It's hard to discuss the trend's rise without mentioning Lee Tilghman, also known as @leefromamerica—her very popular Instagram feed, which boasts artfully crafted bowls of all kinds and arguably put this kind of colorful eating on the social media map. It certainly doesn't hurt that Tilghman herself seems to exude the same kind of vibrancy as the farmers market produce she photographs.
Because it's not just about aesthetics—the name "rainbow bowl" alone serves as a helpful exercise in eating nutritiously. "Especially when it comes to vegetables, variety is great," explains New York City–based nutritionist Amy Shapiro. "The colors provide different nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. Getting a variety helps protect you from a variety of possible illnesses." To that end, it's a great exercise in really getting to know your ingredients from a wellness lens—which, in turn, helps you mindfully select the best components for a truly balanced bowl.
Beyond that, there's certainly practical appeal as well. As someone who cannot bring herself to cook on weeknights, I often get bored eating the same leftovers day after day. By prepping a bunch of different bowl ingredients on Sunday, I give myself the flexibility to toss different combos together all week long, which means I really can eat according to my mood—no Postmates necessary.
It's totally simple in practice, but there are some important things to keep in mind if you're looking to create a nutritionally balanced bowl. Keep reading for Tilghman's and Shapiro's pointers—from the proper ratio of macros to the best way to meal-prep.