Health-conscious foodies across the country are taking their morning smoothies to the next level with smoothie bowls, and restaurants are doing whatever they can to cash in!
Acai bowls: Cheap, quick and easy recipe
I became intrigued about smoothie bowls a few months ago when Dr. Oz aired a TV segment on this food trend and gave smoothie bowls a big thumbs up.
So I recently tried one for myself (pictured below) and loved it, but I didn’t love the $12 price!
These bowls are so popular right now that fast-casual restaurants are able to charge more than $10 to serve you something that you can easily make at home for $3 or less.
Let me show you how.
One popular type of smoothie bowl is an acai bowl, which is named after the antioxidant-rich acai berry of the Amazon rainforest.
“The acai trend shows no signs of slowing down—and why should it? The complex and rich, tart-berry flavor of acai, with its subtle hints of cacao, is refreshingly irresistible,” Trader Joe’s said on its website.
To get started on your bowl, pick up some frozen acai smoothie packs at stores like Trader Joe’s, Sprouts or Whole Foods.
Next, add one of those acai puree packets to your blender. I like to throw in half a banana and some other frozen fruit. Add about 1/3 cup of milk (any variety) before blending.
Remember that you’re making a smoothie bowl, not a smoothie. You want the consistency to be thicker than a regular smoothie because you’ll be eating it in a bowl with a spoon.
Once blended, you should have to scrape it out using a spoon.
After putting the purple acai base into a bowl, add your favorite healthy toppings! In addition to fresh fruit, this bowl has organic granola, plus a sprinkling of coconut shavings and almond slivers.
Depending on the desired sweetness, some people like to drizzle honey on their bowls.
How to make your own smoothie bowl for less
Not only did I save a lot of money by making my own acai bowl, but I would also argue that it looked and tasted better than the one I bought for $12 from a local smoothie shop.
Here’s a breakdown of the costs for one bowl:
- Acai puree packet: $1.12
- 1/3 cup milk: $0.15
- Fresh berries: $0.90
- ½ cup frozen fruit: $0.35
- Banana: $0.19
- ¼ cup granola: $0.16
- Coconut flakes: $0.10
- Slivered almonds: $0.12
- Grand total: $3.09
The biggest expense was the acai puree packet. I bought four of them for $4.49 at Trader Joe’s, but I’ve seen them sold for $6.49 or more at other retailers under the Sambazon brand.
You can also skip the acai berry and make a smoothie bowl using other frozen fruits, perhaps whatever you find on sale!
Finally, consider the number of toppings that you use. I could have prepared a delicious bowl for closer to $2 by making a smaller bowl or limiting myself to just one or two toppings.