By Integrative Nutrition

Acai bowls are a huge trend in the healthy eating world right now, and for good reason. What’s not to love about a giant bowl of nutrient-dense, low-calorie purple sorbet overflowing with colorful, delicious superfood toppings? Just eating an acai bowl feels like a special occasion. Many shops and cafes go the extra mile with their acai bowls and turn them into mini works of art, featuring spirals and stripes of carefully placed, color-coordinated toppings. Unfortunately, all this superfood artistry comes at a cost. Most acai bowls cost $10-$12, which can add up quickly if you make them a daily habit (which is a good idea for your health, but probably not your wallet).

Although it might seem intimidating at first, making your own acai bowls at home really is incredibly easy and significantly cheaper than buying them from a shop. The trickiest thing about acai bowls, in fact, might be pronouncing “acai” (it’s “ah-sah-EE”, just in case you’re wondering)! This simple and customizable acai breakfast bowl recipe will have you whipping up your own delicious and nutritious works of art at home in no time.

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Most health food stores and major groceries carry frozen acai packets now – they’re often in the frozen fruit section of the health department or sometimes in the frozen ethic foods section. Transporting fresh acai berries from their home country of South America to the US isn’t feasible, so the next best alternative is frozen pureed acai packets. They’re convenient to use and include all the same nutritional benefits that whole acai berries offer.

Just what makes acai such a magical ingredient? Like other berries, acai is a great source of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. However, acai berries are also rich in trace minerals, electrolytes, amino acids, and even healthy fats. They’re packed with many of the essential nutrients and compounds that are lacking in the Standard American Diet. They can improve skin and brain health and promote healthy digestion too. And since they’re mildly flavored and a pretty deep purple color, all of these acai health benefits come in an appealing and tasty package. Win-win!

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For this easy acai bowl recipe, simply blend together frozen acai, frozen berries, and coconut milk to form a thick, delectable sorbet-like smoothie; scoop it into a wide, shallow bowl; and then add any and all toppings your heart desires.

Fresh fruit, coconut, and granola are popular options, but feel free to up the superfood quotient with bee pollen, chia seeds, goji berries, and other slightly more exotic ingredients. These toppings are available at most health food stores and from online retailers as well. Acai bowls are kid-friendly and impressive to make for guests as well, so what are you waiting for? Whip one up today.

Make Your Own Acai Bowl (Makes 1 large acai bowl)

-1 single-serve frozen acai packet

-1 cup frozen organic blueberries

-1 cup frozen organic strawberries

-¾ cup unsweetened carton coconut milk or cashew milk

-Toppings of choice (fresh fruit, banana slices, unsweetened shredded coconut, granola, hemp hearts, chia seeds, flax seeds, goji berries, bee pollen, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Using a high speed blender or food processor, blend acai, berries, and coconut milk together on high for 1-2 minutes, scraping blender bowl regularly, until ingredients form a very thick, sorbet-like mixture. Don’t underestimate how frequently you might need to scrape the blender bowl in order to get the ingredients moving.
  2. Once you’re satisfied with the consistency of your acai base, scoop the mixture into a wide, shallow bowl or cup and smooth the top surface with a spatula. Add your toppings of choice, getting as creative and artistic as you like.
  3. Enjoy your acai creation immediately!

Recipe Notes:

  1. If your favorite part of acai bowls is the toppings, try adding a layer of toppings to the bottom of the bowl before scooping the acai mixture on top. Twice the toppings in a single bowl! This is especially tasty if you put a layer of granola in the bottom of the bowl.
  2. If your blender is struggling with blending this much frozen fruit, try replacing one cup of berries with a frozen banana, which is softer and easier for blenders to process. You can also add an additional ¼ cup of coconut milk as needed, but be careful not to make your mixture too liquid-y or else the toppings will sink.
  3. This makes a big bowl, so it can easily be split into two servings for a lighter meal or snack.

Integrative Nutrition is the world’s largest nutrition school and Health Coach Training Program. Through our innovative, one-year online course, students learn the principles of health coaching, business skills, and over 100 different dietary theories with lectures by the world’s leading experts.

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