The obsession with colorful, veggie-filled bowls is in full swing on all of my social media feeds, and unlike the 2014 trend of ‘everything you want to eat is in a mason jar now’, this trend is solely responsible for getting me back into the kitchen cooking more than just my daily Luvo meal.
As some of you know, I like to go big when it comes to ingredients, and my bowl experimentation was no exception. My first round resulted in a beautiful bowl that tasted amazing but may or may not have included my entire daily caloric intake (as carefully pointed out by my uber-fit, workout wolf pack as they watched me scarf it down). On top of that, I also started making non-breakfast-y versions for other meals by roasting pounds of vegetables, cooking mounds of quinoa, and making jars of my delicious garlic tahini sauce (recipe to come) every Sunday. Again, nothing really ‘unhealthy’ as far as ingredients go, but—like any food—large quantities have the potential to add unwanted and unexpected pounds, and just in time for summer! #fail. So I went back to the bowl drawing board with the help of our amazing VP of Nutrition Samantha Cassetty. Here are our tips for keeping your bowls balanced, hearty and healthy:
Smoothie or Breakfast Bowl
So the culprit with this guy is white stuff. I’ve seen grab-and-go smoothies that have over 500 calories and well over 100 grams of sugar. And that’s not even factoring in the pile of granola, the fanned out tropical fruit and crumbled nuts you add to make it an edible masterpiece (aka 100% instagram-able). If you decide to go with your favorite smoothie or green juice recipe versus my ‘base’ suggestions, be sure to cut your toppings by two-thirds.
Base (1/2 -3/4 cup at most)
- Plain Greek yogurt (it’s all protein with no added sugar)
- Or, for my dairy-free friends: ½ cup coconut milk + half of a frozen banana, blended
Pro Tip: Blend either base with a tablespoon or two of matcha or flavored protein powder or maca powder.
Toppings (1 cup)
- Sliced fruit (kiwi, oranges, figs, berries)
- Granola or shredded wheat
Finishing Touches (2 tbsp.)
- Nuts (almonds are my fave)
- Buckwheat or chia (soaked over night)
- Seeds (quinoa, pumpkin, flax, hemp hearts)
- Shredded coconut
Pro Tip: Toast and chop your nuts to amplify flavor (and make you feel like you’re getting more than you actually are).
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The opportunities are endless with this guy. Once you start cutting vegetables it’s hard to stop, but remember: rainbows are pretty but they don’t always taste good, and less is more, not only for consumption, but also for taste!
Base (2 cups)
- Kale (I love using dinosaur kale because of its aesthetic and texture–don’t forget to massage the leaves so you’re not getting a mouth full of bitterness)
- Soba noodles (1 cup)
Pro Tip: As my Naturopath always says: “greens are where you can go crazy.” Choose your favorite greens, or (better yet) a combination, and slice them into strips so they mix with the other ingredients a little easier.
Veggies + Legumes (2 cups)
- Yams or spaghetti squash
- Brussels sprouts
- Bell peppers
- Snap peas
- Roasted chickpeas
- Edamame or lentils
Pro Tip: Pick 3 from the list and roast the heck out of them! I make extra and add a scoop to just about every salad I eat. It’s a great stand-alone snack for the day the boss keeps you late and you miss your bus and realize your house keys are in the pocket of the vintage cardigan you leave at your desk so the person who empties the recycling thinks you’re cool.
Protein (3/4 – 1 cup)
- Feta cheese
- Egg whites
- Grilled Meat or Tofu
Pro Tip: This is the “meat” of the dish, so to speak. Protein helps keep you full and assists with muscle growth and repair—ideal for those days you hit the gym (and still good for those days you don’t).
Grains (1 heaping tbsp.)
- Wheat berries
- Brown rice
Pro Tip: I do the same thing with quinoa as I do with roasted veggies–cook up a big batch so I can sprinkle it on salads and breakfast bowls throughout the week.
Finishing Touches (1 heaping tbsp.)
Pro Tip: Most of these can double as dip for sliced veggies!
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I hope these tips help you create beautiful bowls that fuel your adventurous summer. Don’t forget to share your tasty topping ideas with us here in the comments!
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