Healthy Snack Ideas

This 4-Ingredient Chocolate Hazelnut Smoothie Bowl Is Heart-Healthy and Helps You Sleep

Photo: Yumna Jawad/FeelGoodFoodie
The best kinds of desserts are the ones that you can eat morning, afternoon, or night. And if they offer a bounty of health benefits and call for five ingredients or less, even better. Enter this four-ingredient chocolate hazelnut smoothie bowl, which checks every box: It's easy to make, nutrient-rich, and entirely delicious.

From the creative mind of recipe developer and food blogger Yumna Jawad, the creator of Feel Good Foodie, this smoothie bowl is a creamy and decadent creation that calls for just bananas, milk, hazelnut spread, and cocoa powder. It takes no more than five minutes to make, and will set you up for success whether you're fueling up for a busy day or winding down for bed.

For starters, registered dietitians say that bananas plus nut butter are the ideal brain-boosting breakfast duo, the MVP of pre-workout snacks, and the perfect bedtime snack pairing. “A medium banana is nutrient-rich, providing 24 grams of carbohydrates—14 of which are sugar, and three of which are fiber,” Kelly Jones, MS, RD, previously told Well+Good. “The fiber in bananas, along with the gram of protein, keeps the rest of the carbohydrate from being absorbed too rapidly, but there isn't so much that the food will sit in your stomach." This is why the pectin in bananas has been shown to help prevent constipation. And according to Tracey Lockwood Beckerman, MS, RD, bananas are also high in potassium and sleep-boosting magnesium, which can help your muscles relax, regulate your body's fluid balance, and lower your risk of heart disease.

Meanwhile, nut butters contain tryptophan, an amino acid that gets turned into serotonin in the brain and act as a precursor to melatonin. When consumed with protein- and tryptophan-rich nut butter, the carbs from the banana can make tryptophan more bioavailable to your brain and increase your ability to sleep. "This treat is a sleep aid wonder," she says.

Milk is also packed with its own slew of health benefits: potassium, magnesium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and calcium. Milk is a highly viable source of complete protein, which is key to your body’s growth, your cells’ ability to repair themselves, and your immune system’s self-regulation. (Complete proteins have all nine of the amino acids that your body needs to function properly.)

Photo: Yumna Jawad/FeelGoodFoodie

In order to make the most out of this smoothie bowl, Jawad suggests that you use frozen bananas, which she says can help “create a really creamy texture as well as making your smoothie cold.” Plus, tossing in frozen bananas means that you don’t have to add any ice, which can water down the finished product.

Given the multiplicity of health benefits in this recipe, we don’t blame you for wanting to make this sweet treat ahead of time. But word to the wise: Jawad recommends against pre-making it when possible. “Smoothie bowls are best enjoyed soon after they are made for the best texture and flavor," she says. "As soon as you blend the bananas they do start to lose some nutritional benefits.”

Keep in mind that you can adjust the proportions of this recipe as you see fit, depending on how you like the consistency or sweetness of your smoothie bowls. If you’re following a plant-based diet, you can easily swap out regular milk with plant-based alternatives like those from Ripple or Joi. We also love the chocolate hazelnut spread from Deux, which is vegan as well, or go for classic Nutella. You can also play with different toppings to keep things interesting for yourself. Read on for Jawad’s full recipe.

Chocolate-Hazelnut-Smoothie-Bowl
Photo: Yumna Jawad/FeelGoodFoodie

Chocolate hazelnut smoothie bowl recipe from Feel Good Foodie

Ingredients
1/2 cup milk
2 frozen bananas
1 tablespoon hazelnut spread
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Chocolate chips for topping (optional)
Chopped hazelnuts for topping (optional)
Cacao nibs for topping (optional)

Instructions
1. Place the milk into a high speed blender first. Then add the frozen bananas, hazelnut spread, and cacao powder.

2. Blend thoroughly on high speed for one minute until the mixture is completely smooth. You may need to stop and scrape down the blender depending on the strength of the blender you’re using.

3. Taste and adjust the flavor as needed, by adding a sweetener of choice for added sweetness or more cacao powder for a richer chocolate flavor.

4. Pour into a bowl and top if off with chocolate chips, hazelnuts, and cacao nibs, if desired. Serve immediately for best flavor and consistency.

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