An acai bowl is a breakfast-lover's dream. Most commonly pronounced "ah-sigh-ee," these colorful bowls are versatile, healthy and sweet. They're like healthy smoothies in a bowl with unlimited toppings.
The acai berry makes up a majority of the smoothie-like mixture that sits at the bottom of the bowl. This berry contains less sugar than most other fruits, and has one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits and vegetables. They may also help to prevent health problems like arthritis, inflammation, obesity and allergies. They've been found to have positive effects on ailments associated with heart disease and cancer as well.
Aside from the health benefits acai brings to the table, it tastes delicious. It tastes like a cross between chocolate and a mix of blackberries, blueberries and strawberries. Speaking of, these are just three of the many other fruits that the base of the acai bowl can be blended with. A lot of places that make acai bowls blend the berry with apple juice, bananas and various other berries. You can even get flax seed or chia seed thrown in the mixture for some extra protein. At home I throw some almond milk and peanut butter in the blender with acai and a banana.
Once you create the smoothie-like base then you can decide what toppings should be included in the bowl. At places that make acai bowls, the most common toppings are granola, honey, Nutella, almond butter, bananas, strawberries, apples, kiwi, coconut flakes and many more. The topping selections vary from place to place. Some places even have gluten free or nut free granola. Some have vegan acai bowls. The diversity and variety of the bowls makes them so popular. Not to mention the pretty insta-worthy colors.
But these high-in-demand bowls can come at a high price. The standard bowl costs about $8 in New York, but at some places, additional toppings or "luxury toppings" raise the price a dollar or two. These bowls can come with high calories too, depending on the amount and calorie content of the toppings added.
Overall, the acai bowl is a gift from the breakfast Gods. It's easy to make, versatile depending on differentiating diets and allergies and it tastes (and looks) a hell of a lot better than a bowl of oatmeal. As is the rule with most things, eat it in moderation and beware of adding high-calorie toppings.
So the next time you pass by a juice bar advertising acai bowls, stop in and try one. Remember the pronunciation, add your favorite toppings and join the 20-year-olds Instagramming the aesthetically pleasing super food.