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What is a Healthy Protein Bowl?



One of the latest trends in food is anything healthy in a bowl.


Registered Dietitian with Bellin Health, Mallory Krueger visited Local 5 Live with a look at some high protein ideas.


Color – Pick 2+ choices of non-starchy vegetables/fruits. Each color corresponds with a different vitamin/nutrient (bonus points if you choose at least 2 different colors). Fruits and vegetables also provide fiber. Fiber is beneficial for heart health, stabilizing blood sugars, and is associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer and certain GI conditions, such as IBD, constipation, and diverticulitis.


  • Salad greens

  • Spinach

  • Kale

  • Swiss Chard

  • Green beans

  • Carrots

  • Broccoli

  • Cauliflower

  • Onions

  • Beets

  • Asparagus

  • Pea pods

  • Cucumber

  • Radishes

  • Celery

  • Cabbage

  • Mushrooms

  • Peppers

  • Okra

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Zucchini

  • Rutabaga

  • Baby corn

  • Tomato

  • Jicama

  • Kohlrabi

  • Apples

  • Peaches

  • Persimmons

  • Mangos

  • Pineapple

  • Berries

  • Microgreens


Starch – Pick 1-2. These add carbohydrates, which will provide immediate energy, satisfaction, and fiber. Carbohydrates are the brain’s preferred energy source. Your muscles also store carbohydrates in the form of glycogen to help fuel later physical activity.


Starch – Pick 1-2. These add carbohydrates, which will provide immediate energy, satisfaction, and fiber. Carbohydrates are the brain’s preferred energy source. Your muscles also store carbohydrates in the form of glycogen to help fuel later physical activity.


  • Rice

  • Quinoa

  • Couscous

  • Sweet corn

  • Potatoes

  • Barley

  • Farro

  • Winter squash

  • Naan bread

  • Pasta

  • Oatmeal

  • Polenta


Protein – Pick 1-2. Protein improves satiety as it takes longer to digest. Protein helps stabilize your blood sugars. Additionally, protein is needed for tissue and muscle maintenance (important to stay mobile with age!).

  • Meat

  • Poultry

  • Fish/Seafood

  • Eggs

  • Cheese

  • Beans/Lentils

  • Chickpeas

  • Tofu/Tempeh

  • Edamame

  • Nuts

Crunch/flavor – Optional, but recommended. Adding fun toppings makes the bowl more interesting and satisfying.

  • Chopped nuts

  • Chia/flax/hemp seeds

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Pepitas

  • Radishes

  • Cucumber

  • Tortilla chips

  • Roasted chickpeas/edamame

  • Shredded red cabbage

  • Dried fruit, craisins, raisins

  • Sliced apples

  • Fresh herbs

  • Kimchi

  • Lemon/Lime wedges or juice

  • Spices/dried herbs

  • Salsa


Dressing/fats – Pick 1-2. Fats improve satiety, keep you fuller for longer, and help your body absorb the fat soluble vitamins in your meal.


  • Nut butter

  • Tahini dressing

  • Hummus

  • Peanut sauce

  • Salsa ranch

  • Sriracha mayo

  • Avocado/Guacamole

  • Olive oil & vinegar or citrus juice

  • Olives

  • Cheese


Idea 1: Salmon bowl – Arugula, mango salsa (mangoes, tomatoes, and onion), couscous, grilled salmon, and cilantro lime vinaigrette.

Idea 2: Breakfast bowl – Sautéed tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and peppers, roasted potatoes, egg, and cheese.

Idea 3: Burrito bowl – Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, rice and corn, black beans, avocado


Idea 4: Falafel bowl: Mixed greens, quinoa, shredded red cabbage, carrots, fresh parsley, falafel, avocado, tahini dressing

Idea 5: Mediterranean bowl: pepper, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, pearl couscous, chickpeas, and feta cheese

Idea 6: Tofu sushi bowl: watermelon radishes, cucumber, carrots, sushi rice, tofu, edamame, sesame seeds, and sriracha mayo


Idea 7: Steak fajita bowl: Sautéed peppers and onion, pico de gallo, rice, skirt steak, sour cream and guacamole

Idea 8: Quinoa Breakfast bowl: Mushrooms, zucchini, onion, quinoa, tofu scramble or scrambled eggs, avocado



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