Confession: I’m a bit of a type-A personality (thanks, Dad!). I like to color code my calendar, I love when items fit perfectly in their spaces, and I can’t work until my desk is neat and organized…anyone else out there use tidying up as a form of procrastination? This also means I like formulas, but I’m not talking physics formulas. I like a process to make a great product, and that’s exactly how I put together my meals.
Another fun fact about me is that I eat about 90% of my meals out of bowls, so let’s just call this Michelle’s lunch bowl formula! I hope that this meal guide will inspire some creativity in your kitchen – seriously take it very loosely and add in your favorite foods to make a new go-to meal creation. Here’s what I include:
Grain – the base, or a portion, of my bowl is usually some sort of grain. This might be quinoa, rice, millet, or buckwheat (I can’t get on the savory oat train yet…maybe one day). On the rare day that I don’t have a bowl meal I might make my grain a brown rice wrap or a slice or two of ezekiel toast.
Protein – next up is something super satiating. Tofu, beans (cannellini are my favorites!), quinoa (double whammy there! grain and protein in one), eggs, lentils, sprinkle of hemp hearts, or canned salmon all make frequent appearances.
Greens! – I try to add leafy greens into every meal (OK, except breakfast….they just don’t have a place in my oatmeal). When I’m craving more of a salad I’ll use fresh greens as a base, or if I want a hot meal I’ll sauté the greens and mix them into everything. Arugula, kale, or lettuce usually make my salad base. Kale, swiss chard, or collard greens are my favorites to cook. Spinach is usually reserved for smoothies – I just don’t like the way it makes my teeth feel when I eat it rather than drink it, weird I know.
Veggies – Some extra veggies are often added in to pump up the flavor factor and variety of taste/texture. Usually I use any leftovers from dinners or I chop up something raw. Roasting is by far my favorite way to prep vegetables so I like to roast a whole batch and have leftovers to toss onto lunch bowls. Sweet potato, beets, carrots, green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower are most often in my meals, but I always like to switch things up and try new veggies when I crave a change. (a little plug here for roasted cauliflower because it is SO good. I randomly tried it dipped in ketchup and decided it’s a solid sub for a side of fries)
Extras/dressings – Extra toppings 99% of the time means a healthy fat in the form of AVOCADO! But that comes as no surprise, right? Sauerkraut is also a great topping that adds in some probiotics. As a dressing I sometimes stick to a simple olive oil drizzle with S&P, or I love a splash of tamari for a salty kick (I especially like using tamari on quinoa bowls with a poached egg on top–see above). When I want more of a salad dressing my favorite combo is olive oil, lemon juice, and dijon mustard plus salt and pepper. It’s such a simple and delicious dressing – I’m a big lemon fan!
Now take this inspiration and run with it! Go pack your lunch, snap a pic, and tag @powerdbypeanutbutter on instagram so I can see your creations! Happy lunching 🙂