As the weather starts to cool down here in Sydney, I’m starting to look forward to winter warming foods, but before doing so, I thought I would share one of my favourite smoothie/acai bowls that I’ve been enjoying over the summer. It is sooo satisfying no matter what time of the year, but I think it tends to lend itself better to the warmer months as it’s just so beautifully refreshing! That being said, it could very well find its way onto the dessert menu mid week, it’s that good. In fact I think that’s just one of the best things about eating healthy…there is no limit to where and when these foods can be eaten because they are just loaded with the nutrition your body needs!
As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, there is a real trend at the moment around ‘superfoods’ (and I will be reviewing some of these foods soon), but another one to be aware of is the acai berry (pronounced ah-sigh-ee). Acai berries are grown in the Amazon rainforest and handpicked before being freeze-dried, which helps to preserve the nutrients in their natural whole food form. They can also be bought frozen in convenient smoothie packs which are popular around cafes and juice bars. Essentially they are the pulp of the acai berry. Be sure to suss it out at your nearest health food store.
This is an exotic fruit and when buying organic means it’s going to be a little more expensive than regular berries, but sooo worth the investment for your health. If buying freeze dried, you only really need a couple of teaspoons per serve. One thing I try to do is read the label or investigate the brand I am buying into, to ensure the local communities are also being fairly treated as the demand increases. I believe it’s important to ensure you are purchasing from a trusted company. My absolute favourite at the moment is Amazonia. Founded by an Aussie, it’s exciting to support our local talent but also fair trade, which these guys are all about. Sustainability is key. And no, I am not being paid to endorse them, it is just my humble opinion!
One of the best things about acai and the reason it’s so popular is that it’s loaded with antioxidants and said to contain more per calorie than the humble blueberry. So what’s so good about antioxidants? Basically, they help to fight free radicals in the body and help to prevent chronic diseases at a cellular level. Blueberries and other berries such as goji berries are also a great source of antioxidants and can be easily incorporated into this bowl of goodness to help give it a nutritional boost! Other than that, acai has some great anti ageing properties, and other essential nutrients to nourish your body and make you feel fantastic. I should add that it also tastes amazing. A kind of mix between a berries and chocolate! In this recipe, the creaminess of the frozen banana, coconut and berries blended together are a dream. To top it off with some crunchy homemade granola and chia seeds (for an added omega 3 boost) really is the sugar-free icing on the cake!
- 1-2 medium sized frozen bananas
- 1 cup frozen berries
- ¼ cup coconut milk (or any nut milk of your choice)
- 3 Tbs coconut yogurt (dairy free)
- 1 Tbs nut butter
- 2 Tbs Acai powder
- 2 Tbs chia seeds
- 1 tsp maca
- 1 cup strawberries (save ½ cup for topping)
- 1 cup granola or mixed nuts and seeds crushed
- handful cacao nibs and/or goji berries
- Start by adding the chopped frozen banana, frozen berries, coconut milk and coconut yogurt to the blender and blend at a low speed until the clumps start to smooth out
- Add the nut butter, acai, chia, maca and strawberries and blend until smooth and creamy.
- If you want a thicker consistency, then add just a little more frozen banana, berries or some ice blocks.
- The mixture should be able to hold on to your spoon if you dip it in.
- Pour into a bowl and top with chopped banana, fresh fruit and granola for a bit of crunch.