Whether you’re looking for ways to create a cleaner breakfast routine, or simply wanting to change up your smoothie game, acai bowls are the way to go. Acai bowls are a great way to enjoy more antioxidants, fiber, and nutrient-dense superfoods – and that translates into a revved-up metabolism and increased energy. What’s more, these popular purple bowls are easy to make, fun to eat (think healthy ice cream), not to mention oh-so Instagram-friendly.
But not all acai bowls are created equal. In fact, many acai bowls sold at hip breakfast joints are secretly loaded with added sugar, and can quickly become calorie bombs with their excessive toppings, too. Read on for how to make your own acai bowl that meets the requirements of your demanding tastebuds and your healthy goals at the same time.
Use the right machine | If you have a high-speed blender, you can make an excellent acai bowl using the power of your machine along with the tamper to get that delectable frozen-smooth consistency. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, use a food processor instead, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides as needed to create a smooth puree. Unfortunately, ordinary blenders, personal-size blenders, and electric mixers won’t cut it here.
Start with pure acai | There are two methods to making acai bowls – one is through using frozen acai, and the other is through using powdered acai. I vastly prefer using powdered acai, as it’s easier to adjust the flavor, and is significantly less expensive per serving (I use about a tablespoon per bowl). Regardless of the method you choose, what’s most important is making sure your acai has no added sugar … otherwise you’re just making sorbet, not breakfast.
Sweeten smartly | Acai is not naturally sweet, so you’ll need to enhance its flavor one way or another. If you are using powdered acai, adding frozen fruit is an ideal option, which will both compliment the acai and add sweetness – frozen banana, frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries and frozen mango are particularly good matches. If you like sweeter foods, add a few drops of liquid stevia as well to enhance the sweetness even further. (Stevia, although often lumped into the “sugar” category because of its sweet taste, actually has zero sugars whatsoever.) Using frozen acai? To avoid making the mixture too thick, you can use a combination of stevia and another liquid sweetener like agave or maple — just be sure not to overdo the syrup.
Blend in bonuses | Sure, acai is a powerhouse superfood on its own. But you can take this blended opportunity to customize the nutrition of your acai bowl even further! Mix in your favorite protein powder to make your bowl more filling. Add a handful of greens which will seem to disappear once blended. Or, stash in other lightly flavored superfood powders, like pomegranate powder or cacao powder. The more you add, the more your body wins.
Keep liquids minimal | You’ll need to add a little bit of liquid to blend your mixture into a frosty puree. Stick with unsweetened plant-based milks, such as almond or coconut, and add only what your machine requires to get blending, otherwise you’ll end up with a soup (albeit a still delicious soup).
Balance your toppings | Before creating a Picasso-esque array of fruit toppings as garnish atop of your acai puree, consider the overall nutrition of your bowl. An acai bowl should really max out at two servings of fruit, excluding the acai itself (which does not have sugar). How many servings of fruit did you add to make your acai puree? By all means, top an acai bowl with a few slices of your favorite fresh variety, but look to balance the nutrition further with sources of healthy fats and protein, such as cacao nibs, chia seeds, hazelnuts, almond butter, or a low sugar granola.
The possibilities for a healthy acai bowl are endless! How will you make your next bowl?