Acai bowls have been all over our Instagram feeds for quite a few years now, and show no signs of stopping being a massive wellness trend. They are pretty, colorful, super-fun and supposedly the perfect pre- or post-workout meal. Fitfluencers like Kayla Itsines, health coaches and bloggers alike have long proclaimed their adoration for acai bowls and their versatility come breakfast or brunch.
So what is all the fuss about acai?
Acai (pronounced ‘ah-sah-ee’) is in fact an antioxidant-filled berry – containing anthocyanidin, proanthocyanidin and flavanoids – that originates from the Brazilian rainforests and is hailed as a major superfood. Not unlike the various superfoods currently available in the Western diet, they have formed part of the local diet in the area where they originate for centuries.
While they may closely resemble blueberries, acai berries have a cacao-berry taste and can range in color from purple to dark red. Their current popularity in health and wellness is largely due to the fact that they provide ample antioxidants (even more than the goji berry), various anti-inflammatory nutrients, energy and good fiber. This potent little superberry can be found at most health outlets and some supermarkets, in puree packs, juice or powder form. Because they lose nutrients quickly, it’s best to buy them frozen.
Acai bowls usually make use of acai berries in powder form, probably because the acai berry is about 90% stone, and in this form, preparing it is easier. Using frozen ingredients is a good way to get a refreshing, nutrient-filled meal that can feel quite a bit like a dessert! Do note that, if a lot of your ingredients are filled with sugar, you can expect the same effect as if it were. The way you make this meal will determine what you get out of it. Also, don’t forget portion control – it’s easy to get carried away, and this meal is supposed to help you with your weight, not make you pick it up.
To make a good acai bowl, the most important things you need to consider are the nutrient profile of the meal, the taste and the density and texture. For those who plan to Instagram their breakfast or lunch, the color will also matter!
- 1 cup chopped and frozen fruit (like mango, banana, pineapple, peaches, or grapes)
- 1 cup frozen berry mix (leave a few berries for the topping)
- 2-3 tsp acai powder or 1 pack acai puree (preferably frozen)
- 4 ice cubes (if you don’t have a strong blender, crush them finely before adding to the rest of the mixture)
- 200 ml cold milk of choice (almond, coconut, rice or soy work well, as well as coconut water)
- Handful whole rolled oats
- Sweetener of choice (optional)
For the topping:
- A couple of fresh mint leaves
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- A handful frozen berries
- 1 tsp coconut flakes
- 1 tbsp nuts
1. Add all the ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
2. Pour into a bowl or half a coconut and garnish with toppings.
Up the nutrients of your acai bowl even more
As we said, this is a great post-workout meal! Nourish your body and replenish your energy supplies by adding some of the following: flax seeds, bee pollen, protein powder, collagen powder, and raw honey.
If you want to make it green (which is a good idea if you want to get in your daily leafy greens), you have a couple of highly nutritious options. Spirulina, frozen spinach and avocado will provide you with a healthy bowl and a lovely colour on top of that! Click here to find out which other superfoods you should be eating, according to Harvard Health.
It’s versatility makes it really easy to personalise and make your own, so get creative and test it out until you get your favorite formula just right. Be sure to tag us when you post on IG at @longevity_live, we always love to see what you get up to!