How Healthy are Acai Bowls?

Acai bowls are tasty and healthier options for breakfast or any time you need a boost of nutrients. But are all acai bowls healthy?

What are Acai Bowls?

Acai is a berry found in South and Central America. It is extremely rich in antioxidants and other nutrients good for the heart and the brain. The berries are widely available in the form of juices, powders, and purees.

An acai bowl is a mix of acai (in some form) with nuts, dairy-free substitutes (such as almond milk), and fruits. Other ingredients can be also used to make acai bowls such as leafy greens, fruit juices, and coconut water. Acai bowls always contain toppings such as granola, coconut meat, other berries, sliced almonds, chia seeds, or peanut butter.

Are Acai Bowls Healthy?

 So, are acai bowls healthy? If yes then how healthy are these colorful bowls?

Whether your acai bowl is healthy or not will depend on the ingredients. You can load your acai bowl with sugar. In that case, it won’t be as healthy for you. It might still be better than processed breakfast options but not healthy enough.

If you want your acai bowl to be a healthy breakfast or meal option then carefully look at its ingredients. For instance, if you want a healthy acai bowl Houston then first carefully select a place that offers one. You can conduct an online search or ask the people you know. Check the menu of the café or Houston juice bar offering acai bowls. Are the acai bowls full of natural ingredients? Are the acai bowls packed with processed sugar? What kind of fruits and toppings are used to make acai bowls?

Ingredients for healthy acai bowls –

Fruits

  • Fresh berries such as strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries
  • Other fresh fruits such as bananas, pineapple, or mango

Additions

  • Almond milk (does the café makes its own almond milk or other milk substitutes?)
  • Cold-pressed juices
  • Coconut water

Toppings

  • Fruits
  • Nut butter
  • Coconut chips
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

These are just some examples of healthy ingredients to include in acai bowls. You can include other ingredients with similar nutrition profiles.

What a healthy acai bowl must not include –

So, what makes an acai bowl unhealthy? Again, it is the choice of ingredients.

Ice cream, chocolate, chocolate chips, refined sugar, extra-sweetened milk or dairy substitutes, and fruit concentrates are some ingredients that can make your acai bowl unhealthy.

Making your acai bowl healthier –

No or low sugar

You don’t really need extra sugar in your acai bowl. The natural sugar present in fruits should be enough. If you want extra sweetness, use sugar substitutes such as agave or add some honey in your acai bowl. It is best to not include refined sugar, ice cream, or sweetened fruit pulps in your acai bowl.

Healthy toppings

Adding a few chocolate chips on top of your acai bowl won’t make it unhealthier. But it is best to keep the quantity low. If you must have chocolate in your acai bowl, shave some dark chocolate as a topping along with other healthy ingredients. You can use cacao nibs too for a healthy cocoa substitute.

The idea is the same – chocolate (made with cacao) is not unhealthy in itself. Cacao is a healthy ingredient. It is the sugar and other ingredients in the chocolate bars that make it unhealthy.

It is best to choose berries or nuts as the topping in your acai bowl.

Fresh ingredients

Ensure that only fresh ingredients are used in your acai bowl. For example, if you are adding coconut water in it; ensure it is fresh. Check if the berries are organic or not.

Extra nutrients

Most people won’t add kale or spinach (staples of green and healthy smoothies) in acai bowls. But you can chop some and mix these healthy greens in your acai bowl for some extra goodness.

Check if juice bars in your area offer such healthier options in their acai bowl offerings. Other unconventional but healthy ingredients that can be used in acai bowls are spirulina, hemp protein, and coconut oil.

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