Today’s post is contributed by GMM Registered Dietitian and Community Wellness Rep, Rachel Stroud
It is safe to say that cooking is the most therapeutic thing in the world to me. Except for possibly grocery shopping.
After a long day of working, juggling schedules, clients, and partners – my mind racing every which way at any possible moment – I ache for my kitchen. Everything feels still there. The colors of fresh fruits and veggies. The sound of sizzling oil in a pan. The feeling of running a sharp knife through an onion and tossing it into a hot pan, the accumulating scent of savory flavor filling the kitchen air. It’s like a warm cozy blanket for my senses.
I’d love to tell you that I spend hours each night standing over the stove, tossing spices and presenting beautiful meals to my fiancée and closest friends. But let’s be honest, I don’t.
It might happen once every couple weeks. Twice on a good week.
Most of the time, I’m dashing into the house, whipping open the refrigerator and hoping that some reheatable gourmet meal is magically waiting for me to toss it in the microwave and save me from having to figure out something quick, healthy, and low maintenance to make in 2 minutes.
(Side note: Good Measure Meals is perfect in those sorts of situations. See what I did there??)
But on weeks where I don’t have GMM to be my saving-grace-magic-dinner-fairy, my go-to meals are what I call “bowls,” or at least that’s what they have been dubbed by those I most commonly feed.
These “bowls” are healthy meals I can whip up in about 10-20 minutes, toss in a bowl, and call it a night. Here’s how the Bowl magic happens:
1) Starch – Pick a starch, any starch. Rice, quinoa, cous cous, faro, and potatoes are my most frequent go-to’s. My ideal situation is when I happen to make a grain earlier in the week and have the forethought to make a double batch so that I have some handy leftovers.
2) Protein – Chicken, lean beef, ground turkey, or my very favorite: a poached egg with runny yolk. If you’re low on meat/eggs, go for quinoa, our favorite handy-dandy grain-like starch that contains all your essential amino acids. Or, plop a hefty spoonful of your favorite beans on top. The protein options are plentiful. And don’t forget about cheese! Let’s be honest, cheese makes everything better. Just make sure to think about using cheese as a seasoning rather than a main attraction to keep those portion sizes in check.
3) Veggie – Veggies, galore! Toss them in a pan with oil to sauté, or spread them on parchment in a 400 degree oven for that roasted flavor. Shoot for a couple colors in your bowl. In a pinch, salsa will work for some of those veggie effects, but opt for freshly prepared when you can. Kale, spinach, onions, peppers, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, broccoli, and avocado are my mainstays.
4) MISC – sometimes I like toasted nuts or herbs in my bowl as well for a zing. Lest you think I plan these things out with great forethought, typically I just grab whatever I have leftover or is about to spoil: garlic, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, and thyme give a little extra flavor and look like the finishing touch on your mound of delicious and nutritious bowl ingredients.
Voila! Did you know healthy could be that easy? AND tasty?! “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” is the 2014 theme for National Nutrition Month this March (that’s now!). Healthy meals should taste delicious, and the good news is that you don’t have to take hours of slaving over a stove to prepare them (especially when you order GMM!).
Some of my go-to bowl combinations are:
• Quinoa (or brown rice), black beans, feta cheese, salsa, avocado
• Quinoa, onion, sweet potato, kale, pesto, toasted pecans, avocado, goat cheese (compliments of my own rendition of this Real Simple recipe)
• Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes, kale, white cheddar, scrambeled eggs, cherry tomatoes, parsley
• Faro, brussel sprouts, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, dash of balsamic vinegar & maple syrup, avocado, topped with a poached egg (my spin on this Cookie&Kate recipe)