Meals-in-a-bowl are a popular way to serve up a meal. They can be nutritious, make mealtime a bit more convenient with advance preparation, and fun too.

Meals-in-a-bowl are easy and nutritious

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Meals-in-a-bowl are a popular way to serve up a meal. They can be nutritious, make mealtime a bit more convenient with advance preparation, and fun too. If the entire meal is going to be served in one dish all of the essential components to a meal should be provided. These can be prepped ahead and kept in the refrigerator for a quick re-heat on a busy day. Here are some ideas for additions to make a meal-in-a-bowl.

Starches:

  • Whole-grain pasta
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Diced white and sweet potatoes

Protein:

  • Diced, chopped or shredded beef, pork, poultry
  • Fish, including shrimp
  • Diced, chopped or sliced eggs
  • Shredded or cubed cheese;
  • Dried beans and peas; lentils
  • Nuts

Produce:

  • Fruits 
  • Raw and cooked vegetables
  • Herbs and spices

I have eaten cereal with fresh fruit and skim milk for years at breakfast, and technically this is a meal-in-a-bowl. The same thing with my beef stew that includes lean beef cubes, chunks of potatoes and loads of assorted vegetables like carrots and onions. But this term, meal-in-a-bowl, has become popular and now includes many interesting food combinations all layered in a bowl. It is a great way to use up small amounts of leftovers, and it makes for easy clean up with one bowl per person. Overnight oats can be layered with vanilla Greek yogurt, frozen berries and chopped pecans. A quinoa or rice base can have layers of diced cooked peppers, butternut squash and chia seeds. Or Asian noodles can be topped with green onions, water chestnuts, pea pods and chopped peanuts, then drizzled with a ginger dressing.

Recipes to try:

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About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.