If you haven’t heard, Buddha bowls are all the rage this year. The goal is to pack in as much color and nutrient-dense ingredients as possible, leading to an overflowing bowl that resembles a Buddha belly.

Making buddha bowls is an easy meal prep option and great way to use up leftover produce. Prepare all the ingredients over the weekend, and then throw them together during the week for lunch on the go or a fast dinner after class. They are completely customizable, so feel free to mix and match based on what’s in season and what you prefer.

Here’s a guide to help you build your perfect bowl.


legume, beans, pepper, vegetable
Jessica Yeh

Protein will help you feel full throughout the day, which can help prevent overeating and encourage weight loss. Use beans, legumes, and tofu for a vegetarian bowl. Or, substitute with lean meats such as chicken or tuna.


buckwheat, coffee, cereal
Jessica Yeh

Grains are rich in fiber, B vitamins, and minerals, making them an essential addition. Brown rice, farro, rice noodles, and quinoa (though technically a pseudo grain) are the most common.

Salad base

spinach, vegetable, salad, basil, lettuce, relish, herb
Kristine Mahan

While not essential, a basic lettuce base is a nutritious addition to the bowl. Spinach, kale, lettuce, and arugula are great options, but if you don’t want to add greens, bulk up the bowl with more grains and veggies.


chili, sweet pepper, pasture, pepper, vegetable
Jessica Yeh

Whether cooked or raw, vegetables should be the stars of the show. Roast them for a deep charred flavor or sauté them for a little crunch. For the cheapest and freshest bowls, fill them to the brim with what is in season.

Fats or nuts

nut, cassava, coconut, sweet, yam, taro
Jessica Yeh

Fats are an essential macronutrient and help keep you satiated throughout the day. Choose healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats like nuts, seeds, or avocado. Store bought dressings can be high in fat and sugar, so limit the amount to one tablespoon or opt for a homemade version.

Optional Additions

jam, marmalade, gelatin, vegetable, honey, spread, pasta sauce, pickle
Ashleigh Monaco

Fermented condiments such as sauerkraut and kimchi add acidity and amp up the nutritional value of the bowl. Or, consider throwing in crispy wontons or croutons for an extra crunch.

Every bowl is different, but a basic formula to follow is:

1/2 cup protein

1/2 cup grain

1 to 2 cups greens

1 cup veggies

1/4 cup fat

1 to 2 tbsp dressing (optional)

chicken, salad, stir-fry, broccoli, vegetable
Erin Voss

Fuel up and chow down with Buddha bowls that are overflowing with veggies and nutrients. Whether you live in the dorms or have a fully stocked kitchen, take a break from studying and find your zen with these enlightening meals.