What's a grain bowl and why do you need one? They are all the rage in Los Angeles, but that's not why you need one. Grain bowls are the perfect solution for your week's food preparation. They are an easy way to get your nutrients, even when you're too tired to cook.
Grain bowls are filling, nutritious, and portable. Prepare some basic ingredients on Sunday, and you will have ready to go meals for most of the week. In this post, I'll show you some basic steps and then set you free to customize your own grain bowl.
Grains have cancer-protective ingredients. For those of you who insist on deleting carbohydrates from your life, you may missing out on important B vitamins found in grains such as brown rice or the wheat bran in whole wheat. For example, inositol is only found in plant foods, among them bran, rye, and wheat. Inositol, a phytic acid, is a phytonutrient, a category of antioxidants found in plants ("phytic" means plant). According to the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) , inositol is the focus of studies in cancer prevention.
Whole grains are also rich in fiber, associated with a reduced risk for colorectal cancer. Fiber is known to improve gut health, and build a strong immunity.
You don't need a lot of grains to fill up your grain bowl. One-quarter cup to half-cup, depending on your hunger level, is all you need for your grain bowl. Here are the steps to build your nutritious and tasty grain bowls for the week.
Cook up a batch of grains for the week. Think brown rice, oats, or buckwheat. Want something exotic? Try farro, spelt, or freekeh.
Use raw or cooked vegetables. Try raw spinach, carrots, or tomatoes for color. Roast some sweet potatoes or mushrooms for additional cancer protective foods.
Add beans for more fiber. Roast a cup of chickpeas with spices, or cook up some barley. Canned beans are a great option and contain the same nutrient profile as soaked and cooked beans.
Now you need some crunch. For vegetables, use sugar snap peas or fennel thinly sliced. Or add pepitas (pumpkin seeds), nuts such as walnuts or toasted almonds, or fresh peppers.
Top it off with washed fresh herbs and spices, such as basil, rosemary, ginger, sesame seeds, or parsley. Or use dried herbs.
To assemble each bowl, layer a portion of grains and beans. Cube your vegetables as needed and add to the bowl. Place the cooked vegetables, then sprinkle nuts and seeds, followed by a final layer of spices and herbs. Using this method, you'll have less waste, and use up the fresh produce in your refrigerator.
Enjoy your nutrient-rich grain bowl, and be prepared for whatever the week brings. If you're looking for other portable ideas, try mason jar lunches. Concerned about protein? See the best protein sources to replace meat.