While avocado toast will forever hold a place in our hearts (and stomachs), we're calling it: Posting even the most artfully crafted flat lay of the snack on your social media feed reads a little passé at this point. (You know that ship has sailed when Snapchat creates an avocado sticker that says "Basic." But I digress…)
Foodstagram trends roll in just as quickly as they fade away, and there's a gorgeous new health food fad that has been dominating our feeds lately—and Pinterest, too. Fire up your blenders, because smoothie bowls are officially a Thing.
Much like avocado toast, the huge appeal of smoothie bowls is that the possibilities for customization are truly infinite. Toss in your favorite fruits, nut butters, protein powders, and supplements, and load it up with any and all of the toppings you can dream up. The limit does not exist!
That being said, the art of crafting the ideal smoothie bowl goes beyond delicately arranging a mosaic of fruit, granola, and nuts and filtering it to perfection in VSCO. Nutritionally speaking, there's actually a solid formula to abide by when it comes to the ratios of your ingredients—though which ingredients you choose is totally up to you. "Done right, smoothies are the most effective way to nourish your body and elongate your blood sugar, allowing you to burn fat rather than store it," says nutritionist Kelly LeVeque.
Keep reading to learn how to craft the perfect smoothie bowl!
Ideally, the bulk of your smoothie should be a mix of fruit and veggies. "Greens, lots of greens!" says McKel Hill, blogger at Nutrition Stripped and author of the cookbook by the same name. She suggests adding two or three handfuls of organic kale, spinach, chard, or whatever other leafy vegetable you'd prefer—it's an easy way to knock out a few servings of veggies, and if you add the right balance of fruit (Hill suggests one cup) and other ingredients, the taste is virtually undetectable. Want nutritional bonus points? Add some frozen peas or zucchini as well.
The smoothie will likely be too thick without liquid, so add a nut milk, coconut water, or regular water until you get the right consistency.
Next you'll want to throw in protein, healthy fats, and any other supplements or powders you desire. For your fat, consider 1/4 avocado or a small spoonful of nut butter. If you're a fan of protein powder, try to choose a variety that's plant-based and minimally processed. And if you struggle to remember to take your vitamins on a daily basis (I can relate), take this opportunity to toss in any supplements you can think of, whether it's matcha, wheatgrass, or any of the countless ingestible beauty powders on the market. "If you have them on hand, I also recommend adding powders like medicinal mushrooms, maca, turmeric, cinnamon, freeze-dried fruit/veg powders, spirulina, or any other nutrient-dense powder," says Hill.
After blending your smoothie until it's smooth, take your pick of nutrient-dense toppings, whether it's goji berries, chia seeds, nuts, dried fruit, coconut… you name it. And if you really want to overachieve for Instagram, serve it all up in a makeshift edible "bowl"—a coconut, pineapple, or any other hollowed-out fruit with a thick rind will do.
While we'll enthusiastically praise the deliciousness of frozen bananas, from a nutritional standpoint, they're not totally ideal. "It's easy to use frozen bananas because they taste sweet and they make smoothie bowls extra thick, but it adds up very easily," says Hill. Sugar content is a good thing to keep in mind in general—while fruit is healthier than say, ice cream, the carb load is high. Stick to single servings (one cup of frozen or fresh fruit) and you'll be in the clear. If you'd like your smoothie to be a little sweeter, consider adding a few pinches of stevia. The same goes for calorie-dense nut butters, granola, and treats like chocolate chips. As always, the rule of thumb is to practice moderation.
LaVeque's Spa Smoothie
Endless options can feel overwhelming, so dive in with LaVeque's spa smoothie:
- 1 serving vanilla protein powder
- 1/4 avocado
- 1–2 tbsp. chia seeds
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
- Handful of spinach
- 1 small Persian cucumber
- Mint leaves (to taste)
- 2 cups unsweetened nut milk
- Blend ingredients in high-speed blender until smooth.
- Top with less than 1/4 cup berries.