How To Build The Perfect Grain Bowl

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Last Updated on July 1, 2024 by Tracy

Learn how to build a grain bowl! From choosing the grains to adding proteins, fresh produce, and simple dressings, we cover all the essentials to create a delicious and balanced meal. Ideal for meal prep and healthy eating. While this post is sponsored by Healthy Family Project, all opinions and my love for supporting my local community are my own.

In the ever-evolving world of culinary trends, the grain bowl has stayed as a favorite for health-conscious eaters and anyone who likes a pretty plate (or bowl!) or food. Combining the best elements of convenience, nutrition, and versatility, grain bowls are more than just a meal; they’re a powerhouse of nutrients.

I absolutely love being able to work from home, it offers so much flexibility and saves a ton on gas! It also forces me to get a bit creative with lunch. Most weeks my friend and I rotate making each other lunch. I know, super cool right? We both do our best to eat healthy and follow Weight Watchers (most of the time…) so we try to have a Zero Point lunch so that we can save our calories for dinner and wine ๐Ÿ˜‰ We typically make soups for lunch because it’s easy to make a lot and share it, plus it’s easy to switch up the flavors of soup. But, it’s summer in Florida and that means it’s about 100 degrees before 11 a.m. so sometimes a hearty, hot soup just doesn’t sound all that amazing.

But lots of fresh fruits and vegetables do.

And that’s exactly why I made this grain bowl.

First, I went to Publix and cruised around the produce section looking for signs highlighting the Produce For Kids partners, because right now there is a campaign and those amazing partners are helping to donate money to my local Feeding America Food Banks. In fact, In 2023, Produce for Kids and Publix celebrated 21 years together, raising more than $3.9 million raised for local charities in the Publix market since 2002. And that’s a partnership I want to help support!

Here are the signs to look out for:

Produce For Kids Publix Campaign

As you can see, there are a bunch of nutritious items I can grab at the store to make my grain bowl all while supporting companies that are giving back to the community!

What is a Grain Bowl

What is a Grain Bowl?

A grain bowl, also known as a Buddha bowl, power bowl, or macro bowl, is a basically a one-dish meal filled with anything and everything that you want, which typically includes grains. The concept behind making a grain bowl is simple: make a base, and top it with an array of proteins, vegetables, healthy fats, and a flavorful dressing or sauce if desired. In my bowl, I didn’t need any dressing, I just squeezed fresh lime juice on it and it was absolute perfection! The goal of a grain bowl is to give you a nutrient-dense meal that’s also really easy to make. My bowl was ready in about 10 minutes, only because I had to cook the quinoa.

Best ingredients for a Grain Bowl

The Core Ingredients of a Grain Bowl

Grains: Grains provide complex carbohydrates and fiber. Common choices include quinoa, brown rice, farro, bulgur, barley, and millet.

Proteins: Adding protein ensures the meal is satisfying and helps with muscle repair and growth. My bowl was so full of fruits and veggies, I didn’t have the space to add in the chicken I had in the fridge! But, adding pistachios added protein.

Fruits and Vegetables: Both raw and cooked vegetables add vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The key is to incorporate a variety of colors and textures. Plus, adding lots of colors makes your bowl pretty ๐Ÿ˜‰

Healthy Fats: Healthy fats enhance flavor and provide essential fatty acids. Avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil are common additions.

Dressings and Sauces: A good dressing or sauce ties all the ingredients together, adding moisture and an extra layer of flavor. Options can range from simple lemon or lime juice to tahini dressing, yogurt-based sauces, or spicy sriracha.

Buddha Bowl

Health Benefits of Ingredients in my Buddha Bowl

Apples: Promotes digestive health and helps maintain a healthy weight.

Mango: High in vitamin C, which supports immune function and skin health.

Tomatoes: Provides vitamins C and K, essential for immune health and bone strength. They are also high in Lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant.

Vidalia Onions: These contain quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties. There is also fiber in onions which helps support a healthy digestive system.

Blackberries: These beautiful berries are high in fiber and rich in vitamins and antioxidants like vitamins C and K, and anthocyanins, which support immune health and reduce inflammation.

Spring Mix Lettuce: The salad base to this bowl is low in calories and high in nutrients providing vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and fiber in each bite.

Pistachios: Not only are they delicious, but they contain healthy fats and antioxidants that support cardiovascular health. They are also rich in protein, fiber, vitamins B6 and E, potassium, and phosphorus, which are essential for energy production and immune function.

Quinoa: Small but mighty! Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, and has magnesium, iron, and phosphorus, which are essential for bone health and energy production.

Best Buddha Bowl

Why Grain Bowls are So Popular

Grain bowls offer a balanced combination of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) in one meal. Plus, they are completely customizable to whatever fresh fruits and vegetables you have on hand.

Whether you are vegan, gluten-free, or following a specific diet plan, you can create a grain bowl that suits your dietary needs.

The vibrant and colorful presentation of grain bowls makes them highly Instagrammable. Like come on, how pretty is mine?! And it tastes as good as it looks!

Tasty Buddha Bowl

Tips for Building the Perfect Grain Bowl

Combine crunchy, soft, sweet, and savory elements to keep your taste buds engaged. Don’t skimp on herbs, spices, and seasonings. They can transform a simple bowl into a flavor-packed meal. Simply adding sat, pepper and that squeeze of lime juice adding another dimension to my grain bowl.

I started with the salad mix base, then topped with blackberries, tomatoes, quinoa, fat free feta cheese, pistachios, slices of Crunch Pak tart apples, mango and Vidalia onions. I alternated the colors of the fresh produce in the bowl because I think it makes it prettier ๐Ÿ™‚ As I mentioned, I didn’t need any special dressing, I just sprinkled some salt and pepper on my buddha bowl and then squeezed on some fresh lime juice. It was perfection.

Grain bowls are a versatile and practical approach to healthy eating. By combining various nutritious ingredients in a single bowl, they offer a balanced and delicious meal that can be tailored to suit any dietary preference or whatever mood you happen to be in that day. Whether you’re looking for a quick lunch, a post-workout meal, or easy weeknight dinner making a grain bowl is a perfect option.

So, head to Publix, look for those amazing Produce For Kids signs in the produce department and then grab your favorite grains, pile on the toppings, and enjoy the endless possibilities of your grain bowl.

What is one of your favorite Grain Bowl ingredients?

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