Let’s face it, we all have sauntered over to the fridge and stared at shelves of unprepared food, unsure of what to eat. Sometimes, preparing a satisfying and nutritious meal sounds like more effort than it’s worth — and the intimidation nudges us toward a more convenient, less ideal solution.
Kailey and I (Kortney) have some tips to help you triumph in the face of these trials. In a few easy steps, we’ll explain how we create a tasty, filling “wellness bowl”: a mix of proteins, carbs, and fats packed with nutrients and flavor.
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Building Out Your Wellness Bowl
Many chefs claim there are four fundamental elements of good cooking: salt (to enhance flavor), heat (to cook and create the perfect internal and external texture), fat (to deliver additional flavor and texture), and acid (to provide a tanginess that balances the fats). You can use these elements as a compass in the kitchen, and they’re helpful when building a wellness bowl, too. There’s no perfect recipe for a wellness bowl, and that’s part of the allure. Just incorporate 1-3 items from each component below, and you’ll be set for success.
- Base: spinach, kale, mixed greens, shredded brussel sprouts
- Protein: chicken breast, ground turkey or beef, salmon, shrimp, tuna, tofu, tempeh, hard-boiled egg whites, lentils, beans
- Carb: roasted potato or sweet potato, quinoa, faro, rice, fruit, dried fruit, honey
- Fat: nuts, seeds, cheese, avocado, bacon, olive oil, tahini
- Acid: lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar, fermented vegetables, mustard, many condiments
- Salt: Real salt, Dijon mustard, olives, capers
- Spice: Garlic, ginger, smoked paprika, dried herbs, pepper, chiles, hot sauce
- Bonus: extra vegetables! Dice and saute, steam, roast, or add raw: broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes
Kortney’s Favorite Bowl
There are two bowls that I make almost every week. I have a sweet tooth (always have, always will), so my bowls are on the slightly sweeter side.
The first version starts with a base of shredded kale and spinach. Next, I add ground turkey, shredded carrots, roasted broccoli, sauerkraut, and dry roasted pistachios. If I have either prepared, I’ll add a scoop of steamed lentils, or my homemade dill + lemon + garlic hummus. Finally, I top the bowl with a light drizzle of yellow or dijon mustard, white modena vinegar, and Trader Joe’s Sriracha BBQ sauce. I finish with a sprinkle of salt!
The second version begins with a base of cooked spinach and basmati rice. Next, I add chicken, roasted broccoli, and chopped walnuts. Again, I sprinkle salt, and top the bowl with a combination of Trader Joe’s Sweet Chili Sauce and Thai Yellow Curry Sauce.
Kailey’s Favorite Bowl
When constructing my wellness bowls, my first thought is whether I’m in the mood for something with a hint of sweetness or something more on the savory side. But, have no fear — I’m here to share one of each with you!
My sweet version starts with a kale and broccoli slaw base, topped with garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and tofu for protein, beets, fuji apples, and murasaki sweet potatoes (cooked in the air fryer) for carbs, pumpkin seeds for fats, and finished with fresh lemon juice and Green Goddess seasoning for flavor.
The savory bowl starts with spinach and kale as a base, topped with black and pinto beans for protein, jasmine rice and air-fried veggies for carbs, hemp seeds and avocado for fats, all brought together by lime juice and Trader Joe’s Citrusy Garlic seasoning.
Putting It All Together
Making nutritious meals doesn’t have to be complicated, and it’s helpful to keep an open mind and try new things. Remember, you don’t always need a perfect recipe – just have some fun and spend more time in the kitchen! Like all things, you can only get better with practice.
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