Acai bowls are thick smoothie bowls made from acai berries, which are commonly found in subtropical regions of Central and South America. They are often topped with several toppings, such as granola, nut butters, honey, and additional fruit. As more and more locations of various chains and local shops pop up, consumers are enticed to indulge in these vibrant, seemingly healthy bowls. In addition, acai bowls have taken over social media because of their aesthetically pleasing nature, and they are often marketed as a photo opportunity. What could possibly be a downside to a meal that looks and tastes good and is advertised as a healthy option? Unfortunately, acai bowls may not necessarily be as healthy as they seem.
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Here’s What You Need To Know
- High in antioxidants: The main benefit of consuming acai bowls is that they are high in antioxidants. Acai berries are packed with antioxidants, which play a role in neutralizing free radicals in the body. This reduces cell damage which could otherwise lead to a number of diseases. Antioxidants also work to decrease inflammation and benefit brain, heart, and overall health.
- High in sugar: Since the flavor of acai berries are naturally bitter, acai bowls often include added artificial sugars and syrups. This, in addition to being blended with sweetened milk and topped with sugar-filled granola, can lead to excess sugar intake. Consuming too much added sugar can promote liver problems, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. A typical acai bowl contains around 50 grams of sugar, so it may not be the healthiest option.
- High in calories: Store-bought and restaurant sold acai bowls are often served in large portions, which can contain 2-3 servings. In addition to the acai base, toppings such as nuts, seeds, nut butter, coconut, and granola are calorie-dense. This can result in a high-calorie option which, over time, can contribute to weight gain.
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It’s smoothie bowl Wednesday so of course I’ll be posting a couple of açaí bowls first thing in the morning! I’m actually planning on going for a walk and getting some smoothies or smoothie bowls for breakfast today, what about you? 🍌🍓🥥If you want to make these bowls the recipe is on the blog, they’re my salted caramel almond butter açaí bowls☀️ . . . . . . . . #vegan #veganfood #veganfoodshare #whatveganseat #food #plantbased #vegetarian #veganbreakfast #vegansofmelbourne #vegansofaustralia #melbournevegan #veganstudent #veganmealideas #melbournefoodblogger #melbournefoodie #melbournefood #smoothiebowl #nicecream #acai #acaibowl #recipe #smoothiebowlwednesday #smoothiebowls #acaibowls #smoothierecipes #veganrecipes
Changes You Can Make to Enjoy a Healthier Acai Bowl
- Learn about the content of your acai bowl: Don’t be afraid to ask your go-to acai bowl shop for more nutrition information. Learn more about what sweeteners are added to different bases, and opt for the base with the lowest sugar content. Do the same with store-bought acai bowl mixes by assessing the nutrition label and content and comparing it to other options.
- Opt for a half vegetable, half fruit base: To minimize the excessive sugar and calories from an overload of fruit, choose to fill up half of your bowl with vegetables. Whether you are purchasing an acai bowl or using a store bought mix, go for the option that includes kale, cauliflower, or any other vegetable. It won’t change the flavor too much and will add valuable nutrients.
- Add fat and protein sources to your acai bowl: Adding a source of fat and protein into your acai bowl will help keep you full for hours. Choose to add protein powder to the base or top your bowl with a small portion of nuts, seeds, or natural nut butter. Adding these nutrient-dense options rather than sugar-filled granola or decadent spreads will make your acai bowl a much healthier option.
- Be aware of the portion size: Take into account that when you buy an acai bowl, it may contain double or triple the amount of food you need to fuel your body. Don’t be afraid to split it with a friend or leave half in the refrigerator for leftovers the next day.