DIY Balanced Bowl

The do-it-yourself balanced bowl is based off of the balanced plate-based method for eating. Simply, it’s just combining foods that contain a higher amount of plant-protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats with lots of greens and veggies. One way to ensure you are meeting your nutritional needs is to include a variety of foods that fall into each category, especially focusing on getting lots of veggies! I prefer to do a rainbow of colors in my salad because it’s appealing and provides my body with  hundreds (maybe even thousands) of different kinds of phytonutrients that are constantly working to keep me healthy and strong. If you aren’t familiar with phytonutrients, I highly suggest you do some research on it. These nutrients (sometimes called chemicals) are so powerful— and definitely more reason to keep eating all those veggies.

Below are some ideas with suggested servings of each for the salad; this is a really easy way to pack in your veggies for the day! The idea is to have at least 1 item from each category in your bowl.

Serving Size ~1

GREENS: Aim for 2-3 cups!

Kale, Collards, Arugula, Spinach, Romaine Lettuce, Chinese Cabbage, Watercress

VEGGIES: Aim for 1-2, but unlimited amount!

Broccoli, cauliflower, roasted Brussels sprouts, carrots (colored is bonus points!) , tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, onion, artichoke hearts, cooked beats, zucchini, bell peppers, radishes, cabbage

*Try cutting these in different shapes, or using cooked/ raw methods. Leftover roasted veggies from the night before are really taste in a salad!

PROTEIN: Pick one or do ½ of two choices

¾ – 1 cup cooked beans (e.g. pinto, kidney, black, chickpea)

½ – ¾ cup tempeh

½  – ¾ cup broiled/ sautéed/ baked tofu

CARBS: Pick one or do ½ of two choices

1 cup roasted sweet potato (cubed)

1 cup roasted winter squash (cubed)

⅔ – 1 cup cooked whole grains (e.g. quinoa, bulgur, wild rice, millet, sorghum, brown rice)

FAT: Pick one or do smaller portion of two choices

1-2 tbsp nuts (e.g. walnuts, cashews, pistachios, almonds)

1-2 tbsp seeds (e.g. pumpkin, hemp)

2 tbsp- ¼ cup tahini -based dressing (e.g. lemon tahini dressing)

2 tbsp- ¼ cup cashew dressing (e.g. lemon basil cashew dressing)

¼- ½ of an avocado

ADDITIONALS ADD ONS: hummus, baba ganoush, nutritional yeast, spices or fresh herbs, lemon juice, fresh fruit (berries, pomegranates, apples, pears, oranges, date, dried blueberries, kiwi)

Tip: For quick prep methods, use leftovers from previous dinners and add extra greens and veggies. Canned beans (be sure to rinse) or pre-cooked whole grains can also help with quick meal prep.