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5 rules for making Buddha bowls the easy way

Justina Huddleston is an editor and the head writer for TDmonthly Magazine. She has been a freelance writer for several years, though her real passion is cooking. You can see the recipes she creates on her vegan food blog, A Life of Litt...

We've cracked the code for making these gorgeous, good-for-you meals

If you use Instagram, chances are you've seen Buddha bowls popping up everywhere (sorry, smoothie bowls, but it turns out most people like to actually chew their food).

But what are they?

Also known as abundance, power or nourish bowls, these tasty meals combine a variety of veggies, whole grains and usually plant-based proteins to create a meal bursting with flavor and nutrients.

And though the concoctions you see on social media may look too good to be true, it's actually surprisingly easy to whip up a healthy bowl on your own. These five tips will teach you how to make eating a healthy, nutritious meal easier and more satisfying than getting takeout.

More: 20 toothsome ancient grain recipes to satisfy your autumn appetite

1. Cook ingredients in batches

Eating healthy sounds great, but you need to make sure that putting together a nutritious meal is as easy as hitting up the drive-thru, or your resolve might crumble.

To do this, prep the ingredients for your bowls on the weekend, and then assemble your bowls each day.

You can cook up a big batch of your favorite whole grains, roast a sheet pan of veggies, and pre-chop a variety of fresh veggies, then assemble your bowl at lunchtime or before you leave for work in the morning.

2. Use your blender

Having a great dressing makes eating a bowl of grains and veggies even more appealing. Blender dressings are the easiest way to make sure you have something tasty to drizzle over your healthy meal — just throw the ingredients in the jar, blend and presto! Try a lemon-cashew dressing, raw ranch dressing, or orange tahini dressing to start.

3. Buy pre-chopped veggies

It's an indulgence, but if you're really strapped for time, look for pre-chopped vegetables in the produce aisle of your grocery store. It'll make it super-easy to add chopped bell peppers, carrot and celery sticks, roasted beets and even lentils to your bowls in seconds.

More: These gorgeous hot cereal bowls will inspire your mornings like nothing else

4. Use quick-cooking whole grains

Whole grains are delicious, but they can take forever to cook properly. If you don't feel like cooking up a big batch on the weekend, look for short cuts.

Trader Joe's sells packages of farro and barley that cook up in just 10 minutes, which is a huge time-saver.

You can find microwaveable pouches and bowls of brown rice and quinoa in the grain aisle of your grocery store, and you can usually find frozen brown rice and quinoa in the freezer aisle too.

5. Add variety with this simple formula

Don't get stuck making the same bowl every day. The beauty of power bowls is that you can mix things up! Use leftover roasted veggies or grains from dinner, add a bit of goat cheese or some chopped chicken breast for extra flavor and protein, and keep multiple dressings on hand so you can customize your bowl every day depending on what flavors you crave.

You should also make sure to include a variety of textures in each bowl. Here's an easy formula:

  • Something soft (roasted veggies)
  • Something crunchy (fresh veggies, toasted nuts)
  • Something chewy (al dente whole grains)

Now that you have the basics down, it should be easy to create your own nourish bowls. You can follow a recipe or get creative — either way, what you make is bound to beat an overpriced restaurant salad or lackluster sandwich.

More: What we'll be eating in 2017 according to people who are paying attention

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