Smoothie bowls are a yummy twist on the much-loved and nutritious smoothie, with versions ranging from dessert smoothie bowls, smoothie bowls for breakfast, plant-based smoothie bowls, and of course, green smoothie bowls. Before we get into the easy instructions on how to make a smoothie bowl, let's take a look at exactly what they are and their health benefits.

What on Earth is a Smoothie Bowl?

According to DeliciousLiving.com, a smoothie bowl starts with a thick blend of whole foods, such as frozen fruits, veggies and other healthful mix-ins (e.g. avocado, oats or yogurt). Compared to the smoothies you're used to sipping with a straw, the base of a smoothie bowl has a slightly thicker, almost ice-cream like consistency.

Smoothie bowls first became popular a couple years ago as a way to make a thicker smoothie you could eat with a bowl and spoon. They soon became popular for breakfast, even becoming a major trend on Instagram and other social media accounts because of their enticing appearance. The original smoothie bowl began as a way to use acai packs and fruit. Here are some things to know about the classic acai bowl.

What is an Acai Pack?

Smoothie bowls were originally called acai bowls, since they relied on acai packs. Acai berries come from South America and parts of Central America, where the acai palm trees grow. These berries are usually only found fresh in these areas, so when you want to use them in the U.S., they are typically in the form of acai puree.



These come most often in packs of puree that you can use for various recipes. A popular way to use the packs is to thicken up and sweeten a smoothie, which is thick enough to turn it into a smoothie bowl you can eat with a spoon. The acai berries have lots of nutrients as well, including omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, amino acids, and lots of vitamins and minerals.

Original Basic Acai Bowl Recipe

The traditional acai bowls started with an acai pack, usually one that was unsweetened so that you can control exactly how sweet you want your smoothie bowl to be. The classic bowls often included a frozen banana, fruit like strawberries and blueberries, some chia seeds to put on top, shredded coconut on top, and occasionally a little agave in order to sweeten up the smoothie bowl.

New Variations on the Classic

Over time, the smoothie bowls have changed and moved from just being acai bowls, to being another way to make delicious and nutritious smoothies. Some of the smoothie bases still use acai packs, but many of them instead use other fruits, vegetables, yogurt and milk, nuts, seeds, and lots of other ingredients.

There are many different ideas and variations on how to make a smoothie bowl, from using tropical fruit and yogurt, to going with a dessert bowl that has chocolate and peanut butter. Some do more of a traditional smoothie with bananas and strawberries, while others are using lots of goji berries and chia seeds along with the acai berries.

Health Benefits of Smoothie Bowls

You have probably seen smoothie bowls around, most likely on social media sites like Instagram. These bowls aren’t just to look pretty, but they are delicious and contain a lot of vitamins and minerals and are perfect for improving your health, including this delicious recipe for an anti-aging smoothie bowl. Here are some different health benefits of smoothie bowls.

They are Loaded with Nutrients

One of the top reasons you should consider eating smoothie bowls is because they are very good for you. You have full control over the amount of fat, calories, and carbs by changing the ingredients, and you get all the added nutrients of those ingredients.

Smoothie bowls often contain fruits, nuts, seeds, dairy, and veggies, all of which are loaded with vitamins and minerals your body needs. You may have any combination of nutrients, but often antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, and many other essential nutrients.

You Can Try New Things

Smoothie bowls provide the perfect opportunity for you to try new things that will be in the bowl or used on top for toppings. While you may not have another use for cacao nibs, chia seeds, maca powder, and hemp seeds, they are frequently used in smoothie bowls. There is such a large variety of interesting ingredients you can use, from acai packs for the thickness of the smoothie, to using coconut shavings or goji berries on top. Think of all the different ways to try these new, fun, and healthy ingredients for your smoothie bowls.

They Encourage Healthy Eating

Also consider the fact that because smoothie bowls are fun to make and of course pretty to look at, you are more encouraged to eat healthy. Perhaps you mostly want to make one of these bowls for the awesome Instagram picture – that’s okay! You will still be eating the bowl for breakfast or another meal during the day, allowing you to get all those nutrients you might not have otherwise enjoyed.

You Get Your Daily Amount of Fruits and Veggies

A smoothie bowl contains a large smoothie that is loaded with fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-rich ingredients. If you are struggling to get your daily amount of fruits and veggies, this is a great way to increase it. It is a simple smoothie bowl you eat with a spoon just like a bowl of cereal, but you are really loading up on the vitamins and minerals. One smoothie bowl could have a cup of kale, an entire banana, a full serving of berries, and nuts and seeds, which is going to be great for your body and your mind.

