Part of the beauty of traveling to other countries is exploring the local foods and gastronomy. While in Spain the last few weeks, I came across pristine oversized vegetables, olives packed with deep flavors, rich olive oils and balsamic vinegars, creative tapas, and a smoothie bowl that I immediately recreated at home.
Eating healthy in Spain was a bit challenging at times with all the spectacular pastries, croissants, churros, candied nuts, candy, empanadas, cheese, and cured meats. In the markets, one could get a paper cone of Jamón (cured ham) and manchego cheese, calamari, or fritters all to go.
While in Barcelona, we walked 55 miles in 5 days! There was a lot of food to be seen, and of course eaten. We stumbled upon all kinds of cafes, most with the same offerings: ham and cheese sandwiches, pizza, hamburgs, pasta, and tapas. I was in search of something different (and healthier) then the typical cafe items — and I found them. An açaí bowl and a smoothie bowl. The açaí bowl included a cold açaí mixture with bananas, mixed berries, chia seed, and pepitas artfully displayed on top. Açaí is a small deep purple berry native to Central and South America, and the berry is low in sugar and higher in healthy fats. This bowl was refreshing, healthy, and filling.
The smoothie bowl was my favorite. I've always found the idea of smoothies to be appealing, but find that I rarely ever finish them or truly enjoy them — enter the smoothie bowl. This particular cafe located on a small square was more like a lounge with tourists and natives lining the tables and couches sipping sangria and cappuccinos. My partner ordered a grilled cheese, bacon and avocado on waffle, while I ordered a smoothie bowl. I'm sure some of you are drooling over that grilled cheese! It was a work of art.
When the smoothie bowl arrived it contained an almost frozen-like (green) mixture that was adorned with shredded coconut, goji berries, strawberries, peanut butter, banana, and granola. There was also granola and nuts lining the bottom of the bowl underneath the mixture so when you took a bite, there was a subtle crunch on just about every spoonful. Brilliant! The smoothie bowl in the picture is the one I experimented with at home. Super easy to make and quite filling.
I love the concept of co-mingling greens and fruits together in such a tasty and creative way. Kale and spinach are staple items in my kitchen as they contain varying amounts of fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, and several other micronutrients. Of course if you want to leave the greens out, go for it. You can also add in protein powder or additional nut butters for added protein. There are a plethora of fruit combinations you can experiment with to keep it varied. I added in frozen mango to another smoothie bowl and I loved the taste of that one too. As for toppings, it's pretty much anything goes. I like to keep it pretty simple so I can keep track of the nutritional values. When you begin to add toppings like nuts and chocolate, it's easy for the calories and fats to add up. That being said... toppings could include: berries, bananas, kiwi, pineapple, coconut, chocolate shavings, nuts/seeds, and much more.
For the smoothie bowls I include my homemade granola recipe, which is also super easy (5 ingredients) to make.
Happy smoothie bowl making and creating!
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