We talk a lot about eating to support a healthy and diverse microbiome. The food you choose has a direct impact on your microbiome. Your microbiome, in turn, has a direct impact on your gut health, overall wellbeing, and even the health of your brain.

There’s a lot of confusing information out there about the “best” ways to eat for gut health. RESTORE creator, Dr. Zach Bush, keeps it simple: focus on the colors you eat. And to further simplify, let’s start with just packing a gut-healthy lunch.

Give yourself some structure

A little structure can make it easy to keep gut health a priority for the long term.

Make your container work for you

What you pack in your packed lunch lunch is important, but what you pack your lunch in can also have a huge impact. If everything is attractively pre-portioned and easy to carry, more than half the work of convincing yourself to eat healthy is already done.

A bento box is easy to carry and can be packed with great-looking food you’ll be excited to eat. Bento boxes from popular brands like LunchBots, Muji, or BentoHeaven – just to name a few – make healthy eating easy. There are so many options at reasonable prices and some brands can even fit a travel size RESTORE along with your lunch!

Added bonus: Sleek stainless steel and traditional wood options are great if you’re avoiding plastic. Just a quick wash when you get home and forget the endless dishwasher loads of random food storage containers!

Fill your container with color

Here comes the color! Make your packed lunch a painter’s palette of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. (Worried about the cost of organic? We’ve got tips for you.) As you pack, are you seeing too much white from processed, gluten-rich bread? If you’ve got to have that carb fix, try a slightly gut-friendlier alternative like sourdough or a sprouted grain bread. If you’re all-in for gut health, switch that bread out for the rich purple of red cabbage or soft green kale! Remember to take your RESTORE!

Each section of your lunch container can feature a different color! Carrots today? Great! Flip to the other side of the color wheel with beets or blueberries tomorrow! Don’t forget protein and make sure you are eating mainly plant-based foods. Dr. Zach recommends a vegan diet for the health benefits, but we’re not here to make your food choices for you. Eating “mainly plant based” means a large majority of fruit and veg, a little protein of your choice, and a few whole or sprouted grains. Each person and each gut are different; working with your healthcare provider or a dietician can help you optimize your nutrition.

READ MORE: This benefit of plant-based fiber is almost magical

A Gut-Healthy Packed Lunch They Can’t Resist!

Kids (and some adults) have notoriously picky palates. Picky eaters are usually bored by healthy options, no matter how colorful! Even as adults we’re faced with the daily task of eating healthy. It’s easy to fall for the facade of convenience over health, but setting yourself up for success will make it so much easier to enjoy your health journey.

Creativity makes it easy

Getting kids involved in packing their lunch from an early age instills independence and creates opportunity for some fun together. Reinforce the experience at the end of the day and ask how they liked their lunch. Did it give them energy and help them feel full?

If you don’t have kids or are a picky eater yourself, creativity can still make this daunting task an approachable one. The exotic produce section in the grocery store is an opportunity for adventure! If you find a new fruit you like, it’ll be so much easier to keep trying new produce (and easily get variety in the process)! Check in with yourself, too, and see how eating this way is making your body and mind feel.

READ MORE: Our library of recipes are great for gut health and surprisingly easy!

Getting kids and our own adult selves to voluntarily prioritize gut health might be a huge shift in perspective. Your creativity can rise to the challenge and make it easy! Creating a week of gut-friendly lunches is a fantastic first step to living a life that puts gut health, and therefore overall health, first. Don’t forget, the perfect companion to your beautiful lunch is your RESTORE!