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 layout how to make a smoothie bowl below, featuring my favorite nutrient-dense mix-ins and toppings.
What to Include in a Healthy Smoothie Bowl
To make your smoothie bowl a really nutritious and balanced meal that’s packed with vitamins, minerals and macro-nutrients that will keep you feeling full and energized, you’ll want to make it a Foundational Five Nourish Meal.
A Foundational Five Nourish Meal is any meal that contains all 5 elements within the Foundational Five, non-starchy carbohydrates, starchy carbohydrates, healthy fat, protein, and the Flavor Factor. If you’re not familiar with my Foundational Five system yet, you can download my free guide where I share more about it!
By following this simple template it keeps food flexible, fun, and nourishing. Our Foundational Five Nourish Meals can be found as smoothies or smoothie bowls, yogurts, oatmeal bowls or breakfast bowls, nourish bowls, salads, soups, stews and many more.
As you’re making your smoothie bowl, you’ll want to include elements from each of those five categories either in your base or as a topping!
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).
1. Pick Your Liquid and Greens
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.
2. Add in Frozen Fruit and Veggies
Next, add frozen fruit or if you’re looking for a low sugar smoothie 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.
3. Include a Source of Protein
Toss in a scoop of plant-based protein powder to kick up the muscle-building benefits and keep you fuller for longer. You can also get your proteins from nut butter or frozen white beans (I know this sounds strange to have in a smoothie, but it gives the smoothie a creamy texture and protein!). 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).
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
This is the key to making a smoothie bowl creamy and delicious 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 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! This Rawnola recipe is a perfect topper.
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.
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.
Toss shaved or shredded coconut pieces onto your smoothie bowl for more good-for-you fats.
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.
A Delicious Smoothie Bowl Recipe to Try
You can, of course, turn any healthy smoothie recipe into a smoothie bowl, but I have a favorite smoothie bowl recipe for you to try that will suit most taste preferences!
Nourishing and supporting our gut health is key to regulating blood sugars, supporting our immune function, and the absorption and utilization of the nutrients we consume through our diet.
This smoothie contains all whole food ingredients that support your digestive health! From kefir which is a fermented probiotic beverage, yogurt, ground flax seeds which are rich in fiber, beans which are a great source of soluble fiber, and berries which are loaded with antioxidants to reduce inflammation.
Can’t wait to see you try it!
I love to see you putting what you learn from Nutrition Stripped into practice, so show off your creations! Tag me on Instagram @nutritionstripped so I can see what you’ve made!