The new year often comes with resolutions…exercise more, diet, save money, etc. In year’s past, I’ve definitely been one to vow to do these intense resolutions, only to stop them by mid-February. This year, I’m feeling really different heading into the new year. I don’t want to lose weight or run a marathon. Instead, my resolution is to treat my body with respect.
My New Year’s Resolution
After my miscarriage, I longed to feel “normal” again. I wanted to exercise, move my body, eat regular food, and wake up feeling amazing! Honestly, I’m still getting there. While grieving (and during my pregnancy), I had zero appetite and found myself barely able to get anything down. During December, I survived on a diet of protein bars and Christmas cookies. Yeah…not exactly the healthiest menu.
I’m also easing back into a regular workout routine. I’ve always prided myself on being a very active person, but during fertility treatments & pregnancy, I was only allowed to walk and do light yoga. Those first few classes back at the gym were rough. I did a yoga sculpt class and spent at least 1/2 of it in child’s pose because I was breathing so heavily and thought I might pass out. I’m still getting there, but even going out for a good walk every day is helping.
So it’s baby steps to feel like me again. I am aiming to have at least one of my meals be well-rounded and packed full of nutrients. And that’s where this protein bowl recipe comes into play. But before we get to the recipe, let me give some background info on why we started making this protein bowl.
Seeing a Nutritionist
Last fall, Finn and I both went to see a nutritionist. I’ve always been a healthy eater, although I probably don’t eat enough protein since I only eat chicken, turkey, and fish (no red meat or pork for me). Finn’s pretty healthy too but was a big cheese and dairy fan (bring on all the deep dish pizza!).
We figured she could help us eat a more “fertility friendly” diet and once I was pregnant, help me eat the right foods for a healthy pregnancy. To be honest, Finn and I blew through our out of pocket/deductibles with our insurance for IVF, so we figured why not? Insurance would cover it and we could learn a few things along the way. The nutritionist took our blood to see if we were deficient in any nutrients/vitamins, and also tested us for food allergies and sensitivities.
We were both deficient in a few random nutrients and she has helped us to find the right supplements. But Finn’s food allergies came back off the charts! He is sensitive to all.the.things. Gluten, soy, dairy, wheat, beef, sesame seeds, blueberries, almonds…the list goes on and on. Since finding out this information, Finn and I have been working hard to eliminate a lot of these culprits from our household. We’ve started with dairy and gluten and are working our way down the list.
(Side Note: After hearing about our experience, Bridget and Matt ordered an at-home food sensitivity kit! It was not as detailed or thorough as the extensive amount of testing Finn and I did, but it was a good place to start! They’re still waiting on results, but Bridget reassured me that she’ll “dish” the scoop during this month’s happy hour. If you’re interested in looking into this at home test, use this link for $20 off! She bought the “Food Sensitivity” one, but it looks like this company has a few other at-home tests you can take too).
Simple Protein Bowl Recipe
This protein bowl has been a go-to recipe in our household for the past month. It is gluten-free and dairy-free and has protein, fat, and a wonderful mix of veggies. It’s also incredibly easy to throw together and you can use whatever produce you have on hand. Finn does a lot of cooking on Sunday afternoons, and he will often chop a bunch of these veggies, cook the ground turkey, make some quinoa, and then I can easily make a protein bowl for myself each day for lunch.
Again, let me emphasize that you can use whatever you have fresh on hand and the quantities are up to you! We always keep quinoa, black beans, and salsa stocked in our pantry. We then buy fresh produce and ground turkey each week and use anything that sounds good that day!
Protein Bowl Ingredients
Makes about 4-6 servings.
Easy Protein Bowl
- 2 lb Ground Turkey
- 1 cup Quinoa
- 2 cups Cauliflower Rice
- 1 Sweet Potato
- 1 Yellow Onion
- 1 Red Pepper
- 1 Green Pepper
- 1 can Black Beans
- Green Onions for topping
- Avocado for topping
- Salsa for topping
- Olive Oil
- Salt & pepper we also season with cumin, crushed red pepper, and oregano
- Dive the peppers, onions, and peel and chop the sweet potato into small pieces.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium-high and put in a bit of olive oil. Brown the ground turkey (add some spices for flavor) and set it aside in a bowl.
- While that cooks, make the quinoa following the directions on the package. (We usually use about a 1/2 cup in the protein bowl, but make extra to eat for the week.)
- Cook the veggies, starting with the sweet potatoes (cook for 5-7 minutes), then add onions, peppers, and black beans (cook for 3-4 minutes). Finally, add the cauliflower rice, and cook for about 2 minutes.
- When the veggies are done cooking, add the black beans and ground turkey to heat it all up together for a minute. Scoop out a bit of quinoa, add the meat and veggie mixture, and top it with sliced avocados (and some salsa if you want to add some spice!).
First, it’s time to get chopping! I’m horrible with a knife (seriously, Finn winces when he watches me chop because he thinks I’ll inevitably lose a finger. So far I’ve still got all 10 digits), so Finn does a majority of the cutting in our household.
He dices the peppers, onions, and peels and chops the sweet potato. Make sure to get the sweet potato into small pieces so they cook all the way through when it’s time to cook them! We recently upgraded all of our Tupperware to these glass containers and they’re awesome (& free from BPA!). Finn will always chop extra of these veggies and keep them in our containers for a few days. Then it’s super easy to throw veggies into whatever we’re making because the hard part is already over (the chopping!).
Once everything is chopped up, Finn heats up a skillet and puts in a bit of olive oil. Then he browns the ground turkey (adds some spices) and sets it aside in a bowl. While that cooks, Finn makes the quinoa following the directions on the package. We usually use about a 1/2 cup in the protein bowl, but make extra to eat for the week.
Next up, the veggies! Sweet potatoes take the longest to cook through, so Finn adds those in first. Once those get cooked through (about 5-7 minutes), he throws in the onions and peppers. As those cook (about 3-4 minutes), Finn rinses the black beans.
The cauliflower rice doesn’t take much time at all, so that’s the last item added to the dish. About 2 minutes for that.
When all of the veggies are cooked through, he adds the black beans and ground turkey to heat it all up together for a minute. We then scoop out a bit of quinoa, add the meat and veggie mixture, and top it with sliced avocados (and some salsa if you want to add some spice!).
During the week, I’ll quickly re-heat these goodies for a quick lunch while I’m working. I love knowing that I’m getting my veggies, proteins, and good fats in for the day!
Finn was telling our nutritionist how I’m also joining him on the gluten-free/dairy-free train and she was so excited to hear that. He then reminded her that I really have no choice since he does all of the cooking in the house. Haha…without Finn, I would probably starve. Or go back to my diet of Christmas cookies and protein bars…
I hope you guys enjoyed learning about our new go-to protein bowl. Since starting his new healthy lifestyle, Finn is down a few pounds and feeling ahhhhhmazing (so much energy, it’s insane). If you guys are interested, I can continue to share some of the recipes he perfects as he continues on this journey either here on the blog or over on Insta stories.
Hopefully, we can all look forward to a healthy and happy 2019!Casey