01 Mar Power Bowls 101
by Will Lamont
One trend that is taking over the pages of food blogs, columns and even the menus of top restaurants is the power bowl. This hearty but nutritious dish packs a wallop of health and goodness, all in a one-bowl meal perfect for homemade lunches and more.
Check out thrive360’s power bowls:
The components of a healthy power bowl:
Follow this general formula to power-pack your bowl with delicious nutrition and taste:
Vegetables and fruits – 50%
Whole grains – 25%
Protein – 25%
Sauce – 2 tablespoons (to taste)
Extra toppings – 2 tablespoons (optional)
Vegetables and Fruits — If you want to pack as much nutrition into your bowl as possible, make sure half is made up of vegetables and fruits. You’ll be giving your body extra fibre, a boost of antioxidants, and a litany of other wonderful things. Whether raw, roasted or sautéed, these foods are an essential part of any good power bowl.
Whole grains — The health benefits of whole grains are many. Brown rice is a great choice, but if you want to keep it Canadian, use a cup of cooked barley. Barley is a hearty super grain and provides you with plenty of fibre and even has its very own health claim from Health Canada. Sorghum is another up and coming grain to try out. Or go wild and try some Canadian wild rice or quinoa (yes, we do grow some in our home and native land).
Protein — Protein puts the power in power bowls. Of course, while some leftover steak or chicken will work just fine, you can also try fish or seafood. Your heart will love the omega-3 fats in fish. Cook up salmon or shrimp, or open a can of sardines for a heart-healthy salad topper. If you are looking for plant-based protein, a half cup of lentils or chickpeas will do the trick and give you a hefty dose of fibre to keep you fueled until your next mea
The dressing or sauce — Everyone has their favourite sauce or dressing that they use when making salads or stir-frys. While store-bought sauces make things extra quick and easy, make sure you read the label and you’re not dousing your power bowl with a ton of extra sugar or salt. If you want to make your own dressing, check out some of our suggestions. Also try making a simple homemade pesto – simply throw some fresh herbs and garlic in canola oil and blend.
Extra fun add-ons — If you want to add a little extra crunch or flavour, top your bowl with some dried fruit or a handful of your favourite nut or seed. Throwing on some fresh herbs always adds a great finish. Add some interesting flavour as well as some prebiotics to your meal by including something pickled or fermented, such as kimchee, pickled onions or sauerkraut.
Time Saving Power Bowl Hacks
- Get roasting. When you have a half hour, roast a tray of your favourite veggies on a baking tray with a bit of canola oil. Roast until tender, and then seal in airtight container for up to three days.
- Make friends with frozen veg. Keep a few bags of frozen veggie mixes in your freezer for a quick thaw and cook. Frozen veggies contain just as much nutrients as fresh ones and can make a bowl come together in no time. If you can’t get fresh, frozen is your friend.
- Make-ahead grains. Take an hour and cook your grain of choice in water or broth. Then divvy up the pot into individually sized serving portions and pop them in the freezer. When you’re ready to make a bowl with a barley base, grab the container from the freezer, thaw and reheat.
- Stop the chop. Of course in a perfect world, doing meal prep we slice, dice and chop our veggies however we want. But sometimes we just don’t have the time. If you’re caught in a time bind, grab some pre-cut veggies or slaw from the produce section. You can get almost anything now in pre-chopped packages. Just open and pour.
- Win with tin. Who doesn’t love a perfectly grilled fillet of fish, or an oven-baked fresh salmon. We definitely do. But don’t feel like your copping out if you grab canned fish instead. Canned tuna goes great on a power bowl and gives you lots of protein. At thrive360 we love using canned salmon and canned sardines. These two fish contain so much heart healthy omega-3s you’ll have your taste buds and your heart thanking you for this food hack.