Unless you’ve been living under a rock or doing some extreme Vipassana retreat with no WiFi for the last 5 years, you’ve probably noticed that açaí bowls (and similar smoothie bowls) have been all over Instagram. These bowls are often praised as some kind of holy nutritious graal that will give you a supermodel glow. However, don’t get fooled by how pretty they look under the Amaro filter, most açaí bowls are actually loaded with sugar, which is not ideal to start your day (unless you are planning to run 10k right after breakfast…). But don’t panic, you don’t have to lose followers, hide to eat a keto breakfast made of bacon or even worse, start running…just follow my 5 tips for a healthy açaí bowl, it will be just as ‘grammable, I promise!
1) Use pure açaí puree
This little fruit sourced from South American rainforests is actually quite healthy in itself. It is packed with inflammation-fighting antioxidants, a good amount of fiber and is very low in sugar (less than 1g/100g). Just make sure to use unsweetened 100% açaí puree. The ones with added sugar, agave syrup, etc. are all way too sweet.
2) Choose your fruits wisely
Stick to max one banana and to fruits with a lower sugar content, such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. I like to blend some frozen ones in the base and add a handful of fresh ones as topping.
3) Add veggies
I know this sounds strange but it’s a smart way to cut down on the sugar, add extra fiber and bulk up the texture. Just try adding a piece of frozen cauliflower or a chunk of frozen zucchini. The key is to use vegetables with a mild taste, I promise you won’t notice it!
4) Balance it with proteins & healthy fats
Balanced macronutrients result in steadier blood sugar levels and increased satiety. Protein and fat actually slow down the absorption of sugar and will keep you feeling full longer. My favorite options are collagen powder, hemp or pea protein powder, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts, cashews, cacao nibs, 1/4 of an avocado (in the blend) and a drizzle of almond butter.
5) Blend with water or unsweetened plant-based milk
Don’t ruin all your efforts by blending the whole thing with orange juice or sweetened almond milk! See if water is tasty enough for you, otherwise choose some plain plant-based milk. If you really must have it sweeter, then try adding a little coconut water, which still contains less sugar than most fruit juices.