I was spoiled. My first taste of an Açaí Bowl came while traveling on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. It was about midway through the week, and we were preparing to head out for a hiking trip through the Halawa Valley to swim in a waterfall. If you don’t know much about Molokai, the friendly isle, you might not realize that it is highly under-developed and the ongoing joke is that no building is taller than a palm tree. Its true! The “town center” consists of a strip of run-down buildings with a few restaurants, the famous Kanemitsu’s Bakery, and a gas station. It was a truly incredible experience to be so off-the-grid while traveling the island.
Since there are so few places to stop for food – McDonalds? Ha! – we stopped at a little store on the way to our hike to grab something for breakfast. It was our lucky day, because the breakfast item for the morning was an authentic Açaí Bowl- full of fresh bananas, guava and coconut- it was like heaven on Earth. It couldn’t have been a more fitting breakfast before we actually hiked to heaven on Earth.
After returning to Ohio, I couldn’t stop thinking about how tasty that breakfast had been. I had seen Açaí Bowls on Pinterest and Instagram, but never tried to make one- until now. I needed a taste of Hawaii, a reminder of one of the best weeks of my life. Since I’m on a macro-focused diet, I decided to make a protein rich version that won’t leave me crashing from a sugar high.
First things first- the açaí. What is açaí? Apparently a South American palm tree producing small edible blackish-purple berries. The berries are what we use to make these tasty smoothie-like bowls. To make the bowls, you have to get açaí puree packets, which I’ve found at Kroger, but they’re cheaper at Trader Joe’s. They’ll run you about ~$1/each.
After you’ve got the açaí, the options are limitless. For the bowl pictured below, which was delicious, I used açaí, blueberries, banana, vanilla whey protein, coconut and strawberries. I made a version using guava once but it just wasn’t the same as the pink guava picked straight from the tree in Hawaii. I wish there were words for how incredible our experience in Hawaii was, but there are not. Life is short- make sure you take time for swimming in waterfalls.
1 packet frozen açaí
1/2 C. Blueberries, plus extras for topping
1/2 scoop Vanilla Whey
2 Tbsp. Sweetened Coconut
1/4 C. Strawberries
Throw the açaí, 1/2 banana, 1/2 C. blueberries, and the protein powder in the blender. Blend until smooth. Top with 1/2 banana, blueberries (I like to leave them frozen!), coconut and strawberry… or whatever your heart desires! Chia seeds, granola and other fruits could be nice touches. As I said, the options are limitless.
If you’re tracking macros, keep in mind this is a fairly carb-heavy meal, however the carbs all come from healthy sources (i.e. fruits). If I eat this for breakfast, I simply avoid eating other fruits the rest of the day. As you can see, it is lacking protein which is why I added the protein powder, but you could add some plain greek yogurt if you wanted.