Strawberry & Banana Green Smoothie Bowl

It might not look so pretty, but this green smoothie bowl basically tastes like ice cream! A smoothie bowl is a thicker, heartier version of a smoothie, made with more fruit and less liquid. This version is made with strawberries and banana and topped with a gluten free, low sugar quinoa granola. 

Ice cream for breakfast? Yup, and it’s dietitian approved too! Nope, pigs aren’t flying. It’s just my new favorite breakfast, a smoothie bowl!I love a good smoothies, but it doesn't always satisfy. That’s where the smoothie bowl comes in.Thicker than a drinkable smoothie, a smoothie bowl sticks to your ribs. It's ice cream-like consistency is perfect for eating by the spoonful, garnished with your choice of toppings – kind of like healthy sprinkles!

I use the following basic formula to create my smoothies:

1 cup frozen fruit + 1 cup dairy (or dairy alternative) = smoothie

A smoothie bowl is a simple variation on this formula:

1 cup frozen fruit + 1 frozen banana + 1/2 cup dairy (or dairy alternative) = smoothie bowl

Who knew math could be so delicious?  I keep them interesting by switching up what ingredients I blend in or top it with. Here's some of my favorites...

Blend in:

Nut butters

- Add a tablespoon of nut butter for healthy, satiating fat and creamy texture.  Nuts are a rich source of monounsaturated fats, fiber, vitamin E and potassium. With it's subtle sweetness,

cashew butter

is my favorite for smoothies. Look for brands made with just nuts and salt.

Maca powder - Maca is a tuber vegetable grown in South America, where it has been used for hormonal balance, energy, libido, fertility, and mood for centuries.  There is little scientific evidence to back this up, but it is still a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and B-vitamins. Personally, I notice a difference in my energy levels when I use it. Placebo effect or not, I'll take it.  Either way, maca has a unique earthy, malty flavor that I love.Cocoa powder/raw cacao powder - Both are rich sources of flavanols, a phytonutrient found in the cocoa bean.  Two tablespoons of cocoa powder provides 200 mg of flavanols, enough to improve blood flow.  Even better, it makes your smoothie taste like dessert. Read more about the health benefits of chocolate here.

Oats

- I often add oats to my smoothies for it's creamy texture and a boost of fiber.  Oats contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber that helps stabilize blood sugar and lower cholesterol.

Avocado -

Add 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado to your morning smoothie for creamy and satiating fats. Not surprisingly,

this is my favorite smoothie blend-in

. Avocados are a rich source of fiber, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C, and folic acid. It may sound like an odd addition to a smoothie, but their mild taste won't overwhelm the fruity sweetness of your smoothie.

Greens -

Use your smoothie to sneak in a serving of

nutrient-dense green leafies.

They may turn your smoothie a funky color, but you won't taste much of a difference.  Try spinach, kale, or romaine.  Even herbs, like cilantro, parsley and mint, can be used in smoothies.

Chia seeds -

Chia seeds

may be the fad food of the moment, but

they deserve more than fifteen minutes of fame

. Chia seeds are a rich source of omega 3 fats, fiber and bone building nutrients like magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.  Add chia seeds to your smoothie if you make it the night before - they'll swell in the liquid, keeping your smoothie creamy until breakfast.

Green smoothie booster -

My green smoothie booster

is a simple way to boost the nutrition of even the most basic smoothies.  Keep this combination of nutrient-rich

spirulina

, chia seeds and anti-inflammatory tumeric and cayenne in a jar by your blender.

Healthy Sprinkles:

Granola or museli -

There are a few

brands of granola

and museli that pass my nutritional standards, but unfortunately most cost way more than I'm willing to spend.  Save money by making your own granola.  Save time with

homemade museli

, which is simply a mixture of oats, dried fruit and nuts - no cooking required.

Cocoa nibs -

Cocoa nibs

are bits of dried, roasted and crushed cocoa beans.  They have an intense chocolate flavor, but aren't sweet. I love the crunchy bite they add to baked goods and smoothies. Just like cocoa powder, cocoa nibs are a rich source of heart healthy flavanols.

Shredded coconut -

The dried and shredded flesh of the coconut,

a rich source of healthy saturated fats

.  Shredded coconut adds a nice chew and subtle sweetness to smoothie bowls.  Toast them first for a richer coconut flavor.

Freeze-dried fruit -

Freeze dried fruit

adds a fruity crunch to your smoothie bowl, plus, it just looks pretty. I prefer freeze dried fruit to regular dried fruit in smoothie bowls, since dried fruit is fairly concentrated in sugar, and the smoothie bowl already has a good bit of fruit. Studies show most of the nutrients are retained in freeze drying.

Nuts & Seeds -

Top your smoothie bowl with your favorite nut for crunch and healthy fats.  Try pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts or macadamia nuts.  Really, you can't go wrong!

 

Strawberry & Banana Green Smoothie Bowl

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1 handful fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 scoop green smoothie booster (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder (optional)
  • Crunchy coconut quinoa granola (see below)
  • Freeze dried bananas

Instructions

  1. Place frozen fruit, strawberries, milk, spinach, nut butter, smoothie booster and maca powder in a food processor or high powered blender. I’m sure this is much easier if you’ve shelled out the $$ for a vitamix, but if you just have a regular food processor, you’ll have to stop to scrape down the sides a couple times. No biggie.
  2. Garnish with quinoa granola and freeze dried bananas

Gluten Free Quinoa-Coconut Granola

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Adapted from Inspired RD

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 cup walnut peices
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toss all ingredients together and spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway to keep from sticking.
  3. Remove from the oven. Let cool and store in an airtight container.