12 Small Changes That Can Make a Big Difference

Looking after your gut and keeping your microbes well fed doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. It’s not about overhauling what you currently eat either, it's about making small changes that can make a big difference. Specialist Gastroenterology Dietitian Dr Sammie Gill shares 12 simple ways to eat with your microbes in mind…


  1. Swap white bread for wholemeal. If it’s too much of a leap, try 50:50.
  2. Have gut-friendly snacks to hand, including dried fruit and nuts, pieces of fruit to dip in nut butter, slices of veg to dip in humous, popcorn, wholegrain crackers, homemade oat bars, or a smoothie with a handful of oats.
  3. Swap out 50% of the mince used in spaghetti bolognaise, lasagne, chilli con carne or shepherd’s pie and replace with pulses such as chickpeas or lentils.
  4. If you’re a baker, why not try whole-wheat or oat flour for breads, cakes, biscuits, or mix 50:50 with white flour.
  5. If you’re having pizza, load up with veggies (peppers, onions, sweetcorn…) and include a side salad.
  6. When cooking vegetables, keep cooking time to a minimum and use a small amount of water – this will help to maintain the phytochemical content (plant chemicals such as polyphenols), as well as vitamin and minerals.
  7. Swap white rice/pasta for brown rice/pasta or mix 50:50.
  8. Have dried fruit, nuts and seeds easily to hand to sprinkle on cereals, soups, salads…
  9. Swap out 50% of your regular cornflakes and add bran flakes.
  10. Go for variety instead of single packets – mixed veg, mixed nuts, mixed fruit.
  11. Keep the skins on fruit and vegetables when you can – potatoes, kiwis, cucumber, apples, carrots, aubergine.
  12. Add texture to homemade soups and stews by including lots of chunky vegetables, legumes, or pearl barley.

Remember, with fruit, vegetables and pulses: fresh, frozen, dried and tinned (in natural juices/water) all count!