If These Don’t Bowl You Over

As a mom of four, meal planning can be tough. Is it healthy, will the kids eat it, how much prep is involved—these things always go through my mind when deciding exactly what to eat.

Enter in—buddha bowls, grain bowls, salad—whatever you want to call it. In short, my favorite dinner to prep, eat and serve to my littles has been a variety of bowls and I’m hoping by sharing with you, I’ll spark some creativity (not to mention, awesome nutrition and tastiness) in your house.

When putting together these bowls, I typically don’t use a recipe, but I have looked for inspiration on Pinterest to guide me if need be (like how to season the meat for instance). The key parts of my bowls are protein, veggies, and healthy carbohydrates—these three things create a well balanced meal that fuels and fills me (and the fam). For the littles, I usually separate their food out, because, you know, they like the simple life and the thought of sweet potatoes touching their rice is just not acceptable.


All the time you are hearing you need more protein, but protein goes beyond your typical hearty meats. Plant based proteins such as lentils, quinoa, chickpeas, beans, nuts, and edamame are healthful options for your bowls that can take the place of meat, while being delicious and providing good amounts of protein.


This is the beauty of bowls, you pick what you love. You’ll notice a cauliflower, sweet potato trend in the following meals, and that’s because they’re a favorite around here. Veggies that are also high in protein are leafy greens like kale, broccoli, and mushrooms. But choose what you love. Roasting is the easiest way to cook your veggies—a little olive oil, salt, 400 degrees, and you’re golden.

Healthy Carbohydrates

This dietitian loves carbohydrates—the good ones. They keep me fuller longer and provide me with lots of good fiber. Adding those to your bowls will ensure you don’t go hungry and also provide good health benefits. In our house, we do more brown rice than quinoa and the reason behind that is quite honestly, the clean up for quinoa when you have toddlers is a nightmare. I usually save my quinoa for restaurants—that’s what tipping is for, right? Aside from quinoa and brown rice, sweet potatoes, oats, beans, and buckwheat are some other healthy carbs you can add to your tasty bowls.


Next time you’re planning your meals for a week, I dare you to make a bowl. Put a little bit of this and that in there, just make sure you’re getting some good protein and fiber, with a lot of veggies. You can’t go wrong with all your favorites and I think you’ll be surprised to see your kids loving all the options, too. I have provided you with recipes I used for inspo, and if there isn’t one then I completely winged it. Bon Appetit mamas!


Korean Beef Bowl: https://www.cookingclassy.com/korean-beef-bowls/

Asparagus, kale coleslaw, onions, brown rice, sriracha
Vegan: use seasoned cauliflower instead of beef
Kids: make a “sloppy joe” out of the meat, adding a bun is way more fun; serve asparagus and rice on side; add fruit
Healthful tip: use lean (90/10) beef, turkey, or chicken


Cauliflower Rice Bowl

Seasoned cauliflower, mixed greens, tomatoes, brown rice, hummus, chickpeas
Vegan: check check
Kids: To be honest, this was a dinner just for myself after the kids went to bed; they probably would go hungry
Healthful tip: using hummus instead of dressing provides protein and less fat

Peach Summer Salad: https://damndelicious.net/2019/07/28/rosemary-chicken-and-peach-salad/

Peaches, balsamic chicken, cauliflower, red onions, sweet potatoes, avocadoes, corn, cherry tomatoes, leafy greens
Vegan: omit chicken
Kids: my littles loved this; I separated all the toppings and chicken out on their plates and they ate everything (no onions or lettuce)
Healthful tip: make a homemade balsamic dressing to give this dish even more flavor

Deconstructed Burger Bowl: https://40aprons.com/loaded-burger-bowls-whole30-paleo-low-carb/

Romaine, beef, tomatoes, pickles, onions, frozen fries (seriously!)
Vegan: use black beans or a black bean burger
Kids: Put the meat on some buns and make them a sloppy burger with a small side salad
Healthful tip: Use lean beef and using spinach instead of romaine is an even better choice

Korean Beef Bowl: https://realsimplegood.com/korean-beef-bowl/

Carrots, Brussel sprouts, brown rice, seasoned beef, sriracha “fake” mayo
Vegan: use seasoned cauliflower instead of beef
Kids: make a “sloppy joe” out of the meat, adding a bun is way more fun; serve carrots, Brussels, and rice on the side, add fruit
Healthful tip: use lean (90/10) beef, turkey, or chicken; use Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise

Taco Salad

Romaine, taco meat, peppers and onions, brown rice, corn
Vegan: use taco seasoned cauliflower and black beans instead of beef
Kids: make some tacos or quesadillas and serve veggies on the side
Healthful tip: add black beans and use lean beef
Egg Roll Bowl: https://40aprons.com/whole30-egg-roll-bowl-paleo/
Seasoned ground chicken, coleslaw mix, cauliflower, brown rice
Vegan: omit chicken, or use tofu or alternative
Kids: mine love this mixture over rice so I serve it just like this with cauliflower and fruit on the side
Healthful tip: use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce

Greek Bowl

Quinoa, roasted chickpeas, chicken, sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, coconut milk Tzatziki
Vegan: omit chicken
Kids: give them the chicken with some Tzatziki for dipping, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and cucumbers, and quinoa on the side
Healthful tip: use Greek yogurt or coconut milk for your Tzatziki, use chicken breast vs chicken thighs