Healthy Chicken Buddah Bowl + How To Create Balanced Bowls
I’ve seen Buddha bowls pop up everywhere recently. And whilst I’m not usually into “trend” food for the sake of keeping up with the Jones’s, I can’t go past a Buddha bowl because I love giant bowls of food! Buddha bowl is even in the urbandictionary.com which states “a bowl which is packed so full that it has a rounded “belly” appearance on the top much like the belly of a buddha.” So there you have it.
To be honest I think I’m committing a food crime here because typically Buddha bowls are plant-based, and I added chicken to this one… oops. I guess I better make it up by creating a plant-based version! Or you can browse ‘plant-based’ in the recipes page for more meatless meals.
How to create a balanced Buddha bowl:
Creating a macronutrient balanced Buddah bowl or any meal is important for energy, blood sugar balanced and satiety. To ensure you are getting the right amount of macronutrients (i.e. protein, carbs and fats) as well as a variety of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to nourish and fuel your body, follow these simple steps for your Buddha bowl:
1/2 your bowl filled with non-starch vegetables (think colourful vegetables including leafy greens)
1/4 of your bowl filled with protein (salmon, tuna, chicken, tofu, tempeh, lentils, etc.)
1/4 of your bowl filled with low GI complex carbohydrates (sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa, legumes)
Top with a serve of healthy fat (1/3 avocado, 20-30 nuts, 20g seeds, 1-2 tablespoons of tahini, nut butter or good quality oil such as extra virgin olive oil).
Make it colourful for a variety of vitamins and minerals
Lentils, legumes and quinoa provide both carbohydrates and protein. Lentils are highest in protein of the three.
Pumpkin has far less carbohydrates than most people realise. 100g pumpkin = 7g carbs / 100g sweet potato = 20g carbs.
Don’t skimp on fats! Contrary to popular belief eating fat doesn’t make you put on fat. As long as you are using a high-quality healthy fat source. Fats are used for healthy cell membranes so cells can function properly and communicate with each other, hormone production, healthy skin, and carrying fat-soluble vitamins around the body.
Use spices to enhance flavour and add nutrients, particularly antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Don’t be afraid of salt… unless its table salt, then stay well away! Use a good quality sea salt or rock salt. Salt is a vital electrolyte our body needs, and if you eat a healthy diet with minimal processed food than you likely don’t get a lot of salt. I add a pinch to each meal. I use an iodised salt, as most Australian’s don’t get enough iodine (you get it from seafood and seaweed), which is essential for healthy thyroid function, which in turn effects metabolism and hormone production.
Using your imagination you could create so many versions of a Buddha bowl. Keep it simple by either using mostly raw veggies that just need chopping, or anything you can bake together in the oven. The less cooking utensils or methods, the quicker and easier it is to whip up healthy superfood Buddha bowls in a flash.
Healthy Chicken Buddah Bowl
A nourishing meal perfect for lunch, dinner or make a batch for meal preps.
Makes: 2 bowls
- 300g chicken breast (raw weight)
- 200g sweet potato, cut in large chunks
- 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 1/2 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed well (or use the whole tin & save for a snack the next day!)
- Spice mix – 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp turmeric,1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 kale, washed, stalks removed, and chopped
- 1 lemon
- 1 tbls tahini
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
- Chop sweet potato and cauliflower and lay it out on one of the baking trays. Toss with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and half the spice mix. Pop into the oven to roast for approx. 30 mins.
- Meanwhile, rinse and drain the chickpeas, pat dry with paper towel. Drizzle with the rest of the extra virgin olive oil and spice mix and toss to coat. Lay out over second baking tray.
- Squeeze half the lemon over the chicken breast, add a pinch of salt, and put it onto the same baking tray. Once sweet potato and cauliflower have been roasted for about 10mins, put the second tray in the oven. Roast for about another 15-20mins until everything is cooked through.
- When it is almost done, heat a pan on medium-high heat. Wash and chop the kale and pop into the pan to lightly sauté for 5 mins. Squeeze half a lemon over it and add a pinch of salt as it is cooking.
- Take the trays out of the oven and assemble bowls with all the ingredients. Drizzle tahini over the top and serve.