Jun. 6. 2018
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McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder

The best thing about a smoothie bowl, you can enjoy nutrient-dense foods in one blend!

You can create tons of different combinations, all of which will provide a strong dose of antioxidants and lots of health-boosting vitamins and minerals thanks to fruits and veggies. You can even get all three macronutrients (fat, protein and certainly carbs) if you play your ingredients correctly.

Why Should You Make Smoothie Bowls From Home?

On many juice shop menus, you’ll spot acai bowls, which is essentially a smoothie bowl, with acai berries blended into the base. While they often have tons of antioxidants and fresh, tasty ingredients mixed into the meal, keep an eye on sugar content — some store-bought bowls contain upward of 60 grams of sugar in one bowl! Portion control will help cut down on this, especially when you make a smoothie bowl at home.

Another thing you’ll save by blending your own smoothie bowl (besides sugar) is money. Most shops charge double digits for a bowl, so save your wallet and your sugar intake by whipping one up yourself. I lay out how to make a smoothie bowl below, featuring my favorite nutrient-dense mix-ins and toppings.

How to Make a Smoothie Bowl Base

The heart of the bowl is exactly what’s in the name: a thick, delicious smoothie that you can eat by the spoonful. (Also a good way to help you stay more satisfied, rather than simply sipping).

Your main ingredients for the base should include a liquid, like a plant-based milk, water, or coconut water, and some leafy greens, such as spinach or kale. While nut or soy milk provides a little bit of protein (about 1g for almond milk and 3g for soy milk), the leafy greens will offer vitamins A, C, K, folate, iron, and calcium.

Next, add frozen fruit or if you’re looking for a low sugar option add frozen vegetables like zucchini or cauliflower — it sounds odd but trust me on this one. This is where you can get creative and cater to your preferences, try fruits like melons, berries, apples, pears or peaches, these possibilities are endless depending on what you like. If you choose to go for fresh fruit instead, make sure to add a handful of ice cubes to keep it cold.

To add a thicker texture to the mix, opt for half a potassium-rich frozen banana or healthy fat-filled avocado. Another ideal add-in is spirulina, which has a plethora of health benefits, including a high protein count, healthy fats, and B vitamins (to name a few).

You could also toss in a scoop of plant-based protein powder to kick up the muscle-building benefits and keep you fuller for longer. Learn the tricks for finding and buying a good plant-based protein powder here.

How To Make Toppings For A Smoothie Bowl

Now that you have your smoothie in a bowl, it’s time to add toppings. This is where you can really customize your bowl with creative combos—and Instagram-worthy presentations. Here, a few of my go-to’s:

Smoothie Bowl Sprinkle

This is for you if you want to save time, have enough servings to make about 16 smoothie bowls, and this sprinkle includes a nutrient-dense mix of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, superfoods, etc. Try out the recipe here!

Chia Seeds or Flax Seeds

These is the key to making a smoothie bowl creamy and delicoius without going overboard with frozen fruit. These fiber-rich seeds will add a little crunch, and a lot of fiber (11g in one ounce, to be exact). You’ll also get a complete set of amino acids from chia seeds. Flax seeds, on the other hand, are another source of fiber, both chia seeds, and flax seeds can help contribute to the fiber of a smoothie bowl but also make the smoothie bowl thicker and add more volume.

We also know fiber helps stabilize our blood sugars so this is a win-win and a must have when there’s also fruit (carbohydrates) in the mix.

Granola

Granola provides another delicious way to create crunch and make a smoothie bowl more satisfying. One thing to watch out for when buying store-bought granola is the sugar content and added oils — some brands can have up to 30g of sugar per serving!

Good thing you can make so many types of granola from home, my favorite is the Chocolate Granola from the NS Cookbook, but also try out the Maple Banana Nut granola recipe or this Citrus Caraway version. You’ll get more fiber, whole grains, and healthy fats with these recipes.

Fresh Fruit

If you decided to skip the fruit in the base or you’re just craving more of a sweet thing, you can add pomegranates, kiwi, mango, sliced banana or beyond right on top. That way you get to experience the full fruit, along with extra antioxidants.

Nuts or Seeds

Stay satisfied with the fat and protein of sliced almonds, chopped walnuts or pecans, or a sprinkle of sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

Nut Butter

If you’re craving something a little creamier, opt for almond, peanut or cashew butter. You’ll still get those healthy fats and a dash of protein, with an even more indulgent taste and texture. Just stick to a tablespoon or two at most.

Coconut

Toss shaved or shredded coconut pieces onto your smoothie bowl for more good-for-you fats.

Chocolate Shavings

Nothing cures a chocolate craving except chocolate itself. Sprinkle with a spoonful of dark chocolate shavings to really put your bowl over the edge in terms of deliciously satisfying flavor.

Share Your Smoothies!

What’s your favorite smoothie bowl blend? Do you have a unique topping you like to add? Share your recipe ideas with the NS community below and be sure to post your dishes on Instagram with #nutritionstripped.