How to Make a Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie bowls have a lot of different options, from going with a classic acai bowl, to using your favorite fruits. Another option is to turn the smoothie bowl into a green smoothie, where you are combining the traditional ingredients with lots of veggies. This increases the nutrition of your smoothie bowl and makes it more filling. Here are some ways to have a green smoothie bowl for breakfast.

Use Enough Fruit to Sweeten it Up

how to make a smoothie bowl
The next step after you have chosen your greens and veggies is to add fruit. This is going to add more flavor to the smoothie bowl, so it doesn’t just taste like you are drinking liquid vegetables.

What you want to look for are fruits that don’t just help thicken it up, like your bananas, but fruits that have a lot of sweetness. Fruits that are on the tartier side really help to cover the flavor of the greens, like apples and certain types of berries.

Some other fruits that go well with greens are kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, mango, and pineapple.

How to Make a Smoothie Bowl without Bananas

If you don’t like bananas or can’t eat them, it can be hard finding a recipe that works for you. Luckily, there are some options available for how to make a smoothie bowl without bananas.

Thicken it Up with Vanilla Powder

Bananas serve multiple purposes in your smoothie bowl. They can replace the ice when your banana is frozen, allowing you to have a thicker smoothie that is also cold and frothy just like you like. Bananas also give you something tasty to sweeten up the smoothie bowl, and of course have just the right consistency for a thicker smoothie.

However, you might be allergic to bananas, don’t have them available, or simply don’t like them, so you are looking for an alternative. You need to have a thicker smoothie bowl without bananas, which is often done by using vanilla protein powder or any other flavor protein powder. This thickens it up as long as you have enough liquids to add to the smoothie.

Use Other Frozen Fruit

To fix the problem of using your frozen banana as the “ice” in the smoothie, just use other frozen fruit instead. Many types of fruit can be easily frozen and will work great in your smoothie, including frozen strawberries and blueberries, frozen tropical fruit like kiwi and watermelon, and even frozen apple slices. Freeze any fruit you want, put it in containers or freezer bags, then remove it and toss in the blender when you’re ready to make your smoothie bowl.

Add More Yogurt and Nut Butter

Another way to thicken up your smoothie without using a banana is to use yogurt and nut butter, or just one or the other. This is not only going to make it thicker so the smoothie works well in a bowl, but it adds the right texture you are missing by not using a banana.

Of course, if you are also using an acai pack, that will also help with the smoothie bowl consistency. There are many types of yogurt you can use, from unsweetened yogurt to low-fat, Greek, or even low sugar yogurt if you are on a low carb diet.

Don’t be afraid to experiment a little with your smoothies so that you get the perfect smoothie bowl without ever having to use a banana.

Add Extra Nutrients

You can go with more nutrient-dense ingredients both in the green smoothie and on top when the smoothie bowl is done. This is when you start adding ingredients like chia seeds, sunflower seeds, nuts or nut butter, coconut, and various dairy products for extra calcium. On the top, some good nutrient-dense toppings include coconut flakes, cacao nibs or powder, chia seeds, and goji berries. Get creative with your green smoothie, focusing not just on taste, but texture and nutrition as well.

Making Smoothie Bowl Variations with Veggies, Greens

If you want to have a smoothie bowl for breakfast or another meal or snack during the day, but want to increase the nutrition, adding more veggies and greens (wheatgrass, chlorella, spiruline, etc)  is a great idea. This turns it more into a green smoothie bowl, by combining fruits, veggies, and other nutrient-dense ingredients.

Go Green with Greens

Green smoothies get their name from the color of the smoothie, which is often any variation of a green shade, but where do they get the color from? Greens of course! The bulk of your green smoothie, even in a smoothie bowl, is going to be your dark, leafy greens.

While you can use any greens, kale and spinach tend to be more popular options. They have a mild flavor so it is still easy to sweeten your smoothie bowl and have the nutrients from the green veggies at the same time. About a cup or two of greens is good for a smoothie bowl.

Adding ‘Super' Greens

Organic GreenPower Blend from Starwest Botanicals is a synergistic blend of 14 potent, concentrated plant foods (green vegetables), naturally packed with nutrients that encourage optimum health. It is a complete green supplement packed with all the vitamins, minerals and enzymes that our bodies desperately need, provided by the “superfood” spirulina, which is 60 percent vegetable protein; barley grass, which is naturally rich in copper, potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, enzymes and chlorophyll. High in Vitamin A, Iron, and B Vitamins.

