If you’re interested in trying Food Combining, but aren’t quite sure how to get started, I thought it might be helpful to share some properly combined recipes, clearly labeled by category, to make things easier.
People who follow food combining have reported losing weight without counting calories, feeling less bloated, getting clearer skin, better sleep, and more. What I love about this concept, is that you don’t have to give up any foods that you love! You simply won’t eat them all at the same time, making you a little more mindful at meal time.
Food Combining for Weight Loss
I’ll be the first to admit that there is not a lot of research on food combining. However, studies have shown that humans have a tendency to overeat when we are offered a wide variety of foods during a meal. (source) So, by simplifying our meals, we may naturally eat less, without counting calories. That might be the most straight-forward reason that food combining does seem to work when it comes to weight loss.
Another study showed that food combining seemed to have the same effect as a low-calorie diet when it comes to weight loss, with both groups losing a similar amount of weight. (source) I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not count calories or worry about numbers, which is another reason why I fell in love with food combining in the first place.
How to Practice Food Combining
The general idea of food combining is that you’ll eat from only one category of foods at each meal, along with plenty of fresh, low-carb vegetables.
The 4 main categories in food combining are Fresh Fruit, Animal Protein, Starches, and Nuts/Seeds/Dried Fruit. You can find a printable food combining chart here to help, or choose a meal from one of the categories below.
Ideally, you’ll wait 3 to 4 hours between each meal, allowing those foods to fully digest before you switch categories at your next meal. If you feel the need for a snack between, choose fresh sliced veggies, such as carrots, celery, cauliflower, or broccoli florets for an easy “neutral” option. Or, you can stick to the same category of food for two meals in a row, and snack from that category, too. (For example, you might have an Almond Butter Smoothie for breakfast, a Date Energy Ball as a mid-morning snack, and a large salad tossed with tahini dressing for lunch, which would all fall into the nut/seed/dried fruit category.)
Here are some properly combined recipes for you to try, listed by category:
Because fruit digests so quickly, I usually enjoy it most at breakfast in the form of a large smoothie. You’ll notice that the recipes below are properly combined, so they don’t call for protein powder, or nut butter with the fresh fruit. (Avocado is a fruit, though, and it can help keep you full!)
I like to serve nuts and seeds with plenty of fresh veggies, to keep the overall meal hydrating and easier to digest. Bananas and dates typically combine well in this category, too, so feel free to see how that feels for you.
- Date Energy Balls
- Coffee Smoothie
- Chocolate Chia Pudding
- Vegan Ranch Dressing
- Almond Butter & Spinach Smoothie
- Kale Caesar Salad (without the chickpeas)
- Creamy Tahini Dressing
- Cashew Queso (served with raw veggies)
- Chia Pudding (topped with banana)
- Zucchini Hummus
- Dairy-Free Cashew Cheesecake
- Creamy Cucumber Tahini Dressing
- Almond Butter Freezer Fudge
If the following options don’t feel hearty enough for a meal, keep in mind that you can serve them with bread, cooked grains, or a baked potato, if desired.
- Zucchini Oatmeal (a great warm breakfast option!)
- Sweet Potato Toast (topped with avocado or white bean spread)
- Lentil, Kale & Quinoa Stew
- Detox Salad with Lemon-Ginger Dressing
- Sweet Potato Lasagna
- Vegan Cheese Sauce
- Avocado Caesar Salad
- Vegan Chickpea Salad
- Chipotle Black Bean Burrito Bowls
- Vegan Sweet Potato Nachos
- Chickpea “Egg” Salad
- Sweet Potato & Quinoa Mason Jar Salads
- Vegan Burrito Bowls with Sweet Potato “Rice”
- Quinoa & Black Bean Salad
- Chickpea Tikka Masala with Green Rice
- Sweet Potato Noodle Casserole with Pumpkin Sauce
- Easy Lentil, Sweet Potato and Coconut Curry
- Sweet Potato Mac n’ Cheese
- Instant Pot Quinoa Burrito Bowls
- Mediterranean Socca Flatbread Pizza
You can serve animal protein meals with loads of non-starchy veggies, like a side salad or some simple roasted vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts.
- Cauliflower Pizza Crust
- Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls
- Pizza Stir Fry
- Chicken & Vegetable Soup
- Cauliflower “Steak” Pizzas
- Crustless Quiche
- Zucchini Pizza Boats
- Egg Roll in a Bowl
- Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs
- Flourless Zucchini Pie
- Leftover Turkey Soup
- Instant Pot Egg Bites
- Eggplant & Goat Cheese Lasagna
- Mexican Chicken Soup
- Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash with Chicken
- Curried Chicken Stew
If you crave something sweet after a meal, the following recipes are a nice option that shouldn’t interfere with digestion too much. In general, you don’t want to drink a lot of liquid immediately after a meal, so sip these warm beverages slowly, or you can always opt for a small piece of dark chocolate instead.
