I have discovered a fun and healthy way to literally construct a healthy diet for myself. It comes from Kathie Swift’s book The Swift Diet. In the book (pages 221–222) Kathie refers to a way of eating she terms Bowl-ology. You build your bowl to include key nutrients that you can swap in and out.

Basically, you want to literally build your own food pyramid in your bowl by following the below steps while adding less volume with each step.

  1. start with a healthy base of steamed or sauteed greens such as kale, spinach, collards, etc. (2 cups)
  2. add colorful veggies (think of adding a rainbow of colors to maximize your nutrients) (1 cup)
  3. add protein of your choice (Kathie urges vegetable proteins like tofu, beans, etc. but use what you have or like for variety: chicken, sushi grade tuna and go with only 3/4 cup if using non veg protein) (3/4-1 cup)
  4. add some fermented foods which are key to promoting good digestion (who doesn’t need help there?). Fermented foods are things like raw sauerkraut, miso, pickles, yogurt, kimchi, etc.-I like to get adventurous-favorite find was picked jalapeno slices!(1/2–3/4 cup)
  5. add ancient grains (if you want-sometimes I skip this altogether) such as quinoa, brown rice (1/2 cup)
  6. add some herbs or spices like fresh cilantro, dill, etc. (up to 1/4 cup)
  7. add sparingly olives, nuts, seeds, avocados, etc. (1–2 Tablespoons)
  8. finally, add dressing or salsa, hot sauce, etc., fresh citrus juice (1–2 Tablespoons)

What is most fun about this way of eating is that it allows you to be creative and also plan ahead to be able to go in several different ways. I like to cook up a big bag of spinach and one of kale and another of collard greens or swiss chard. That way I have a variety of base greens to literally build upon. I don’t tend to chop my colorful veggies ahead if I am eating them raw-I think they taste best when cut closer to eating. However, I do like to roast vegetables like sweet potatoes, peppers, fennel, etc. ahead of time and also have them in different containers in the fridge. The same goes with protein choices.

This way of eating allows me to spend 3–4 hours one day a week planning, shopping, chopping and cooking and then very little time during the week cooking. Meal prep really becomes creativity +assembly = yummy BIG bowl of goodness. My favorite part is that I don’t have to feel that I am getting a hamster sized meal in my effort to be healthy.

Two recent bowls that were a hit with the hubby: Mexi-breakfast bowl and Curried Chicken Salad bowl (pictured above). I will share my recipes in another post. This way of eating will bowl you over.

Originally published at medium.com


  • Donna Haghighat

    CEO at The Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts, Creator, Teacher, Feminist and Improv student who loves wordplay and learning