Spring has had a rather faulty start so far around here (with more “spring” snow and snowstorms than I can even remember), so I haven’t had my go-to breakfast, smoothies, on the brain much.
But the warm-ish temperatures announced for this weekend can only mean two things: garden work (hooray!) and the return of the almighty smoothie, that quintessential healthy fast food that is ideal for packing in superfoods aplenty and hiding vegetables (from your children or your mate!).
But what if I told you there’s a new trendsetter in smoothie town?
Maybe you’ve seen some scrumptious recipes on popular food blogs?
Maybe you’ve seen glimpses of their impossibly perfect faces on Facebook or Instagram?
Or maybe you just like your smoothies with “benefits” – in other words, some added texture, toppings or attitude?
Naturally, I’m talking about smoothie bowls.
Up until last August, I had never really even had a smoothie bowl.
See, I gravitate toward smoothies most when I’m in a rush, when I can’t think of anything else for breakfast, and when I need to cram a lot of extra nutrition and/or supplements into my meal. I’m not too concerned about calories most of the time, but I did worry that a smoothie bowl might just send the sugar count sky high (with extra fruit on top!)
Then I became a mom — temporarily, or more accurately, a host mom — to a 16-year-old Japanese student while she was in Canada to improve her English language skills for a few weeks. Because I was driving from Orillia to Barrie every day, because I insisted on making all meals from scratch (and to my high standards as a nutritionist), and because I often love sleep as much as I love coffee (!), weekday mornings often had the potential to feel rushed.
However, I didn’t want breakfast to ever feel rushed so I started experimenting with various smoothie bowl recipe combinations.
Smoothie bowls were lightning-fast to make (as long as the blender was clean), but with the addition of some high-protein toppings, they could also be slowly, but not excessively slowly (no speeding tickets on my watch!) consumed.
Because smoothie bowls are usually eaten with a spoon and because the added toppings require extra chewing, I believe smoothie bowls can actually offer a more mindful, even meditative breakfast, compared to smoothies. They made for a genuinely perfect way for my host daughter and I to connect, share conversation, and discuss the day’s schedule or events.
The smoothie bowls were also cool in temperature, so they were especially marvelous on oppressive late-summer days when the temperature feels sticky even before you roll out of bed and your feet hit the floor.
Smoothie bowls, as trendy as they are, may be able to bridge the gap between our desire for quick and easy fast food and a healthy meal that is savoured rather than swallowed.
How do you like them apples?
In that spirit, I’m sharing one of last summer’s most frequent smoothie bowls: my Healthy Apple Pie of my Eye Smoothie Bowl.
It tastes decadent without being overly caloric, without sacrificing flavour for health, and without wimping out on the other key macronutrients (fat and protein) needed for blood sugar balance and satiety.
Apple Pie of My Eye Smoothie Bowl (gluten-free, grain-free, vegan)
- 1 1/2 cups frozen apple slices washed, cut thickly and frozen until firm
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups almond or other nut/seed milk based on how thick you like it
- 3 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg or to taste
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder optional but I usually add it
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup optional
- For toppings
- 1/4 cup choice of:
- - unsweetened shredded coconut
- - almonds pecans or walnuts of your choice
- - sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
- - dried fruit like cranberries or cherries
- - extra ground nutmeg or cinnamon for dusting
Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
Pour into two bowls and add your favourite toppings.
Hopefully this smoothie bowl will help you survive the “spring” and the sticky days of summer that will likely be hot on its heels.
Life is a plate… Eat up!