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  • Hui Hui Lee, RD/LD

Healthy eating pattern 101

Howdy, my friends! How’s the month of June treating you all so far? I have had a lot going on lately, traveling/hiking, shooting a cooking video (new project), cooking for the blog, testing out many sourdough recipes, and celebrating my own birthday. Oh boy, I don’t remember when was the last time I had a good chillax time. Although I am looking forward to relaxing, I know these life events keep me motivated and entertained!

What do we want to talk about in June? I am thinking of bringing us back to the groundwork for a healthy eating pattern. Because all of us came from various backgrounds, which is why it is important to focus on personalizing your plate while trying to adopt a healthy eating pattern. The keys to a successful sustainable eating pattern: 1. Keep it simple and balanced; 2. Keep everything in moderation; 3. Add a variety of food to our diet; 4. Focus on nutrient-dense foods instead of calorie-dense foods. We don’t need fancy tools/equipment, or special ingredients to eat healthy. All we need is a little creativity, patience, and courage. Believe it or not, even the pantry ingredients (although not ideal) can also turn into healthy meals.

While I was searching for the recipes to fit most of your preferences, I quickly found that bowl recipes seem to fit the best for the ‘PERSONALIZING YOUR PLATE’ theme. Why? Because they are simple, foolproof, and highly adaptable. Are we ready to see what I have to offer for the bowl recipe ideas? If so, let’s get our hands busy making some delicious foods!

Burger Bowl (Leaner version, turkey burger): Do you like a burger for lunch/dinner, but do not care for the calories in the burger? This turkey burger bowl is for you! It is not just yummy, but also healthy, leaner, and satisfying! I made my own turkey patties and dressed up the burger bowl with tahini sauce, and the recipe is inspired by Feasting at Home. I also topped my burger bowl with some grilled veggies, arugula, grated carrot and beets, cucumber/avocado/radish slices, as well as pickled onions. If you are interested in making the burger bowl, do feel free to modify your bowl to tailor it to your personal taste. The recipe is adapted from Feasting at Home.

Kid-friendly Salmon Black Bean Burrito Bowl: Preparing meals for kids is always a challenge (a real one), that they are able to accept and maybe (if we are lucky) like it. I found you a salmon black bean burrito recipe. It is an extremely simple but flavorful recipe. I, of course, made some modifications to the burrito bowl. First, instead of rice, I used quinoa for the grain, and even better I made it into green quinoa. I also topped some seasoned black beans, sweet corn kernels, and avocado slices. The salmon black bean burrito bowl recipe is adapted from Super Healthy Kids.

Smoky Chimichurri Cauliflower Bowl (vegan-friendly): If you are practicing a plant-based diet, this is a mouthwatering recipe for you. Even my meat-eater friends love the smoky chimichurri cauliflower bowl. I topped the bowl with seasoned black beans, Mexican slaw, chimichurri sauce, cooked quinoa, sliced avocado, pickled red onions, and arugula. The recipe is adapted from Feasting at Home.

Baked Chicken Shawarma Bowl: This is a middle-eastern inspired dish, packed with a complex flavor. What I love the most about this dish is that it is a hassle-free recipe, what we need is a sheet pan to do the cooking. I topped the bowl with some cooked quinoa, Israeli salad, and Zhoug yogurt sauce. The recipe is adapted from Feasting at Home.

Banh Mi Noodle Bowl (vegetarian-friendly): Are you looking for something different for lunch this week? This is a Vietnamese-inspired dish. It is super light and refreshing and is perfect for this warm weather. The most we need to make the Banh Mi bowl is to make the crispy spicy tofu. If you are not ready for tofu just yet, feel free to substitute it with some shredded rotisserie chicken. The recipe is inspired by Feasting at Home.

Fresh Spring Roll Bowl: OKAY, this fresh spring roll bowl is a bonus recipe for you all. It is requested by my friend/co-worker, Jessica. The fresh spring roll is her favorite food, so I totally can see why she loves the dish/food. Fresh spring rolls are super refreshing, and the homemade creamy peanut sauce compliments the flavor of the food. The key ingredient is the fresh herbs, basil (preferably Thai basil), and mint. I made these fresh spring rolls numerous times in the past, and now I am taking a different approach to the dish. Instead of wrapping the ingredients in a thin rice paper wrapper, I made them into a bowl, which might be easier for some of you who struggle with obtaining the rice paper wrapper and wrapping them. The overall fresh spring bowl recipe is adapted from Feasting from Home but minus the rice paper wrapper.

*Most ingredients are sponsored by the DRH Health Food and Nutrition Department.

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