One of the easiest prep strategies for building meals that are healthful and balanced is to make the components for grain bowls, but with the portions of the greens and grains reversed. This not only allows you to fit in more veggies, but it also prevents carb overload - all while providing a generously portioned meal that is filling, energizing, and satisfying.
Ready some glass storage contains with lids to fill with your ingredients. The first step is to prep your greens, like kale or collards. Plan for at least two cups per meal. Simply chop a generous portion, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, and massage, using your hands, until the greens are slightly wilted. Transfer to a large container and seal. This will be the base of your reverse grain bowl.
Next, prep some additional veggies. These can be raw, like diced tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, and red onion, or shredded zucchini. They can also be sautéed, grilled, or oven roasted. Aim for at least two additional colors, and at least a half cup per meal.
Prepare some simple grains, which include naturally gluten free options, like brown or wild rice, quinoa, or corn. Plan for a half cup cooked per meal.
Protein is next. This can include plant based choices, like beans, lentils, or chickpeas – about a half cup per meal. Or you may opt for about three ounces per meal of cooked lean animal protein, like browned extra lean ground turkey. For a time saving shortcut buy canned beans, tinned salmon, or ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken. One or two hard boiled eggs is another easy option.
The last step is a finishing sauce. This can include a healthful store bought option, like dairy free pesto or olive tapenade, a semi-premade sauce, like jarred tahini seasoned with added herbs and spices, or a from-scratch choice, like a simple balsamic vinaigrette or creamy pureed avocado sauce.
When you’re ready to eat, pull out your containers. Fill the bottom of a bowl with your greens, add more veggies, top with your grain, then protein. You can warm some of these up if you prefer, or leave them chilled. Drizzle with your finishing sauce and you’re ready to go!
Many of these ingredients require minimal or no prep. And taking some extra time on the weekend to cook some whole grains and fill your containers is well worth the effort. Meal prepping ensures that during the busy work week all you need to do to eat healthfully is grab your components, assemble, and enjoy!
How do you feel about meal prep? Please share some of your favorite ingredients, tips, and healthy dishes.