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St. Joseph's Health Centre Toronto

Looking for lunch? Try building a bowl

lunch bowlHave you had a bowl for lunch this week? This popular dish is trending as the new go-to for a midday meal, offering a customizable approach that’s convenient and quick to prepare. You can get it ready the night before using leftovers and increase your vitamin intake by packing it with healthy foods including high-fibre foods like beans, whole grains such as barley and protein like grilled chicken, eggs or tofu. A lunch bowl can also help you towards meeting Canada’s Food Guide recommendations for all four food groups. With over 1,000 combinations of lunch bowls to try, they will never be a boring option!

Use this quick guide from our dietitian Ashley Mendes to help you make one for tomorrow’s lunch.

Step 1: Start with a base.
Get your greens. Begin with two cups of leafy green veggies such as romaine lettuce, kale, spring mix, arugula or spinach. 

Step 2: Add the good stuff.
Add 1-2 item(s) from each food category: 

  • Fruit and vegetables (1/2 cup to 1 cup of any fruit and vegetable combination):
    • grapes/ strawberries/ blueberries/mandarin oranges
    • dried cranberries/raisins/apricots
    • avocados/grated carrots/cucumbers/mushrooms/peppers
    • leftover roasted vegetables (sweet potato/zucchini/eggplant/pepper) 
  • Protein:
    • 1-2 eggs
    • ½ can low sodium tuna or salmon
    • grilled chicken/steak
    • Legumes: ¾ cup chickpeas/black beans/kidney beans/pinto beans/lentils
    • Nuts: ¼ cup almonds/brazil nuts/walnuts/cashews/soy nuts
    • Seeds: ¼ cup pumpkin seeds/sunflower seeds/sesame seeds
    • Cheese: 50g light cheese/feta/crumbled goat cheese/bocconcini 
  • Grains:
    • ½ cup quinoa/brown rice/buckwheat/millet/amaranth/whole wheat pasta/farro/wild rice/couscous/barley 

Step 3: Make a dressing.
Mix 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp vinegar (balsamic/apple cider/wine vinegar) with your favourite herbs and spices (oregano/fresh basil/lemon juice/black pepper/garlic powder)

You can also use tahini sauce or yogurt dressing/hot sauce/siracha sauce/hummus.

Step 4: Assemble.
Add dressing to your bowl and lunch is served!

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