Vegetarian and Vegan. Fat-free and caffeine free. No sweeteners, fillers (such as such as bran, rice or oat), or non-functional ingredients added. Loaded with spirulina and chlorophyll.

GreenPower Blend is easily digested and absorbed by your body. Blends easily in juice, fruit smoothies, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk or water. It is a powdered drink mix I personally use daily in my smoothies, or, just in a glass of orange juice. I absolutely love it and it's one of the few supplements I won't give up.

It contains some of the most nutritious green foods known including Organic barley grass, organic wheat grass, organic spirulina, organic spinach, organic alfalfa leaf, organic kelp, organic orange peel, organic dulse leaf, organic beet root, organic lemon peel, organic wheat grass juice, and organic dandelion leaf.

Learn more about GreenPower Blend now.

Try Avocado in the Smoothie Bowl

It may seem weird to have avocado in a smoothie, but don’t avoid this one until you try it! Avocado does work really well with savory dishes, but it also has a good flavor and consistency for sweet dishes. When you are making a smoothie with vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, a little avocado will add creaminess and nutrition to the smoothie, but it won’t take away from the flavor.

Sweet and tarty fruits have a strong enough flavor to cover most veggies you add, including avocado. Plus, avocado is a great way to thicken up a smoothie if you don’t use a banana or yogurt in it.

Don’t Miss Out on Other Veggies

While the leafy greens are often what people think about when they are adding vegetables to a smoothie, this is definitely not your only option. Also consider adding some other veggies to the smoothie, like cauliflower, carrots, or broccoli. The most important thing to remember is how much you use and what other ingredients you have in the smoothie in order to balance out the flavors, so it doesn’t just taste like a vegetable juice smoothie. This sometimes just takes a little bit of experimenting.

Find the Right Flavor Balance

The flavor balance is essential when you are making a smoothie bowl that is going to include vegetables and fruits in it. Choose sweeter fruits to include in the smoothie bowl, but that won’t negatively affect the flavor. Tarty fruits like apples, neutral fruits like bananas, and citrus fruits like oranges and lemons all work really great in smoothies that have vegetables in them.

How to Make a Plant-Based Smoothie Bowl

If you want to have a yummy smoothie bowl, but are following a plant-based diet, you can’t make it in the same way others do. Most smoothie bowl recipes ask for yogurt and milk, which of course is not allowed on a vegan diet. Here are some ideas and instructions on how to make a plant-based smoothie bowl.

Thicken it without Yogurt

One of the difficulties with making a smoothie bowl that is vegan-based, is that you lose the thickness when you don’t use yogurt. The yogurt really helps to thicken it up so that it works in a bowl, and not just a smoothie you drink with a straw. You can always use a dairy-free yogurt, but it’s not your only option.

Another way to go is by adding banana to every smoothie. You can use a frozen banana or use a banana that is fresh, though frozen is often preferred. Another way to thicken it up is to freeze almond milk in an ice cube tray, and use those as your ice cubes.

Always Use Frozen Fruit

When it comes to having a good plant-based smoothie bowl, you of course will have lots of fruits and veggies. With the fruit, you should try to use frozen fruit whenever possible. The frozen fruit is going to be blended up like ice in your smoothie, which gives it a creamy and frothy consistency. If you use fresh fruit, you might end up with too much juice, causing it to be watery and not the consistency of a smoothie bowl you are looking for.

Try Adding More Nut Butter

This is a great way to increase the protein and fiber of your smoothie bowl, while also making it the right thickness for a vegan option. Nut butter is really easy to add to a smoothie, plus it tastes amazing. You can go with a standard peanut butter, or nut almond butter, cashew butter, or any other type of nut butter you enjoy.

Go with a Dairy-Free Milk

Many smoothies also ask for a little bit of milk to increase the creaminess of the mixture, but this is easy to remedy when you are following a plant-based diet. Just switch to a diary-free milk like almond milk, coconut milk, or even soy milk for a tasty plant-based smoothie bowl. You can go for the sweetened or flavored variety, or just stick to unsweetened and get all the flavor from your fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds.

4 Ideas for Lower Carb Smoothie Bowls

Smoothie bowls are a great way to get more nutrients into your diet and have a pretty, filling breakfast you can be proud of. Unfortunately, a lot of smoothie bowls are loaded with dairy and sugar, which you can’t have if you are on a low carb diet. These smoothie bowls allow you to have this fruit and vegetable bowl in the morning without adding too much to your carbs for the day.

