By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury
Take a yogurt parfait one step further by putting a smoothie in a bowl and eating it with a spoon. Smoothie bowls are a new trend that allows people to chew the nutrition-filled concoction instead of drinking it.
Cierra Robbins, ShopRite in-store registered dietitian of Hatfield, explains exactly what a smoothie bowl is and the benefits of making one.
“Smoothie bowls are actually the really great, honestly pretty and creative way to get a well-balanced nutritious meal that incorporates all the food groups,” she said.
The base of a smoothie is usually some type of dairy product such as milk, yogurt or kefir. Robbins said in addition to dairy; this adds a lot of protein to the mixture. Smoothies also usually incorporate some kind of fruit such as berries, pineapples or bananas. Vegetables such asd spinach and carrots can also be added to the blender for additional nutrients. Robbins said just about any vegetable can be used depending on the taste of the individual. Toppings like granola add grain to the smoothie and nuts can be used as a heart healthy fat.
“You really can get every single food group in one meal,” she said.
Robbins said a smoothie bowl isn’t a traditional breakfast meal like toast and eggs but it’s full of healthy foods. She said a lot of people don’t eat many vegetables or healthy fats in the morning so a smoothie bowl could be the perfect solution to adding those food groups.
“Smoothies bowls are going to keep you full for the day. They’re going to give you lasting energy,” Robbins said.
The bowls just like the beverage are extremely easy to make. All people have to do is grab a few ingredients to blend, pour it in a bowl then top it with whatever you like. The bowls are a great way to add different foods that provide lots of minerals. Muesli, which is similar to granola, can be used as a topping. Robbins said muesli is often made with whole grain oats, nuts and dried fruit. When it comes to actually making the smoothie, Kefir can be used instead of traditional yogurt. It’s full of probiotics which help the digestion system work properly.
“Kefir is essentially a drinkable yogurt,” she said adding that is has a thinner texture.
Robbins said some people may have to get used to the idea of eating a smoothie since it’s basically a cold soup. But if people like drinking a smoothie, they may just enjoy chewing one even more, she said. A smoothie bowl is thicker than the drinkable version and lots of toppings can be added to make it even more eatable. Foods like fruit, granola and slices of avocado will add different textures to the smoothie bowl. Robbins said the big appeal is that you get to eat the smoothie which can make it a more satisfying meal. She said sometimes when she drinks a smoothie, even ones with protein, it can feel like she’s missing out on something.
“With the smoothie bowl, you’re actually using a spoon so it is going to take you a little bit longer to eat that. You’re going to enjoy it a little more and have time to savor it,” Robbins said.
Another great benefit about a smoothie bowl is that you can basically make it any way you want to. Robbins said she really likes to add avocados to her smoothies because it makes the bowl really creamy.
“Anytime you add avocado to it, you’re going to get the nice fatty creaminess without getting all the unhealthy fats. You’re getting actually the beneficial fats,” she said.
To add sweetness when she makes an avocado smoothie, Robbins will add a little maple syrup and fresh berries as well as chia seeds and pistachios.
She said additional flavors can be used in the smoothie bowls to make them into a snack or dessert. Vanilla, coconut, and mint can help add sweetness. Robbins said she has also made chocolate smoothie bowls by adding cocoa powder. She then sometimes adds dark chocolate chips, chocolate covered expresso beans and granola. She said the added sweet flavors make the smoothies bowls more decadent.
BERRY BANANA SMOOTHIE BOWL
1 cup nonfat milk
4 cups Greek nonfat plain yogurt
2 cups fresh strawberries, halved
2 cups fresh raspberries
3 cups fresh banana, cut into chunks
¼ cup honey
Place milk, yogurt, strawberries, raspberries, banana and honey in large capacity blender (or prepare in batches). Blend on high speed 1 minute. Stop blender and stir ingredients with spatula. Continue to blend until smooth. Portion the smoothie into serving bowls and cover. Serve chilled. Smoothie bowls may be refrigerated overnight. When ready to eat, top with any of the following: shredded coconut, sliced bananas, fresh berries and nuts.
MUESLI GREEK YOGURT SMOOTHIE BOWL
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup vanilla yogurt
½ cup muesli or granola
1 cup fresh berries
In a blender, add frozen strawberries, banana and yogurt. Cover and blend on high speed until smooth. Pour into two bowls, top with muesli and fresh berries.
TROPICAL SMOOTHIE BOWL
1 container (6 oz.) pineapple yogurt
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1 cup chopped frozen mango chunks
¼ cup pineapple juice
1 small banana, sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons whole cashews
¼ to ½ teaspoon chia seeds
2 teaspoons sweetened shredded coconut
In blender, place yogurt, pineapple, mango and pineapple juice. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour into 2 bowls. Top with toppings.
Recipes courtesy of ShopRite Supermarkets
To learn more about smoothie bowls and additional recipes, visit www.shoprite.com/smoothies.
ShopRite has several stores with in-store dietitians that offer free nutrition consultations. The registered dietitians help people with varying dietary restrictions such as diabetes, food allergies, being gluten-free, or just wanting to eat healthier. Robbins said the entire store can be used as a classroom for nutritious eating. Dieticians will take customers around the store to help them shop for food that fits their budget.
“This is a great service that more and more people are taking advantage of,” she said.