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 recommended 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. Rather than wait until the new year, I decided (some might say resolved) 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 on a daily basis.
Fortunately, my office is located directly above the produce department of Kowalski’s Markets. Using my appetite as my guide, I began a practice of keeping fresh snacks on my desk all day—some days mangoes, other days grapes, bell peppers or cucumbers—whatever looked good at the time. I naturally found that one of the great things about adding more produce to my diet is that it doesn’t leave room for less beneficial foods. Even though that wasn’t my intention, these days I find myself organically eating less processed food, sweet treats and meat. And I’m okay with that.
At home, Buddha Bowls, chockfull of healthy choices, are now a recurring dinnertime player. Not only are they nutritious and tasty, the components are really 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 actually 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, bringing us all a little closer to meeting that elusive “five a day.”
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 1 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
- Other toppings and garnishes, as desired: chopped fresh herbs, dried herbs and spices, freshly-ground Kowalski's black peppercorns, lemon juice and freshly grated citrus zest
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. ½ cup of beans, tofu and tempeh has the same amount of protein as 1 oz. of meat, poultry or fish.
Rachael Perron, the culinary and brand director for Kowalski’s Markets, specializes in product development and selection, culinary education and communications.