Use Almond Milk

The first option you have for your low-carb smoothie bowl is to replace the regular milk with almond milk. One cup of low-fat milk has about 12 grams of carbohydrates, while a cup of unsweetened almond milk has 0 net carbs. Just make sure you choose the unsweetened variety, as there will be some carbs in the sweetened version. You can also try using a little bit of unsweetened coconut milk if you prefer the taste of that to almond milk.

Skip the Yogurt

Another ingredient that smoothie bowls typically have that will be a little too high in carbs is the yogurt. Yogurt is not always added to smoothie bowls, but it frequently is to make it nice and creamy, and also to thicken it up a little. If you see yogurt in a recipe and just want to replace it, you can try a low-sugar yogurt, like the Triple Zero yogurts from Oikos. These do have some carbs, but at 6-8 net carbs each, they are considerably lower than your traditional yogurt.

Add Low-Carb Protein Powder

One of the reasons you have ingredients in a smoothie bowl that are not low-carb friendly, like bananas and yogurt, is because you are trying to thicken it up. The smoothie bowl needs to be thicker so that you can pour it in a b owl and eat it with a spoon, as opposed to a thinner smoothie you eat with a straw. To accomplish the thickness without the banana, which is about 25 net carbs each, you can try some low-carb protein powder instead. There are unflavored and flavored varieties, giving you a lot of different options.

Go Heavy on the Veggies

While there are many delicious fruits that taste wonderful in smoothies and smoothie bowls, many of them are too high in carbs to make this a worthwhile breakfast for you. The best low-carb fruits to use are berries, like strawberries and raspberries. Most other fruits you should skip. However, you can turn it into a greens smoothie with veggies that are low in carb like avocado, kale, and spinach.

How to Make a Smoothie Bowl for Dessert

While many smoothie bowls, or acai bowls are based around fruit, yogurt, and nuts or seeds, there are some that are better for dessert. These are still going to contain some healthy ingredients, so feel free to have them for breakfast, lunch, or dessert!

Go with a Classic Chocolate and Peanut Butter Combination

It doesn’t get much better than chocolate and peanut butter combined! These ingredients together are not only amazing with a morning smoothie that uses bananas and yogurt, but they can also be the way to get a delicious and filling smoothie bowl. There are many ways to use these ingredients for a dessert smoothie bowl, from the type of peanut butter you use to how you get the chocolate in there. The bulk of the smoothie can be a mixture of frozen banana, yogurt, and your preferred type of milk.

For chocolate, you can use raw cacao powder, cacao nibs, or chocolate-flavored protein powder. You can then add in your favorite type of peanut butter or even another type of nut butter. For toppings, slivered almonds, cacao nibs, and peanut butter slices are all great to include.

Make Your Own Healthy Caramel

There are two main ways to use caramel in a dessert smoothie: you can use real caramel or caramel sauce to drizzle on top, or you can look for a healthier option. If this smoothie bowl is simply another way to have a yummy dessert, go ahead and use your favorite type of caramel. It can be added inside the smoothie bowl or just drizzled on top.

For some healthier alternatives, you can either make your own with dates, maple syrup, and coconut milk, or you can use something like caramel-flavored yogurt in the smoothie bowl to get that flavor you’re looking for.

Choose Dessert Toppings

The last way to turn a typical smoothie bowl into one that is perfect for dessert is by choosing your toppings carefully. Instead of just topping it with berries and granola, think of more dessert-type toppings. This might be a drizzle of peanut butter or caramel, using chocolate sauce, or having cacao nibs or chocolate chips on top. You can also go with nuts if you prefer them on your desserts, such as almond slivers, or even add some coconut shavings for a healthier sweet taste. Maple syrup is also really amazing on some of these sweeter smoothie bowls.

The Best Toppings for Your Smoothie Bowls

When you are done blending up your smoothie, making sure it is thick enough, and pouring it into a bowl, the next step is to add your toppings. Some toppings are there for appearance, such as choosing a variety of colors for the look you are going for, but they are all good for you. Here are some of the best toppings to use on your smoothie bowls.

Cacao Powder and Nibs

This is a really fun topping, and one that goes great with fruit bowls and the more dessert-inspired ones. If you ever have a smoothie bowl with banana and peanut butter in it, or even more of a dessert bowl, definitely consider using cacao. Cacao powder is often used inside the bowl to make it creamier and add a chocolate flavor, but you can also sprinkle some on top. Cacao nibs are bits of raw, dark chocolate that doesn’t have added sugar or processed ingredients. This is great for topping the bowl for some natural sweetness, but not too much.

