So at the beginning of the year, I announced on Instagram that I was making 2018 the year of #365DinnerBowls. Initially, I’m sure a lot of my followers were confused. “Dinner bowl? What is she talking about and why is she eating 365 of them?” Well, the decision was rather spontaneous, but my motivations behind eating a “dinner bowl” is based on preference. A handful of you asked me to make a post on my choice to start this weird challenge, what benefits I’ve found in it, and why it does/doesn’t work me. Ask and you shall receive!
If you asked my friends about my eating habits, they’d likely tell you I’m a chronic snacker. I love grabbing dinner at one of my favorite spots (Mount Vernon Marketplace, Wet City, City Cafe), but realistically, most nights I’m cooking dinner at home. Flashback to childhood: my dinners followed the stereotypical PA Dutch meat-potato-vegetable regime. This left me less-than-adventurous when it came to trying new foods (especially those that involved my food touching one another.) But, as I got over myself and my ignorance to new foods, it was clear that I had quite an adventurous palette.
As I got older, I started eating more salad but I’ve always preferred toppings of a salad to copious amounts of lettuce/greens. This quickly transitioned into to bowls of your stereotypical salad bar fixings with equal amounts greens. I’m not sure what ratio of toppings:leafy greens qualifies your meal as a salad, but the increased amount of protein and fiber always leave me feeling full for longer amounts of time (in contrast to the high water content of large salads.)
Cue the dinner bowl. Ok, so you may think it’s a novel concept, but it’s really not. Seriously, think about it: burrito bowls, smoothie bowls, poke bowls have all been integrated into modern food culture (not to mention the traditional soups and salads.)
Plates are so 2011. I think the charm of dinner bowls is multifaceted. There is nothing wrong with eating a dinner on a plate, but psychology is a HUGE part of our relationship with food. Consciously or subconsciously, the unconventionality of a bowl dinner is appealing because it challenges our functional fixedness on using bowls for something other than cereal, ice cream, and soup. Burrito and smoothie bowls caught on because serving them in a bowl is an oxymoronic paradigm. Additionally, they harbor a potential for creativity, and the dimensionality of a bowl allows you to layer ingredients. Fun fact: The more compact appearance of a bowl can actually change the way your brain processes fullness and satisfaction. Yet another example of how perception is indeed, reality.
Peer pressure. I also find the social expectation of “healthy” bowls keeps me accountable in choosing healthier options for my bowls. Then again, healthy is a relative term, and everything is okay in moderation.
Challenge accepted. Another reason I like dinner bowls: they present me with a challenge. They embody structure and a lack-there-of simultaneously, and every bowl is a new art project. What innovative ways can I incorporate color, texture, nutrients, protein? Can I make a bowl of random shit look appetizing? Not sure if I’ve accomplished that last point, but I’ve got 350 more days to try.
I also asked those of your following me on Instagram to message me ingredients you’d like to see me use in a bowl — feel free to comment on this post with your suggestions! I welcome any and all challenges (I’ve gotten beets, chocolate, popcorn, purple cabbage, and a handful of other ideas so far!)
I OWE YOU ALL A BIG THANK YOU!
I owe a lot of my dedication to you guys – I can’t tell you how it happy it makes me to see you joining in, tagging me in your Instagram stories, engaging with me, picking new ingredients to try out. It’s always more fun when you guys join in on the experience. It keeps me accountable and for that, I am thankful!
Don’t know what to make? I’ve already shared some of my favorite bowl recipes, like this colorful Sweet Potato Hash Bowl! You could also consider making soup – I’ve also got a recipe for an amazing Hearty, Thai Chicken Noodle Soup!
Need a portion reference? Check out this helpful infographic with suggested serving sizes for your favorite healthy foods!
If you have more questions, I thought this article about one woman’s experience with the “nutrient dense, calorically light” trend would informational for others.
Lastly, Check out Instagram for some bowl inspiration – I love following @approachingpaleo and checking out her colorful creations!
Until next time, keep bowl-ing!