The struggle to find healthy ideas for meals is a big one. In fact, it's one of the most common questions I get in my private practice. The thing is, eating healthy and on the go, can be easy. Oftentimes, it just means simplifying. For years I've been making meals of combining basic ingredients in a single bowl. I've seen this called many things, and some of my favorite restaurants even have their favorite twist on this tried and true technique. Recently, I even saw a book on this very topic. The book "Whole Bowls" from yummybeet author Allison Day provides plenty of inspiration!
Begin by stocking your kitchen with basic grains and legumes. Brown rice, millet, quinoa, wild rice, and barley are a good start for grains while black beans, green and red lentils, canned chickpeas, and kidney beans are a good start for legumes. Always have a few types of seeds and nuts or tofu, ferments like sauerkraut or kimchi, cheese and/or eggs on hand. And finally, having a selection of vegetables in the fridge that you can draw from is a must. I usually pick up a variety of vegetables on the weekend and then use them throughout the week depending on the combination I'm creating. Use the season, and whatever is growing locally or is on sale, as your starting point! One of the best things about making a well-rounded meal in a bowl is that you can mix and match whatever you have in the fridge.
Generally speaking, I find a good bowl is some combination of a grain, vegetables, a "protein", and a "fat". Add some seasoning, sauce, and/or garnish and you're all set! Remember to use a variety textures and flavors such as sweet, sour, savory, bitter, spicy and salty. Try it tonight and you'd be surprised at how easy it is to create your own delicious and nourishing bowl.
Below I've included the ingredients for my recent bowls some inspired by Allison's lovely cookbook:
(clockwise from top left)
Vinegar sauteed red chard
Salt and Pepper
Sesame seeds and chili flakes
Fried (cooked) chickpeas with onions and garlic
Tahini and Apple cider vinegar dressing
Millett cooked with turmeric mixed with raisins and tamari roasted almonds
Fresh cherry tomatoes
Fresh baby cucumbers
A few leaves of mustard greens
Dry cured black olives
Hard boiled egg
I hope you enjoy these combinations and many more! Try your own bowl tonight and tell me in the comments what you made!