Bowls That Beat The Lunch Rut


As a teacher, sometimes I feel a small pang of envy when I see pictures of friends sitting on a restaurant patio during their hour-long lunch breaks. Even a trip to the Chick-Fil-A drive-through seems luxurious when you’re used to your twenty-minute meal break with your pre-teen lunch buddies.

Because I pack my lunch daily, I often would fall prey to the bagged salad kit or a sad-looking sandwich. Not only would this not give me a meal to look forward to, but I was not meeting my macronutrient needs to keep me full and energized.

Bowls are a great way to mimic delicious restaurant lunches while maintaining a nutrient balance. I always prep these on a Sunday because between work and mom-life, there is no way I would achieve these on a weeknight.

All of these recipes- I use that term loosely- are flexible to changes based on your taste and are based on some of my favorite restaurant meals. Enjoy!

Everything But the Tortilla Burrito Bowl

This gives me all the vibes of a Chipotle bowl but can be meal prepped for the week and a fraction of the cost. Pick the amount of each ingredient to your liking/macronutrient needs.

  • Base: Rice (I love Seeds of Change Brown Rice/Quinoa Blend)
  • Protein: Shredded Chicken (I recommend an Adobo seasoning.)
  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Black Beans
  • Roasted Corn
  • Diced Cucumbers
  • A scoop of guacamole

Sushi Cauliflower Rice Bowl

I really look forward to lunch on the days that this is on the docket. This bowl is fresh, crisp, and delicious. Pick the amount of each ingredient to your liking/macronutrient needs. This is loosely based on the bowl I like from Nom, but I substituted cauliflower rice.

  • Base: Cauliflower Rice 
  • Protein: Sushi-grade tuna (Fresh Market often has these at a good price.)
  • Diced cucumbers
  • Sliced radishes
  • Shredded carrots
  • Diced avocado

Top With

  • Sriracha Mayo (I eyeball this- just put the amount of mayo you want in a small bowl and add a couple of squirts of Sriracha and a light squeeze of lime.)
  • Soy Ginger Sauce: 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tsp minced garlic, 2 tsp grated ginger, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp olive oil, a squirt of lime juice
  • A sprinkle of sesame seeds

Greek Chicken Bowl

There is a restaurant back in my hometown that does the best build your own Mediterranean bowls. I adapted this from what I get there. Pick the amount of each ingredient to your liking/macronutrient needs.

  • Base: Rice (I love Seeds of Change Brown Rice/Quinoa Blend)
  • Seasoned grilled chicken breast, sliced 
    • Seasoning with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, garlic, oregano
  • Grape tomatoes (halved)
  • Diced cucumbers
  • Diced bell pepper (orange, red, or yellow)
  • Crumbled feta
  • Diced avocado
  • Tzatziki Sauce (I do store-bought.)
  • **I can’t stand olives, but add if they are your thing
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Melissa Benator
Melissa Benator is a basketball wife, English teacher, and freelance writer, who spends most of her time getting her cardio in by chasing around her energetic two-year-old son and seventy-five-pound rescue lapdog. She is a Virginia girl who gradually kept migrating further south after graduating from The University of Georgia, where she met her husband. They moved to Pensacola as newlyweds five years ago and fell in love with the turquoise water and white sand. When not at the beach or eating her way down Palafox Street, Melissa can be found improvising in the kitchen, pretending to be Joana Gaines, or splashing in the baby pool with her son. She believes that life is a perpetual learning curve, and motherhood is no exception. Melissa looks forward to connecting with our readers and sharing her joys and challenges as a new(ish) mother.


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