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Vegetable bowls are both simple and powerful

With warmer temperatures here, it’s the perfect time of year to ditch the heavy winter foods and bring in lighter, healthier eats. There’s no better way to do this than with a flavor-packed vegetable power bowl full of healthy nutrients.

Vegetable power bowls are loaded with the essential vitamins, minerals and fiber you rarely get enough of. These nutrients boost your immune system and lower your blood sugar (and blood pressure). Not only that, they also help you feel satisfied longer, which helps to reduce your unnecessary snacking that results in extra unwanted pounds. The magic of these bowls doesn’t stop there, as they include all the balanced macronutrients (protein, healthy fats and quality carbohydrates) your body needs to thrive.

Here is a vegetable power bowl “how-to” that will leave you feeling satisfied and help you kick sweets to the curb and improve your health with every bowl you eat. There are enough options to satisfy any palate. You can mix and match different vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates depending on what you have on hand. The sky is the limit with these bowls.

Let the flavorful eats begin:

Step 1 – Go for the greens

The bowl should be able to hold at least 4 cups, so you can pack it with greens and veggies. Shoot for 2 cups of rich seasonal greens such as spinach, kale, arugula or leafy romaine lettuce as the base because they are packed with nutrients. If you want to start off slow, begin with romaine lettuce while your taste buds adapt.

Step 2 – Add more vegetables

Whether raw or cooked, green bowls are a great way to use leftover veggies. Think outside the box (e.g. beets, broccoli and Brussels sprouts) and buy one or two different vegetables each shopping trip to discover new foods and keep from getting bored.

Step 3 – Add adequate protein

You need protein. You don’t have to stick to just chicken breast here. Grilled, sauteed or roasted meats or fish is the next addition to your bowl. Other great protein sources include beans and rice, quinoa or boiled eggs. Think grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone-free meats and fatty fish such as wild-caught salmon.

Step 4 – Spice it up

Herbs, toasted nuts and seeds, or feta/goat cheese can add more texture and flavor to your bowl. Finish off with coarse sea salt and ground pepper. In this step, make sure to add your healthy fats such as avocados, olives, walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, pepitas, hemp seed and chia seed.

Step 5 – Drizzle the dressing

Olive oil and lime juice, avocado and lime dressing, and flavored balsamic vinegar are all clean and healthy dressings to top your bowl. Dressing should consist of a healthy oil to ensure you’re not adding unhealthy fat to your healthy meal.

A few flavors to try:

Tex-Mex Bowl: arugula, avocado, shredded carrots, broccoli, black beans, rice, salsa and lime dressing. Greek Green Bowl: spinach, bulgur wheat, chickpeas, roasted bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives and feta cheese. Rainbow Bowl: beet, sweet potato, asparagus, baby kale, quinoa and roasted walnuts.

Fran Sutherlin is a local registered dietitian, health coach, speaker and owner of Sustainable Nutrition, which has offices in Durango and Bayfield and offers virtual-coaching options. She can be reached at 444-2122 or fran@fransutherlin.com.

Tex-Mex Bowl: arugula, avocado, shredded carrots, broccoli, black beans, rice, salsa and lime dressing. Greek Green Bowl: spinach, bulgur wheat, chickpeas, roasted bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives and feta cheese. Rainbow Bowl: beet, sweet potato, asparagus, baby kale, quinoa and roasted walnuts.