6 Whole-Grain Bowls Under 400 Calories

When food is arranged on a plate, the likelihood that one or more portions will be off-balance is far greater than if it’s in a bowl. Plates have centers and edges to be filled. Plus, not only are they getting bigger, up 36% since 1960, but they also have a center, or focal point, which often falls to meat. A bowl, however, “demands another way of eating,” says Michael Anthony, executive chef of New York’s Gramercy Tavern and author of V Is for Vegetables. “You can’t cut a big steak in a bowl. Instead, grains can become the stage for so many delicious vegetables: stews of beans, piles of greens, and roasted roots, sparkled by zingy pickles and relishes.” Bowls encourage mixing ingredients, no matter how motley they may be, and instantly transform your meal into a stack, allowing you to build texture and flavor with layers. And quite simply, bowls hold less food than plates.

Ready to build one? Start with our Bowl-Building Blueprint.

Next, build one of these quick, tasty combos, and enjoy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.


Thai Crunch Bowl with Salmon: Add bright, bold colors to your palate with this nutty dinner. The sesame-peanut sauce is so downright delicious, you’ll want to drizzle it over every meal.


California Caprese Bowl: What’s more refreshing than cubed avocado, mozzarella, and sliced tomatoes? Absolutely nothing! Here, the classic Italian appetizer gets a whole-grain upgrade no one will complain about.


Korean Shrimp BBQ Bowl: This is a great way to make use of leftover veggies. Mushrooms, cabbage, spinach and carrots are topped with a fried egg and drizzled with a spicy aioli sauce for an irresistible meal.


Southern Barbecue Bowl: Bread-and-butter pickles, pinto beans, coleslaw and pulled pork unite for a true Southern twist, y’all.


Grilled Hawaiian Bowl: Serve yourself the perfect summer bowl for one. Sweet grilled pineapple complements the juicy pork tenderloin perfectly.


Peruvian Steak and Roasted Sweet Potato Bowl: A little meat travels far since there’s no center stage in a bowl. Here, a few ounces of peruvian steak works wonders on top. Season well, and shred or finely chop to get a little in each bite.

More One-Bowl Dishes:


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