3 Grain Bowl Upgrades You Should Make This Summer, According to a Dietitian

3 Grain Bowl Upgrades You Should Make This Summer, According to a Dietitian

Embrace Seasonal Produce

One of the best things about summer is all the fresh, ripe produce available at farmers markets and grocery stores. Take advantage by loading up your grain bowls with vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, corn, zucchini, berries and stone fruits. Not only do they add bright colors and delicious flavors, they pack nutrients like antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C.

Swap in Whole Grains

Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, farro and bulgur pack more fiber and nutrients than refined grains. They also add interesting textures to your bowl. Try mixing quinoa with rice or replace pasta entirely with spiralized zucchini or squash for a low-carb, nutrient-dense base.

Add Nutrient-Dense Toppings

Take your grain bowl to the next level nutrition-wise by loading it up with healthy toppings. Think veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, avocado and lean proteins like grilled chicken, shrimp or tofu. Some great options include tomatoes, bell peppers, edamame, walnuts, hemp seeds and feta cheese.

Make it Mediterranean

For a fresh Mediterranean flavor, try making your grain bowl with ingredients like cucumbers, olives, olive oil, lemon, parsley, garlic and feta or goat cheese. Base it on bulgur wheat or pearl couscous instead of rice and top it with salmon or chickpeas for a delicious, nutrient-packed meal.

Get Creative with Global Flavors

Think outside the box by drawing grain bowl inspiration from global cuisines. Make it Mexican-inspired with corn, black beans, avocado, cotija cheese and cilantro lime dressing. For an Indian twist, use curried chickpeas, raita and mango chutney over basmati rice or quinoa. The possibilities are endless!


What are some good grains to use in a grain bowl?

Some nutritious whole grains that work well in grain bowls include quinoa, brown rice, farro, bulgur, buckwheat, millet and barley.

What proteins go well in a grain bowl?

Good lean protein options for grain bowls include chicken, shrimp, salmon, tofu, chickpeas, black beans, edamame, lentils, nuts and seeds.

What toppings should I add to my grain bowl?

Some tasty, nutrient-packed grain bowl toppings include avocado, feta or goat cheese, roasted veggies, sautéed greens, pickled onions, fresh herbs and olive oil or hummus.

How can I make my grain bowl filling enough?

Make sure your grain bowl is balanced and filling by including a fiber-rich whole grain, lean protein, healthy fats from foods like nuts, seeds or avocado, and lots of vegetables.

What dressing goes well with a grain bowl?

Some easy, flavorful dressings for grain bowls include lemon vinaigrette, tahini, chimichurri, pesto or herb-infused olive oil.