Smoothies have long been an easy and tasty way to get tons of good nutrition, especially helpful when you have picky eaters in your brood.
But now there's a fun new way to eat them: Meet the smoothie bowl.
A hot trend sweeping Pinterest, the smoothie bowl is thicker than regular drinkable smoothies, so it can stand up to being eaten with a spoon and topped with all kinds of extras, like fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, granola, crushed graham crackers, and dried coconut. "Smoothie bowls are gorgeous to look at, and if you're trying to get picky eaters to try new foods, smoothie bowls are ideal. Imagine the fun that comes from setting out a bunch of ingredients and then asking your kids to 'decorate' the tops," says dietitian Liz Weiss, co-author, along with dietitian Janice Newell Bissex, of The Smoothie Bowl Coloring Cookbook.
To get the right texture, you blend in less liquid than you do with regular smoothies and include thickening ingredients like chia seeds, Greek yogurt, and banana. You can top them with whatever you have on hand (and whatever your kids like).
Want to give it a shot? You can get The Smoothie Bowl Coloring Cookbook as a free download here. It features ten recipes--like Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie Bowl and Tropical Twist Smoothie Bowl--plus ten pages of mandala designs for grown-ups and kids to color. "Coloring books were a huge trend for adults in 2015, and we don't see the trend going away any time soon," says Weiss. "We're fans on it ourselves--it's relaxing!"
Here's a recipe to get you started. It's a good source of calcium, is loaded with vitamin C, and has fiber and protein for staying power as a breakfast or snack:
Wild Blueberry Blast Smoothie Bowl from The Smoothie Bowl Coloring Cookbook
Nutrition information per cup: 160 calories, 1.5g fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 32g carbohydrate, 30mg sodium, 4g fiber, 5g protein, 90% Daily Value for vitamin C, 15% Daily Value for calcium.
Are YOU a fan of smoothie bowls? If so, what are your favorite combos to blend together?
Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, educator, and mom of two who blogs at Real Mom Nutrition. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. She collaborated with Cooking Light on Dinnertime Survival Guide, a cookbook for busy families. In her spare time, she loads and unloads the dishwasher. Then loads it again.