Are smoothie bowls really all that healthy?
3 reasons why they may not be…
… and how you can still enjoy them.
If you’ve got an Instagram account, chances are you’ve been bombarded with beautiful pictures of elaborately decorated smoothie bowls. With almost every colourful fruit and ingredient, it’s like a visual overload of lush, juicy colour. Eat the rainbow of fruits and vegetables, correct? And that gets you whipping up a smoothie bowl every morning for breakfast – after all, you’re starting the day right with a healthy, high-fibre, nutrient dense meal…
But, they’re not all that healthy and here are just 3 reasons why, along with the improvements you can make to your smoothie bowl so that you can still enjoy them in moderation.
Problem #1: Portion sizes
I’m sure you’ve all heard it’s better to eat your fruit rather than drink it in the form of loads of juice? The same thing applies when you’re making up a smoothie bowl. When you’re blending your fruit, you’re reducing the volume of your fruit (and even removing the skin of fruits), so it looks like you’re having a lot less. The temptation here is to add more fruit to bump up the volume so that it seems like the right serving size. Before you know it you’ve got two or three times more fruit in there than you would have normally intended and a HUGE bowl of sugary mixture to finish.
Solution: I recommend keeping your smoothie base mixture to about 170 g which equates to roughly a 1 cup of smoothie mixture, rather than in a large soup bowl or coconut bowl.
Problem #2: Excessive sugar
If you think about how large smoothie bowls can be, and how much fruit you’ve blended into it, on average, a banana, half a bag of raspberries and a handful of strawberries along with your usual plant-based milk (normally comes sweetened), you’re going to unknowingly be consuming a lot more sugar than you’d otherwise intended. This excessive sugar intake can feed bad gut bacteria, leading you to feel bloated and cause blood sugar spikes.
Solution: Before you start adding your fruit, first blend a tablespoon of almond butter with half a bag of spinach. You can also add a tablespoon of chia or linseeds. This will up the fibre content, protein and healthy fats without loading up the sugar and will mean you’ll only need a third of the fruit you’d otherwise have added. Choose a plant-based milk that doesn’t have any sugar or sweetener like rice malt syrup added to it.
Problem #3: Too many toppings
With so many toppings to choose, from raw caramel sauce (just because it’s raw doesn’t mean it’s healthy, and we’ll talk about this in a future post) to loads of nut butters and handfuls of more fruit, it’s easy to go overboard.
Solution: I recommend picking a few of your favourite low sugar toppings. Some of my go-to favourites include cacao nibs, chia seeds, flaked coconut and my protein granolas, which were designed to be enjoyed as a complete breakfast or even as a sprinkle on your favourite foods. My favourite on smoothie bowls would have to be the lemon myrtle & hemp flavour because it’s crunchy and satisfying.
In summary, healthy eating is very much about balance – there’s no need to starve yourself or forgo your favourite foods and the occasional sweet treats. Checking your portion sizes to ensure they’re right for you, along with your sugar intake will go a long way. Try the smaller smoothie bowl size and let me know what you think in the comments below.
Much love, Natalia. xoxo
Photo credit: @the_sunkissed_kitchen