food

MEAL PREP: Buddha bowl how-to + chocolate ‘n spinach nice cream {{vegan}}

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To be perfectly honest, I have been procrastinating on posting. It seems paltry to write about nutrition and health in the light of so many recent tragedies. Combine the anxiety of current events along with physical fatigue and emotional stress and you get… well, me in this very moment wearing sweatpants and wishing I could already be in bed before 8 PM. But talking about recovery and overall health are the ways I can help heal the world, even if my empath side craves to save everyone and everything in existence. And how useful am I to others if I can’t fully help myself?

Let me be slightly less dramatic and heavy by clarifying that I’m not doing poorly but rather, I am very aware that I could be doing better in some areas of my life. The primary one being my eating habits. In the past week, I subconsciously replaced vegetables and whole grains with Hostess Christmas tree cakes and Starbucks. And I can’t resist a glass of eggnog as soon as Halloween is over. It’s apparently a very common mistake of beginning marathon trainers to overeat in comparison to calories actually burned. And I was definitely feeling it. So this week, I prescribed myself whole foods, strength training, and veggies galore. Enter the Buddha bowl AKA the new Mason jar salad.IMG_4647Nicknamed affectionately for the tummy one allegedly gets after consuming, this is basically just a lunch bowl with a variety of foods to satisfy an array of your nutritional needs. It’s certainly nothing new on a global scale and both so simple and easy that I’ve been kicking myself for just now trying it. The best part? Endless possibilities. Endless combinations. What goes in? Anything your hungry little heart desires.IMG_4650The typical formula is as follows (along with a few examples to get your brain churning and stomach grumbling):

  1. Grains/starches: quinoa, rice, rice noodles, barley, couscous, sweet potatoes, pasta, millet, farro.
  2. Greens: spinach, kale, chard, lettuce, cabbage.
  3. Proteins: Chickpeas, red beans, black beans, ALL THE BEANS, tofu, tempeh, almonds, pumpkin seeds.
  4. Veggies: Broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes, beets, peas, avocado, onion, bell peppers, radishes.
  5. Dressing: Tahini-based (like this recipe from In It 4 the Long Run) seems to be the favorite amongst food blogs but any will do!
  6. Toppings: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, sriracha, chia seeds, fresh herbs, lemon or lime juice.

IMG_4651My lunch bowls ended up becoming a mix of this recipe from Minimalist Baker (my favorite food blog) and this one from I Will Not Eat Oysters for both dressings. They include (from the bottom up):

  • quinoa made with shallots, garlic, and chicken broth
  • kale and sweet potatoes roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • shoestrings beets and chickpeas dressed in a lemon-olive oil dressing
  • shredded carrots
  • tahini-dressing
  • fresh parsley
  • and the late addition of roasted pepitas

IMG_4646While this was delicious warmed up for the first two meals, I quickly learned that Buddha bowls may not be the best for a weekly meal prep, at least not with everything thrown together all at once. The eventually unpleasant texture of the cooked kale was the most strident lesson in this endeavor but I’m still eager to experiment with other ingredients in the future.

Next time, I’ll use fresh (rather than frozen) greens and wait to layer them in at the last moment. The pepitas (which I had never tried before last night) will now be a salad staple for me, both for taste and added texture. And although I’ve historically resisted the quinoa craze, cooking in flavored broth with garlic and shallots actually, miraculously, easily made it enjoyable for me. If you’re following a plant-based diet, veggie broth will do just fine! And now for both the plant-based or otherwise foodie… ice cream.IMG_4649Or as the Insta-famous health gurus call it: nice cream, both for the shortening of “nana ice cream” and the fact that it’s completely cruelty-free. Like Buddha bowls, the flavor and topping combinations are endless. Simply cut up a few bananas (the riper they are, the sweeter your nice cream will be), pop them in the freezer overnight, let thaw for about 15 minutes in the morning, throw them nanas in your blender or food processor with some fixin’s, then let that baby whir until you’ve got your custom made nice cream for breakfast. Yes, breakfast. And because you’re an adult, your ice-cream-for-breakfast is going to have some veggies.IMG_4652

At least, that’s what I do in one of my favorite nice cream recipes. The past few mornings, I’ve combined 2 frozen bananas, 1/2 cup of frozen spinach (full cup if you’re going fresh, which I think is far easier to blend), 1/4 cup of almond milk, 2 chopped Medjool dates, and 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa. Then topped with a 1/2 tablespoon of chia seeds and some fresh raspberries… yes, please. Tomorrow I’ll be throwing in another banana and a tablespoon or two of peanut butter in there to make it a more substantial standalone breakfast. Remember those endless possibilities? Fresh fruit, coconut flakes, buckwheat, almond butter- I believe in you to follow your dairy-free dreams, kids. If you want some further inspiration, the #nanaicecream tag on Instagram will give you more than enough.
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Had any adventures with nice cream or Buddha bowls before? How many servings of vegetables do you think you can hide underneath the magic of frozen bananas? How much would you judge me if you knew I was listening to a Lifetime movie made from the Flowers in the Attic series? (That’s completely hypothetical, of course.) Let me know in the comments below!

 

Be kind. Live authentically. Practice gratitude. Hustle daily. Work hard. Stay humble.

DISCLAIMER:

This is a personal blog. As the creator, I may mention, discuss, and review products but I have not been paid or sponsored for any of my opinions. My opinions reflect only my personal feelings and experiences, unless otherwise specified. I do not claim copyright on any of the shown products. Any media, writing, or other website content published is created and owned by the author, unless otherwise specified.

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One thought on “MEAL PREP: Buddha bowl how-to + chocolate ‘n spinach nice cream {{vegan}}

  1. I’ve never known it was called a Buddha Bowl but I make weird combinations like this all the time for my weekly meal prep. I love that name & all those ideas! Do you make a lot of your own dressings? I really want to learn how to make simple but delicious salad dressings (esp a vegetarian caesar). This all looks AMAZING.

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