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  • 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.

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