Looking for a sugar substitute in your diet but still want a sweet-tasting snack? Then açaí berries are a great solution to your problem. Found in Brazil's Amazon rainforest, these dark-purple berries grow straight from açaí palm trees and contain a lot of nutrients.
Dubbed by Brazilians as the "Beauty Berry," açaí berries truly do the body good from the inside out, with health benefits such as increased energy levels, a boosted immune system, improved metabolic function, and better hair and skin. And the best part is pairing powerhouse foods, fruit, honey, granola, coconut flakes, nut butter, and so much more, to go with them.
I discovered Just BEE Açaí on a walk to one of my classes at UIUC, located just near the Armory, and was intrigued by the small, adorned food truck on the side of the road. The outside has a colorful burst of yellow paint which is paired with a honey oak wood finish for the sides of the truck. And all of the signs, including the menu and welcome, were hand-drawn in elaborate calligraphy. Its aesthetics pulled me in for a closer look and lead me to buy some delicious açaí, and I've been a regular customer for the company ever since.
Each item on the Just BEE menu can substitute as lunch, a healthy mid-day snack, or post-workout fiber booster. Even though they specialize in açaí bowls, like the BEE Fruitful bowl that has bananas, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, goji berries, homemade granola, hemp hearts, and local honey drizzle (this is my personal favorite!), they also have toasts and warm oat bowls.
Each item on the menu is also customizable; so if you find one you like on the menu, but want to change one detail (I change the pineapple to kiwi on the Fruitful bowl), they can make those changes or you can even make your own special, unique bowl with any of the ingredients listed on the menu!
I think it's imperative to support smaller, local companies like Just BEE Açaí in the Champaign-Urbana area to get the word out about them and promote their business. I encourage all of the students who attend UIUC to seek out Just BEE Açaí and try one of their bowls! Bring your friends and even your families when they come to visit to try some açaí. There are so many options to choose from, and each choice is equally healthy for you (plus the ingredients pack a lot of nutrients). And for those worried about cost, each bowl is reasonably priced for any financially struggling college student.