How to make the perfect smoothie bowl in 3 easy steps

Build the base, add the toppings and personalize the ingredients just for you.

How to make the perfect smoothie bowl in 3 easy steps

Ah, the elusive smoothie bowl. How we adore thee. From Instagram, on someone else's feed. We asked our resident nutritionist Shannan Monson of Nutrition Simply how to make the smoothie bowl of your dreams and she broke it down for us into three really simple steps. Excuse us while we drool over this deliciousness...

Part I: The Base

Smoothies really aren't rocket science, but it can feel intimidating to make them without a recipe, especially if you're just getting into the whole morning-smoothie-routine thing.

This is exactly what I follow every morning to make perfect smoothies (and even more perfect smoothie bowls), and the best part is, you can make it completely personal to you. Which means perfect, smoothies, just the way you like 'em, no recipe, no fuss, every time. (Can I get an amen?!)

1 cup liquid

almond milk // cashew milk // coconut milk // coconut water

These are all great dairy-free options that are easy to digest, and also full of good nutrients. Both are low in sugar as well, making them a great choice to start the morning, just be sure to purchase unsweetened or you're pretty much just getting sugar water.

Making your own nut milks is ideal, but also #reallife, so just be sure to read ingredient lists and ideally the only ingredients are nuts, water, and perhaps vanilla bean. You can use water in your smoothie as well, but know that the flavors will be more diluted, and it tends to taste a bit watered down.

1 cup frozen or fresh fruit (or veggies)

pineapple + coconut milk // strawberry + banana // banana + beet + blueberry // mango + pineapple // berries + chocolate

Aim for at least half of your fruit to be frozen—this helps keep the perfect consistency without having to add a lot of ice, which equals lost flavor.

Buy frozen fruit in bulk (Costco for the win!) or buy in season and freeze flat on a cookie sheet before putting into bags in the freezer. (Otherwise it will stick together and you'll be using an ice picker to make your smoothies in the morning. So, just buy it frozen.)

1/2 cup ice

(optional) // sub frozen fruit instead

If you overdo it on the ice and the smoothie gets too thick, you can always add more liquid until you reach your desired consistency. I typically go a little thicker if I'm pouring it in a bowl and eating it with a spoon and toppings, and a little thinner if I'm sipping it with a straw as I run out the door.

1 scoop protein powder

chocolate // double chocolate // vanilla almond // French vanilla // unflavored

You don't have to add this, but I highly recommend it. You should aim to get a protein + healthy fat + complex carbohydrate at every meal, and if you skip out on this part, you're more likely to be hungry later in the day.

And p.s. make sure to read the ingredient list–The best brands for you have no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or chemicals, and are made with organic, non-GMO ingredients.

1 Tb cacao powder

Sometimes I'll want to use strawberry protein powder or something that's not chocolate, but still have a chocolate kick, so I'll throw in a tablespoon of raw cacoa powder, because I can, and why not? Those antioxidants are good for you and #chocolate.

1 tb superfood

spirulina // chlorella// hemp hearts // chia seeds // maca powder / nut butter

This is a great way to add an extra boost to your smoothie.

½ cup greens

kale // spinach // chard

Because no smoothie is complete without some greens. Kale, spinach, and chard are my go-tos, and can all be cleaned and frozen ahead of time, so there's no need to worry about having fresh greens in the house. Just be sure to have a high-quality blender (totally worth the investment), and feel free to start by blending the greens and the liquid first to ensure you don't have any chunks.

Part II: The Toppings

Making a smoothie bowl is as simple as making a thick smoothie and pouring it in a bowl. Then throwing all your favorite things on top. It can be a lot more satisfying than a typical on-the-run smoothie, plus the texture and variety is really unbeatable. (And worth it.)

Believe me. You really can't go wrong here. Add whatever you like. Some of my favorite toppings are shown above.

Part III: Personalize it

For weight loss:

Use berries instead of higher sugar fruits like bananas, pineapple, oranges etc. The higher antioxidant count and lower fructose levels help to promote weight loss by keeping blood sugar steady and protecting cells from stress.

Add natural fats such as ½ an avocado or 1 TB coconut oil to leave you feeling more satiated, encourage your body to use fat as fuel, and curb sugar cravings later in the day. It may seem counterintuitive, but eating natural, healthy fats will actually allow you to burn more fat.

For kids and toddlers:

Use ½ scoop of protein powder instead of a full scoop, and be sure you're using a product that is free of chemicals, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners. Our favorites are Designer Whey and Tera's Whey.

For endurance training:

Use bananas, beets, or other complex starch to give you extra immediate energy to fuel long workouts. You can also add soaked oats or even cooked quinoa for an extra boost.

For breastfeeding:

Add 1-2 tsp ground flaxseed, ¼ cup soaked oatmeal, or ½ inch fresh ginger root to your smoothies. These foods are considered galactagogues, and can help to increase milk supply.

Share with Motherly: What are your favorite smoothie mix-ins and toppings?

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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