It's February. We've gotten more snow this year than in several years past combined. It's cold and grey and there's not really an end in sight yet. Like many people living in the northeast region, I'm over it. I've found myself turning to comfort foods much more often to warm me up. Bowls are my current go-to because they're filling and you can change them up easily. Here are a few that I've been loving lately:
My latest obsession is the buffalo chicken bowl. To make these I always start with brown rice. To make it super easy we use a rice cooker so a bunch of rice can be made at one time. That way we have it for a few days and it makes life easier. Next I added chicken (another easy time-saving hack is to make a bunch of breasts in a crockpot so you have an abundance for the week). Next comes hot sauce, blue cheese crumbles (I know, you either love it or you hate it. You can always add a little ranch if you'd prefer) and I add chopped spring mix and scallions. If I had them, I would have probably thrown in some chopped tomatoes. The beauty is that you can add whatever you like and omit the things you don't. Fun fact: I think I'm late to the party on this but did you know you can regrow your cut scallions? Those suckers grow super fast! Just stick them in a cup of water and watch them replenish themselves in no time.
Taco bowls are another staple in this apartment. I use ground turkey, brown rice (of course), shredded Mexican cheese, avocado, scallions, salsa, jalapeño, chopped spring mix, and sometimes peppers and onions (pre-chopped, frozen bag to the rescue).
Next up is my ground beef bowl. I always opt for lean ground meats and drain the fat once it's cooked. I add Worcestershire sauce for a totally different flavor, garlic, salt and pepper. The layers for this bowl are brown rice, ground beef, and green beans (I like to buy the frozen french style and heat them up in a pan with garlic, onion powder and chipotle pepper). Are you sensing the theme here? Frozen veggies and bulk-cooking your protein is the way to go if you're short on time!
Another bowl that has been a recently-added hit is the shrimp and pasta bowl. This one is a treat! We use whole wheat pasta, frozen shrimp (I get them raw so I can cook them up myself, I feel they taste better this way) and either spinach or frozen broccoli. I thaw the shrimp and cook in a pan with garlic and a little butter. The flavor is amazing! I cook the frozen veggies and add them to the bowl. There's usually no leftovers of this one so we only have it once a week or so.
Don't be afraid to get creative with your bowls! For the best ratio of macronutrients, make sure you include a protein, a complex carbohydrate (brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, etc.) a fat, and a vegetable of your choice. Be sure to tag me on Instagram @danaleighnutrition if you decide to recreate any of these comfort food bowls, or if you mix up your own! Let's hope the weather warms up soon, and remember to celebrate progress, not perfection.
-Dana Watson, Owner of ThreeSixty Nutrition & Certified Nutrition Coach