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Do you know what is super delicious? A smoothie bowl or an acai bowl. They are loaded with fruit and antioxidants, which have plenty of health benefits. But from a macro-counter’s perspective? Those bowls are carb bombs. Not saying that the carbs don’t come from a healthy source, but if you are trying to keep your macros balanced, an acai bowl will be quick to throw it off.
Take, for example, the acai bowl from Costco. It seems pretty innocent, especially when you compare it to the giant slices of pizza or the foot-long hot dog. However, that bowl packed in 72 grams of carbs and hardly any protein.
But they still are delicious, so I wanted to add to my blog a macro-friendly smoothie bowl. One that was more well balanced and could easily fit into a macro-counter’s day. I find it to be super delicious, and I think you’ll love it, too.
Turns out, I’ve been making a very similar smoothie to this for years. I originally began making “smoothies” for my infant babies who were learning to eat. I would make a puree with frozen fruit and spinach and add it into their oatmeal in the morning for extra flavor and nutrition. As they got older, they began enjoying theirs with the addition of greek yogurt and milk for extra protein.
To this day, my kids still love these smoothies. My favorite part about them, besides how much my kids enjoy them, is that they are made with spinach, frozen berries, and naturally sweetened with just a banana. My kids love to eat theirs with drizzled peanut butter on top and extra fruit. It is a wholesome snack or breakfast, and they just think they are eating ice cream! HA!
Instead of using ice in this recipe for the protein shake, I decided to use frozen fruit. I specifically used frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, and frozen spinach. Let’s chat a bit about some of the nutrition benefits of each of these items.
- Blueberries. Blueberries are one of the foods highest in antioxidants. They contain a good amount of fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Manganese. For 1 cup of blueberries, it is just 84 calories. Plus, they are sweet and delicious.
- Strawberries. Also known for being sweet and delicious, strawberries are high in Vitamin C, Manganese, Folate, and Potassium. They are also rich in antioxidants and 100 g of strawberries are just 32 calories.
- Spinach. Spinach is a very nutrient-rich vegetable. It is an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, Folic Acid, Iron, and Calcium. 100 grams of spinach is just 23 calories, which makes it a great food to add volume to your meals.
Protein powder was a must to add to this shake to give it a big boost of protein. I decided to use PEScience cake pop flavored protein powder, but any vanilla protein powder will do. This protein flavor ended up making the smoothie pretty sweet, so I loved balancing it out with some tarter blueberries on top.
I used almond milk as my liquid to help make this smoothie bowl super creamy. I also like using almond milk to help keep the calories down, but adding some fat-free milk would be a great way to add additional protein. I ended up using 200 grams of almond milk, but feel free to adjust to reach your desired consistency.
This is optional, but I love how just 1/4 tsp of this product helps to create a super thick and creamy shake. I purchase mine from Amazon, and this bag lasts a long time. Some people report digestive issues from consuming this product (i.e. bloating), but I personally have never had that issue. If you have a sensitive stomach, it might be best to skip this addition. Promise your smoothie bowl will still taste great, but it won’t have as creamy of texture.
Of course, a smoothie bowl is made even better with toppings! As I mentioned earlier, I found this protein bowl to be pretty sweet, so I loved the addition of tarter blueberries. Any other fruit of your choice would work great, too. I also loved adding a little drizzle of nut butter, especially since the fat in this smoothie is pretty low.
For a crunchy element, granola is usually the traditional route to go with a smoothie bowl. I personally didn’t have any on hand, so I just used Rice Krispies. They added a great little crunch, and they have much less fat and overall calories than a serving of granola. Whatever you have room for and love is perfect for topping your smoothie bowl!
Remember that Costco acai bowl we chatted about? The macros for one of those were 8F/72C/3P and 330 calories. The macros for my smoothie are rounded to 4F/25C/27P and 248 calories. Remember that any substitutions you make for protein powder, almond milk, etc. might alter the macronutrients. This smoothie is much more balanced macro-nutrient wise, but still just as delicious.
Macro-Friendly Smoothie Bowl
- 50 g frozen whole blueberries
- 140 g frozen strawberries
- 40 g frozen spinach
- 31.5 g PE Science Cake Pop Protein Powder (or substitute out your favorite vanilla protein powder)
- 200 g almond milk (add more or less to reach the desired consistency. I like mine pretty thick!)
- 1/4 tsp xantham gum (optional, but adds a thicker and creamier texture)
- toppings of choice
- In a blender place all the ingredients and blend until smooth. I like to blend mine for about 30 seconds after it is completely blended to give the xanthan gum time to thicken up the shake. Pour into a bowl and top with desired toppings.