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3 Healthy Grain Bowl Recipes & Lunchboxes

About the author

FitMenCook

My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is truly a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and enjoying adequate exercise. By experimenting in the kitchen and openly sharing my meals, I learned that healthy eating is hardly boring and that by making a few adjustments, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my personal fitness goals. Our bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.

If you’re not familiar with grain bowls, these are arguably one of my favorite meals! A friend used to call them “man bowls” because she said it’s typically of how we like to eat our food – put everything into a bowl and mix it up.  Pretty much!

But, it’s actually more than that –  it’s a large bowl of grains, veggies, protein and sauce.  These bowls are generally higher calorie, so they pack a lot of long lasting energy for the day and for work outs.  I especially enjoy these when traveling because they keep me energized and satisfied, not heavy and bloated.

I especially love these bowls because they are easy to prepare with your favorite ingredients.

A lot of people believe that healthier meals are lower-calorie, but that’s not always the case.  A fast food burger can have the same amount of calories as a grain bowl – it just matters WHERE the calories are coming from.  Always remember the efficiency of healthy food!

Healthy and clean ingredients are processed more efficiently by our bodies so we generally don’t get that heavy and bloated feeling; we actually feel energized after eating! So, all calories are not always equal and high calories doesn’t necessarily mean unhealthy.  What’s most important is that your diet is balanced and you’re eating the right portions and amounts for you.  Don’t be afraid to make grain bowls your own, and adjust them to your caloric needs.

Lastly, one of the things that make a great grain bowl is the sauce.   Here’s a quick sauce recipe for you with a special ingredient that I use frequently in my kitchen – Nutritional Yeast.  This condiment is high in vitamin b12, fiber and is packed with protein with each tablespoon.  The major benefit in the kitchen, though, is the flavor!  It has a “cheesy” flavor but without the calories and dairy.  To that end, vegans love it and you’ll soon understand why.  It can add a lot of flavor to a dry meal so it’s a great all around condiment to add to your diet.

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Grain & Veggie Mix & Sauce

Ingredients

healthy grain bowl lunchbox

Ingredients for 6 servings

Serving size: ~3/4 cup

Grain & Veggie Mix

  • 1 cup dry long grain brown rice
  • 1/2 cup dry farro
  • 300g butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 350g Brussels Sprouts, blanched then cut in half
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt & pepper

 

Sauce

  • 1/3 cup tahini (or natural nut butter)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup basil (small handful)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 8 tablespoons water (or more/less depending on your desired thickness)
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
Steps
  1. Set oven to 420F.
  2. Cook brown rice and farro according to the instructions given on the packages.  If you do NOT want to use farro, simply cook another ½ cup dry brown rice.
  3. OPTIONAL STEP FOR PREPPING BRUSSELS SPROUTS (skip to next step if you do not want to do this) Bring a pot of water to a boil and add raw Brussels sprouts. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes, then immediately remove the sprouts and place them in a bowl with cold water and ice so they stop cooking and immediately cool.  Remove them from the bowl and dry them on a towel.  Slice them in half.
  4. Add the Brussels sprouts to a bowl along with the remaining ingredients and mix everything together, ensuring the veggies are coated in oil, sea salt and pepper.  Evenly spread the veggies on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.  Set aside to cool after roasting.
  5. Toss together the brown rice, farro and roasted veggies.
  6. For the sauce, place all the ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Add more water to reach desired consistency and season to taste with sea salt & pepper.
  7. For meal prep, evenly divide the veggie-grain mix into your meal containers, keep the sauce on the side and store in the fridge.  Mix the sauce in at meal time.

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Calories
318
Protein
7g
Fat
11g
Carbs
48g
Sodium
Fiber
5g
Sugar
3g
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Chili Chickpeas

Ingredients

healthy grain bowl lunchbox

Ingredients for 2 servings

  • 1 can (15oz) (no-salt added) chickpeas, drained
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch of sea salt & pepper
  • spray olive oil or avocado oil
  • Meal
    • 2 servings grain & veggie mix with sauce
  • OPTIONAL GARNISH
    • 2 tablespoons avocado
    • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Steps
  1. Spray a nonstick skillet with avocado or olive oil. Add chickpeas, chili and cumin.  Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes until a light sear appears on the outside of the chickpeas.
  2. Evenly divide the chickpeas into your meal prep containers along with the veggie-grain mix.
Calories
546
Protein
23g
Fat
13g
Carbs
85g
Sodium
Fiber
14g
Sugar
5g
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Cajun Chicken Breasts

Ingredients

healthy grain bowl lunchbox

Ingredients for 3 servings

  • 18oz (three 6oz pieces) raw chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon cajun spice rub
  • avocado or olive oil spray
  • Meal
    • 3 servings grain & veggie mix with sauce
  • OPTIONAL GARNISH
    • fresh radish slices
Steps
  1. Season chicken breasts with my Cajun rub.
  2. Spray a nonstick skillet with avocado or olive oil, then add the seasoned chicken breasts. Cook on both sides for at least 6 to 8 minutes, until the outer edges are brown and the inside is white and no longer pink.  If you are using thick pieces of chicken, the cooking time may take longer.
  3. Evenly divide the chicken into your meal prep containers along with the veggie-grain mix.
Calories
505
Protein
49g
Fat
13g
Carbs
48g
Sodium
Fiber
5g
Sugar
2g
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Quick BBQ Baked Salmon

Ingredients

healthy grain bowl lunchbox

Ingredients for 2 servings

  • 12oz (two 6oz) salmon filets
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons low-calorie BBQ sauce
  • Meal
    • 2 servings veggies & grain mix with sauce
  • OPTIONAL GARNISH
    • 1 teaspoon pumpkin seeds
Steps
  1. Set oven to 420F.
  2. Season salmon filets with garlic, onion, sea salt, pepper and lemon zest. Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes.
  3. Remove the salmon from the oven and brush each filet with 1 tablespoon of BBQ sauce. Place back in the oven for an additional 2 to 4 minutes of baking, or until the salmon can be easily flaked with a fork.
  4. Evenly divide the salmon into your meal prep containers along with the veggie-grain mix.
Calories
570
Protein
44g
Fat
22g
Carbs
50g
Sodium
Fiber
5g
Sugar
4g
About the author

FitMenCook

My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is truly a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and enjoying adequate exercise. By experimenting in the kitchen and openly sharing my meals, I learned that healthy eating is hardly boring and that by making a few adjustments, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my personal fitness goals. Our bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.