Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

No matter if you call it brinner, linner, dinner or supper one thing they all have in common is the importance of gathering the family around the table for a family meal. Eating together can have significant positive effects both physically and psychologically. The average American eats one in every five meals in their car and the majority of families report eating a single meal together less than five days a week. Take a moment to think about your families’ eating habits, can you commit to having one more meal together each week?

Family meals are critical to creating a connected family which helps build relationships and helps kids do better in school. But I get it, life is busy. So drop the notion that everything has to be perfect or made from scratch. The important part is that you are taking the time to connect and spend time together as a family. Whether you love to cook and plan ahead or are always looking for shortcuts, check out the recipe below that can be adapted to fit your comfort or skill level. It’s also a great guide for helping use up leftovers. So have fun and let your family get involved with creating their own power bowl suited to their liking!

Power Bowls 101

First: Choose a base. Whole grains make the perfect base like quinoa, brown rice or whole wheat pasta. Shoot for ½ cup per serving. Feeling adventurous? Cook up some zucchini noodles or roasted sweet potatoes for starters.

Second: Choose your veggies. Get as much color as you can into your bowl. Red and green peppers, cherry tomatoes, green beans, snap peas, asparagus, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, edamame and broccoli are a few veggies to get you started. You can leave them raw, sauté, grill or roast.  Aim for 1 cup of veggies or 2 cups of leafy greens per bowl.

Third: Choose a protein. Fill each bowl with 3-4 ounces of lean, cooked protein. If you have the luxury of time, grill chicken breast, flat iron steak, pork tenderloin or stir-fry shrimp for piping hot protein options. Crunched for time? Leftover chicken or steak can easily be cubed or grab a rotisserie chicken, pre-cooked pulled pork, hard boiled eggs, black beans or canned tuna for a quicker protein option.

Fourth: Choose toppings or a sauce. For crunch, try cashews, sliced almonds or sunflower seeds. A drizzle of hot sauce, sriracha, vinaigrette, pesto or soy sauce will add flavor. Sneak in more fruits and veggies with a corn or mango salsa. Finally, my favorite is to top with slices of avocado and a lime wedge.

PLAN AHEAD QUINOA CHICKEN BOWLS
Serves: 2
Base: 1 cup cooked quinoa, prepared according to package instructions

Protein:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 teaspoons Mrs Dash Fiesta Lime Seasoning

Veggies:
Spring greens
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Torn fresh cilantro
Avocado, sliced
Lime, wedges
Sautéed veggies such as onions, red peppers, green peppers

Mango Salsa Topper:
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup mango, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup red pepper, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat grill to medium high heat. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with seasoning to evenly coat.

Place chicken on grill and grill each side for 4-6 minutes depending on thickness. Chicken will be done when juices run clear and internal temperature of thickest part is 165°F.

While the chicken is cooking, start on the mango salsa. In a medium bowl, add the corn, black beans, red onion, mango, red pepper, cilantro, lime juice, lemon juice and olive oil and stir gently to combine.

Now assemble the bowls. To prepare two bowls, place ½ cup cooked quinoa on the bottom of each bowl.  Add brightly colored veggies such as halved tomatoes, spring greens, or sautéed veggies. Top with cooked, sliced chicken breast down the center of the bowl. Garnish with mango salsa, avocado slices, lime wedges and torn cilantro.

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