Buddha Bowls - Simplify your meals ... become a bowl eater.
Buddha bowls have been trending for a couple years now. And, as the number of vegans continues to grow, it's only natural that the number of eaters embracing the practice of bowl-eating will increase as well. Bowl-eating is a good way to bring our eating to an intentional level through mindfulness.
That said, I'd like to be able to tell you that the name Buddha bowl comes from some aspect of Buddhism, and as such it will make your eating experience more meaningful, but I think that's not quite true.
According to Dan Zigmond and Terra Cottrell who wrote Buddha's Diet, "Buddha woke up before dawn every morning and carried his bowl through the roads or paths where he was staying. Local people would place food in the bowl as a donation, and at the end of the day he would eat whatever he had been given." Simple as that and not very life-changing. So, I'm not telling you this to suggest that you should carry your bowl around the neighborhood expecting neighbors to fill it up, but the bowl idea is a good one to remind us to keep our eating simple and to be mindful of loading the bowl for well-rounded nourishment.
So, how will you fill your bowl?
You can fill your bowl anyway you want with anything you want. For example, fill it with raw veggies and throw a little dressing on it and what do you have? A salad , right?
That's the easy way. Here, I'm talking about the advantage of a little more planning than that; but, the concept is not overly complicated. Your bowl can be as simple or as fancy as you want. The point is to fill it with a variety of foods from the protein, carbohydrate, and healthy fat categories to ensure you get everything you need.
Some people don't use their bowl for breakfast. Rather they just have fruit or a grain. I do that part of the time as well. But most of the time, I have a breakfast bowl similar to the one pictured here. I choose a grain, top it with fruit, and sprinkle in some flax seeds.
I never grow tired of it and, for me, it's a good thing to have no decisions in the morning. There's no reason, however, to stick to the traditional breakfast foods. If you want something else for breakfast. Go for it. The Breakfast Police won't come after you.
Lunch and dinner bowls
For lunch and dinner, my bowls are filled with a variety of ingredients, divided into sections, and sprinkled with seeds and a drizzle of dressing.
I fill my bowl deliberately. So I, most often, get something from all the categories. It's too tedious for me to keep track of nutrients for every meal, but I figure if I eat a variety and hit the right categories, I'll do okay.
For example, I might fill my bowl as follows:
Greens. First, I line the bottom of the bowl with raw (or sometimes cooked) greens, such as spinach or kale.
Beans. For protein and fiber, put a pile of red beans, black beans, chick peas, edamame, etc., in the bowl.
Cruciferous Vegetable. Next to the beans, add a cruciferous vegetable, such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Bok choy, etc.
Other Veggies. Next add as many other veggies as you want (or can fit), such as sweet potato, carrots, mushrooms, onions, etc. Roast them with your favorite spices.
Grains. On days I don't have grains for breakfast, I add a small amount of a grain, such as quinoa, whole wheat pasta, or barley, etc.
Fat. Top your bowl with a couple slices of avocado if you like and some nuts and seeds. All have good omega-3 fatty acids.
You can dress your bowl with a drizzle of whatever dressing you enjoy. Use just enough to add to the flavor of those wonderful ingredients.
Advantages of bowl eating
- With an endless choice of possible ingredients, I never grow tired of my meals.
- Bowls give you an opportunity to chew and work for your dinner. That allows time for your meal to hit your appetite sensors and send you the message when you are full. And eating more slowly keeps your glucose from spiking.
- Filling your bowl systematically will ensure that you eat a variety of foods with many nutrients, giving you the advantages you want from your food.
- If you do your meal prep ahead, you'll have ingredients ready and save cooking time and save time with cleaning up after.
So, set aside a favorite bowl and have a great time loading it.