Do you feel bloated after eating certain foods and ever wonder how you can avoid that? The answer to the first question is due to improper combinations of food. You should not mix categories of foods that digest in different areas of the body. Say, avoid combining proteins with starches. Proteins need an acidic environment to be broken down and are therefore digested in the stomach. On the other spectrum of the pH scale, starches are degraded in the alkaline, or basic, environment of the small intestine. When you eat a starchy carbohydrate with a protein, the carb however sits in the stomach and will get fermented while your system is digesting protein. Totally weird and sounds like it’s reversing your body's digesting mechanisms. So eating rice with chicken or quinoa with fish will cause your digestive system to go haywire, resulting in digestive problems and a slow metabolism.

To avoid this, it’s best to eat proteins with your non-starchy vegetables, which can be digested in both acidic and alkaline environments. Let’s dive into the combinations of proteins with veggies that you can eat for a healthier eating gut.



Robin Kopf

It's such a versatile combination to pair beef with vegetables. Though you might bring in some broccoli or carrots, beef can also be eaten with mashed cauliflower or butternut squash. Grab some asparagus and cheery tomato, green beans, or mushrooms and onions, because you will be taking your steak combo game to the next level.


rice, chicken, sauce
Shalayne Pulia

Whether you want to bake or stir-fry your veggies, just know that broccoli sounds like a must when you have chicken. Combine chicken and broccoli with portobello, bamboo shoots, pineapple, or green beans and carrots. If you are not craving broccoli, then try sweet potato and Brussels sprouts or asparagus and cherry tomatoes.


Fulfill your protein with pork, maybe some more broccoli, and mushrooms and bell peppers or cherry tomatoes and zucchini. Why not also try some pulled pork with this pot-roasted pork, shallot, celery, carrot, and parsnip recipe.


Salmon Fillet

asparagus, salmon, beans
Rachael Worthington

Bake the beloved salmon fillet with asparagus or garlic spinach. Or rather simply, cook it and enjoy this protein with kale salad.

Canned Tuna

rice, pepper, chicken, vegetable
Helen Citrin

Make a quick, comfort meal with carrot and celery in a canned tuna salad or with zucchini, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and mushroom in a canned tuna chowder.

Ahi Tuna

Ready your ahi tuna with zucchini and cherry tomatoes, green beans, or spinach and root veggies. It's a TUNAverse.


shrimp, seafood, prawn, tomato, sauce, chili
Elizabeth Quintero

Shrimp, green peppers, and tomato sauce sound like a balanced, delicious meal to me. For those feeling adventurous, why not pair shrimp with sweet potato or zucchini too.


Whether you want to have your protein scallop steamed with green beans or snow peas, you sure need to have it with grilled eggplant and zucchini. Sometimes, with stir fried veggies too.


Cassandra Bauer

Please do your crab meat a justice by stuffing mushrooms with it or incorporating it in a salad.


vegetable, cheese, omelet, sauce, spinach, egg
Caitlyn Heter

You must be EGGcited for this protein. Egg salads, egg veggie muffins, and so many more combinations. Why not boost your absorption of carotenoids by pairing this protein with bell peppers too.


Tofu totally have your back on blood production as you can get more iron from it compared to that of red meat. When tofu is paired with bell peppers, you receive a healthy dose of vitamin C too.


vegetable, parsley, onion, salad, broccoli, pepper, potato
Kendra Valkema

Excuse me, hummus, because we really need to make some drumroll for chickpeas with celery and tomato or with kale.

Black Beans

Kelda Baljon

Still can't believe how incredibly flavorful and nutritious this black beans and corn combo is. Have you BEAN thinking of making a black bean and pepper salad too? 


Kelda Baljon

Prepare to fall in love with the awesomeness of quinoa. Stuff mushrooms with quinoa, make an one pot meal of lemon quinoa with peas, roast some butternut squash and Brussels sprouts to have a fiesta with quinoa, or caramelize some red onions and Swiss chard.


Make some lentil soup with celery and carrots or create a lentil bowl with sweet potato and broccoli. Such great protein-packed, nutritious, and healthy choices.

The combination of proteins with veggies is good for your gut. As mentioned before, non-starchy vegetables can be digested in alkaline and acidic environment, so they can be paired with almost anything, such as with proteins (of course), grains, and starches. However, make sure to avoid combining starch and proteins, or even raw fats and protein. Raw fats inhibit the breakdown of proteins in the acidic stomach.

To cover all your bases when you are feeling ready for more food combinations, check out this guide on what other specific food pairs to avoid. Word of caution: with poor food combo choices, your body will become acidic and unbalanced, so it will secrete enzymes that cancel out the nutritional value of each of the ingredients in your food, plus your digestive system is working overtime.

Despite the different categories of food combinations that work best for a healthier gut, listen most importantly to your body as it will tell you what combination works and which ones don’t.