Proof That Bowls Are Your New Best Accessory
Move over, plates. Bowls are the new dinnerware staple in America.
In case you haven’t noticed, the popularity of bowls has steadily been on the rise over the past couple of years. These concave vessels are no longer reserved exclusively for serving soups, cereals and side salads. From acai bowls, smoothie bowls, burrito bowls, power bowls, grain bowls, and Buddha bowls, to the newest favorite from Hawaii – poke bowls – people are eating their breakfasts, lunches, and dinners out of bowls now more than ever. In fact,“bowl [meals] are up 29.7 percent in the entree category over a five-year period,” notes Aimee Harvey, managing editor of global content at Technomic – a popular food-industry consulting firm.
And this isn’t a coincidence. The rise in bowl food trends seems to correlate directly to the rise in the popularity of healthy and “clean eating” mentalities. Because, basically, you can put a bunch of healthy stuff in a bowl, add some flavor or sweetness, and somehow magically really enjoy what you’re eating. We’re living proof. And so are the many influencers whose bowls you see on Instagram day in and day out. Even Gwenyth Paltrow has conceded – “Everything tastes better in a bowl.”
From what we recall, the phenomenon seems to have began with the acai bowl – a superfood smoothie topped with things like nuts, seeds, berries and/or granola – which was once made popular by juice bars like Liquiteria but can now be found on the menus of some of New York’s most popular restaurants, like Two Hands Cafe and Dimes. This may or may not have been preceded by the burrito bowl – essentially a burrito without any wrap, for those who want to enjoy a Mexican delight but not indulge in the extra carbs or gluten. Do you see a trend here? Soon after, grain bowls took the stage, thanks to restaurants like SweetGreen, whose quinoa and rice bowls make eating whole grains, veggies, and greens so good that people spend their entire lunch break lined up around the corner just to get their hands on one. Nowadays, it seems that every emerging food trend ends with the word “bowl”.
Two Hands Acai Bowl
The great thing about bowl eating is that it makes it really easy and enjoyable to eat well. Make a power bowl by throwing a good proportion of macronutrients together – grains, protein, veggies, and some healthy fat in the form of avocado and/or olive-oil-based salad dressing – and you have yourself a simple, yummy, filling and nutritious meal. Plus, a power bowl is so much more fun to eat than a piece of grilled fish next to a side of rice and asparagus on a plate (boring).
Bowl meals are also very convenient for people who are on the go, or those who don’t have much time to indulge in a plate of food. For example, on late nights my husband and I make the quickest and most satisfying bowl dinner – turkey and sweet potato bowls. Early in the week we will prep by cooking ground turkey with onions and spices like chili powder and cumin, and baking sweet potato halves in the oven. When we’re ready to make the bowls, we heat up the turkey and sweet potatoes, throw them on a bed of Organicgirl Supergreens, and toss in a simple mustard vinaigrette (some olive oil, equal parts dijon and stone ground mustard, a touch of honey, salt, and pepper). Okay, so maybe it’s more like a salad, but we still eat it out of a bowl and love every bite.
Speaking of recipes… even cookbook publishers are getting in on the action. Walk into any local bookstore or Barnes and Noble, and you’ll find a wealth of new recipe books with the spotlight on – you guessed it – bowl meals. Chefs and food bloggers alike have clung onto this trend, and over the last two years alone have released several bowl-focused compilations, some of our favorites including: Bowl, by Lukas Volger, Whole Bowls, by blogger Allison Day, The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon, by Sara Forte, and Great Bowls of Food, by Robin Asbell.
And let’s face it. Bowls of food are so photogenic. Something about lining up those almonds on your smoothie bowl or fanning out the sliced avocado amongst the other colorful ingredients of your Buddha bowl makes these types of meals that much more Instagram-worthy. Every time we scroll through our feeds we see at least one beautiful image of a bowl. And we love it.
Right? The proof is in the (chia seed) pudding.
But by no means does this mean we think that plates are dead. We love plates, and as you’ll soon see, we’re investing in our own designs to share with you. However we do feel strongly that bowls will continue to earn their spot at the table, and we’re excited to see what’s next for them.