Updated: Aug 24, 2020
Smoothie bowls are typically packed with antioxidants and can be any combination of fruits, veggies, fats, nuts, proteins--you name it, it's likely been added to a smoothie bowl somewhere. There can be a number of reasons why a person would enjoy smoothie bowls for meal replacement or an addition to their nutritional repertoire.
We are all on a quest for good overall health these days. That’s how you found this site, yes? Speaking for myself, I have a wicked sweet tooth that won’t let up if I start. In the past, I’ve enjoyed smoothie bowls that make me happy by fulfilling the sweet cravings for donuts and muffins while giving my body the benefits of getting my fruit and veggies in. It can be an optimal option for someone with a good sense for concocting balanced (low sugar, less fat, fibrous, antioxidant rich, protein rich, etc.) smoothie recipes. It was too much work for me, so I enjoy the occasional smoothie that works for me.
Listen, I am not trying to bash anyone who loves a good smoothie bowl. Smoothie bowls are not evil! Often they are naturally sweet, freezing cold and associated with good health. Let’s think of the foods that often go into making this smoothie bowl. Nuts, nut butters, berries, protein powders, tropical fruits, coconut, sugar substitutes, and even chocolate. There’s nothing wrong with most of these ingredients alone, or even some of them put together. These are foods meant to help with weight management and overall health. From a wellness standpoint, What problem are we solving by replacing a smoothie bowl that is casually spooned in our mouths one bite at a time? Or are we setting ourselves up for disaster? The choice is yours.
1. Simulates an experience similar to that of eating ice cream. This is the first reason I dislike smoothie bowls. They stimulate a response in the brain that is similar to the experience someone has when eating ice cream. Why is it that we all have to take away that which we enjoy in order to attempt eating healthier? It seems like a cruel trick to have a dessert-like meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
2. Too much sugar or too savory to make them palatable. We don’t see people blending up frozen veggies, greens and nut milks to make a smoothie bowl (often). Gazpacho-like cold veggie soups are not what I see on a menu and get excited about. However, if you like a truly savory, vegetable puree, then knock your socks off! What is usually found in smoothies are higher glycemic fruits, spiking blood sugar after consumption. Try using lower sugar fruits paired with veggies that ‘disappear’ into your mixture. Such as cooked cauliflower and spinach.
3. High price tag. The point of smoothie bowls is to have a mix of textures and eat it slowly like a meal. This doesn’t come cheap! Between the nut add-ons and tropical fruits, one bowl can cost a lot more than a meal. Try $7 to $15 an acai bowl if you’re buying it made! They can be made for $5 (or less), just be careful with the quality of what’s in them. The cheaper fruits tend to be higher in sugar.
4. Often higher in fat. Nuts and seeds can add a rich, creamy flavor and texture that satisfies the pleasures of a meal. They also add a crunch and typically more fat than necessary. Nuts or not, it’s still received as a fat in the body. Make sure it meets the daily macronutrient needs for you. Be aware that there are smoothie bowls that have up to a 1,000 calories or more! That’s insane. Know what you are eating, this is very important.
There can be benefits to eating smoothie bowls. Your overall reach for different fruits and vegetables may increase, giving your body variety. Exposure to new fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to boost overall health. One cannot deny how easy it is to whip together a smoothie bowl. It can be a great time saver for those that are on the go and struggle to make healthy choices in the kitchen. If the ingredients are clean and the price tag doesn’t scare you, then go for it!
I am not ALL against smoothie bowls. The bottom line is, if you’re going to have a smoothie bowl, avoid dumping sugar alcohols or loads of stevia into your blender! Watch your fat content and be weary of the effects the smoothie bowl has on you. Not all smoothie bowls are created equal! Are you eating a smoothie bowl to be ‘cool’ or trying to accomplish a certain health goal? Keep this in mind when choosing your ingredients. Maybe ya just plain love a good smoothie you can eat slowly with a spoon, and that is okay too!