Coconut Shavings

One of the most popular toppings for a smoothie bowl is coconut shavings. These really taste great with any smoothie bowl, from green smoothie bowls with lots of veggies, to any of the acai and fruit smoothie bowls. The coconut shavings are lightly flavored like coconut, so they are even better with more tropical fruit smoothies. Plus, they have a lot of amazing health benefits.

Nuts and Seeds

Another topping you can use on top of your smoothie bowl is any combination of nuts and seeds you like. Some common ones include slivered almonds and chia seeds, as well as pumpkin seeds. The chia seeds are small, round, and black, often placed in a long, thin line along the top of the bowl. These have omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, and lots more nutrients.

Berries

Not only are berries perfect for blending up your smoothie bowl, but they are beautiful when placed on top of the bowl as well. You can go with classic options like blueberries and raspberries, slice up some fresh strawberries, or go with something more unique like goji berries. These are a reddish purple color and are great for your skin, eye health, blood sugar, and providing more antioxidants your body needs.

Aside from these toppings, you can also sprinkle some homemade muesli or granola, or pretty much any type of fruit that is sliced or diced.

Experiment with different combinations when putting together your smoothie bowl. There is an almost endless amount of ways to turn the smoothie into a filling and healthy breakfast.

Tips for Prepping Your Smoothie Bowls

Making smoothie bowls is rewarding and nutritious, not to mention fun, but it can be a little time consuming. If you want to enjoy a smoothie bowl for breakfast without spending an hour in the kitchen, prepping it beforehand is your best option. Here are some tips for accomplishing that.

Use Frozen Fruit

If you want to prep your smoothie bowls ahead of time, the main thing you are going to do is prep your fruits and vegetables to be included. One way to do this and not worry about spoilage is to freeze all of the fruit you intend to use. Most fruits can be frozen for a good amount of time, so even if you prep your fruit for tomorrow, and don’t make your smoothie for a week, it should still be good. Preferably, you will separate the fruits based on the smoothie you intend to use in them, by slicing and chopping before you freeze them. This will make it a lot easier for you.

Create Smoothie Packs

Once you have prepped all your fruit and prepared to freeze it, you can decide if you want to put together smoothie packs. These include freezer bags where each one is a different smoothie recipe. This is a good option when you already know what types of smoothie recipes you intend to make for your smoothie bowls.

If you are making a strawberry banana smoothie, a frozen banana and sliced frozen strawberries go into one bag. That way, when the morning comes, you empty the contents into the blender, add your other ingredients, and you’re good to go. You can even write on the bag what other ingredients to grab.

What You Can Prep

As you know, you can easily prep the fruit and freeze it beforehand. IF you are going to make smoothie bowls with vegetables, like spinach or kale, put them into individual servings and either put them in the refrigerator or freezer. These do tend to taste better when in the refrigerator, left in a crisper drawer. Another thing you can prep are the added toppings and additional ingredients. Just put them in a bag that is left out, where you can pour it into the smoothie after you have added the frozen fruit and any dairy you intend to use.

Prepping your smoothie bowls saves time and energy, and really encourages you to make them more often.

Getting Your Super Greens Couldn't be Simpler

Organic GreenPower Blend from Starwest Botanicals is a synergistic blend of 14 potent, concentrated plant foods (green vegetables), naturally packed with nutrients that encourage optimum health. It is a complete green supplement packed with all the vitamins, minerals and enzymes that our bodies desperately need, provided by the “superfood” spirulina, which is 60% vegetable protein; barley grass, which is naturally rich in copper, potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, enzymes and chlorophyll. High in Vitamin A, Iron, and B Vitamins.

Vegetarian and Vegan. Fat-free and caffeine free. No sweeteners, fillers (such as such as bran, rice or oat), or non-functional ingredients added. Loaded with spirulina and chlorophyll.

GreenPower Blend is easily digested and absorbed by your body. Blends easily in juice, fruit smoothies, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk or water.

GreenPower Blend is a powdered drink mix I personally use daily in my smoothies, or, just in a glass of orange juice. I absolutely love it and it's one of the few supplements I won't give up.

It contains some of the most nutritious green foods known including Organic barley grass, organic wheat grass, organic spirulina, organic spinach, organic alfalfa leaf, organic kelp, organic orange peel, organic dulse leaf, organic beet root, organic lemon peel, organic wheat grass juice, and organic dandelion leaf.

Learn more about GreenPower Blend now.

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