The Anatomy of a Breakfast Bowl

If you’ve ever spent any time scrolling through the feed of photos on Instagram, you’ve probably seen it: a bowl filled with some carefully arranged ingredients (lines, pie charts or concentric circles will do) that seems to be either a meal or an art project. The #breakfastbowl (or #smoothiebowl, depending on whom you ask) is a popular trend amongst food documentarians — and not only because the sometimes Technicolor compilations make for a visual feast.

In a world of DIY frozen yogurt shops and make-your-own-burrito chains (however unhealthy they may turn out to be), customization and variety is key. And the breakfast bowl presents the ultimate way to start your day your way. These morning treats allow you to sample just a little bit of everything, which will make you feel more satisfied and help keep that pre-lunchtime hunger at bay. The recipes below are packed with nutrients and are all under 400 calories a pop.


Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved


A breakfast bowl starts with a food base — most often viscous, but you’ll see we’ve made an exception here — such as Greek yogurt, acai berry puree, oatmeal, chia pudding or quinoa. When choosing the toppings that will follow, there are many factors to consider: flavor, texture (visual and physical), moisture, color and nutritional quality. The bowl base is your blank canvas, and the ingredients you add should strike a balance between all these factors.

Our Food Network Kitchen created five unique breakfast bowl recipes that you can copy verbatim (and trust us, you’ll want to), or you could start from scratch and craft your own.

For juiciness try fruit like citrus segments, berries or mango slices. Add sweetness to a blander base with syrups, dried fruits, or standbys like apples and bananas. Add crunch or crispness (note: not the same thing) with seeds, nuts and toasted oats, or popped and puffed grains and bran cereal, respectively.

Chewiness lets you linger longer over that bowl, so work in raisins, dried apricots, coconut slices or even granola bar chunks. And lastly, don’t forget to energize your bowl with powerhouses like bee pollen, nutritional yeast or avocado, fueling you for the day ahead.

Once you’ve arranged your ingredients, find a well-lit spot, photograph the dish (overhead works best for these symmetrical feasts) and post away for guaranteed likes. Just don’t take too long — breakfast is the most-important meal of the day, after all, and it shouldn’t wait.

Get all the breakfast bowl recipes and topping ideas here.

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