The Acai Bowl
Not so healthy after all?
Acai bowls. They are all the craze. And why not? These beautiful looking, incredibly tasty smoothie bowls are the perfect treat on a hot day. However, nutrition wise, these bowls might not be everything you thought they were. Traditionally these colorful smoothies start off with a puree pack… not fresh acai berries. This acai puree pack is then blended together with a mixture of frozen fruit and coconut water. It sounds healthy so far, right? Maybe not.
Let’s assume that were throwing a little bit of this and that into the smoothie. The standard is 3 ounces of strawberries, 3 ounces of blueberries, and 3 ounces of bananas. Three ounces is about the size of your palm, just enough to rest on the flat part of your hand without touching your fingers.
So let’s break this down; 3 ounces of strawberries contains 4.1 grams of sugar, 3 ounces of blackberries have around 4.2 grams, and 3 ounces of bananas have 10.4 grams of sugar. If we look back to that acai puree pack …16 grams of sugar. You’ve just made a smoothie with a whopping 34.7 grams of sugar. That’s about as much sugar as a Grande Vanilla Latte from Starbucks. Ouch.
We’re not done yet though. Once this gorgeous purple smoothie is all blended together, we pour it into a bowl. Judging from Instagram pictures, we’ll say anything ranging from a cereal bowl to a salad bowl will work well.
Now it’s topping time. Usually classic toppings include a variety of fruit. We will reference the particular bowl above. We have about a palm full of blueberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds, and granola. Believe it or not, that’s an added 22.5 grams of sugar. It looks fabulous, it smells fabulous, and you now have a beautiful bowl of 57.2 grams of sugar.
Don’t panic yet though. There are ways to still enjoy this delicious breakfast without destroying your waistline.
Forget the Bowl
Much of the acai bowl sugar problem comes from the portion size. It’s called an acai bowl, but if you want to trim down some of that sugar, why not switch to something smaller like a cup. This will make you feel less bloated after consumption, and possibly save you the sugar crash.
Photo: Courtesy of Clean Eating
Throw in Some Chia
Trick your stomach into thinking you’re eating just an acai smoothie. Instead of filling the entire container with smoothie mix, add in some chia to take up space. The seeds will add in some texture and a bit of protein to the mixture while lessening your sugar intake.
Photo: Courtesy of The Awesome Green
Swap it Out…Try the Low Sugar Berries
The amount of fruit is where all the sugar comes from in these tasty treats. Instead of adding more and more sugar, opt for some of the low calorie berries rather than high sugar fruits like pomegranate, pineapple, and mango.
Photo: Courtesy of Dinner at the Zoo
Coconut it Up
Try eating from a coconut bowl. The size of these bowls only take up the palm of your hand and are the proper bowl size that you should be eating out of. Not only will this slim down your portion size, but it will give a refreshing coconut taste to your smoothie. Try something new like Design Love Fest’s bowl and add in edible flowers rather than a boat load of fruit.
Photo: Courtesy of Design Love Fest
Written by: Gabrielle Christensen