At Reasons, we see food as medicine. Naturally, meals and snacks are critical components to eating disorder treatment. Additionally, learning to cook and nourish yourself through food you’ve made can provide wonderful new avenues to explore on the road to recovery.

As you start to explore cooking in the context of eating disorder recovery, recipes can prove very useful. They serve as a guidepost and can provide clear direction on how to approach the creation of a nourishing meal. But some days you just don’t feel like pulling out a cookbook or a recipe. Regardless of where you are on the recovery journey, we all experience that moment of walking into the kitchen to cook and feeling uninspired, tired, or just plain bored. How do you sustain your commitment to nourishing yourself in these moments when your motivation might not line up with your need to eat?

Enter the Fun Bowl!

Reasons registered dietitian, Hadis Ghoghaie Schertzer, coined the term “Fun Bowl” as her take on what’s sometimes referred to as a “Buddha Bowl” or a “Hippy Bowl.” This culinary concoction consists of… well, pretty much anything! The Fun Bowl is a blank canvas for your culinary creation, with a few guideposts to help you structure a nourishing meal. The guideposts are simple, but the options are endless. Here are the key steps you’ll take to concoct your own bowl, and a few ideas on the ways in which you can bring that component of your bowl to life:

Pro Tip! Start by choosing a theme; Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, Korean, Indian, German, Vietnamese, Chinese, Soul Food, Middle Eastern, etc.

1. Choose a starch (base)

  • Rice: white, brown, basmati, jasmine, long grain, short grain, wild, arborio, etc.
  • Couscous
  • Quinoa
  • Farro
  • Pasta or noodles
  • Plantains
  • Potatoes
  • Yams
  • Oats

2. Choose a protein

  • Chicken
  • Tempeh
  • Beef
  • Lentils: red, green, brown, black, etc.
  • Fish
  • Chickpeas
  • Tofu
  • Beans: black-eyed, borlotti, red kidney, lima, etc.
  • Bacon
  • Eggs

3. Choose vegetables

  • Spinach or chard
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Bell Peppers
  • Green beans
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Salad greens
  • Squash
  • Carrots
  • Onions

4. Choose a dairy (optional)

  • Cheese
  • Yogurt

5. Choose a sauce

  • Dips: hummus, salsa dips, babaganoush, guacamole, tzatziki, buffalo sauce, etc.
  • Pasta sauces
  • Tahini
  • Salad dressings

6. Choose some toppers

  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Herbs, like parsley, coriander, basil, etc.
  • Sprouts
  • Olives
  • Fermented vegetables, like sauerkraut or kimchi
  • Crispy noodles
  • Croutons
  • Spice mixes: za’atar or dukkah

Voila! In record time, you can create a Fun Bowl that nourishes your body and sparks your creativity.

There are a few key benefits to concocting your own Fun Bowl. From a practical perspective, on the days when you don’t have time to get to the grocery store, or when you don’t feel particularly inspired, a Fun Bowl comes to the rescue as a “kitchen sink” style recipe – leveraging the ingredients and leftovers you have on hand to create something new.

From a recovery perspective, a Fun Bowl offers an opportunity to explore challenges in a creative and safe space. Consider how you can weave a few new foods into your creation, or foods that you once considered off limits. Or, create a bowl entirely made of new ingredients you have yet to explore. With an endless array of options, your avenues for exploration and for curiosity in your recovery journey are limitless.