The acai bowl – sometimes called a smoothie bowl – has taken the country by storm. Now you can find them far from the tropical home of the acai berry.

What is it? It’s like a smoothie, but it’s thick, so it comes in a bowl and you eat it with a spoon. Obviously it contains the acai fruit, hence the name.

These bowls are super popular, they’re everywhere. They’re trending.

Why?

How?

And which ones are the best recipes for endurance athletes?

This article will show you why acai bowls are a great choice for athletes and give you easy recipes so you can make your own!

How did acai bowls become all the rage?

I walk down the street and hear people talking to their phones like, “OK Google. Acai bowl near me.”

If there’s a yoga studio nearby, there’s likely a shop serving acai bowls.

How did this happen?

A quick history lesson…

The acai bowl was invented in Brazil, where it remains a very popular dish. I have no idea who made the first acai bowl, or if there’s even record of it, but I’ll certainly give credit to the people of Brazil.

It has only recently come to the USA, likely because of our intense desire to find the next superfood.

According to John Colapinto, author of “Strange Fruit: The rise and fall of açaí” (the only relevant history I’ve found), it really was the founders of Sambazon that are credited with popularizing the acai berry in the United States.

(Of course, Dr. Oz helped spread the word on acai, much like he did with garcinia cambogia.)

Here’s the short version of the story: The year was 1999. They went to Brazil and just happened to try acai. They liked it. They figured out how to import it. They started Sambazon. And here we are today.

I’m not exactly sure how acai bowls themselves got to be so trendy, but hey, whatever. That’s where we find ourselves today, so let’s enjoy it and eat some acai bowls!

sambazon acai bowl topped with nuts and berries

Why acai bowls are awesome for endurance athletes!

Are acai bowls healthy? Yes. Acai berries are widely touted as a superfood. They must have incredible benefits.

What are the acai bowl benefits for endurance athletes?

  • Naturally low in sugar. Acai berries are low in sugar, so you can keep your calories in check without cutting out important nutrients.
  • Loaded with antioxidants. The acai berry provides tons of antioxidants, more than most other fruits.
  • So many nutrients! Acai berries also provide fiber, healthy fats, vitamin E, and minerals.
  • Customize to fit your needs. You can customize your acai bowl to fit your nutritional requirements, making them a perfect post-ride recovery snack.
  • Cold and refreshing. Cool your body down after a tough workout (reducing your core temperature back to normal can speed recovery) and feel refreshed.

But of course, a word of caution.

Acai berries themselves are quite low in sugar. If you go to a cafe, though, your bowl will likely contain acai berries, banana, honey, granola, and other sources of sugar. It’s going to be a sugar rush!

Calories can add up fast, too. Your acai bowl calories, as with any food, depend on ingredients and serving size. A typical small/medium sized acai bowl is likely 350-500 calories.

Fortunately, the fact that you can customize your acai bowl means you can dial in the nutrition macros and nutrients depending on the situation. Post-ride, go ahead and load up on carbs, with a little added protein. Pre-ride, or for a meal replacement, skip the extra fruit and instead choose sources of fat and protein (almonds, cashews, coconut, etc.)

Tips to make your own acai bowls

After purchasing my acai bowls from the local cafe, and noticing the drain on my bank account, I started making my own acai bowls, at home.

It’s really easy. And the acai bowl ingredients are affordable. Just follow these tips:

Use frozen acai.

Powdered acai is fine for adding to smoothies. But if you’re making acai bowls, you really want the frozen acai.

Frozen acai isn’t too difficult to find anymore. There’s the original Sambazon acai smoothie pack, which you can find in stores like Whole Foods. If you can’t find them locally, you can actually order them from Amazon.com (sometimes).

I’ve heard good things about Tambor Acai; for example, that it’s the best tasting choice. You can buy it online direct from the company, but you have to buy at least 32 packets (for $80).

I personally get mine at Trader Joe’s. They do frozen acai packets, and they are unsweetened, just how I like it. Plus, Trader Joe’s prices are hard to beat. Last I checked, you got four acai smoothie packs for $4.49.

(If you’re in the United States, just buy it frozen. You’re unlikely to ever find fresh acai berries.)

Start with the basics.

All you have to do is blend the frozen acai with other fruits (banana is a safe bet) and some water to achieve the desired consistency, put it in a bowl, and then top it with your favorite toppings. Nuts, berries, and granola are safe bets.

Get creative and have fun.

The sky is the limit when it comes to mix-ins and toppings. Banana slices are a great choice, and you can make nice designs with them. Raspberries and goji berries are fantastic. Cashews are a perfect compliment. Granola is good for a crunch. Add bee pollen and cacao nibs for flavor. And garnish with fine lines of honey.

You could even try kale!

This next section has examples and inspiration!

Acai Bowl Recipes

Pick an acai bowl recipe from this list and get started.

(Sorry in advance, none of these are keto-friendly!)

Go-To Acai Bowl

If you’ve never had an acai bowl, start here. This one is a basic staple that is traditional, yet fancy. You can’t go wrong.

Recipe: pumpsandiron.com

Berry Beet Açaí Breakfast Bowl

Beets and berries and superfoods. Here’s an acai bowl that could improve your endurance! (This recipe is Raw, Vegan, and Paleo.)

Recipe: gourmandeinthekitchen.com

Banana Cacao Avocado Acai Bowl

Here’s a chance to get your healthy fats, but all you’ll taste is chocolate banana.

Recipe: www.hummusapien.com

Autumn Acai Bowl (with Vanilla Bean Cashew Butter)

This is one of the few autumn-inspired acai bowl I’ve come across. Ingredients include almonds, coconut, pomegranate, and figs. The additional recipe for the homemade cashew butter topping is very intriguing!

Recipe: www.howsweeteats.com

Pumpkin Papaya Superfood Açaí Bowl

Here’s a great acai bowl for fall or winter holidays. Skip the pumpkin spice lattes and try a pumpkin papaya acai bowl instead. (It’s probably lower in calories!)

Recipe: www.breakfastcriminals.com

Peanut Butter Acai Bowl

This one is sort of like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a bowl!

Recipe: www.bakerita.com

 

Please share in the comments: What’s the best acai bowl you’ve ever had?

More articles you will probably enjoy:

Leave a Reply