- Healthy Hot Chocolate
- Chai Latte
- Instant Vegan Latte
- Dark chocolate (70% or darker)
I hope these recipe ideas make it easier for you to give food combining a try!
Reader Feedback: Have you tried food combining? Feel free to join us for Food Combining challenge over in our private Facebook group if you’d like some extra support!
Questions and Reviews
This post is hugely helpful! I notice a difference when I thoughtfully food combine but sometimes it is hard to put into practice. Putting recipes into certain categories like you did above is very helpful. Thank you very much! I am a OG follower of yours and your acknowledgement of food combining is one of the reasons I am still here 🙂
Thank you so much for this helpful post! I started food combining thanks to you, and having all of these recipes broken down by category helps me meal plan better. I’m planning to make the Instant Pot Egg Bites and Cauliflower Pizza this week, because my family already loves those!
When it comes to food combining, is collagen powder considered neutral or is it in the animal protein category?
I would love the answer to the above question-about collagen powder. Thanks!
I thought you were not supposed to mix sweet fruits with acidic? (There’s banana in the mango strawberry recipe?)
I don’t follow strict food combining rules like that, because I think I would drive myself crazy with over-thinking it. I’ve always just kept fresh fruit separate from things like starches and proteins.
The only thing that bothers me about ALL of your recipes is you don’t give what makes a “serving” . For someone like me, who counts fats, carbs and calories, that information is crucial for weight maintenance.
Maybe one day when I can hire an assistant I’ll be able to go back and measure all of my recipes for serving size. In the meantime, feel free to just portion out the recipes by the serving size indicated– so if a soup recipe makes 6 servings, you can just divide it into 6 containers and then you’ll know the nutrition AND you’ll have an easy meal prepped and ready to go!
So the nutrition information is for the entire recipe or for a serving?
Nutrition is per serving, based on the number of servings listed for the recipe. If the serving size is 1, then the nutrition listed is for the entire recipe.
My husband and I have really enjoyed driving into this style of eating! I have a quick question though… is oatmilk considered to be in the neutral category like almond milk or is it considered a starch?
I would consider any liquid non-dairy milk to be neutral, since there’s practically no fiber involved. And I think it’s even easier to digest if you make it yourself, since you’ll avoid the added thickeners and preservatives.
what food groups can i combine with soy free vegan cheese ? Ty!
I would look at the ingredients to determine that. If you’re using a small amount, I wouldn’t worry about how it combines too much.
Hi! So is almond butter considered it’s own category? Can you combine it with a starch or protein?
i learned a lot, thanks for creating this post!
I have found that food combining really works for me when everything else doesn’t. This is so helpful. I am confused by what I can combine coconut milk with?
Do use a meal planning template or form that helps to determine you have planned each category? If so could you share?
Can you eat more then 1 item in a category? For example 2 starches.
How is a mix recipe ie a recipe that calls for items in 2 different categories then classified?
I’m going to try some of your recipes – thanks for creating them.
Have you come across a vegetarian burger recipe that uses food combining? I’m a home cook that experiments, and I know the importance of gluten (or a starch) in a burger with an egg, but I’m hoping you have found a solution that is either protein-based or starch-based. I don’t mind using egg in the recipe. Chickpea flour might be the way to go, since it is bean-based – that’s as close as I’ve seen (haven’t tried it yet).
The Speedy Black Bean Burgers in my second cookbook, No Excuses Detox, are properly combined without using an egg! You can also try these other Black Bean Burgers on my website.
I started food combining a month ago and love it. I’m so excited my Husband is on board and is feeling great too. The best part is I never feel deprived
I was looking for the posts about food combining. On the internet, you can find plenty of them but this one was close to that what I was looking for. I was always overweight for some reason, but I must say I was playing handball for a regional team and losing calories was not my problem, food was. At that time (20 Years ago) I bought a book with the name Heat Food Combination, after studying that book I started to eat as was described in that book. I’m finding this chart here very helpful as I forgot a lot of rules. This chart is what I wanted.
I must say that eating with this rule about food combination I have lost 20 kg in one year. My metabolism becomes fast. Pasta and rice (which I love the most) were the only two things I never eat in that year. When people see me after a long time they couldn’t believe I lost so much weight. Then the people starts to ask me how I did it, and I borrowed the book but the book never came back to me. That’s I’m today here to refresh my memory. Thank you for this post!