These day’s green juices are as common as grande macchiatos. But what’s up with the whole smoothie-in-a-bowl trend?
Besides looking gorgeous in your Instagram feeds, acai bowls — a thick, purple concoction made with the superfood berry from the Amazon, and often topped with fruits, nuts and granola — boast tons of health benefits.
“Acai, which looks like a giant blueberry, is naturally sugar-free, has omega fats, which is great for your brain and nervous system — and it’s really high in antioxidants, which are great at fighting free radicals,” says Lindsey Bro, creative director at Sambazon, one of the largest producers of the Brazilian superfood.
Another selling point: It’s the perfect canvas for your noshing needs. Acai’s versatile flavor allows you to add in just about any ingredientyou like, says Bro.
“Because it has no sugar, it has the ability to go in a lot of different avenues of flavors,” she says. “It can go toward mixed berries, [or] it can also taste like cacao. You can go savory or sweet or somewhere in between.”
This doesn’t mean you load up the bowl like you’re at the topping bar of your favorite soft-serve joint, however.
“Try to avoid tons of processed toppings [like sugary granola],” Bro advises.
To help keep us on the right track, we asked the expert to create three recipes to target common urbanite woes.
Building blocks: “I chose cacao for magnesium, it’s a calming agent,” explains Bro. “Mint cools you down and pistachios [are full of] minerals — they reduce blood pressure and provide heart healthy fats.”
• 2 Sambazon Pure Superfruit or Sambazon Performance Protein Superfruit Packs
• ¼ - 1/8 cup coconut milk
• 1 tsp cacao
• a few sprigs mint
• ¼ cup shelled pistachios
• 1 banana
• ½ cup frozen mixed berries
• gluten-free granola
• banana slices
• coconut shreds
• cacao nibs
• optional: raw honey
Instructions: Cut your Sambazon Superfruit packs in half, break into blender. Add all other ingredients (except toppings), starting with a little liquid and adding more as needed. Blend thick. Stir to make sure everything’s combined. Scoop into a bowl, top with gluten-free granola (or buckwheat), pistachios, fresh fruit and mint.
Building blocks: “Watermelon is superhydrating,” says Bro. “And basil just tastes a bit like summer.”
• ½ cup watermelon chunks
• coconut water ice cubes, as needed
• 1 Sambazon Original or Pure Superfruit Pack
• 2 basil leaves
Instructions: Fill an ice cube tray with coconut water and freeze. Cut your Sambazon Superfruit pack in half; break into chunks in blender. Add watermelon pieces, coconut-water ice cubes and basil. Blend until combined, adding more ice cubes as needed. Pour into a glass, add a straw and enjoy.
Building blocks: “I used the Supergreens pack here because it doesn’t have any added sugars, just servings of greens and vegetables,” says Bro. “Yerba mate is a caffeine source derived from plants — it has a very sustained energy with no crash. And bacopa is an ayurvedic herb great for focus, brain health and the nervous system.”
• 1 Sambazon Supergreens Superfruit Pack
• 1 cup cold yerba mate
• ¼ inch fresh ginger
• 1 tsp bacopa powder
• ½ avocado, pitted and scooped out
• 1/8-cup coconut shreds
• 1 banana
• ¼ cup frozen mixed berries
Instructions: Put everything in a blender, blitz for 45 seconds, pour into a cup and enjoy. Top with a few shreds of coconut for looks.