What’s the Deal with Smoothie Bowls?

By McKel Hill | Last Updated: April 30, 2014

What's the Deal with Smoothie Bowls?

What's the Deal with Smoothie Bowls?
As I’ve shared before, I love my smoothies. Lately I’ve been on a smoothie bowl kick and for good reason! They’re a delicious, satisfying, and nutritious twist on cereal. Smoothie bowls are great to have for breakfast, as a post-workout meal, for a quick lunch, or even for dessert depending on what ingredients you use.

First and foremost, what is a smoothie bowl? The short answer is that it’s a way to enjoy smoothies with a spoon instead of drinking them with a straw. But there’s more to it than just a change in utensil! I like to think of smoothie bowls as being cereal 2.0, a complete nutrient-dense makeover of boring ol’ cardboard cereal and milk. The smoothie is thicker in consistency, and I typically use toppings like homemade granola and muesli to add a bit of crunch. View the smoothie bowl base as the “milk,” and the toppings as the cereal, or like granola on a yogurt parfait.

The frozen fruits used in smoothie bowls are great for not only thickening the smoothie, but also for adding natural sweetness and creaminess. Frozen bananas in particular are a perfect foundation for a smoothie bowl, as they hit each of these key points perfectly.

Build a Balanced Smoothie Bowl
The great thing about smoothie bowls is that you are the master of your own destiny! The combinations you create are limited only by your imagination (well, that and whatever happens to be in your fridge and pantry). Every morning can be a unique and exciting adventure–banish boring breakfasts forever! If you need a little guidance though, here’s a list of key components you can refer to when designing your own smoothie bowl:

  • Greens and Other Veggies: kale greens, spinach, romaine, celery, cucumber
  • Frozen Fruits: bananas, apples, pears, kiwis, pineapple, peaches, mango, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, papaya, lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges, blood oranges, figs, dates, plums, acai, etc.
    • Tip: When freezing larger fruits, peel the fruit first, slice or chop it, and then store the chunks in a freezer bag for easy use.
  • Proteins: plant-based protein powders (brown rice, pea, Sunwarrior, Vega, organic grass-fed whey protein, etc.), hemp seeds, chia seeds, nut butters, etc.
  • Healthy Fats: chia seeds, avocados, coconut oil, hemp seeds, and any other nuts and seeds you have on hand
  • Superfoods: bee pollen, maca powder, lucuma, cocoa nibs, spirulina, chlorella, cinnamon, cayenne, young coconut meat, unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut water, avocados, chia seeds, hemp seeds, matcha tea powder, nut milks, sprouted buckwheat groats, raw gluten-free oats, etc. If some of these “superfoods” are new to you, head over to my pantry page on Nutrition Stripped where I share detailed descriptions to find out if they’re right for you.
  • Ice to thicken your smoothie
  • Liquid: almond or other milks, coconut water, filtered water, etc.
  • Optional Sweetener: If your smoothie base needs a little additional sweetness, stevia is a great way to add it if you’re watching your carbohydrate intake. Otherwise, any sweetener you use in smoothies will work in a smoothie bowl too!

The ingredients you add will affect the consistency of your smoothie, so you may need to experiment with different combinations and ratios in order to end up with your ideal smoothie bowl. I like my smoothie bowls very thick, so I’ll add vegan protein powders (which work wonderfully to thicken and add creaminess) and loads of ice in a quality high-speed blender. Healthy fats such as avocado and nut butters are also great ways to increase the creaminess of a smoothie bowl.

Now it’s your turn to have fun in the kitchen, play with flavor combinations you enjoy, pile on your toppings, grab a spoon, and dig in! I hope you all enjoy this guide to smoothies and how to make your own! Check out my list of smoothie bowls on my recipe page on Nutrition Stripped for more ideas.

About McKel Hill

McKel is a Registered Dietitian/Health & Wellness Coach and the blogger behind Nutrition Stripped. A self-proclaimed green smoothie connoisseur, foodie, and nutrition science nerd, she has an affinity for plants and avocados.

Read more from McKel Hill

Like what you see? Share it!


Straw, spoon – I’ll happily slurp down a smoothie in any which way! I love all the health benefits in this bowl of nutrish! And now I can be a pro smoothie-bowler. Cereal 2.0, here I cooooooome! 😀

Hmmm … I’ve never heard of a smoothie bowl, and apparently it’s because I live under a rock! I have absolutely been missing out!
I love a thicker-style smoothie anyhow (it’s less satisfying when you slurp in down in 2 seconds!) and adding the granola and nuts sounds delish!
My littlest just made a list of favorite foods … and smoothies were at the top! This may be the go-to breakfast soon! 🙂

I love smoothie bowls! When I’m in mood for some granola AND smoothie, I just go for smoothie bowl!
I find that frozen pears are great alternative for frozen bananas for those who don’t like banana. They make the creamiest smoothies!

Just one note: whey protein is not “plant-based”; it’s an animal product, whether the animal is grass-fed or not! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *