I’m passionate about smoothie bowls…and often their ridiculousness. Smoothie bowls seem and look so healthy, but often they are deceiving. I recently came back from a run and started ranting about smoothie bowls. Although to be fair, I often rant about many things after a run; something about the endorphins, I suppose.
Let’s talk about smoothie bowls…
Instagram famous, they are, those gorgeous smoothie bowls. They’re packed with health- Superfoods, Antioxidants, and Omega-3s! So, of course, they’re the ultimate health food, right? Errmmm….maybe not.
Pros– I love the crunchies (toppings- nuts, seeds, fruit, etc.) and the fact you EAT a smoothie bowl. Studies have shown that eating and chewing can help signal your brain that you’re full. So you’re more likely to listen to your body and know when it’s full. Satiety is important to know the right amount of food to eat.
Cons– Often smoothie bowls are very large portions with high calorie ingredients. Made with lots of fruit, granola, nuts & seeds, smoothie bowls can have lots of sugar and calories. While, fruit is good for you, overdoing it, isn’t good for you. I’ve seen smoothie bowls on menus with more calories than a meal! There often isn’t much protein, so it’s not a great choice for athletes or as a meal replacement. If you want a smoothie bowl to be a complete meal, make sure it has protein (look for dairy or plant based proteins).
Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to ask restaurants- what’s in your food and how they make it. I was recently a “secret shopper” at a cafe and the employee tried to explain to us, the base of their smoothie bowl. The base was banana, acai, and chaga tea. The acai smoothie bowl was served in a giant overflowing a container. I can only guess there was 2-3 bananas and lots of acai berries. If eating a banana by itself, I can usually only eat one; they’re very filling to me. Chaga tea is apparently medicinal mushroom tea, which seems a little over- hyped since there’s not much research on it (and also how much was really in the smoothie bowl).
Sharing! Large cafe acai smoothie bowls are be great for sharing between 2 people!
Make smoothie bowls at home! Pre-portion the ingredients and think about what you would normally eat. Would you normally eat 1 banana, 1 cup of yogurt, 1/2 a cup of berries, and some nuts? Then do that and make it a smoothie bowl. Make your smoothie bowl your own. Own it. Own your smoothie bowl.
Simple smoothie bowl recipe
- 1 cup of base (kefir, yogurt, milk, almond milk, etc.)
- 1/2-1 cup frozen berries, mangoes, pineapple, etc.
- 1/2-1 frozen banana
- optional 1 single-serve packet of acai (trader joe’s)
- Toppings- 1/4-1/2 cup granola, hemp seeds, chia seeds, etc.
- Superfoods- experiment with 1 superfood at a time. Keep it simple is my motto. Goji berries, blue-green algae powder, kale, etc.
Also, check out these balanced smoothie bowl recipes.
Don’t fall into the hype of smoothie bowls! Many are hyped to be full of health, with an expensive price for frozen fruit. Instead, look for smoothie bowls with protein and properly portioned for you!
P.s. if you’re in Chicago, check out the Lifeway Kefir Shop. I’m thankfully to work for a company that supports health and doesn’t fall into the smoothie bowl hype. LKS’s smoothie bowls are all nutritionally-balanced with a few fruit servings, superfoods, and boast 20-37 grams of protein per bowl.