The Hungry Swimmer: Green Grain Bowl

Grain bowls are one of my breakfast, lunch and dinner staples now and when I was a competitive athlete. The amount of energy swimmers expend and need on a daily basis is a lot. Grain bowls are a perfect solution to fuel or replenish for your daily needs.

The idea around the grain bowl is to incorporate a protein, fat, and grain/carbohydrate. Arguably, this is the only ‘recipe’ you’ll ever need.

In my bowl, I have a base of rice medley (a combination of brown rice, red rice and black barley), oven roasted asparagus and spinach for my veggies, chicken as my protein, and my very own homemade pesto as a dressing. You can find my ‘simple homemade pesto’ recipe on SwimSwam’s Hungry Swimmer or at this link.

These bowls are easy to throw together. I like to get creative and build one based on what I have in the fridge. Others may like to prepare ingredients the night before or on the weekend to save time during the week. I made a guide, below, to help kick start and help you create your own bowl!

There are three main reasons why these bowls are so great . . .

  1. You can incorporate a variety of flavors. Not only can you pick and choose what you want to put in your bowl, but they are filling and you can get a mix of flavors and textures in every bite.
  2. There are endless health benefits. By at least incorporating some kind of whole protein, fat, and carbohydrate . . . you are guaranteed to be consuming a nutrient dense meal that supports your mind and body.
  3. Super customizable. These bowls are designed to be personalized! Meaning everyone can get what they like, need, or simply crave.

Details on my green grain bowl:

  • 1 cup cooked rice medley (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup spinach – you can sautee if you prefer.
  • Oven roasted asparagus – as much as you would like to incorporate in your bowl.
  • Cut up, 6 oz grilled chicken breast.
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • Salt / pepper


If you have no idea where to start or want some ideas, I made a guide to help you build your own bowl ☺

BYO Grain Bowl


1 cup + (cooked) …

Veggies Protein

*aim for about  15-30 grams a meal





-Brown rice

-Wild rice



-Buckwheat noodles / rice






-Chopped greens

-Sweet potato

-Winter squash



-Bell pepper


-Brussel sprouts






-Green beans










-1-2 tbsp olive oil

-Fresh lime or lemon

-1-2 tbsp pesto

-1-2 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette

any of your favorite dressings!

-Toasted nuts or seeds



– Chopped Basil or cilantro

– Microgreens

– Sprouts

Here are a few suggested pairings if you want a little more guidance:

Mediterranean quinoa bowl 

  • Grain: quinoa
  • Veggies: tomatoes, olives
  • Protein: grilled chicken, chickpeas
  • Dressing: hummus, tzatziki
  • Toppings: avocado, feta cheese

Shrimp and coconut rice

  • Grain: brown rice
  • Veggies: pickled ginger
  • Protein: shrimp, edamame
  • Dressing: soy sauce
  • Toppings: avocado, sesame seeds, cilantro

As always, if you decide to give this recipe a try, please tag me @rubyfaye99! I would love to see your end result and what you think!

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5 months ago

So you are saying that if you are more keto-leaning then you can skip the grains and use lettuce, kale, etc. for the base?

East Coast Swammer
5 months ago

This seems to me like an appetizer haha I think a lot of swimmers would agree after a practice

About Ruby Martin

Ruby Martin

Ruby was born in Newton, Iowa, but spent her childhood in Coralville, Iowa. She has three siblings: an older brother, Oliver, a 4-star collegiate football player at the University of Nebraska; a younger sister, Scarlet, who is committed to swim at the University of Iowa; and, last but not least, …

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