Last Updated November 2nd, 2022
Anyone looking for a new choice of a healthy dish must have come across this term Buddha bowl somewhere or other on the internet. The Buddha bowl is a dish that not only looks gorgeous but also offers a number of beneficial health effects. This healthy and nourishing dish is also known as nourish bowls, rainbow bowls, or a hippie bowl according to various makers. In fact, there is no hard and fast rule about making a Buddha bowl and one can approach it in a variety of flexible ways. In case you are thinking that this dish has any relation with the spiritual teachings of the Buddha, you will be mistaken. The Buddha indeed had a bowl and he carried the same through the streets as he travelled and would eat whatever was placed in it at a specific time of the day. The present-day Buddhist monks still follow the ancient rules of eating during specific hours of the day.
For the Buddha, the time of consumption of the food was more important than the content of the food itself. The modern Buddha bowl is similar when it comes to the content and there is no restriction on the proportions of protein, vegetables, and grains that are placed on it. The items, especially the vegetables, can be boiled, roasted, or raw depending on the choice of the cook. Some experts have defined the Buddha bowl as “15 percent lean protein, 25 percent whole grains, 35 percent vegetables, 10 percent sauce, and 30 percent extras, like nuts, seeds, or sprouts.” Though there are no restrictions on meat content, the dish became very popular among vegans. In fact, the original form of the Buddha bowl was vegan and since it does not have a hard-and-fast recipe, meat and poultry were later incorporated into the dish.
The Buddha bowl and calories
With contents like grains, salad, and some protein, a typical Buddha bowl may contain around 400 to 500 calories. When fried items along with dressings are used, the same bowl can contain around 1000 calories along with a substantial amount of fat. A simple serving of soy sauce may contain around 100 mg of sodium which is a major chunk of the daily requirement of the mineral in the body. In addition to these, other ingredients may contain some amounts of added salt. So the amount of calories and other elements in a Buddha bowl depends on the composition and that determines whether it is the right choice for health or not. In addition, the food habits of the person, the lifestyle, and the frequency of consumption of the food in a day are also important factors in determining the effect of the Buddha bowl.
While the contents of the bowl make it sound health-friendly, in many cases, it can be deceptive. It has been estimated that for a woman, the typical Buddha bowl contains around two-thirds and almost 100 percent of her daily fat intake. For the average man, it contains around 45 to 50 percent of his daily calorie requirements and between 45 and 75 percent of his fat needs. On the other hand, the advantage of the bowl is that it is freshly prepared and the nutrient levels are higher than that in other cooked food items. There is no doubt that the Buddha bowl is a much healthier choice than an average burger or fries from many aspects. But for those who are looking to lose weight, the composition of the bowl is an important factor that needs to be taken into account.
Human calorie requirements
A calorie is a unit that measures energy and when you gain weight, you are consuming more calories than you are burning through daily activity. The equation needs to be reversed for someone who is planning to lose weight. The calorie consumption of a human being is based on various factors like a person’s age, sex, height, weight, and level of daily physical activity. So the basic requirements have been established as 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for an average adult woman and 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day for adult men. The lower values are for a person with a sedentary lifestyle, while the higher values are for a person with a more active lifestyle. Since the basal metabolic rates go down with age, the requirement of calories comes down as an individual grows older. In many cases, people do not eat based on calories but consume food unless they are feeling full.
The foods classified as low in energy density have 0.7 to 1.5 calories per gram while those which are very low in energy density range from 0 to 0.6 calories per gram. Vegetables and fruits have high water and fibre content which provide them with a higher volume and lower energy density and they come under these two energy density categories. This makes people consuming them feel full, even when the overall amount of calories consumed remains on the lower side. While the direct relationship between eating vegetables and losing weight has not been established as yet. Some research has also shown that people who consumed a high-fibre diet lost more weight in a given period of time. This makes a Buddha bowl with the right ingredients, a significant tool to maintain weight and remain healthy.
The preparation of a Buddha bowl
It has been established by studies that the manner in which fruits and vegetable dishes are prepared and consumed creates a big difference in their impact on a person’s overall calorie consumption. When methods like frying are used and high-fat dressings and sauces are added, the overalls calorie and fat content of the dish is much higher, even with all the green content. In addition, consumers should also try to choose fresh vegetables as frozen and canned items sometimes contain added salt or some ingredients that can raise the energy density of the item. So, the selection of ingredients and the methods of preparation is vital for anyone looking to use the Buddha bowl for losing weight through calorie management.
