One-Bowl Meals

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Did you know one-bowl meals are a great way to build a well-balanced meal? One-bowl meals have many nutritional benefits. In the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), our goal is to teach the youth here in Robeson County the importance of eating a variety of healthy nutritious foods and increasing daily physical activity. In our high school curriculum ‘Fuel for Life’ we highlight one-bowl meals. One-bowl meals can pack a bowl full of nutrition from the five food groups: grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables, and dairy. According to USDA, adolescents between the ages 14 to 18 need the following amount daily from each food group: grains – 6 ounces,  fruit – 2 cups, vegetables – 2 ½ cups, dairy – 3 cups, and protein –  5 ½ ounces.

One-bowl meals allow anyone to be creative. You can make bowls for breakfast, lunch, or  dinner, sweet or spicy. The most important thing is to remember is to pick items that will pack great nutritional value, from lean proteins to fat-free dairy. When building a bowl meal, you want to start with a good base (about 1 cup), such as whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, lettuce, roman noodles, grits, oatmeal, or lettuce. Next, chose your vegetables or fruits (about 1 cup) like corn, berries, apples, broccoli, avocado, or bananas. Next, choose a protein (about ½ cup) such as shredded chicken, cooked ground beef, tuna, black beans, yogurt, hummus, or eggs. Lastly, finish it with condiments and toppings like peanuts, honey, soy sauce, cheese, salsa, vinegar, or oil. Remember, one-bowl meals can be made in a variety of ways, so don’t be afraid to make your own twist on them.

Southwest Bowl


  • brown rice (about 1 cup cooked)
  • 2 handfuls of fruits and vegetables. (mix and match from the following: lettuce, corn, avocado, tomato or other of choice; about 1 cup)
  • Handful of cooked ground turkey or lean ground beef (about ½ cup)
  • Small handful of shredded cheese, salsa, and/or Greek yogurt. (about ¼ cup)


  1. Cook brown rice according to package directions.
  2. Cook ground turkey to 165 degrees Fahrenheit or lean ground beef to 158 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Add the cooked rice to a bowl.
  4. Add your choice of fruits and vegetables to the bowl.
  5. Top the bowl with your choice of cheese, salsa, and/or yogurt.

For a protein-packed vegetarian option, replace the ground meat with black beans or pinto beans. Add an extra kick with some hot sauce or use a spicy salsa.

For more information, contact Joanna Rogers, Extension 4-H Youth EFNEP Assistant, at 910-671-3276, by Email at, or visit our website.