Grace Elkus Grace Elkus
March 23, 2015

Here at Cooking Light, we're all about the smoothie. We love a good green smoothie. We dream about the breakfast smoothie. And we're particularly fond of the under-250-calories smoothie. You name it, we're blending it—and now pouring it into a bowl.

The smoothie bowl, while fairly self-explanatory, is more than just a straw-to-spoon switch. It's the relaxed, sit-down version of an on-the-go smoothie, and, in my opinion, a more exciting experience for your tastebuds. Sprinkling it with toppings adds unlimited flavor possibilities, as well as a contrast in texture and a welcomed heartiness.

I'm so enamored with the trendy smoothie bowl that I'll be posting one every day this week. I'm starting with my personal favorite, the tropical mango bowl, which will transport you to the beach with every sweet, juicy bite. But first, a few smoothie bowl tips:

1Building the Base: You're going to need an ingredient that will make your smoothie creamy. Frozen bananas are my go-to, but avocado, nut butters, and Greek yogurt are great as well. In terms of frozen fruit, you can either buy pre-frozen bags (just make sure there's no added sugar), or you can buy fresh fruit and freeze it yourself. If you go with the latter, be sure to prep and chop the fruit before freezing.

2. Let's Talk Liquid: Smoothie bowls are supposed to be thicker than your average smoothie (in fact, I prefer to blend mine in the food processor). The liquid component is primarily there to aid in the blending process, so if you're hoping to transform your favorite smoothie into a bowl, I would suggest decreasing the amount of liquid. Remember, you're eating these with a spoon, and you don't want your toppings to sink to the bottom.

3. Toying with Toppings: Speaking of toppings, feel free to experiment. There are no rules! These recipes are here to get you started, but tweak and adapt them however you like. That being said, don't go overboard—calories and fat can add up quickly.

Tropical Mango Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients:

For the smoothie: 1/2 cup frozen mango 1/2 cup frozen pineapple 1/2 frozen banana* 1/3 cup coconut water

Toppings: 1/4 cup chopped fresh pineapple 2 tbsp. pomegranate seeds 1 tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes

Combine smoothie ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Depending on the power of your blender, you may need to add a bit more coconut water to aid the blending process. Pour into a bowl, and sprinkle on the toppings.

*If your banana isn't frozen, that's fine; you just may need to add a few ice cubes to help thicken your smoothie.

Makes 1 serving CALORIES 240; FAT 3.98g (sat 3.1g, mono 0.2g, poly 0.15g); PROTEIN 3.26g; CARB 53.9g; FIBER 7.8g; CHOL 0mg; IRON 0.98mg; SODIUM 88mg; CALC 41.7mg

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