Newest snack obsession: Acai Bowl

Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is a small berry rich in antioxidants, fiber and heart healthy fats. It is produced from the Acai palm tree which are primarily found in central and south America.

acai fruit

Acai originally gained popularity as a superfood with claims that it also promotes weight loss. Supplements including pills and powders were marketed throughout the country, though there are still no proven benefits to these claims (source). Acai berries are rich in antioxidants, with some studies showing they contain more antioxidants the cranberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries (source).  Though acai berries are rich in antioxidants, this is not to say there are not other, more commonly consumed foods, that are higher in antioxidants including concord grapes and pomegranates (source). Regardless of whether acai berries have the highest antioxidant content or not, they have a wonderful flavor and provide an alternative to the more commonly consumed berries.

I first became aware of Acai bowls from The Fitnessista when she would document the lovely creations she was consuming in southern California. I recently found these Sambazon Acai Superfruit packs at Costco and was eager to try them out.

acai pack (outside)

For being a processed juice product, the nutrition facts aren’t too shabby. Though it is a small pack and contains 110 calories, there is a lot of other nutritional benefits packed in including the fiber, hear healthy fats and antioxidants.

acai pack

For the first few bowls, I followed the instructions on the back of the packet. Simply blending a half banana, 1/2 cup apple juice and the super fruit pack. The result was a delicious, refreshing acai bowl that is lovely for a quick snack or even a component of a small meal.

acai bowl 1

I have continued to enjoy the acai super fruit packets, especially as it has been so hot this summer. I have experimented by adding different fruits, veggies, milks, juices and toppings. Here are some modifications you can make depending on your nutritional goals.

For more protein: Use skim milk in place of nondairy milk or juice, add a scoop of protein powder, blend in plain greek yogurt

For lower calories: Add more vegetables in place of fruits, use coconut water in place of milk, limit toppings to fresh fruit

For more heart healthy fats: add flax seed to the mix, top with chia seeds, blend in an avocado, use DHA fortified milk

Some optional toppings: cacao nibs, granola, shredded coconut, drippy almond butter, raspberries, chia seeds, sliced bananas, blueberries.

 

These little packets truly are so versatile and provide a quick and nutritious snack.  Check out my basic Acai bowl recipe below.

Acai Bowl
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Snack, smoothie
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 Sambazon acai super fruit pack
  • ⅔ cup almond milk
  • ½ frozen banana
  • handful of spinach
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • Toppings: raspberries, chia seeds, coconut shreds
Instructions
  1. Place all incgredients in the blender. Top with toppings and enjoy!

 

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