I am, by nature, more of a night owl than a morning person, so in the early hours I’m not often in the mood to cook up an elaborate breakfast. Smoothies have been one of my breakfast go-tos for quite a while now. I love that you can whip one up, pour it in a cup, and head out the door. Lately though, I have been making my morning smoothie a sit down experience with this easy smoothie bowl. There is something a little more satisfying in taking the time to sit down and eat your breakfast with a spoon enjoying different tastes and textures, rather than simply sipping it through a straw. It’s also really nice to take a few minutes to be present and arrange all the toppings and make something really beautiful for yourself in the morning. Even with the artful arranging it takes less than 5 minutes to put together. Once blended you can add a limitless variety of toppings so each bowl is deliciously different. The basic recipe consists of only 3 ingredients!
*Green Juice- I use an organic cold-pressed green juice blend from whole foods that is available in a 49 ounce size (11.99) which works out to be much more reasonably priced than green juice sold in individual sizes. Of course you can make your own juice, which is always best, but when you are looking to save time pre-made juice works great. Beware of juices that are green in color, but made mostly of high sugar fruits. I try to stick with a green juice that has under 5g of sugar per serving.
*Raw nuts- They’re packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, fibre and essential fats, all of which can help keep you feeling full and give sustained energy. I usually use local organic raw almonds or walnuts, but you can use whatever raw nut you like. Cashews, pecans, pistachios and brazil nuts are all good choices, in fact each type of nut has different nutritional benefits so you can vary which you use from day to day or even used mixed nuts. Ideally it’s best to soak and rinse the nuts before you eat them. Nuts contain nutritional inhibitors and mildly toxic substances which can be removed by soaking. This makes them more easily digestible and helps with mineral absorption. All you need to do is place them in a bowl and cover them with warm water. Check out this chart to see the appropriate soaking times. You can make a little extra to use as a topping if you like. Once soaked, drain and rinse the nuts before you use them in your smoothie bowl. They will be plump and soft and blend easily. Or…
*Avocado- If you are allergic to nuts or just want to mix things up, you can use half of an avocado in place of the nuts. Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals. They gives a nice creamy consistency and are high in monounsaturated oleic acid, a “heart healthy” fatty acid that is believed to be one of the main reasons for the health benefits of olive oil.
*Mixed Frozen Berries– All varieties of berries are little powerhouses of fibre, vitamins C, A and folic acid, minerals such as potassium and calcium, and phytochemicals. These phytochemicals are powerful antioxidants, have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. Frozen berries are often more nutritious than berries that have been transported a long distance since they begin to lose some of their nutrients right after picking. Berries frozen right after harvest preserve many of their nutrients and using frozen berries means you won’t have to add ice which can water down your smoothie bowl.
*1/2 Banana or 1 Date- (optional) If you prefer your smoothies on the sweeter side you can add half of a banana or a date. Both will add natural whole food sweetness to your bowl, plus vitamin B6, potassium and fiber.
*Superfood or Protein Powders- If you are eating a well balaced diet, you’ll get all of the nutrients you need from the food you’re eating, but sometimes we need a little extra boost. In that case you can add your favorite superfood or protein powder to your smoothie bowl. My favorites are Sunfood Superfood Smoothie Mix made with 13 different organic super foods such as acai, camu camu and chia and Nutiva Hemp Protein for a dose of high quality organic plant-based protein.
As for toppings, the sky’s the limit! I like to add a mix of fresh fruit and dry toppings. Remember to have your toppings ready first so that your smoothie bowl doesn’t melt while you’re slicing strawberries or digging through the cupboard. Here are some of the best to choose from:
*Fresh Seasonal Fruit– Fresh fruit adds flavor, color and nutrition. Fruit that is in season is usually less expensive than fruit brought in from another part of the world. Fruit that is shipped is often picked before it is fully ripe meaning it can be both less flavorful and less nutritious than locally grown produce. Of course organic fruits are always best, but they can be more expensive. Check out this chart on the dirty dozen and clean 15 which shows you what produce has been shown to have the highest concentration of pesticide residue and which has the lowest so you can decide when buying organic should be a priority.
*Dried Fruits– Dried fruits like apricots, raisins, prunes and figs contain high amounts of beta carotene, vitamin E, niacin, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. But perhaps the best dried fruit to add to your smoothie bowl is goji berries. They have a delicious sweet/tart taste and are the fruit with the highest protein content with around 4 grams per 1/4 cup. They’re also a fabulous source of vitamins A and C, riboflavin, selenium, iron and dietary fiber. That means they can help promote healthy skin, boosts the immune system, protect your eyes, and help keep you regular. All great benefits to get in first thing in the morning.
*Seeds- Chia and flax seeds are both excellent plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Hemp seeds have the added benefit of being packed with easily digestible proteins and contain all 10 essential amino acids, putting them among the rare plant-based foods that provide complete protein. One thing to remember is that in order for the body to absorb the nutrients from flax seeds, they need to ground. You can grind them in a coffee grinder or buy ground flax at the market. Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E has significant anti-inflammatory effects that result in the reduction of symptoms in conditions where inflammation plays a big role.
*Coconut- Dehydrated coconut is high in fiber, iron and healthy fats. I must admit my favorite coconut topping is Made in Nature’s Organic Toasted Coconut Chips that come in flavors like Ginger Masala (my favorite) and Vietnamese Cinnamon which when I gave to my husband he proclaimed- they tastes just like cinnamon toast crunch. And he’s right, they do! The difference is that they are made with just a few natural organic whole food ingredients and no refined sugar.
*Cacoa Nibs- These crushed up cacao beans may have the highest antioxidant rating of any food, about twice the amount of red wine. Plus they taste like bitter chocolate and give you a natural energy boost. What’s not to love?!
*Granola/Muesli- On mornings that I wake up feeling particularly hungry I go for a bit of granola. The whole grain oats and crunch make your smoothie bowl that much more satisfying. Nature’s Path Organic Love Crunch Dark Chocolate and Red berries (pictured) is one of my favorites because, well, dairy-free dark chocolate and red berries. Enough said. Muesli is another option which is usually raw and unsweetened so it’s a great choice if you are watching your sugar intake or following a raw foods diet.
If you think of anymore great ones let me know and I’ll add them to the list! Mornings are better with a smoothie bowl in your hand 🙂 xJacq
The Go-To Smoothie Bowl
Ingredients: 1-2 servings 3/4 cup Green Juice 1 cup Frozen Berries 1/4 cup Nuts (1 big handful) soaked and rinsed or 1/2 Avocado 1/2 Banana or 1 Medjool Date, pitted (optional)
Prepare any toppings and set aside. Place ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides and/or add a splash of juice, if needed, to get the blades to turn. Pour into a bowl and arrange toppings nicely. Enjoy!