- Shannon Crocker, MSc RD PHEC
How to Create a Power Bowl in 4 Simple Steps
Busy weekdays with work deadlines and being mom’s Uber service for two teenagers can leave me feeling a little harried at mealtime.
Can you relate?
One way I manage stress is to keep my weeknights meals EASY, delicious and filled with basic foods that will leave me feeling fantabulous!
Enter the POWER BOWL.
This simple, create-your-own meal idea is super for families with different tastes. Lay out all the (mostly pre-prepped) ingredients and everyone can build their own meal the way they like it.
I also keep power bowl ingredients prepped in my fridge so I can pull together an energizing lunch in a jiffy. (I find time to prep veggies on a Sunday afternoon while watching Netflix or listening to an audio book -- I'm all about multi-tasking when I can.)
Here are the 4 SIMPLE STEPS I follow for building delicious, nutritious bowls:
1. Fill 1/2 the bowl with colourful fresh and/or roasted veggies.
Include a dark leafy green -- whichever one you like -- as the base bowl filler. My fave green is arugula but I also dig a leafy kale.
Add in vegetables to fill up the bowl to half. Try cucumber and grape tomatoes, red/orange pepper or grated carrot. And in this colder weather, I'm currently crushing on roasted sweet potatoes or squash.
2. Add a scoop of whole grains like barley, brown rice or quinoa.
I find a small scoop is all you need for that carb-y satisfaction you get from whole grains. About 1/2 cup to 1 cup depending on your appetite is usually enough in this veggie-centric bowl.
Cook a batch of whole grains on the weekend and refrigerate so you've got some ready to add to a power bowl or salad or to enjoy as a side dish.
3. Fill the final 1/4 with protein-rich foods like hard-cooked eggs, cheese and legumes.
I like to mix up my proteins -- both plant-based and traditional proteins -- as they all provide a unique package of nutrients. For example:
Black beans give you antioxidants to protect your cells and fibre for good digestive health.
Cheese gives you calcium. Plus aged cheese is a fermented food that can help boost good gut health.
Eggs give you choline which is critical for brain health.
Lean meat (e.g. turkey, chicken or beef) is an excellent source of vitamin B12 which is needed to keeping your nervous systems (including your brain) working well.
Fatty fish gives you heart- and brain- healthy omega 3 fats.
4. Finish with a dynamite dressing and flavourful toppers.
When it comes to dressing, use whatever one you adore. I often just dress my salads with a drizzle of good oil, a big squeeze of lemon or lime and a grind of sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
In terms of toppers, the creaminess of avocado is a super compliment to the crunchy veggies. Green onion and fresh herbs like cilantro boost the flavour. A sprinkle of nuts or seeds adds a final bit of crunch, along with a little hit of plant-based protein. And, sometimes I'll add a sprinkle of dried fruit for a little sweetness.
Bottom line: Put power bowls on your menu! Power bowls are a delicious and simple way to energize your body and get nutrition you need for optimal health. Prep some ingredients ahead so you can pull together a tasty bowl in just a few minutes.