clean glass jar, pressing the cabbage underneath the liquid. If necessary, add a bit of water to cover the vegetables thoroughly.
  4. Cover the jar with a tight lid, airlock lid, or coffee filter secured with a rubber band.
  5. Culture at room temperature (60-70°F is ideal) until desired flavor and texture are achieved. If using a tight lid, burp daily to release excess pressure.
  6. Once the kraut is finished, put a tight lid on the jar and move to cold storage. The sauerkraut's flavor will continue to develop as it ages.

The ultimate thirst quencher

A glass of refreshing water with cucumber, ginger, and lemon

Cucumber ginger lemon water

Need a fun, tasty drink to beat the heat? This refreshing drink provides nutrients like Vitamin K and potassium (cucumbers), aids digestion (lemons), and reduces inflammation (ginger) [5].

Serves: 2

Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes 


  • 1 English cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 16-32 ounces filtered water


  1. In a pitcher or glass jar, combine the cucumber slices, lemon slices, and ginger slices.
  2. Cover and place the jar or pitcher in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
  3. Enjoy cold.

Savor your summer food adventures

Wherever the warm weather leads you, we hope adding these recipes to your lineup makes the season one of your tastiest and healthiest. 

Starting your baby on solids this summer? This doctor-reviewed guide includes two best-loved recipes: butternut squash puree and green pea, spinach, and apple puree. Whether you're driving the kiddos across town for soccer practice or crossing state lines to visit relatives, check out these tried-and-true snack tips for the car ride.

Having fun is what the season is all about. And sometimes, that means indulging in foods that aren’t the healthiest for our gut. If you’re experiencing symptoms and are not sure what’s up, our Digestive Issues Program may help address the root cause of your gut woes. You’ll get a clear look into what’s going on in your microbiome while getting one-on-one support from a Tiny Health microbiome specialist.

Tiny Health Rainbow Food Tracker chart for families and gut healthy foods list

Download our FREE Rainbow Food Tracker

Includes a weekly tracking chart and color-coded list of gut-healthy foods to help your family eat the rainbow every day.


[1] M. E. Valverde, et al., "Edible mushrooms: improving human health and promoting quality life," Int. J. Microbiol., vol. 2015, Art. no. 376387, Jan. 2015, doi: 10.1155/2015/376387.

[2] M. Imran et al., "Lycopene as a Natural Antioxidant Used to Prevent Human Health Disorders," Antioxidants (Basel), vol. 9, no. 8, p. 706, Aug. 2020. doi: 10.3390/antiox9080706. PMID: 32759751; PMCID: PMC7464847.

[3] M. A. Goudarzi, M. Radfar, and Z. Goudarzi, "Peppermint as a promising treatment agent in inflammatory conditions: A comprehensive systematic review of literature," Phytother. Res., vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 187-195, Jan. 2024, doi: 10.1002/ptr.8041.

[4] J. Ansary et al., “Potential Health Benefit of Garlic Based on Human Intervention Studies: A Brief Overview,” Antioxidants, vol. 9, no. 7, Art. no. 7, Jul. 2020, doi: 10.3390/antiox9070619.

[5] P. Ballester, B. Cerdá, R. Arcusa, J. Marhuenda, K. Yamedjeu, and P. Zafrilla, "Effect of Ginger on Inflammatory Diseases," Molecules, vol. 27, no. 21, p. 7223, Oct. 2022. doi: 10.3390/molecules27217223. PMID: 36364048; PMCID: PMC9654013.