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Smoothie Bowls 101: How (and Why) to Make Them

Smoothie bowls. They’re all the rage right now, aren’t they? I can’t open my Instagram feed or scroll through Pinterest without seeing about 20 pictures of them …
… which means I’m pretty embarrassed to admit that I Googled “What is a smoothie bowl?” last week*.
As I suspected a smoothie bowl is … a smoothie. In a bowl. You eat it with a spoon. Which is exactly what I’ve always done every time I’ve screwed up my liquid-to-frozens/solids proportions and a smoothie has come out a little too thick. If only I’d thought to name it and capitalize on my error, right?
smoothie bowl
But hey, at least somebody did, and even if I can’t claim all the glory for coming up with a smoothie bowl, I’m here now to give you the scoop on how — and why — to make them yourself.

How to Make a Smoothie Bowl

The basic instructions are, you know, make a smoothie, but try to make it thicker. So, what that means is that you’ll want to adjust your proportions to include a little less liquid (just enough to make everything blend nicely) and a little more of the other, less liquid-y ingredients (like soft fruit or dairy, frozen fruits and veggies, nut butter, etc.) If you’re not terribly well-versed on how to make a smoothie, period, give this smoothie guide a read. Or, if you want a few of examples, here are some I’ve enjoyed recently:

  • Frozen acai pack, 1/2 a cucumber, juice from 1/2 a lemon, a chunk of fresh ginger, a couple spoonfuls of plain Greek yogurt, frozen kale, chia seeds and a splash of coconut water
  • Frozen banana, frozen pineapple chunks, frozen strawberries, protein powder, chia seeds, frozen kale, splash of coconut water
  • Frozen banana, scoop of nut butter, chocolate protein powder, chia seeds, frozen kale, cinnamon, splash of coconut water, small handful of raw almonds or cacao nibs (thrown in at the end so they don’t get too blended up)

And remember, since you’re eating it in a bowl, you can go nuts (pun intended) after the fact with toppings like, well, nuts or seeds, muesli, granola, shredded dried coconut, you name it. Fresh fruit is a great option — raspberries were on crazy sale the other day so I’ve been loading up lots of my smoothie bowls with those, but I also really like chopped apple because it stays so crisp. And, of course, cacao nibs or good dark chocolate chips are always a tasty option.
(Need more ideas? Not. A. Problem.)
A word of caution here, though — remember that you’ve probably already blended up lots of good, nutritionally dense stuff, so while you can add whatever you like as a topping, if you’re eating this with weight-loss as a goal, be mindful of the whole picture. It can be easy to get carried away and end up with a 900-calorie smoothie bowl!

Benefits of a Smoothie in a Bowl

Aside from giving you a way to enjoy a smoothie that didn’t come out quite as planned, there are a couple of pretty cool benefits to scooping up that blended goodness with a spoon, particularly if you’re jumping on the smoothie train with some weight-loss goals in mind.
It slows you down and encourages mindful eating. I drink delicious things really, really quickly — I’ll hold my smoothie glass and pretty much just drain it without even setting it down on a busy morning — and I know I’m not alone. Using a spoon means I’m not just having small bites (well, “bites”), but it also gives me a good opportunity to set the spoon down and savor each taste a little more.
It might help you feel more satisfied. Probably the most common question I get about smoothies is, “But aren’t you still hungry? I don’t think I could drink my meals.” And while I do feel satisfied after a good, nutritious smoothie in any form, I also understand that it can be hard to wrap your brain around drinking a whole meal. So, even if it’s the same exact smoothie that you might’ve enjoyed in a glass, putting it in a bowl and eating it with a spoon could help your brain to register that it is, in fact, a meal and not a beverage.
*There are certain things no food blogger wants on her Internet browsing history. This is a great example. “How to make grilled cheese” might be another. So, if I die, don’t worry about any sort of seedy stash in my closet — someone just delete any stupid food questions from my browsing history, okay?
Are you a fan of the smoothie bowl? I was skeptical at first, but I’m definitely coming around. —Kristen

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