How to Make a Smoothie Bowl that isn't a Sugar Bowl
Scroll through one of your social media feeds and you're destined to stumble upon at least one aesthetically pleasing smoothie bowl.
Smoothie bowls have been one of the latest & greatest food crazes for a while now, and although they're bright, beautiful, and super yummy, it's been questionable whether or not they're actually healthy.
If you've got a food crush on smoothie bowls, but want to make sure your bowl is nutritious and NOT a sugar bowl that totally defeats the purpose, read on!
When we use the proper ingredients, smoothie bowls are amazing for increasing our protein and fiber intake.
The typical smoothie bowl ingredients are healthy—spinach, kale, bananas, berries, nuts, seeds, nut butters, etc. But, when trying to monitor your sugar intake, there's a few things you need to be mindful of to make sure your smoothie bowl is serving you the purpose you're aiming for.
Below are some tips to keep at the forefront when making your own smoothie bowl:
Keep your portion sizes in check.
This goes for just about every ingredient, except spinach, kale (any leafy green)...I'll never recommend putting a limit on those. Be aware of what a serving of fruit is, what one tbsp of coconut flakes actually looks like, etc. And when you're pouring your smoothie out of your blender and into your bowl, notice how much that makes. A good portion size to aim for would be about 8 ounces. If you're having closer to 12-14 ounces, you're more than likely overeating.
Go easy on the toppings.
Most of the smoothie bowls we come across on our social media feeds are covered in toppings; and toppings can doom your smoothie. We see ALL of the coconut flakes, nuts, nut butters, seeds, fruits, granolas, etc.
A lot of granolas pack on quite a bit of sugar and calories, so know what's in your granola.
Instead of all the sweetened toppings, spring for the chia or flax seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, pepitas, a drizzle of natural nut butter, a little bit of fresh fruit, etc.
Don't overload the fruit.
I am in NO way against eating fruit. I eat all the fruit I want, every day. But when you're blending fruit into a smoothie, it's volume ends up being way less than when it was whole. This can tempt you to add more and more fruit to make a fuller smoothie, which in turn will feed your body more carbs that can cause a major spike in your blood sugar. And those spikes inevitably lead to unwanted cravings and overeating.
So, if you want to bulk up your smoothie, add more greens, more ice, some more plain nonfat Greek yogurt, or your favorite CLEAN protein powder. Try to aim for just one, or maybe two, servings of fruit for the base (the blended portion) of your smoothie bowl.
One serving of fruit:
1 cup of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, melon.
1 small apple
1 medium peach
1 medium banana
2 small kiwis
Don't neglect your healthy fats.
Top off your smoothie with some raw almonds, chopped walnuts, nut butters, etc. Or you can add some avocado to the base of your smoothie for some healthy fats. Just keep your portion sizes under control and this can be a great way to balance out some of the fruit sugar, while keeping you fuller for longer at the same time.
What's in my go-to Smoothie Bowl:
I'm a creature of habit and use the same ingredients almost every time.
For the base of my smoothie bowl...I like to use LOTS of spinach...usually 2 big handfuls, 1/2 of a banana, lots of ice, around 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop of Vega Protein & Greens Vanilla protein powder, and sometimes a few berries if I have some frozen ones in the freezer, but generally the 1/2 banana is the only fruit in my base.
Lately, I've been adding a drop of organic peppermint extract...which might sounds weird AF and I have no idea what made me try it but I'm OBSESSED.
That's my base. Then I'll top it with either 1/2 cup diced mango or melon, or berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, sometimes grapes...depends on what's in season), 1/2 tbsp chSOAKED chia seeds, 1 tbsp pepitas or a few cashews or almonds, a small drizzle of natural almond butter, and a dash of cinnamon.
And there ya have it, my favorite, satisfying, & healthy go-to smoothie bowl.
I hope you can follow these tips to make sure your smoothie bowl is healthy & nourishing, and not a sneaky sugar-attack.
I'll make sure to add some of my other smoothie bowl recipes to the blog soon!
Let me know what flavors you're loving!