There might be no better way to jumpstart your day with fruits and veggies at breakfast than with a fully loaded smoothie bowl. But if you’re not careful, these smoothie bowls can also pack in sky-high amounts of sugar, especially when you buy them from shops that use ingredients with added sugar. Exhibit A: A small mango smoothie at one popular chain delivers a crazy 52 grams of sugar (and only three grams of fiber to balance it out!).
No doubt: Sugar from fruit (fructose ) is a lot better than eating mountains of table sugar (sucrose). That’s because fruits contain fiber, which slows down digestion and keeps blood sugar levels steady. Sucrose, on the other hand, is absorbed lightning-fast and results in a blood sugar spike—and an inevitable energy crash an hour or two later. Our bodies weren’t designed to eat multiple ginormous servings of fruit in one sitting, which can easily happen if you start dumping piles of produce into the blender.
Designed by New York City-based nutritionist Sharon Richter, RD, this low-sugar, high-fiber smoothie bowl takes a different approach. Blueberries and blackberries offer a mild, natural sweetness, with less sugar than tropical fruits like mango or pineapple. These berries also give the smoothie a boost of vitamin C and some extra fiber to boot.
Instead of fruit juice, this low-sugar, high-fiber smoothie bowl uses unsweetened almond milk. (If you’re set on vanilla-flavored almond milk, try to find an unsweetened version. The typical vanilla almond milk has at least 15 grams of sugar!) For a nut-free smoothie bowl, try unsweetened rice milk.
Now let’s talk chia: These little seeds are a nutrition powerhouse, and they will help you stay full all morning long. Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids (a healthy fat!) and calcium. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds will add four grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber (yowza!).
Everything in this list of smoothie bowl toppings is less than 35 calories each, so mix and match to taste:
Almond Slices – ½ tbsp. (26.5 calories)
Hemp Seeds – ½ tbsp. (27.5 calories)
Strawberries – ½ cup, sliced (27 calories)
Kiwi – 6 slices (30 calories)
Coconut Flakes - sprinkle – ¼ tbsp. (23 calories)
Cacao nibs – 1 tsp. (19 calories)
Cinnamon – ½ tsp. (3 calories)
Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas) - ½ tbsp. (24 calories)
Banana – 6 slices (32 calories)
Blueberries – ¼ cup (21 calories)
Blackberries – ½ cup (31 calories)
Goji berries – 1 tbsp. (18 calories)
Raspberries – ½ cup (32 calories)
Flax Seeds - ½ tbsp. (24.5 calories)
Pomegranate seeds - ¼ cup (35 calories)
Matcha powder – 2 tsp. – (24 calories)
Mint leaves – garnish (0 calories)
Mango - three slices – ¼ cup (27 calories)