Nourish Bowl Recipes
Eat Well Jan. 21. 2014

The Guide to Making a Balanced Nourish Bowl

Jan. 21. 2014
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

A go-to recipe that’s a beautiful balance of nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and quality proteins.

I’m excited to share with you all one of my favorite go-to meals that I’ve been eating for years. I’ve finally come up with the perfect way to describe it—the nourish bowl. When I first shared one of my nourish bowls on Instagram, it became one of my most popular posts, and for good reason… it’s easy and so delicious!

The root of the nourish bowl is choosing nutrient-dense veggies, fruits/carbohydrates, healthy fats, and quality proteins to make a filling meal in a bowl. It’s essentially a macrobiotic bowl or macro bowl, so keep reading to learn the nutrition of a macro bowl and how to make your own!

Without fail, this is one of the staple recipes I eat at least once a day! 

What Makes Up a Balanced Nourish Bowl

If you’re looking to make healthy and well-balanced nourish bowls, you’ll want to use my Foundational Five Nourish Meal Template.

The Foundational Five is the system I cam up with to make it easy for you to look at your plate and know you have a well-balanced meal, without needing to follow strict rules or count anything.

This template ensures each and every meal is packed with all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs so you can feel satiated (full), energized, and well-nourished so you can tackle your day and know that you’ve cared for your health.

The Foundational Five  elements of nutrition include: Protein + Fat + Starchy or Sugary Carbohydrates + Non-Starchy Carbohydrates + Flavor Factor

A well-balanced nourish bowl contains all five of those elements!

Make Your Own Nourish Bowl Recipes

The best part about nourishing bowls is that the options are endless, and using the Foundational Five Nourish Meal Template, you’ll be able to easily visualize how to put together a bowl that is nutritious and delicious.


Tempeh, beans, quinoa, and lentils (starchy-proteins), hemp seeds, nuts/seeds, nutritional yeast (not a “protein”, but loaded with plant-based protein). Vegetarian-friendly (ovo-, pesca-, lacto-): farm fresh eggs and wild-caught fish. Animal proteins: quality sources only.

Non-Starchy Carbohydrates

Spinach, romaine, arugula, kale, microgreens, sprouts, mustard greens, swiss chard, bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, snap peas, radish, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower

Healthy Fats

Avocado, olive oil, olives, nuts, seeds, hemp seeds, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, truffle oil


Starchy and Sugary Carbohydrates

Sweet potatoes, quinoa, millet, brown rice, wild rice, beans (starchy-protein), corn and peas (starchy veggie), trawberries, pears, banana, papaya, mango, grapes, raspberries, apples, etc.

Flavor Factor

Fermented veggies like kimchi or sauerkraut, homemade salad dressings (try my favorite Sweet Tahini Drizzle), kelp/dulse granules and flakes for added iodine and minerals, nutritional yeast, homemade hummus, apple cider vinegar (a must!), fresh lemon juice

Nourish Bowl Ideas to Try

TIP: Use your batch cooking day to prepare some of these nourish bowl ingredients ahead of time, like washing, cutting, preparing other veggies or grilling/baking/preparing proteins of your choice. It’ll save you so much time during a busy week.

On my batch cooking day, I’ll always have tempeh, beans, sweet potatoes, massaged kale salad, and roasted veggies galore to use throughout the week. The nourish bowl is the exact dish I use many of these prepared “meal components.” You simply start with a big bed of dark leafy greens, add your favorite toppings, drizzle a delicious dressing or squeeze of fresh lemon, and you’re good to go! Literally, lunch or dinner in under 10 minutes.



The best thing about a nourish bowl is the protein, which you need in your diet to build and repair tissues, including strong muscles. You can choose to go fully plant-based with tempeh, hummus, or lentils. You could also do a meat-based protein, like chicken, fish, or eggs.


You’ll get complex—aka slow-digesting—carbs by making the base of your bowl quinoa, sweet potatoes, or bown rice. These all also provide filling fiber and the energy your body needs to move around all day.

Healthy Fats

Avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds—each healthy fat will keep you fuller for longer, as your body digests them more slowly. They’re each also good for your heart and cholesterol levels. What’s more is that you need some fat to absorb certain vitamins and minerals, particularly the ones you’ll get from the veggies you put in your bowl, including vitamins, A, D, E, and K.


The Recipe

Serves 1



2 cups romaine, roughly chopped

1 cup spinach

4-5 roasted brussels sprouts (from batch cooking day)

1 roasted sweet potato

1/2 cup carrots, shredded or diced

1/4 cup cucumber, sliced thinly

1/4 of an avocado

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

3 tablespoons hemp seeds

2 tablespoons hummus (of your choice)

freshly squeezed lemon

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

dash of kelp granules

dash of cayenne pepper (optional)



Start by filling a large salad bowl with the dark leafy greens.

Next, top with all the remaining vegetables, sweet potatoes, and hemp seeds; piling them in their own “spot” in the bowl (as pictured).

You can arrange each ingredient in a pile and then wait to stir everything together, or you can simply top the dark leafy greens with all the remaining ingredients at the same time and stir thoroughly.

The nutritional yeast + the hummus + the apple cider vinegar makes for a thick and creamy dressing on its own.

Serve and enjoy!

Share Your Bowls!

I hope you all enjoy the nourish bowl as much as I do! Get creative, have fun and be sure to send me pictures of your bowl recipes creations. I want to see them, so use the hashtag #nutritionstripped.

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