Practice of the Month: Make Your Own Balanced Bowl

By Carly Smith, BS, MPH(c) 

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Making a bowl that has a mix of veggies, protein, grains, and fats can ensure you’re eating a meal that has balanced nutrition. While the specific ingredients can be changed to fit your personal preferences, below is the basic structure Nutrition Scientist Marily Oppezzo, PhD uses to create her own bowls:

1. Make your bowl half vegetables:

  • Either raw or cooked, make vegetables the base of your bowl. While the exact measurement will depend on the size of your bowl, you can aim for roughly 1 – 2 cups of veggies.

2. Add your preferred protein:

  • On top of your vegetables, add about ½ cup chicken, fish, tofu, or beans of choice.

3. Throw in some salad greens:

  • In addition to your vegetables, throw in about 2 – 3 cups of your favorite leafy greens. This is a great way to increase the volume of your bowl without losing control of the total amount of calories.

4. Be wary of dressings:

  • Limit dressings and vinaigrettes to only 2 – 3 tablespoons as the primary ingredient is often sugar. As an alternative to traditional dressing, try adding some salsa or a drizzle of olive oil with some lemon.

5. Personalize your bowl:

  • This is the fun part! You can control the flavor of your bowl by topping it with fresh herbs, fruit, whole grains, avocado, and/or a handful of nuts and seeds. You may also want to add a scoop of pickled veggies or 1-2 hard-boiled eggs.

With time, creating your favorite bowl mixtures will become intuitive. Until then, we have prepared a graphic that you can screenshot or print to help you plan your bowls.

How to Enter: “Make Your Own Balanced Bowl” Contest!

-> Create your own Balanced Bowl

-> Write the title of your bowl (which includes your name, like “Sharon’s Super Salmon Bowl”) on an index card

-> Take a birds-eye-view photo of your bowl and title

-> Post the photo to your Instagram and/or Facebook page or story

-> Tag your photo @StanfordLifestyleMedicine

(Alternatively, you may email the photo to [email protected] to enter the       contest)

-> We will feature all the bowls on our Instagram and Facebook stories and select the BEST BOWL during the week leading up to the Super Bowl!