The Buddha bowl can be prepared in many easy ways including the use of leftovers or whatever materials that you have in the fridge. The base format of the bowl can be created with whole grains which can include brown rice, bulgur, barley, and quinoa. This can be assembled with other complex carbohydrates like potatoes, whole grain pasta, and an assortment of vegetables. You can choose vegetables of as many colours and flavours as you prefer and make sure that you use bite-size elements so that it is easy to mix the bowl. Other plant-based items that can be included are lentils, black beans, and chickpeas. To add the flavours, items like nuts, seeds, diced fruits, and herbs along with chia, sesame or flaxseeds can be used. A variety of sauces can be used to add flavour to the bowl but if you want to keep things natural, black pepper and lemon juice are often the best options. The bowl can also be stored in the fridge for a couple of days unless you have used fruits or vegetables that tend to go brown.
The importance of green vegetables in the diet
It is the large number of vegetables used in a Buddha bowl that makes it a favourite choice of the dieticians. Fruits and vegetables are considered one of the healthiest foods that can be consumed for all ages. Some dieticians suggest that at least half the amount in a food plate should consist of green vegetables and fruits. The high fibre content of these items makes them a good choice for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and obesity. Apart from vitamins and minerals, these food items also supply antioxidants, phytoestrogens, and anti-inflammatory agents to the body. In addition, they are consumed raw, which makes them superior to fried and boiled food items that contain added salt and fats. Some of the most significant fruits and vegetables associated with cardiovascular health are lettuce, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and citrus fruits.
It has been estimated that those who consume around 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in a day have a 20% lower risk of coronary heart diseases and stroke. A diet rich in these items, along with restrictions on the intake of saturated and total fat has also been shown to have beneficial effects on patients with high blood pressure. A higher amount of non-starchy vegetable intake was also related to a lower risk of cancers and fewer chances for the formation of oestrogen-receptor-negative tumors. The consumption of vegetables and whole fruits has also been associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. The fibres contained in vegetables can be classified as soluble and insoluble. While soluble fibres have a positive effect on serum lipids, insoluble fibres were linked with laxation-related benefits. They are also helpful in conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. The vegetables in a Buddha bowl are also capable of keeping your eyes healthy and preventing cataracts and macular degeneration.
The benefits of a Buddha bowl
Apart from being delicious and rich in nutrients, the Buddha bowl does have a few other advantages too. Below are listed some of the major advantages. The vegetables like cabbage, cucumbers, avocados, beetroots, and others that are used in the bowl have various health benefits. Cucumbers are extremely alkaline and help to balance the acid elements in the body. The coloured vegetables are also rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins and indoles. They are also a rich source of fibres, folate, iron, and various vitamins. The nuts and seeds used to add the essential fatty acids also make the dish even healthier.
- The variety of colours and flavours used in the bowl make it an appetizing choice and adds a refreshing touch to the same old green salad.
- Since the majority of the population does not get to eat the necessary daily volume of green vegetables, the Buddha bowl is a great way to consume a sufficient amount of fresh greens.
- It is easy to prepare and is a flexible dish that allows you to use a lot of variety as per your personal choice.
- The dish is a good choice for those looking to lose weight as it offers a high satiety index ad keeps a person feeling full for a longer period.
- The bowl is an ideal choice for kids as they will be attracted by the colourful look and can also help in the preparation of the bowl.
The points to keep in mind while preparing a Buddha bowl
To make the best out of the components in a Buddha bowl, the following points can be kept in mind.
- It is important to strike the right balance between the various ingredients while preparing a Buddha bowl. This should include a range of whole grains, proteins, an abundance of vegetables, and healthy fats.
- Use various colours and textures not only for the bright look and the taste but also to add a variety of nutrients to the bowl.
- The quantity of the bowl should be judged based on the calorie requirement of the individual. It is no point in overconsuming when you are pursuing a specific weight-loss goal.
- For those who are preparing a vegetarian bowl, legumes, pulse, nuts, and soy can act as good sources of proteins.
- It is best to avoid salty items, creamy sauces, and deep-fried toppings in order to gain the maximum health benefits from the bowl.
A few last words
The concept of the Buddha bowl definitely sounds exciting for anyone looking for some interesting variation in their diet. It is easy to put together, nutritious, and can boost your journey towards the goal of losing weight. It also allows you to get creative and reduce food wastage by effectively managing the contents of your refrigerator. At the same time, you need to strike the right balance between the ingredients and the volume of the dish, a concept that seems to be in line with the spiritual principles of Buddhism.
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