When you’re craving something sweet, but you want to do something awesome for your health and energy levels- an acai bowl is where it’s at!
A magical bowl that’s packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and healthy fats that taste like ice cream?! Yep- this actually exists.
I’m not sure when my love affair with acai bowls started, but it’s safe to say that it’s been going strong for at least six years. So much so, that I’ve tried to find an acai bowl in every single country I’ve traveled to. (And found them in most places!) Maybe I should do a blog post on the best acai bowls around the world?
The whole reason I’m writing this post is to share with you that it is totally possible to make your own delicious, nutrient-packed acai bowl at home! Like today. You might be questioning whether it will taste as good as a bowl that you can get out. Well- I think you can make one better. And what’s cool about that is that there are lots of benefits of making your own acai bowl at home!
When you get an acai bowl out they can sometimes be packed with sugar. The acai berry is actually be pretty bitter on its’ own, so a lot of times, acai bowl shops and/or manufacturers will add some sort of sweetener to the mix. Whether that’s agave, honey, cane sugar, or fruit concentrate- this happens a lot. And it’s a bummer because you’re taking this beautifully nutrient-packed fruit bowl and adding a lot of unnecessary sugar. Sugar can have a lot of negative effects on our body- higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease have all been linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.*
So, when you make your acai bowl at home, you can control exactly what goes into it. And that is pretty freaking cool.
Alright, let’s break down all the deets on acai.
How is acai pronounced?
Where does acai come from?
It grows on the acai palm tree, which is native to Central and South America. It is deep purple in color.
Are acai bowls healthy?
On it’s own, the berry is very healthy! However when you’re getting acai bowls out- this is where this answer can vary. Acai bowl shops and product manufacturers will often add a sweetener in with the berry. This is a drag because refined sugar can be pretty problematic for us.
For this exact reason, I like to do one of two things- make the bowl myself or ask the acai bowl shop what kind of acai they’re using and if there is any added sugar in it. Crazy, I know, but I really like to avoid added sugars in my life. It makes me feel like crap.
Are acai bowls always vegan?
Some acai bowl shops also add yogurt to their bowls. I’ve seen this done more internationally than I have in the US. You can always ask what’s in the shop’s acai bowl when you’re visiting a new shop to find out.
What are the benefits of acai?
The acai berry is packed with antioxidants (even more than blueberries have), so they can be a huge help in combating free radical damage in our body. Free radicals are atoms that contain an unpaired electron, and they can try to bind to our cells and wreak havoc on our body. (I talk more about free radicals in this video.)
Acai is also packed with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. The berries contains both Omega-3’s and Omega 6’s fatty acids which can play a role in helping to lower our cholesterol.
What you’ll need to make an acai bowl:
Acai – You can use either frozen or powdered acai. I prefer frozen, but if you live in an area where you can’t find acai at a local store, you can always order powdered acai online. When purchasing your own acai, look for acai that only contains the berry without anything added. I’m a fan of Trader Joe’s frozen organic acai, Sambozan’s frozen pure unsweetened acai, and Navitas acai powder.
Banana – This is key- use frozen banana in your bowls. Nothing is worse than a warm, soupy acai bowl. Freeze ripe (peeled) bananas in a container a day before you’re ready to make your smoothie. The riper they are, the sweeter your bowl will be.
Frozen Berries – Another optional part of this recipe- I love to add some frozen berries to increase the nutrient composition of the bowl. Blueberries are always my favorite go-to frozen fruit.
Liquid- You can use water, a plant-based milk, coconut water- whatever you’d like here! I usually go for the plant-based unsweetened milk because it makes the bowl really creamy.
Mix-In’s – I usually like to add some boost to my acai bowls with a little maca and sometimes even cacao to add a chocolatey flavor. You can grab any or all of my favorite smoothie mix-in’s here.
Salt and/or Stevia (both optional) – This sounds weird but I like to add a dash of salt to my smoothies and acai bowls. I just feel like it pops the sweetness. I also like to add a few drops of liquid stevia. This is completely optional so I suggest making your smoothie, tasting it and then adjusting based on your flavor preference.
Toppings – the MOST fun part of the whole bowl making process! Feel free to go wild with your toppings. I like a good mix of nut butter, seeds, dried fruit, and coconut. I’ve linked some topping faves here.
Now…. let’s get to the recipe!
Homemade Acai Bowl
- 1 packet frozen acai
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup unsweetened plant-based milk (almond milk works well!)
- dash of himalayan salt
- dash of liquid stevia
- Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender until well blended.
- Top with your favorite toppings!
*Resources: Havard Health