I’ve been doing the whole student thing for a while now, and you’d think I’d be good at it at this point. I mean, I get my assignments in on time, and I do pretty well academically, but there’s one work-life balance thing that I just can’t seem to get right – eating properly throughout the day. I understand the importance of nutrition, but like most students (other than those in the culinary program) I don’t have a lot of time to cook. And if I do pack a lunch I usually don’t eat it because I’m too busy running around. So when I find myself in limbo, grabbing things like chips, candy, and pizza for breakfast, I know it’s time for a kick in the ass. That comes courtesy of a nutrient-packed bowl, that’s not just easy, but affordable, infinitely customizable, and ultimately delicious.
I don’t know what it is about health food bowls, but in recent years we’ve seen the rise of grain bowls, noodle bowls, açai bowls, and my personal favourite – the smoothie bowl. The health food bowl is it’s own special kind of monster, because not only is it delicious and packed with flavour and nutrition, but if you put the time and effort into making it, it can also be a mini piece of transient art. Although the smoothie bowl and açai bowl are similar, the two vary greatly in price point. Frozen açai, which is what is commonly used in açai bowls, will run you upwards of $30 for a 2L tub. And sure, it’s a superfood, it’s good for you, but there’s endless possibilities if you make a simple smoothie bowl instead.
I wouldn’t exactly call this a recipe because it’s really up to you what you put in and on your smoothie bowl at the end of the day, but I can provide tips from an expert smoothie-bowl consumer. First things first, you need frozen bananas. Fresh bananas will not do here. They’re too mushy, and will ruin your smoothie bowl. If you’re not a big fan of bananas, or are allergic to them, you can also use mango which has a similar texture when frozen and blended. But for ease, I usually just go with bananas. Bananas are your base, and although plain banana whip is delicious, you want to add more fruit in there. I usually go with frozen berries because they’re packed with nutrients and fiber. If you’re adventurous like me you can also add greens, or in the case of today’s smoothie bowl, a beet.
My general rule for a 2-serving smoothie bowl is 3 frozen bananas, 1/2 cup of berries, 1/4 beet, and either orange juice or water to blend. I have the luxury of owning a high speed blender, but if you only have a Magic Bullet all you need to do is add more liquid to get it to blend, and then throw it in the freezer for a couple minutes to let it firm up.
When it comes to toppings the possibilities are endless. More frozen fruit, fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, nuts, seeds, oats, chocolate, it’s really up to you what you want to put on there. Today I have hemp hearts, cacao nibs, toasted coconut flakes, banana slices, and blood orange segments. You can make it as basic or as fancy as you like – tailor it to your taste, and budget. And if you’re too busy or lazy to make it into a bowl you can always just drink it in a cup like a regular smoothie, but that’s not as fun.