By Skye Six-Osher, Dietetic Intern
This easy smoothie breakfast bowl is a plant-based recipe that does not take much time and uses less than 10 ingredients. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian. This smoothie bowl is packed with antioxidants from the berries, omega-3 fatty acids from the hemp/flax seed blend and almond butter, and much more. The banana and oat milk help to create a thicker consistency. This breakfast bowl can be enjoyed at any time of the day and can even be frozen to save for later on. All you need is a blender, frozen fruits and spinach, a plant-based milk, and your preferred omega-3 rich toppings. This recipe provides 20 grams of dietary fiber.
This recipe is a great sweet and healthy breakfast option. The toppings could be blended in as well. If you experience dry mouth, this bowl is refreshing and hydrating.
Acai: Acai contains many phytochemicals; especially polyphenols and lignans. Phytochemicals are natural compounds found in plants that help to protect our cells from damage. Studies have shown that acai can protect cells against cancer development, and has shown anti-inflammatory and anti oxidant properties efficiently enough that it has a protective effect on DNA damage resulting from treatments that prevent the growth of tumors [iii].
Blueberries, Strawberries: Both of these berries contain antioxidants. They are both high in anthocyanin, which possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer characteristics [i]. Berries also contain fiber, which is beneficial to promoting gastrointestinal health, weight management, blood glucose regulation, protection from colorectal and lung cancers, and other health complications [vi].
Spinach: Spinach is a good source of folic acid, with around 50 mcg of folate in 1 cup of raw spinach. It is a nutrient dense leafy green. It has iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, just to name a few. Spinach also has high antioxidant levels (phenolics and carotenoids) , which are important to support the aging body as it experiences oxidative stress from certain health conditions [iv].
Flax and Hemp Seeds: These are both a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have shown to reduce inflammation and risk of conditions such as cancer, coronary heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis. Hemp seeds also contain tocopherols which act as antioxidants and have shown to reduce risk of cancer [v].
Almond Butter: A good source of protein, dietary fiber, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Cocoa/Cacao Nibs: Cocoa has shown in studies to be a potent antioxidant. In one study, cocoa beans inhibited tissue growth (cell proliferation) and increased cell death in human lung carcinoma cells, showing anti-cancer properties [ii]. Cocoa/ Cacao Nibs are a natural form of chocolate that is not processed and does not have added sugars.
- 1 frozen acai packet (no sugar added preferred)
- ⅓ cup frozen blueberries
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup fresh frozen spinach
- ¼ cup of oat milk
- 2 tbsp Hemp seed/flax seed blend
- 1 cup Strawberries, halved
- 1 tbsp Almond butter
- 1 tbsp Cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips
- Put the first 5 ingredients into a blender. Using frozen fruit will give the smoothie a thicker consistency.
- Blend until desired thickness.
- Place blender contents into a bowl.
- Slice strawberries into halves and assemble on top of the bowl.
- Sprinkle flax/hemp seed blend and cacao nibs on top of the bowl.
- Drizzle almond butter on top of toppings.
- You can add more ice or oat milk to reach your desired consistency.
- If you don’t like oat milk, you can opt for a different plant based milk or even try Kefir – kefir is not plant based but is a fermented milk drink rich in calcium, vitamins, protein and is good for the gut microbiome.
- You can replace almond butter with another nut butter or nuts if you prefer. Microwaving the almond butter will give it a runny consistency that is easier to drizzle on top of the toppings.
References:[i] Kristo A, Klimis-Zacas D, Sikalidis A. Protective role of dietary berries in cancer. Antioxidants. 2016;5(4):37. doi:10.3390/antiox5040037 [ii] Bauer D, de Abreu JP, Oliveira HS, Goes-Neto A, Koblitz MG, Teodoro AJ. Antioxidant activity and cytotoxicity effect of cocoa beans subjected to different processing conditions in human lung carcinoma cells. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2016;2016:1-11. doi:10.1155/2016/7428515 [iii] Alessandra-Perini J, Rodrigues-Baptista KC, Machado DE, Nasciutti LE, Perini JA. Anticancer potential, molecular mechanisms and toxicity of Euterpe oleracea extract (AÇAÍ): A systematic review. PLOS ONE. 2018;13(7). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0200101 [iv] Hedges, L & Lister, Carolyn. (2007). Nutritional attributes of spinach, silverbeet and eggplant. [v] Office of dietary supplements – omega-3 fatty acids. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Accessed May 23, 2023. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/. [vi] Dreher ML. Whole Fruits and Fruit Fiber Emerging Health Effects. Nutrients. 2018;10(12):1833. Published 2018 Nov 28. doi:10.3390/nu10121833