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Nutrisense Dietitians Recommend: Healthy Bowl Recipes for Lunch

Written by
Yumna Farooq
Team Nutrisense
Reviewed by
Heather Davis
MS, RDN, LDN
A bowl of yogurt and fruits including blueberries, mangoes, bananas, and pineapple topped with granola

Nourish bowls are a great lunch and dinner option for anyone who’s busy or doesn’t like cooking. They’re easy to throw together, extremely customizable, and taste delicious as well.

Because they’re so customizable, it’s easy to turn any ingredients you have on hand into a healthy, glucose-friendly meal. Regardless of the type of bowl you prefer making, most of the time these tasty dishes require little to no meal prep.

If you’re always on the go, chopping up some vegetables in advance or cooking your rice or quinoa over the weekend can help make your bowl even easier to throw together during the week.

In this article, we’ll share our favorite blood glucose-friendly bowl recipes to make for lunch, plus tips on crafting your very own bowl recipe from scratch!

7 Dietitian-Recommend Bowl Recipes for Lunch

Our dietitians love how versatile and easy nourish bowls can be. Usually, preparing this type of meal is simply a matter of throwing your favorite vegetables, protein, and other ingredients together.

If you’re not a fan yet, you may change your mind after hearing our dietitian recommendations on healthy lunch bowls. Here are seven of their favorite recipes you’ll be sure to love!

1) Low Carb Greek Chicken Bowls by Fit Mom Journey

Low carb greek chicken bowl

This recipe, recommended by Nutrisense dietitian Victoria Eaton, RDN, IFNCP, is full of protein and flavor. It’s easy to customize and it’s a great option for anyone following a keto diet.

Why Victoria Loves it

Victoria shares, “I'm a huge fan of a flavor-packing, nourishing Greek chicken bowl like this. This recipe is rich in protein and colorful vegetables, is pleasant on the palate, and is also super satiating! The vinegar in the dressing is also great for glucose control.”

Ingredients

For The Chicken Marinade

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

For The Tzatziki

  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • ⅓ cup olive oil

For The Cucumber Tomato Salad

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes 
  • ½ cup red onion
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 tablespoon oregano

 2) Healthy Taco Bowl by The Hungry Waitress

This taco bowl recipe recommended by Marie Funk, MS, RD, LDN is a great way to add lots of colorful veggies to your plate. Taco bowls can be rich in a variety of different nutrients and are easy to customize depending on what you have on hand.

Why Marie Loves It

Marie loves taco bowls, exclaiming, ”I’m definitely team taco bowl! These types of meals are a great way to experience classic taco flavors while keeping your meal low in carbs.

“For added fiber, you can mix the turkey meat with some black beans, add in some quinoa for added carbs, or swap the protein entirely with chickpeas to get more of a buddha bowl experience.

“If your body responds well to carbs, you could turn this into a rice bowl (or grain bowl) with a brown rice base instead of the cauliflower rice. It’s that easy to customize to your liking!”

Ingredients

For the Taco Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

For the Taco Bowls

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2 packages frozen cauliflower rice
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cans back beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

For the Garnishes

  • cilantro
  • avocado
  • salsa or diced tomatoes

3) Mediterranean Bowl With Salmon

Mediterranean bowl with salmon, greens, and other veggies

This salmon and quinoa bowl, recommended by Randi Yow, RDN, LDN, is full of whole grains, protein and other important nutrients. The fresh herbs give it a boost of anti-inflammatory benefits and add to the rich flavors.

Why Randi Loves It

Randi shares, “Mediterranean food is a staple in our house! These Mediterranean salmon bowls are a great way to get veggies in along with omega 3 fatty acids. Plus, salmon is a delicious option for a bowl recipe. Not only will your body be rejoicing, but your tastebuds will too!”

Ingredients

For the Dressing

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, roughly chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup 
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

For the Quinoa Bowl

  • 4 salmon fillets 
  • 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 4 cups romaine or mixed greens
  • 1 cup sliced English cucumber
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup sliced red onion
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • ⅓ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 avocado, sliced or diced

For the Tzatziki

  • ½ cup grated English cucumber
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper 

4) Rainbow Nourishment Bowls with Maple Tahini Dressing by Choosing Chia

This whole grain rainbow bowl, recommended by Katrina Larsen, MS, RDN, LD, CDCES, is full of nourishing and colorful ingredients. It’s vegan and vegetarian friendly and an easily customizable option that you can change up based on what you have at home.

