Eating for Gut Health: Plus our Kale, Apple, and Quinoa Salad Recipe

March 14, 2019

Kale Apple Quinoa Salad for a Healthy Digestive System

By Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian, Providence Health

Click here for a printable version

March is National Nutrition Month, but it is also National Colorectal Cancer Month, and since food is an important factor in colon health it is worth making sure we know how to eat for gut health.  

The American Cancer Society reports a link between diet, weight, exercise and colorectal cancer.  Be sure to include these suggestions when making positive changes in your diet to impact the colon. Research ties these nutrition concerns to colorectal cancer.

How to eat for a healthy digestive system:

•    Limit red meat consumption and steer clear of processed meats and foods high in fat.
•    Hold the sugar.
•    Up your fiber intake -- There they are again---Fruits and Veggies—not fired or covered with gravy or seasoned Southern style
•    Limit alcohol -- The recommended limit is one 5-ounce drink per day for women and two 5-ounce drinks per day for men.
•    Choose grains wisely -- Keeping them as close to natural as possible helps to increase intake of fiber.

Watching our eating habits and including healthier lifestyle choices improves the health of our bodies and the quality of our lives!! This healthy recipe for Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad is a great one to cycle in to feel good and be well.

Speaking of colon health... did you know the recommended age for colonoscopies has been lowered? Read more here.

Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad Recipe

Salad Ingredients:

  • ½ tri color dry quinoa
  • 6 c slightly packed chopped kale
  • 2 crisp apples, cored and chopped
  • 1 c walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
  • 12 c dried cranberries
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Dressing Ingredients: 

  • ½ c olive oil
  • ¼ c fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt to taste


Cook quinoa according to directions and cool.  Whisk dressing ingredients together while quinoa is cooling, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, home, Dijon and salt in a jar.  Pour 3/4 dressing over kale, chill.  Add kale to a salad bowl, whisk dressing once more and then pour ¾ of the dressing over kale and toss until evenly coasted.  Cover bowl and chill 15 minutes.  Toss in remain mix-ins and dressing. Remove salad from refrigerate; add apples, quinoa, walnuts and cranberries.  Pour remaining dressing over salad then toss.  Add goat cheese and toss just lightly.  Serve.

Nutrition Information: 388 calories, 27 g fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 91 mg sodium, 31 g carbohydrate, 9 g protein

Recipe source: cooking

***  I take ½ c olive oil to 1/3 c olive oil and that lowers the fat content and makes me a little happier, but wanted to share the original recipe and source in case you went to the website so things would look the same. Also when strawberries are in season I use those in place of the apple. HAPPY COOKING!!

This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Health in Columbia, S.C.
Kay promotes health and wellness, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She works in consultation with the trained chefs at Providence, combining her nutrition knowledge with their food prep know-how to create delicious, healthy dishes for patients and the public. She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes.