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bowl them over with poke, oh-keh


If you haven’t heard of poke bowls, you’re missing out.

Pronounced poh-keh, (as opposed to pokey), this traditional fish salad in a bowl originated from Hawaii where it was the food of choice for humble fishermen. Today, poke is found at even the flashiest of restaurants and can be as simple or gourmet as you please.

A fantastic alternative to traditional salad, creating your own poke bowl is as easy as dicing and slicing your favourite healthy foods. Originally, poke comprised of raw or marinated fish with some nuts or seeds and greens – even seaweed. Hawaii’s Japanese community later introduced rice and pickles but now pretty much anything goes, according to My health for life’s heart health co-ordinator Andrea Love, who also happens to be a food stylist and dietitian.

The key to a healthy poke bowl, she says, is to strive for a mix of protein and good fats. Forget about processed food, opting instead for fresh ingredients, including those that are raw, add colour, taste and crunch.

“Raw fish isn’t to everyone’s taste, so it’s okay to use tinned fish, lean poultry, eggs, tofu, legumes, or beans,” she suggests.

“Any kind of rice is fine, or use quinoa if you prefer it and I also have a friend who swaps out her rice for spinach leaves.

“Aim for the majority of the bowl to be vegetables, plus a source of whole grains, and a source of healthy proteins. Measure the ingredients to suit yourself but focus on lots of veggies.’’

Andrea says avocado, coleslaw mix, cucumber and edame are all great ingredients to swap about in a DIY poke bowl, but warns against being heavy-handed if using a dressing like mayo, soy or ponzo sauce.

She recommends poke as a great option for getting kids to eat their veggies.

“Get the kids involved,’’ she says. “Let them play MasterChef and come up with their own choice of ingredients. By having a say and designing their own bowls, they are more likely to be interested in the food they’re eating.

“Even relatively young children can have a go if you have all the ingredients laid out, allowing them to build their own poke bowls.”

Try your hand at making your own poke bowl, see Andrea’s Salmon poke bowl recipe, here, as well as her easy, family-friendly chicken poke bowl recipe below. 


recipe: chicken poke bowl

Serves: 4 people | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: N/A


  • 1 bag (250g) microwavable brown rice
  • 2 chicken breasts (400g), poached and shredded
  • 4 cups coleslaw salad mix (red cabbage, white cabbage, carrot)
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ continental cucumber
  • 2 spring onions
  • 4 tbsp roasted sesame dressing
  • Sesame seeds to serve (optional)


  1. Microwave rice according to package instructions. Divide amongst four bowls. Add shredded chicken and one cup of coleslaw salad mix to each bowl.
  2. Quarter avocado, dice cucumber and finely slice spring onions. Add these to your bowl.
  3. Divide roasted sesame dressing into four small dishes, or drizzle straight over other ingredients. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

nutrition per serve

1,589 kJ | 378 kcal | 38g Carbs | 30g Pro | 13g Fat


Image and recipe by Eatnik at

© My health for life 

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