I remember when smoothie bowls became a thing. And I’ll admit it, I didn’t fully get them at first, but now I do. Smoothie bowls are often confused with açaí bowls, but they are not the same, in fact they are completely different in origin. And to clarify, traditional smoothies, made of pureed fruit mixtures (the ones you drink in a glass with a straw) are something else entirely steaming from Mediterranean and Eastern cultures.
The Açaí Bowl Invention:
The açaí bowl comes from the Amazon in Brazil, which is where açaí berries are still grown today. The Gracie family, famous for their Brazilian jiujitsu gyms, invented the açaí bowl in the late 1980s. The açaí bowl grew exponentially in popularity throughout the decade and into the ’90s during a fitness boom in the country. Açaí berries are bright purple in color and are a staple part of the local Amazonian diet. The açaí bowl differs in texture to a smoothie bowl, with a consistency much more like sorbet. Typically they are thick, creamy and served very cold.
Smoothie Bowls Invention:
The smoothie bowl invention can partially be credited to the trendy smoothie-bar fad that swept the nation and captured our hearts in the early 2000’s. Jamba Juice, or Jamba, as it’s now known, is said to have brought smoothies to the masses. Around the same time Jamba was making its mark, two brothers from Southern California, Ryan and Jeremy Black, began importing açaí berries to the U.S. for the first time, kickstarting the frozen açaí bowl craze.
Now fast forward a decade, when Instagram emerged and began to alter the way people interact with, consume, and market food and other products. Healthy foods, such as the above, couldn’t just be made from whole ingredients anymore; they needed to be attractive for social media photos. Acai bowls fit perfectly into this niche. But why stop there when the options are limitless. Soon the smoothie bowl hashtag exploded on Instagram with millions of vibrant entries by wellness influencers leading the charge. And the rest they say, is Insta history.
Advantages of Smoothie Bowls:
Smoothie bowls have been an Instagram darling for years now with no signs of slowing down. These often stunning bowls are turning up in endless iterations in restaurants and juice bars around the globe. If you’re looking for creative ways to get more energy-packed breakfasts for you and you’re family, here are 5 reasons why you should consider switching the straw for the spoon. The goal in eating a smoothie bowl is not to gulp down in seconds like your standard smoothie. Smoothie bowls are meant to feel more like a meal, with layers of flavor, texture and color.
5 Things Smoothie Bowls Offer:
- Endless flavors and options
- Nutrient and protein dense
- Easily customizable
- Easy to make
The best part about making a smoothie bowl is almost anything you think up can work, just let your taste buds guide you. To make a smoothie bowl, simply add your favorite fresh or frozen fruit into a high-power blender and get creative with what you have on-hand. Before you know it, you’ll have created a masterpiece. My blueberry papaya smoothie bowl was invented in just this fashion, and so it encompasses a few of my favorite things including blueberries, almond milk and date syrup, things I almost always have around the house.
Smoothie Bowl Tips:
The best smoothie bowls mix plant-based fats with low glycemic fruits and nutrient-rich green vegetables. Foods like frozen fruit, avocado, nuts, hemp and chia seeds add thickness and creaminess to your bowl’s base while providing healthy fats and anti-inflammatory omega-3’s to keep you filled up and fueled. Low glycemic fruits like berries, cherries, apricots, apples and pears offer fruity flavor and beneficial nutrients while promoting stable blood sugar levels.
Due to their healthy ingredients, smoothie bowls make a great choice for die-hard cereal eaters (like my oldest son) who are looking to transition into healthier breakfast habits. This blueberry papaya smoothie bowl is simple and straightforward, but bursting with flavor. Topped with some of my favorites; homemade granola, sliced banana, unsweetened coconut chips and chia seeds make this an all-time favorite of mine any day of the week.
Blueberry Papaya Smoothie Bowl
- 1 cup fresh papaya, peeled, deseeded and cubed
- 1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries
- 1 banana, divided
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chia seeds, divided
- 2 teaspoons date syrup
- 1 cup ice
- almond granola, for garnish
- flaked coconut, for garnish
- Step 1 Using a kitchen blender add the papaya, frozen blueberries, 1/2 banana, almond milk, 1 teaspoon chia seeds, date syrup and ice. Blend on high for 1 minute.
- Step 2 Pour mixture into two serving bowls. Top with the remaining banana, thinly sliced, chia seeds, granola and flaked coconut. Serve immediately.
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