Healthy Kitchen Staples Part II: Macro BowlS

As spirited nutritionistas and self-proclaimed “non-chefs”, we’ve perfected the art of easy-to-make eats. And while we admit, Gordon Ramsay probably won’t be calling to employ us anytime soon, we can confidently say that we can hold our own in the kitchen. Because contrary to popular belief, cooking need not be complicated. And everyone, including you, should be able to make a delicious, nutrient dense meal, in less than 20 minutes, that actually leaves you feeling GOOD, not gross, tired or hungry 10 minutes later.

Enter the Macro Bowl - the second healthy kitchen staple (find the first here), every non-chef needs in their healthy recipe repertoire.

Not your average salad

Unlike the admittedly lame salads you see at most dining establishments that leave you feeling hungry almost immediately after (ahem 2 cucumber slices, shredded carrots and a cherry tomato is not a meal…), salads when done right, are actually one of the most satisfying “health foods” out there.

Rabbit food done right

Macro Bowls are nutrient dense, meal-sized salads that hit all your macronutrient (protein, carbs + healthy fat) bases. They leave you feeling good, not tired, light, not lethargic, satisfied, not stuffed, and of course, healthy, not hungry. Plus, like all recipes for the non-chef, they’re ridiculously easy to make.

macro bowl closeup

WHY WE LOVE THEM

In addition to being incredibly nutrient dense and one of the easiest meals on the planet, Macro Bowls are tremendously versatile. Think: one dish many ways, simply by switching up the dressing.

The ingredients

Macro Bowls are made up of 6 main components:
Greens, veggies, protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and dressing.

Greens // Leafy green veggies like kale, spinach, arugula, collards, romaine, swiss chard, mustard greens, dandelion greens, etc. (or a combination) should make up the base of your bowl.

Veggies // While you don’t have to include every vegetable you’ve ever heard of (nor should you), try to make fresh, cooked and fermented veggies the star of the dish. Ideas include: bell peppers, cabbage, zucchini, cucumber, beets, carrots, onions, mushrooms, etc.

Protein // High quality plant protein aids in satiety and prevents energy dips throughout the day. Our top choices are: beans, lentils and legumes, split mung beans and protein dense pseudograins like quinoa (which can also be considered a carb).

Carbohydrates // Complex carbs contain high levels of dietary fiber and provide us with long lasting energy. Think of your carb source as the energy powerhouse that’s fueling your body. Favorites include: grains and pseudograins like quinoa, millet, amaranth, wild rice and buckwheat. *Starchy-veggies like peas, corn and root vegetables like sweet potatoes, and parsnips are also categorized as carbohydrates.

Healthy fats // Again, we’re going for sustainable energy so healthy fat is crucial to keep you full. We like: avocado, hemp seeds, tahini, nut or seed butter-based dressings and high quality olive oil (as well as flax, hemp, and other nut/seed oils).

Dressing // Depending on your choice of healthy fat this might overlap—that’s OK, a swoon-worthy dressing takes any salad bowl over the top. Our go-to dressing is 1⁄2 avocado, combined with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt (blitzed in the food processor). Other great options include: a scoop or two of your favorite hummus, fresh salsa or guacamole.

Optional add-ons // Don’t overlook your add-ons. Even small ingredients can totally transform a dish. Think fresh or dried herbs and spices, a splash of citrus, kelp/dulse granules and flakes for added iodine and minerals, nutritional yeast, etc.

macro bowl.JPG

The directions:

1. Grab a large mixing bowl.

2. Pick your base. Our bowls usually start with 1 - 2 handfuls of fresh or steamed greens.

3. Add in 1/2 - 1 cup cooked grain per serving.

4. Pack in 1/2 - 1 cup high quality plant protein.

5. Load it with veggies. Again, although you don’t have to include every vegetable you’ve ever heard of (nor should you), vegetables (both raw and cooked), should be the star of the dish.

6. Add in heart healthy fat.

7. Add your dressing along with any additional add-ons.

Note: The amounts listed above are for 1 serving, however, Macro Bowls are great for the family. To make multiple servings, use a larger bowl and up the amounts.

there are greens under that veggie pile

Make it easy

1. Prep your main ingredients beforehand.

Remember this post? Don’t start from zero. Prep your main ingredients beforehand. Batch cook your grains, beans or lentils, dressing, and/or roast some sweet potatoes so they’re ready to go when you’re ready to eat. Batch cooking makes it much easier to throw together a satisfying lunch you can take to work.

2. Utilize what’s already in the fridge.

Leftovers? Perfect. Use them in your bowls. We love topping Macro Bowls with leftover veggie burgers.

3. Make it your own.

Switch and swap ingredients, use your favorite dressing and put your own deliciously unique spin on it. By varying the ingredients, spices and herbs, you can create tons of different dishes and flavors, and have a new dish every day of the week.

Need some kitchen inspiration? Check out Jess’ go-to Macro Bowl here in her dinner-time daily eats.

For more recipes for the non-chef and healthy eating tips check out Nourished By Nature, our 14-day guide to living whole, eating well, feeling amazing, and making plants taste really f*%king good.

Your turn. Show us your creations! Take a pic of your Macro Bowl and tag us on instagram at @thedailyalchemy using the hashtag: #thedailyalchemy, so we can see and like your photo! Leave your feedback in the comment section below.

Life is good when food is good. And today, it’s really really good.

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**This post is part of our month long Back To Basics series. If you're just catching up:
1. Back to basics - An introduction
2. Food shopping made easy
3. Meal prep 101
4. Healthy eating IRL - An inside look at what we eat on a daily basis
5. Kitchen staples - How to make the perfect smoothie

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