Previously called the grain bowl, buddha bowls came into vogue in the last year or two. Interestingly, Buddhist monks are known to focus more on the timing of their eating rather than what they eat and have been known to eat from a bowl (hence the name). Only eating during a set time of day allowed them to focus more on their daily practices to be in touch with their emotions through meditation and mindful eating practices. This kind of eating is just how many practices intermittent fasting (IF) today. I love to hear this because IF is such a great way to eat and manage your hormones, mental clarity, weight, and your overall health.
The idea with buddha bowls is to keep it simple. They are not meant to be this complex undertaking. Buddhist monks often ate what was available to them. I love this idea because sometimes we make eating healthy so complex. We think we have to know all the right foods to eat and in all the right ways. Do I eat meat, no meat? Carbs or no carbs? Our focus on food becomes all consuming and we end up feeling frustrated and end up either being super restrictive or throw in the towel and just eat all the things. Letting go of the focus on food and just eating in a certain window is a pretty natural way to eat. When you think of our history, this was commonplace way more than it is today. Our ancestors didn’t have food available to them all day, every day. They ate at certain times and from what was available. Just in the last century have we been able to just grab what we want, when we want it, which actually has not benefited our health in many ways.
The Buddha bowl is generally a hearty, healthy, simple mix of hot and cold ingredients such as grains like quinoa, or brown rice; a variety of vegetables, greens like spinach or kale, proteins like eggs, or chicken, and sometimes nuts or seeds. If you are not a fan of quinoa or brown rice, you can use rice noodles or simply leave it out. Whatever you desire. Many of these recipes include a dressing of sorts as well which really can bring some additional flavors. However, I’ve had them with and without dressing. Often the fresh ingredients, especially as you add healthy fats like avocado to the mix, are just as tasty on their own.
I have been loving the Buddha bowls because I find eating fresh ingredients and just making meals easy is super satisfying. Maybe it’s the yummy mix of flavors that fill the bowl, or the fact that they fill me up and I’m eating healthy makes are love them all the more. Maybe because they are super easy to make as you can toss just about anything in them.
To construct your own buddha bowl follow these easy steps:
- Choose a healthy green (eg; kale, spinach, boy choy, etc..)
- Choose a protein (eg; egg, chicken, salmon, etc…)
- Choose a healthy fat (eg; avocado, extra virgin olive oil, etc..)
- Choose a healthy grain (eg; quinoa, couscous, brown rice, etc…)
- Choose some vegetables to add. Eat them raw or roast them and toss in (eg; sweet potato, red pepper, mushrooms, etc…..)
One of my favorites is to include spinach, grains like quinoa, sweet potato, avocado, and egg.
The recipe below is full of healthy nutrition, flavor, and ease. In fact, my whole family loved it, even my picky eaters!
Spinach and Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 sweet potato
- 1/2 cup Quinoa, cooked
- 1/4 cup red onion, sliced
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 poached egg
- Sea salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
Quinoa and Spinach
Sweet Potato, Red Onion
Avocado and Egg
- 1 avocado
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 2 limes, freshly squeezed
Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth.
Try eating during a certain window of time during the day and let the focus be to fuel your body. Allow yourself to feel other emotions you are having during that day without needing to reach for food to cover them up. Being healthy doesn’t have to be complicated.