Healthy Body  >  Out of Dinner Ideas? Try These Beautiful Bowls

Out of Dinner Ideas? Try These Beautiful Bowls

Bowls“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ~ Julia Child

Creating simple & beautiful meals is my passion.

I’m certainly not a gourmet chef. I don’t wield a knife like the culinary greats. I don’t care about the difference between bâtonneting & chiffonading. I’ve never spent years sweating it out as a sous chef in a Michelin-starred restaurant.

The truth is… most of the time… I don’t even cook with a recipe.

Cue collective “Gasp!”

Sure, recipes have their time and place. Whipping up a new concoction that requires complex ingredients for a dinner party. Baking Grandma’s famous apple pie and honoring her recipe to a “T.”

But, for day-to-day meal prep? Collecting new ingredients and precisely following instructions is a complete drag. And, for most of you… not happening.

With a full family, full workload, and loads of obligations, I am right there with you. And over the years I’ve learned: life isn’t going to stop moving.

Instead of feeling stressed & strained with my overloaded schedule, I decided to hop on life’s roller coaster and find a way to create nourishing meals that fit seamlessly into the day-to-day madness.

The secret? A “no recipe” approach to assembling beautiful meals.

All you need is to set aside some time to shop and then prep your food in advance. (I proclaim Sunday “kitchen fun day” – good music, good conversation, and lots of chopping, steaming, stirring, grilling and roasting.) When you arrive home exhausted, hungry and ready to eat throughout the week, all your food is waiting for you to be thrown together into a bowl. You'll never have to wonder, “what’s for dinner” again.

Bowls

Here’s my simple guide to building balanced, nourishing and delicious meals in a bowl that will be your saving grace.

What Are Bowls?

Bowls are like the "little black dress" of meal planning. Your bowl is filled with staples like whole grains, protein, healthy fats and tons of veggies. Then you add a few key “accessories” to spice it up.

How to Build A Bowl

To make sure that the bowls are balanced in flavor, texture and nutrition, choose at least one ingredient from each category. (Bonus points for going heavy on the veggies.)

Start with a base of leafy greens: spinach, kale, shredded Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, Mustard greens, arugula, bok choy, pea shoots

Add unlimited raw, roasted, steamed or grilled veggies: carrots, peppers, beets, roasted eggplant, asparagus, Brussels, broccoli, cauliflower, bean sprouts, green beans, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, shredded cabbage, onion

Toss in a grain or starch: quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, faro, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, soba (buckwheat) noodles

Include protein: chickpeas, black beans, lentils, salmon, tuna, grilled chicken, edamame, veggie burgers, hard boiled eggs

Don’t forget the healthy fats: seeds, nuts, avocado, drizzle of pumpkin, coconut or olive oil

Top it off with dressings/sauces: hummus, lemon/lime squeeze & olive oil, tahini, salsa, pesto, miso ginger sauce, tamari

Extra credit for some nutritional boosts: fresh herbs, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, a fried egg (it’s a thing!), nutritional yeast, seaweed

Not sure where to start?

Pick a theme for every night of the week. Try Mediterranean with brown rice, lentils, and spinach as your main ingredients. Or Mexican, and fill your bowl with grilled chicken, black beans, and a mango salsa. Go for a more Asian-inspired meal with tofu, brown rice, edamame, red pepper and broccoli. Choose roasted veggies & quinoa to pair with a warm tahini sauce. Anything goes. Just be willing to get a little creative.

When it's time to eat dinner each night, pull out some {big} bowls and let everyone mix & match their ingredients. Some like spicy foods, others prefer simple combos, one is all plant-based, another needs animal protein...the possibilities are endless. No two bowls are alike. Everybody is happy…without a recipe.

Are you a fan of bowls? Share your favorite flavor-packed bowl ingredients in the comments below!

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