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Quick kitchen: Nourishing mocha and banana smoothie bowl


Banana Mocha Smoothie Bowl

Image: Lee Holmes

With the blessed season of summer gone, it’s time to continue your simple meal repertoire. There’s still plenty of time for porridge ladles and oven mitts, but we can still get use out of our high-speed blenders and reusable straws. It’s still the perfect time to enjoy the humble smoothie bowl.

Instagram feeds across the nation during summer are filled with smoothie bowls of all different shades colour and consistencies. There’s the classic healthy greenie, the delicious chocolatey smoothie and the new standard: the purple açaí bowl.

If you’ve never ventured into the world of the smoothie bowl, be prepared to have your life changed. Smoothie bowls are basically a thicker version of your regular smoothie, similar to the thickshakes you may have enjoyed as a child. This time, however, you won’t have the painful task of trying to suck the end bits through a straw with little chunks of banana coming up every few minutes.

Turning your smoothie from a drink into a full-blown meal can make it more substantial and nutrient-dense. It gives you the chance to slow down, sit down and slurp it up! They make for the perfect breakfast or snack and sometimes can even be enjoyed as dessert. It’s also great for sunny days when you’re looking for an easy way to cool down and retire after a hard day at the beach. If you’re searching for something new and fresh, you need to update your smoothie bowl menu.

Not all smoothies are created equal

Some shop-bought smoothies are loaded with lots of sugar and high-calorie ingredients that are hard for our bodies to digest. Just because it has 12 pieces of fruit in it, it’s not necessarily healthy. Personally, I prefer making smoothies at home. I find making smoothies at home ensures they’re perfect for my taste buds, they’re more cost-efficient and I can even do it in the comfort of my pyjamas.

When it comes to mastering the perfect smoothie bowl, consistency is key. Do you prefer a super-smooth smoothie, or do you want to chew a little?

If you’re looking for a more watery smoothie, try adding in coconut water or water as a base. For a creamier consistency, you can include a frozen banana, or use nut milks or coconut milk as the base. If you’re all about that creamy texture, a little bit of avocado can go a long way. Avocado also provides a healthy source of fat to help with the absorption the vitamins and nutrients.

It’s time to pick your flavour. For a green smoothie, add all your favourite green vegetables such as cucumber, zucchini, celery and baby spinach. They add great nutrient value without altering the taste, so you can enjoy something delicious that’s filled with vegetables all before 10am!

If you’re trying to increase your antioxidant intake, you can add some sweet frozen berries. They’re high in antioxidants, low in sugar, taste delicious and can even sharpen the brain and boost your energy.

If you need extra sweetness in your bowl, you can add a squeeze of rice malt syrup, raw honey or maple syrup or, if you prefer a sour taste the juice of a lemon or lime can go a long way. To up the health benefits, you can add in healthy fats like extra-virgin coconut oil, linseed (flaxseed), soaked chia seeds, nuts, seeds or even probiotics and a good gut cleanser like my Love Your Gut powder to up the gut-love.

Once you’ve picked your ingredients, add them all to a blender and cover them with your chosen liquid. If you prefer to go fruit-free, adding a few ice cubes will improve the texture.

One of my favourite smoothie bowls is this delicious Mocha and Banana Smoothie Bowl. This delicious smoothie made with real coffee (which you can substitute with dandelion tea if you’re (gasp) not a coffee-lover), raw cacao, chia seeds, hazelnuts and bananas feels a little like monkey magic. This bowl will give you a natural hit of everyone’s favourite hormone dopamine, the happy hormone, plus it tastes like chocolate.

This smoothie bowl combines good fats and complex carbohydrates in the bananas and nuts, so you’ll be performing all your regular human-like tasks on your hands, and your ability to focus and maintain motivation will dramatically improve too.
Both raw cacao and banana are great sources of antioxidants, potassium and vitamin B6. Cacao increases both our serotonin and dopamine levels, giving us feelings of pleasure and helping lower stress.

Bananas are extra-special because they contain a distinct fibre called pectin, which can help decrease stomach ulcers and provide a whopping dose of prebiotics for our bodies to utilise as food, gobbled up by the good guys in the gut.

Mocha & Banana Smoothie Bowl

Serves: 1

Ingredients

Method

  • 30mL shot espresso coffee or dandelion tea
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp Supercharged Love Your Gut powder (optional)
  • 1 frozen banana, sliced
  • 40g roasted hazelnuts (or any nuts of choice), soaked
  • 125mL coconut milk
  • 125mL almond milk or other non-dairy milk of choice
  • Toppings of choice, to serve
  1. Pour the coffee or dandelion tea into a small bowl, add the chia seeds and let them sit for 2-3 mins. Transfer to a high-speed blender.
  2. Add the cacao powder, Love Your Gut powder (if using), banana and hazelnuts.
  3. Pour in the coconut milk and almond milk and whiz until there are no lumps; the mixture can be quite thick. If your blender is struggling, add extra almond milk or water in small amounts to help it along.
  4. Pour the smoothie into a bowl or serving vessel; we’ve used half a coconut shell. Garnish with your choice of toppings — fresh banana slices, a sprinkling of mixed nuts and seeds, shaved fresh coconut, micro herbs — and dig in!



 

Lee Holmes

Lee Holmes is a nutritionist, yoga and meditation teacher, wholefoods chef, Lifestyle Food Channel’s Healthy Eating Expert, blogger and author of the best-selling books Supercharged Food: Eat Your Way to Health, Supercharged Food: Eat Yourself Beautiful, Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian, Heal your Gut, Eat Right for Your Shape and Supercharged Food for Kids.

Lee’s food philosophy is all about S.O.L.E. food: sustainable, organic, local and ethical. Her main goal is to alter the perception that cooking fresh, wholesome, nutrient-rich meals is difficult, complicated and time-consuming. From posting recipes, her passion to share her autoimmune disease story and help others has snowballed and the blog has recently taken home the overall prize at the Bupa Health Influencer Awards as well as the best blog in the Healthy Eating category. She also runs a four-week online Heal Your Gut program.