It’s a new year and the season for all kinds of resolutions. The diet book industry knows this, and January is when they promise to help you find a miraculous new way to shed pounds and feel great. If you spent the past month subsisting on cookies and gravy, you may need to clean up your act.
I don’t like to use the “D word” when talking about eating healthfully. Let’s call it a “reset.” Michael Pollan wasn’t talking about weight loss when he said: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” That’s true all year long, but particularly when you have been overindulging.
Reset by eating more whole-plant foods. It’s simple.
If there were ever a way to follow the plant-based lifestyle, it’s the big bowl meal. If you hear “plants” and think of piles of lettuce and broccoli, remember that plants also include beans, grains, nuts, seeds and oils. You can get plenty of satisfaction from a bowl of whole grains, beans, vegetables and some luscious avocados or nut butters on top.
You can improvise, using the following tips:
Start with a base: Fill up with slow-burning, high-fiber whole grains. Cook your favorite, be it brown rice, quinoa, wheat berries or a mix, and keep the cooked grain in the refrigerator. If you are avoiding gluten, use quinoa, millet, buckwheat, brown rice or teff. Those avoiding grain can use cooked lentils or finely chopped cauliflower “rice.”
Pick a protein: Beans, tofu, nuts, seeds. If you like baked beans, curried chickpeas or chili in cans, warm some up for your bowl.
Pile on the veggies: Don’t hold back on your favorite veggies to sliver on top of the grain. Think color — it’s best to have some greens, some oranges, some reds, and place them so that the colors pop. You eat with your eyes first.
Sauce it: In a pinch, you can grab a dip like hummus or guacamole and just thin it to pouring consistency by stirring in lemon juice and olive oil. Barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, pizza sauce, Thai peanut sauce and salsa all rock a bowl.
’Zazz it: A sprinkle of kimchi or kraut, a pinch of colorful sprouts, a sparkle of lemon zest, or a spoonful of crunchy nuts or seeds will make the bowl irresistible.
You’ll be lightening up while staying well-fed, and that is the way to live.
Robin Asbell is a cooking instructor and author of “Big Vegan,” “The Whole Grain Promise” and “Great Bowls of Food.” Find her at robinasbell.com.