As we get older, it’s increasingly important to make sure we eat healthy meals, starting with breakfast. Smoothie bowls are growing in popularity and here’s why: they’re healthy, delicious and easy to make at home.
Smoothie bowls are blended in a similar way to a smoothie, only they’re thicker and served in a bowl instead of a glass. Smoothie bowls are a nutritious breakfast option for active older adults because they’re rich in calcium (from the milk) which is important for healthy bones and osteoporosis prevention. The fruits and greens are also loaded with vitamin C which helps boost immunity. Plus, you can increase the nutritional value of your bowl by adding healthy extras like flax seeds or chia seeds for extra fiber, nuts for additional protein and spices like cinnamon and turmeric to reduce inflammation.
How to Build a Breakfast Smoothie Bowl
Building a delicious and nutritious smoothie bowl is easy and it’s a good sit-down breakfast that takes little time to make. Before you get started, make sure you have a blender with a sturdy base that can chop fruits and vegetables. What goes in your smoothie bowl is up to your creative imagination though smoothie bowls typically include four types of ingredients:
Choose a milk that you enjoy like cow’s milk, almond or soy. Traditional cow’s milk is a source of protein, calcium and 14 other vitamins and minerals. Calcium-fortified soy milk in particular also supplies protein to help maintain strong bones as you age. Each serving contains 25-35% of your daily calcium requirement. If you use milk alternatives like those made from rice or nuts (such as cashew cream) choose one that’s fortified or enriched with vitamin D or calcium. Otherwise, you’re simply getting sugar-laden water with no nutritional value.
Opt for leafy greens like Swiss chard, kale and collards which are rich in calcium and also contain fiber and vitamin K. One cup supplies 10% of your daily calcium requirement. Spinach is another popular green ingredient in smoothie bowls. It’s a terrific source of dietary magnesium which is necessary to maintain muscle and nerve function, sustain a healthy immune system and regulate blood pressure.
3. Fresh, Dried or Frozen Fruit
Dried fruits, such as Medjool dates, can add a touch of sweetness to any breakfast bowl. Although dates are high in sugar, they’re loaded with fiber which keep you feeling full for longer and promote regularity. Frozen fruits like berries and bananas can also give your smoothie bowl a creamy consistency while adding a touch of natural sweetness. For a unique twist, try adding half an avocado rather than a banana to achieve the same consistency. Two-thirds of avocado fat is in the form of monounsaturated fat, the same type of heart-healthy fat that’s in olive oil.
If you have diabetes or are watching your blood sugar levels, in the place of fruit add more greens and veggies to your smoothie bowl. Or choose fruits that are low on the glycemic index, such as cherries, pears, apples, peaches and grapes. Unsweetened liquid will also help keep the overall sugar content of your smoothie bowl down.
4. Nuts, Seeds and Spices
For a satisfying crunch, add a handful of heart-healthy nuts like almonds to your smoothie bowl. Nuts are loaded with healthy fats, fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. Or sprinkle super seeds such as flax and chia seeds over your breakfast bowl. They’re loaded with heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Hemp seeds are another tasty topping. They’re a source of vitamin E which fights inflammation. For additional nutrition, dress up your smoothie bowl with ruby-red pomegranate seeds. They’re full of vitamin C and flavonoids that keep your heart healthy. For additional flavor, sprinkle cinnamon over top your smoothie bowl. As an anti-inflammatory, cinnamon helps counter the effects of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
Once your ingredients are assembled, follow these six steps to build your smoothie bowl:
- Add fresh or frozen fruit to your blender.
- Pour the liquid over the fruit.
- Add hard ingredients, such as unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Add soft ingredients, such as greens, banana or unsalted nut butter.
- Combine with ice. Add more ice if you want a thicker consistency.
- Pour in a bowl and garnish with toppings.
8 Smoothie Bowl Recipes We Particularly Like:
1. Low Sugar Green Smoothie Bowl from Honestly Nourished
This green smoothie bowl recipe is packed with nutrient-dense veggies like spinach and kale, plus anti-inflammatory spices, cinnamon and turmeric.
2. Mocha Banana Superfood Smoothie Bowl from A Healthy Life For Me
Amy Stafford’s vegan smoothie bowl recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free, and includes heart-healthy almonds and high-fiber chia seeds.
3. Super Green Smoothie Bowl from Minimalist Baker
Avocado is the key ingredient in this heart-healthy smoothie bowl.
4. Berry Superfood Smoothie Bowl from Love & Lemons
The best part of this bowl are the nutritious toppings: flaked coconut, blueberries and hemp seeds.
5. Strawberry Oatmeal Smoothie Bowl from Marla Meridith
This berry smoothie bowl includes oats, a source of fiber and iron.
6. Açai Berry Bowl from Nutrition Stripped
This smoothie bowl contains antioxidant-rich frozen açai pulp, considered to have anti-inflammatory effects.
7. Chocolate Hazelnut Hemp Smoothie Bowl from My Darling Vegan
This chocolate smoothie bowl is made with raw cacao powder. The recipe also includes hemp seeds which are high in antioxidants and omega-3 fats.
8. Pineapple Smoothie Bowl from Kitchen Confidante
Pineapple is the star ingredient in this smoothie bowl, so if you’re watching your blood sugar you might want to avoid this one. Despite being higher on the glycemic index, pineapples are high in vitamin C and fiber. They’re also a source of manganese which is essential for strong bones.
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