Bowl'd Over with a Tasty Treat
There are more than enough tasty treats on the market that have received the stamp of approval from the health and wellness community. Many sparks the question, “how healthy is it really?” When we want something cold and sweet, we will often opt for an acai bowl. But, how healthy are these bowls? Especially when you can top them with items that we know can be good for us like fruit, nuts, and honey.
The Skinny on Acai Bowls
An acai bowl is a thick smoothie that is made from an acai puree or powder. (The actual berry as a whole fruit is not as readily available in the U.S.). It is often blended with a nut milk and topped with whatever your heart desires: coconut, chopped fruit, nut butters, oatmeal. The list is truly endless.
The acai berry can pack a lot of great benefits. It is high in fat and low in sugar, loaded with antioxidants, has been linked to lowering cholesterol and packs a lot of vitamin C. However, when you start to top your acai bowl with all the other yummy goodies you love (like mango, strawberry, granola and chopped pecans), the bowl becomes a bit of a fat and sugar bomb. Acai bowls often net out at about 50 grams of sugar, which is double what the American Heart Association recommends for women in an entire day. An acai bowl from Jamba Juice, while extremely satisfying and refreshing for to the sweet tooth,, can pack up to 67 grams of sugar and 490 calories.
So, how do we acai?
We believe in the mantra, “everything in moderation.” An acai bowl may not be our go-to breakfast, but it is a great swap when we are craving ice cream due to the added nutrition benefits. There are also plenty of ways to watch the sugar and fat intake, like preparing your acai bowl at home so that you can easily control the portion size and amount of toppings.
Another option is to use unsweetened acai packs to make your bowl and opt for unsweetened versions of nut milk.
Want to give an acai bowl a try at home? Check out this recipe below that adds in kale and hemp seeds for a real superfood boost to this treat.
Mango Pineapple Acai Bowl
1/4 cup coconut milk (from the carton, not the can)
3/4 cup loosely packed kale, chopped
1/2 cup frozen mango
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1 açaí packet
1 teaspoon maca powder
1/4 cup + 1/4 cup granola, separated
1/2 banana, thinly sliced
3-4 strawberries, thinly sliced (optional)
1/4 cup fresh mango, chopped (or other fresh fruit of your choice)
2 teaspoons cacao nibs
1 teaspoon shelled hemp seeds)
Prepare your toppings, such as the slicing the strawberries and the half banana. Set aside.
Combine the first 7 ingredients in your high-speed blender, and puree until smooth. You may need to scrape the sides a few times or stir it to break up clumps. This will be a thick smoothie.
Pour 1/4-cup granola into the bottom of your serving bowl. Gently pour the smoothie on top of the granola (If the smoothie has started to liquefy, you may want to place the blender canister in the freezer for about five minutes before pouring into the bowl). Top with the 1/2 cup of granola and sliced fruit. Sprinkle the cacao nibs and hemp seeds on top of the fruit and serve immediately.
#FinesseTip: Sit the container that you will serve your acai bowl inside the freezer before you begin blending. This will keep the product colder and thicker longer once you are ready to enjoy.