How to build a better bowl

Good and gorgeous: Nourish bowls are so much more than a salad.

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(Photo: iStock)

Gorgeous nourish bowls are so much more than a salad. Also known as “abundance bowls”, these popular meals give you a bounty of plant foods in one dish. They make a great healthy choice when eating out, and are quick and easy to make at home too. There’s no need for a recipe and they’re perfect for leftovers or any extra veggies you might have—just build a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, greens, other vegetables and healthy fats.

Build the perfect nourish bowl in six easy steps:

Step 1 – Start with a base of good quality carbohydrates. Look for wholegrain options like brown or wild rice, quinoa or soba noodles, as these tend to be low GI and give you longer-lasting energy.

Step 2 – Top your base with 2-3 cups of salad greens for loads of nutrient-rich goodness. Think spinach, rocket, lettuce and mixed leaves and don’t forget those zingy fresh herbs like mint and coriander.

Step 3 – Continue the build with half a cup of protein. For a delicious meat-free bowl, try tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils and eggs.

Step 4 – More veggies! This time it’s not the leafy greens but veggies like pumpkin, capsicum, carrots, edamame, tomatoes and cucumber. Add in half a cup of your favourites. They can go in raw for added crunch or roasted and caramelised for big, bold flavours or a blend of both. Aim to mix up the colours for more nutrients.

Step 5 – Don’t forget healthy fats to bring the dish together and boost the flavours. It’s hard to go past some creamy avocado or the crunch of nuts and seeds.

Step 6 – Top it all off with a few spoons of dressing. This can be as simple as extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon or choose one of the many options of tasty Asian dressings.

Once you’ve got the basics, power up your bowl game with smart nutrition pairings. Some foods work better together, helping your body unlock and more easily access vitamins and minerals. Why not give some of our favourite combinations a try?

Tasty food combos to try

Sweet spinach. When you pair sweet potato (a source of vitamin C) with spinach (a source of iron) it can help improve your iron absorption.

Healthy fats. Pairing a healthy fat with some vegetables helps with your vitamin absorption. Carrots contain vitamin A, while asparagus is rich in vitamins E and K. These vitamins are fat-soluble so when consumed with good fats, like those in avocado, nuts and seeds, it’s easier for your body to absorb them.

Mushroom mix. Mushrooms, kale and haloumi make excellent bowl ingredients and bring out the best nutritional qualities in each other. Mushrooms are rich in vitamin D while kale and haloumi are rich in calcium, both of which help to build strong bones and healthy teeth.

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