How to Eat Probiotics at Each Meal

Probiotics are small, live microorganisms (bacteria & yeast) naturally found in foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, or taken as supplements (pills or powder form). There are many types of bacteria that are classified as probiotics but most commonly they come from two groups, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Probiotics are often linked with better gut health but now studies are exploring their potential health effects on brain health, metabolic disease, oral health, autoimmune conditions, anxiety and so on.

Each person has an unique microbiota so it makes it really challenging to specify how much probiotics one needs on a daily basis, or which probiotic is best for one’s health and wellness. Also, remember that the specific microbes in fermented foods vary by manufacturer, batch and location. If you are just starting out with probiotics, I would say eat 1-2 probiotic-rich foods on a regular basis and see how you feel. It is recommended to eat small amounts of different probiotic-rich foods regularly for microbial diversity vs. eating just one kind of probiotic-rich food.

Live probiotic cultures are destroyed at around 115°F so if you are looking for probiotic-benefits, use them at the end of cooking, enjoy as a topping or a side dish. You can also stir into soups or sauces at the last minute. If buying store-bought, opt for raw and unpasteurized probiotic products because the process of pasteurization heats up foods to kill both harmful and good bacteria. However, fermented foods still contains enzymes, vitamins, and minerals and have a better digestibility so there are nutritional benefits, just not probiotic-benefits.

Breakfast Ideas

Yogurt parfait

Smoothie with Milk Kefir

  • Milk kefir is a fermented milk beverage really close to drinkable yogurt. Compared to yogurt, milk kefir contains more strains of probiotics.

  • Add milk kefir in smoothies instead of yogurt for a change. I like kefir in my Mango Cardamom Kefir Lassi.

Chia Pudding

  • Chia seeds are packed with nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and many micronutrients. They make a refreshing breakfast pudding, which you can make overnight with yogurt/kefir, milk and chia seeds in a bowl, give it a stir, and place it in the refrigerator.

  • I have recipes from the blog, both made with milk but I’d suggest adding 1/2 milk and 1/2 yogurt or trying it out with kefir.

Breakfast Toast with kimchi or sauerkraut

  • I absolutely love making breakfast toast with fried eggs and kimchi or do scrambled eggs with sauerkraut. It’s packed with so much flavor and a nice bite from the cabbage. Please give it a try if you already haven’t.




Stock up on probiotic-rich condiments

  • Probiotic-rich condiments such as as lacto-fermented hot sauce & cultured-butter are a wonderful addition to your breakfast table. Use hot sauce on your eggs or hash brown, or spread cultured butter on your toast to start your day with little probiotics.

  • 43 Fermented & Probiotic-Filled Condiments




Lunch + Dinner Ideas

Sandwich/Wrap with lacto-fermented condiments






Probiotic Bowl

Probiotic bowl is a DIY type bowl, including your carbohydrates (grains like farro, rice, bulgur, quinoa etc), loaded with protein and veggies of your choice, toppings and condiments like sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt-based dressings etc. Here are some inspirations for you:


Salad Loaded with Probiotics

Just like with probiotic bowls, salad is a great place to incorporate different probiotics such as:

  • Make salad dressing with yogurt, kefir, lacto-fermented hummus, or lacto-fermented mustard

  • Chop saeurkraut and kimchi as a topping

  • Juice of sauerkraut, kimchi, or leftover lacto-fermented brine can be used in vinaigrette. Try Gut-Friendly Kachumber – Easy Chopped Salad

  • Drizzle lacto-fermented hot sauce on top or use them in dressing/vinaigrette





Snacks + Beverage Ideas





  • Kombucha, a probiotic-rich fermented tea can be added to your diet, or you can use it to make smoothies. Try Wild Blueberry Ginger Kombucha

    • Not all kombucha is created equal. If buying storebought, check the ingredient list for added sugar and the types of bacteria and yeast present.

  • Water kefir – Water kefir grains are little symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeast that feed on sugar water. Compared to kombucha, water kefir is caffeine free and takes only 2-3 days to make the fermented drink. Here is a short instagram video I did on water kefir.


  • I have only tried kombucha and water kefir so far but I am intrigued by other probiotic-rich drinks such as kvass, kanji, homemade root beer and so on. Here are 50+ ideas for you to explore.

If you are interested to learn more about fermentation, I’d highly recommend you check out this book, The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz.

I often do workshops on gut health & fermentation and currently, have a pre-recorded class on Kimchi Making – 2 Ways which you can watch at your own pace and learn how to make homemade kimchi.

I hope this post will inspire you to incorporate more probiotic-rich foods on a daily basis. If you have a favorite meal or a recipe with probiotics, please leave a comment below.




Dixya Bhattarai

Dixya Bhattarai

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