Why Katrina Loves it

Katrina says, “I love a colorful power bowl because there is a lot of flexibility in how you build it! This is a great option for including some plant-based proteins such as beans, tempeh, chickpeas, or hemp hearts.

“You can use what you have on hand and adjust this recipe to your personal tastes! The tahini dressing is a feast for the eyes as well as for your stomach! This bowl can also work great with noodles, or rice noodles if you’re gluten free, if you add some protein to it.”

Ingredients

For the Salad Dressing

  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons tamari
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Bowls

  • 3 cups spinach or lettuce
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • ½ cup cabbage, shredded
  • 2 large carrots, peeled or grated
  • 1 cup yellow corn 
  • 1 beet, grated 
  • ½ cup sprouts 
  • 3 watermelon radishes
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons hemp seeds

5) Protein PB&J Smoothie Bowl by SkinnyTaste

Protein packed smoothie bowl with strawberries and blueberries

This smoothie bowl, recommended by Patrick Scheel, RD, LDN, is a delicious breakfast (or lunch bowl) option that kids and adults will love!

Why Patrick Loves It

Patrick gives an eager twist to his bowl recipe, saying “My favorite smoothie bowl is an awesome alternative to a smoothie if you're getting bored with your normal recipe. The thicker consistency allows you to use a spoon and add toppings such as chia seeds, shredded coconut, almonds, cashews, or anything else you'd like.

“I recommend starting with blending frozen berries with a scoop of protein powder for the base.” You can turn this into a breakfast bowl or even have it for dessert.”

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup almond, oat or milk of your choice
  • ⅔ cup frozen blueberries
  • ⅔ cup sliced strawberries, frozen
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter

For Toppings

  • 1 tablespoon melted peanut butter
  •  Handful of blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds

6) Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Salad by Running on Real Food

This nourishing veggie bowl, recommended by Jordyn Wallerius, MS, RDN, CD, is a hearty and comforting dish that’s great for anyone looking for low carb meal ideas.

Why Jordyn Loves It

Jordyn explains, “Roasted veggies are a great option to support healthy blood glucose levels. This bowl in particular is also a good option for any vegans or vegetarians out there.

“Many plant-based bowls can be high in carbs and lower in protein, but this lower carb option is only 38 grams of carbs (19 net carbs) and still packs in 27 grams of protein.”

Ingredients

For the Lemon Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil 
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Lemon Tahini Dressing

  • 5 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4–6 tablespoons water

For the Salads (serves four people)

  • 4–6 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli
  • 2 avocado
  • ½ cup pepitas
  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • ½ cup hemp seeds
  • squeeze of fresh lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • hot sauce (optional)

Tips to Make a Blood-Glucose Friendly Bowl

Make It Colorful

Colorful salad bowl with leafy greens and apples

You can make your lunch bowl colorful by including a variety of different fruits and vegetables. Some nutrients, like polyphenols, give certain foods distinct colors and nutritional benefits. Varying the colors of your fruits and veggies can help ensure you’re getting a variety of different vitamins and minerals in your diet.

Plus, colorful meals are pleasant to look at and makes eating more enjoyable, which can actually be important for overall health and digestion.

Burrito bowls, buddha bowls, noodle bowls, Mexican bowls, or even sushi bowls are all easy to toss extra colorful veggies into and make great options for a quick lunch or weeknight dinner.

Include Lots of Fiber and Healthy Fats

Fiber has a host of health benefits such as improving immune function, improving blood sugar levels, and increasing insulin sensitivity. It can also be helpful for weight loss by promoting feelings of fullness (this prevents you from both over and undereating).

Fats can also help to support healthy blood glucose responses by slowing down digestion. When digestion is slowed down due to the presence of things like fats, protein, or fiber, you may have lower chances of sharp blood glucose spikes.

However, it’s important to note that combining higher amounts of fats with higher amounts of carbs can sometimes cause glucose to stay elevated for longer periods. It may be best to pair higher fat foods with low or moderate amounts of carbs.

Mix up the Textures in Your Bowl

Yogurt bowl with blueberries and cereal flakes

This tip is to help you enjoy the flavors of the bowl more, and the bowl itself too! Adding in a little crunchiness with sesame seeds or roasted nuts can be a tasty crispy contrast to other textures you include in your bowl and also add in extra nutrients.

Bowls are a great way to use up kitchen staples or fresh produce as well. Other additions like creamy dressings, leafy veggies, or a savory protein source of your choice can add to your bowl’s flavor and make it more appealing, nutritious, and even satiating.

Related Article

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