Smoothie Bowls for a Smarter Morning

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Smoothies are quintessential summer drinks. With the right ingredients, they can be healthy, portable and convenient — drinks you can feel good about slurping. While you may enjoy them for their refreshing, delicious flavors, some days you just might crave more texture and crunch. Enter the smoothie bowl, which swaps out the straw and cup for a spoon and bowl.

Instead of paying a hefty price for a store-bought bowl, make one at home with ingredients you already have on hand. If you haven’t dabbled in the smoothie-with-a-spoon concept (but have been inspired by extensive posts on Instagram), never fear. It’s super simple! You can transform your favorite smoothie by using less base liquid or adding a thickener like avocado, chia seeds or even dried dates. If you don’t have a favorite go-to smoothie recipe, this is the perfect time to experiment.

Depending on your choice of ingredients, these thick, creamy, soft-serve-like bowls can be enjoyed anytime, as a snack, a quick meal or even as a dessert!

Here are the key components of a smoothie bowl:

Vegetables: Kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, pumpkin, carrots, beets and other favorites are all great in smoothie bowls.

Fruits: Frozen fruits work the best. Fresh fruits will work, too, but you just need to add ice cubes for thickness and temperature.

Proteins: Protein powder (can be plant-based or whey), yogurt, chia or hemp seeds, and nut butters.

Healthy fats: Add avocado, nuts, seeds or coconut oil.

Liquid: Choose water, milk (dairy or non-dairy) or coconut water. Start with a little and gradually add a small amount at a time to ensure you achieve your desired consistency.

Toppings: Granola, unsweetened coconut, fresh fruit, seeds and nuts are tasty toppings. Avoid added sugars as much as possible.

While it’s tempting to dress up your creations with piles of fruit, granola and whatever else your heart desires, be mindful of portion size. If you’re not careful, all those extras can make the calories and sugar content skyrocket. Additionally, aim for a proper balance between your carbohydrates, fats and proteins. For instance, if you incorporate a heaping amount of nuts to the smoothie base, use them sparingly as a topping, or consider a different add-on, like granola.

Here are two basic recipes, but feel free to customize them to your liking. The possibilities are endless, and you never know what deliciousness you’ll uncover. Be adventurous and get your blender ready.

Prep: 5 min

Yield: 1 bowl

Berry-licious Smoothie Bowl

1 cup frozen berries

1/2 medium banana, frozen

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Ice to thicken, as needed

Toppings of choice

Per serving: Calories 205; Fat 1 g; Sodium 148 mg; Carbohydrate 37 g; Fiber 5 g; Sugars 25 g; Protein 14 g

Green Smoothie Bowl

2 cups spinach

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened

1/2 avocado

1 tablespoon chia seeds

Ice to thicken, as needed

Toppings of choice

Per serving: Calories 294; Fat 15 g (Saturated 1 g); Sodium 137 mg; Carbohydrate 33 g; Fiber 12 g; Sugars 14 g; Protein 7 g

Directions: Simply blend everything together in a blender. Depending on the power of your appliance, you may need to stop it, stir the ingredients and then continue blending. If the consistency is too thin, blend in some ice cubes. Transfer to a bowl, add toppings, then enjoy with a spoon!

Min Kwon, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian who specializes in food sensitivities. She has a passion for translating the science of nutrition into real-life, applicable advice and tips. In her healthy food blog, The Adventures of MJ and Hungryman, she focuses on sharing simple yet healthy recipes made from wholesome, REAL foods.