A few months ago, I happened across a 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report stating that only one in 10 adults meets the federal guidelines of one-and-a-half to two cups of fruit and two to three cups of vegetables per day. Considering how I typically eat, that didn’t come as a shock to me. I decided to start eating more fruits and vegetables. My goal was specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based (SMART): to appreciably up the number of “green” foods I consume daily.
Using my appetite as my guide, I began keeping fresh snacks on my desk all day (mangoes, grapes, bell peppers, etc.), whatever looked good at the time. I naturally found that one of the great things about adding more produce to my diet is that I find myself organically eating less processed food, sweet treats and meat. And I’m okay with that.
At home, Buddha bowls, chockful of healthy choices, are now a recurring dinnertime player. Not only are they nutritious and tasty, but the components are also easy to make in advance (great for weekly meal preppers!) and simple to customize. I load up on mushrooms, peppers, onions and sweet potatoes. My son prefers broccoli but no tomatoes. My husband started eating beets. I love that what started as a personal goal has become a delicious, not to mention colorful, way to benefit my whole household.
Easy Buddha Bowls
- ½ cup cooked whole grains (such as quinoa, brown or wild rice, wheat berries or a combination)
- 6 oz. or more prepared vegetables (raw, grilled, steamed, sautéed or roasted)
- 3 oz. fully-cooked lean meat, poultry, seafood or tofu or a cooked egg
- 1–2 Tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette, to taste
- 1 oz. fresh cheese (such as feta, chèvre or mozzarella)
- 1 Tbsp. toasted seeds or chopped nuts
- chopped fresh herbs, dried herbs and spices, freshly-ground Kowalski’s black peppercorns, lemon juice and freshly-grated citrus zest, as toppings or garnishes as desired
Place grains in a serving bowl; top with vegetables and choice of protein. Drizzle with dressing, if desired, and top with other desired ingredients.
Cooked grains, vegetables and proteins may be served warm, cold or a combination.
To serve a group, multiply recipe as necessary; serve components “salad bar style” or on a large-rimmed serving platter.
Enjoy a protein-packed vegan bowl when you use a higher protein-content grain, such as quinoa or sorghum, along with nuts or seeds. The same amount of protein in a 1 oz. of meat, poultry or fish can be found in a ½ cup of beans, tofu and tempeh.
Rachael Perron is the culinary and brand director for Kowalski’s Markets, where she specializes in product development and selection, culinary education and communications. Find more at kowalskis.com.