Food for Thought: Power bowl lunches

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier Extension District

One of the hottest food trends for 2016 are meals in a bowl – power bowls. Complex carbohydrates, nutrient dense vegetables, high-quality protein and heart-healthy dressings will put your hunger to rest.

A power bowl is simply a bowl filled with a balanced variety of clean, natural, unprocessed foods. Start with a moderate to large-sized bowl – a wooden, bamboo or ceramic bowl works. Line the bowl with a layer of greens (spinach, kale, etc.), fill with your choice of veggies, whole grains or legumes, nuts, seeds, and a healthy protein source. It’s like eating all five ChooseMyPlate serving groups in one bowl.

Protein should be lean meat, fish, poultry, lentils, edamame or beans. Buddha (vegetarian) bowls use plant proteins like quinoa or lentils with a variety of vegetables.

foodforthoughtA combination of protein and fiber-rich carbohydrates will fill you up and keep your energy levels high. So the next ingredient could be one of the ancient grains – quinoa, amaranth, millet, or lentils and beans. There are so many beans to choose from – adzuki beans, black, cannellini beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lima beans, mung beans, navy beans, or pinto beans. Roasted sweet potatoes are another good source of slowly digested starch that’s loaded with phytonutrients.

Be liberal with the veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips, carrots, and radishes. Roast the vegetables to bring out their natural sweetness.

Top the veggies off with a sprinkling of nuts and seeds for some crunchiness. You can add a hint of sweet with some blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or dried cranberries.

For a finished power bowl, choose a homemade dressing for that burst of flavor. Make basic vinaigrette of 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar (or other vinegar), 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt and spices of your choice. Mix ingredients and refrigerate.

Some power bowl suggestions:

  • Chopped salad with cucumber, tomato, celery, kidney beans, shrimp and seed crackers.
  • Spinach, peppers, cucumber tomatoes, olives, roasted chickpeas, raw sunflower seeds, green onion, and fresh basic with balsamic lime dressing.
  • Spinach, kale, chard, red peppers, red cabbage, beet kraut, hemp seeds with spicy tahini sauce.
  • Tuna with spring mix, red cabbage, avocado, celery, red onion, Fuji apple, and lime juice.
  • Peppers, onion, Japanese sweet potatoes, sundried tomatoes, avocado, green goddess dressing, and sesame seeds.

Black Bean Burrito Bowl – serves 8

4 15-ounce cans of whole black beans and liquid
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 cups uncooked rice, white or brown
sliced red cabbage
ripe avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
fresh tomato salsa
queso fresco Mexican farmer’s cheese (goat cheese, ricotta, feta)
sour cream

Simmer black beans and liquid with cumin and garlic powder for a few minutes to heat beans through. Take off heat and add cilantro. Cook rice. To construct burrito bowl, place a serving of cooked rice on bottom of bowl. Top with black beans. Add thinly sliced cabbage, chopped avocados, chopped cilantro, queso fresco and sour cream.


2016_nancy_schusterNancy Schuster is a Frontier Extension District family and consumer science agent whose responsibilities include providing information about food safety, nutrition, food science and food preparation. She is based in the Garnett office of the Frontier Extension District and can be reached at 785-448-6826 or email [email protected].

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