Experts reveal whether trendy buddha bowls are really healthy – and what to avoid when making them

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In recent years, they have become a mainstay in trendy health cafes and restaurants.

But are those poke, nourish and buddha bowls nutritionists swear by actually good for you?

Consumer organisation, CHOICE, recently took a look at the trend to find out whether these bowls really deliver on nutrition – and if fresh is better than frozen. 

And while it’s good news for fans of bowl food, there are three things it pays to be aware of and avoid before loading up your plate.

Consumer organisation, CHOICE , recently took a look at the buddha bowl trend (pictured) to find out whether these bowls really deliver on nutrition

Consumer organisation, CHOICE , recently took a look at the buddha bowl trend (pictured) to find out whether these bowls really deliver on nutrition

Consumer organisation, CHOICE , recently took a look at the buddha bowl trend (pictured) to find out whether these bowls really deliver on nutrition

Buddha bowls (pictured) contain a grain component such as brown rice, quinoa or soba noodles, a form of protein and a range of colourful vegetables

Buddha bowls (pictured) contain a grain component such as brown rice, quinoa or soba noodles, a form of protein and a range of colourful vegetables

Buddha bowls (pictured) contain a grain component such as brown rice, quinoa or soba noodles, a form of protein and a range of colourful vegetables

What is a buddha bowl and are they healthy? 

Choice say the best way to describe buddha bowls is as a ‘supercharged salad’. 

The three things to avoid adding to a buddha bowl 

* Creamy sauces

* Deep-fried toppings

* Salty dressings like soy sauce

Buddha bowls contain a grain component such as brown rice, quinoa or soba noodles, a form of protein and a range of colourful vegetables.  

The organisation explained that the bowls are good for you, provided they contain the right ingredients.

‘Buddha bowls are making salad sexy again,’ dietitian Anna Debenham told CHOICE.  

‘The variety of colours, textures and flavours in buddha bowls makes them far more interesting than a plain old plate of green salad.’ 

She also said that they are a at example of the ‘Healthy Eating Plate’ model developed at Harvard, where half the plate is made up of vegetables, a quarter is made of carbohydrates and a quarter is made of lean protein.

The consumer outlet said that they are a great way to get your daily quota of fruit and vegetables, provided you don't overdo the toppings, salt or supersize your portion size

The consumer outlet said that they are a great way to get your daily quota of fruit and vegetables, provided you don't overdo the toppings, salt or supersize your portion size

The consumer outlet said that they are a great way to get your daily quota of fruit and vegetables, provided you don’t overdo the toppings, salt or supersize your portion size

How to make sure your buddha bowl is healthy 

* Choose complex carbs over white rice and noodles.

* Include as many vegetables as possible.

* Avoid creamy sauces and deep-fried toppings.

* Keep salty dressings like soy sauce to a minimum.

* Be aware of portion sizes as they can be overly large. 

How can you make sure your buddha bowl is healthy? 

While buddha bowls are healthy, not all are created alike.

Fresh is better than frozen, and complex carbs like brown rice or quinoa are much better for you than white rice or noodles.

If you’re making your own at home, include as many vegetables as possible and avoid three things: creamy sauces, deep-fried toppings and salty dressings like soy sauce.

Finally, be mindful of portion sizes, which can tip over to the extreme in some outlets.

When it comes to wellness bowls sold frozen at the supermarket, Anna Debenham said you’re better off making your own at home, where you can control ingredients, portion size and salt content. 

However, frozen buddha bowls like Super Nature ‘wellness bowls’ will lock the nutrients in, and so can be a good option if you’re low on time but want something healthy. 

If you want to make your own buddha bowl (pictured) at home, CHOICE recommend you use microwavable brown rice or quinoa packets, buy pre-shredded packets of salad and keep roasted vegetables on hand in your fridge

If you want to make your own buddha bowl (pictured) at home, CHOICE recommend you use microwavable brown rice or quinoa packets, buy pre-shredded packets of salad and keep roasted vegetables on hand in your fridge

If you want to make your own buddha bowl (pictured) at home, CHOICE recommend you use microwavable brown rice or quinoa packets, buy pre-shredded packets of salad and keep roasted vegetables on hand in your fridge

If you want to make your own buddha bowl (pictured) at home, CHOICE recommend you use microwavable brown rice or quinoa packets, buy pre-shredded packets of salad and keep roasted vegetables on hand in your fridge

If you want to make your own buddha bowl (pictured) at home, CHOICE recommend you use microwavable brown rice or quinoa packets, buy pre-shredded packets of salad and keep roasted vegetables on hand in your fridge

Tips for healthy buddha bowls

Lastly, the consumer organisation shared their tips for making buddha bowls at home.

They recommend preparing and cooking ingredients at home, as well as using microwavable brown rice of quinoa packets, which means you don’t have to rely on having lots of spare time.

‘Buy pre-shredded packets of salad or coleslaw,’ they explained, adding that it’s useful to roast vegetables in advance ahead of time and also to boil eggs to keep in the fridge.

Lastly, it can be both helpful and tasty to keep a range of nuts, seeds, pickles and fermented foods on hand to liven up your bowl. 

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