Can you believe it is that time of year again? Summer always comes so fast! One of my favorite summer treats is açaí bowls. Açaí bowls originated from Brazil, were adopted by Hawaiians and are now a popular food item everywhere!
What is Acai?
Acai is a berry that is grown in Brazil. An acai bowl is simply acai frozen, providing a strong base for a smoothie bowl. It is often called a "beauty food" as it is packed with antioxidants, fiber, healthy fats, and vitamins that include vitamin C. One of the benefits vitamin C is known for is its role in aiding collagen synthesis for our skin. This summer, I have been getting plenty of vitamin C as the acai bowl has been my go to breakfast. Making the bowl at home is a great way to save money while nourishing your body!
How I Made My Acai Bowl:
1. Blend the Base
Frozen acai as a base is only the start of building your acai bowl.I use the Sambazon Açaí Blend, and mix it with a milk or milk alternative in my Nutribullet.
2. Top with granola
Now that you have your acai bowl base, try adding some granola. You can purchase a variety of granola mixes at your local grocery store. I usually purchase the Kind Healthy Grains Granola clusters.
3. Top with a fruit
I have been topping my acai bowls with in season, handpicked fruit. You will be able to see below, blueberries and peaches are in season in the North East in July. Not only is this fruit delicious, but it also cuts down on cost for transporting the fruit, creates a smaller carbon footprint, and supports local farmers. You can find a link to in-season produce in your state here:
4. Add a nut based spread.
Peanut butter is my go to spread for acai bowls, as it is rich in protein, and monounsaturated fat. Studies continuously show monounsaturated fat to lower cholesterol and promote cardiovascular health. However, you are always welcome to try Nutella to "switch it up" when craving a chocolate taste. It is important to be aware, however, that Nutella contains 20 grams of added sugar per serving (the recommendation is below 25 grams of added sugar for women and 38 grams per men per day). This does not mean you have to avoid it completely, but instead to remember to view Nutella or similar spreads as a fun, occasional treat!
5. And if you are feeling extra fancy,,,
Pairing nuts with a fruit can make your acai bowl extra decadent. Nuts have many health benefits, including healthy fats and antioxidants. Studies have shown that the omega 3 fatty acids in walnuts may reduce depression. Additionally, there have also been studies that a diet rich in pecans is associated with improved heart health, as the increase in gamma tocopherol levels, which is a form of vitamin E (an antioxidant) can prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Pro tip- try pecans paired with peaches for a tasty combination.
Pictured above: In season, handpicked blueberries in my acai bowl
Pictured above: In season, handpicked peaches in my acai bowl
Ava is a Registered Dietitian with a BS in Nutritional Science from Penn State University. She completed her postgraduate dietetic internship at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center where she had a critical care concentration. She started her RD career working at a level one trauma center providing Medical Nutrition Therapy to patients in the Greater New York City area. She now resides in South Florida as her hospital's full time outpatient dietitian, overseeing outpatient nutrition for cardiometabolic, bariatric, and hospital medical nutrition therapy.