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Zone Living

Breaking down the latest research on Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition
Written By: Dr. Barry Sears, Ph. D | Creator of the Zone Diet

Written by Sue Knorr
on August 13, 2018

Power bowls, grain bowls, and lunch bowls are on menus everywhere, from fast food restaurants to the most upscale cafés. Next time you find yourself wondering what to have for dinner try a bowl. What could be better than a Zone meal in a bowl? They’re easy to make and fun to eat.

Follow these simple guidelines for balancing your Zone lunch bowl or any meal to ward off hunger for hours and keep you performing at your best.

  • Place lean protein the size and thickness of your palm on a dinner sized plate.
  • Fill the other 2/3 of the plate with non-starchy vegetables and a little fruit.
  • Add a dash (that’s a moderate amount) of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat like olive oil, macadamia nuts, almonds, or avocado.

To use this method for a lunch bowl, switch out the dinner plate for an individual serving sized pasta bowl.

Apply the balancing guidelines to the assembly instructions given below. For a Zone PastaRx Orzo lunch bowl, use the serving size recommendations on the package.


How to assemble your bowl

Zone Bowl Theme

And stick loosely to it as you fill the bowl. A hot meal or cold, it doesn’t matter. No stress here. Feel free to slip in an unexpected ingredient or two to kick it up a notch.

Zone Bowl Carbohydrate

Placed in the bottom of the bowl for a tasty foundation. Try last night’s leftover cooked beet greens, shredded crispy iceberg lettuce, raw or cooked spinach, or a mix of steamed broccoli and cauliflower. For a Zone PastaRx Orzo bowl, start with cooked Zone orzo in the bowl.

Zone Bowl Protein

Anything from shredded chicken to a grass-fed beef patty, salmon chunks, shrimp, turkey meatballs, or a combination of lean deli-style meats and low-fat cheeses.

Zone Bowl Vegetables

In sections,  and the more the better. Color makes for a more appetizing meal and adds polyphenols that boost gut health and activate anti-inflammatory genes. The sky’s the limit here. Think out of the box and experiment with a spoonful of hummus, marinated mushrooms, or roasted red peppers straight from the jar.

Zone Bowl Topping

This is your chance to add that very important dash of heart-healthy fat. Keep your original theme in mind and don’t go overboard with amounts. I like to drizzle with a tangy sauce, extra virgin olive oil, thinned nut butter, a light soy sauce, taco sauce, or one of my favorite bottled Zone-friendly dressings that are light on carbohydrate. Then I sprinkle on a little more texture and flavor in condiment amounts. Choose from foods like nuts, shredded mozzarella, pear slices, olives, avocado slices, chives, herbs, shredded carrot, jalapeños, or a spicy slaw.

Try these ingredient tips and suggestions0818-SummerNewsletter-Bowl6

  • PROTEIN TOPPINGS: yogurt dressing (herbs stirred into plain yogurt), chopped egg white, low fat crumbled feta, small dollops of goat cheese, shredded low-fat cheese
  • FOR CRUNCH OR BITE: snow peas, sliced water chestnuts, cucumber, jicama, peanuts, almonds
  • FOR TEXTURE: black beans, shredded carrot, sun-dried tomatoes, sliced olives, artichoke hearts, shredded beet
  • FOR FUN: baby vegetables, sliced watermelon radishes (they’re pink on the inside and green on the outside resembling watermelon), star fruit slices, kiwi, blackberries, roasted spiced garbanzo beans, nuts, sriracha, curry paste

Use these lunch bowl combinations to spark your imagination


Zone orzo, low-fat feta, roasted garbanzo beans seasoned with Za’atar, and cucumber chunks, topped with tzatziki, a drizzle of either extra virgin olive oil or thinned tahini, and garnished with a sprig of fresh mint


Chilled cooked shrimp with a lemon wedge, raw yellow pepper slices, water chestnuts, thin slices of watermelon radish, and blackberries, drizzled with a lemony olive oil dressing or a simple vinaigrette


Zone orzo or shredded iceberg lettuce, shredded chicken, black beans, fire roasted pepper and onion strips, with toppings like pico de gallo, salsa, a squeeze of fresh lime, chili peppers, shredded low-fat cheese, chopped avocado, and dollops of yogurt or low-fat sour cream

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