Can We All Just Admit That Smoothie Bowls Are Big Fat Lies?

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, and people are (gasp!) already starting to talk about oatmeal and Pumpkin Spice Lattes, I think it’s time to address a breakfast trend that has been all over Instagram and Pinterest during sunny, warm-weather months.

I’m just going to come right out and say it: Smoothie bowls are nothing but big fat lies.

Smoothie bowls, in case you aren’t familiar, are just smoothies that you put in a bowl and then top with artfully displayed fruits, nuts, and whatever else you think would look pretty. Since the dawn of Instagram (a handful of years ago), many a food blogger and influencer have created elaborate and over-the-top smoothie bowls to garner likes, comments, and even more followers. They have succeeded in their quest because this breakfast, if nothing else, is really so pretty.

Let’s examine a couple popular smoothie bowls on Instagram.

This light pink smoothie bowl is so pretty, but is it actually edible? How much time did it take to carve those figs? Why are the green tops of the strawberries still on the fruit? And why are there flowers on this bowl? I need answers.

Are you seeing that carved mango in that bowl? What about that chunk of chocolate that is just sticking out of the nut butter blob? I get that you’re doing it for the ‘gram, but did you actually eat it like this?

Someone took the time to actually make their smoothie bowl look like the galaxy. I mean, I’m so freaking impressed by this, and at the same time I’d be terrified to eat this. Too pretty to eat!

I think this massive neon-pink smoothie bowl has more toppings than smoothie. Why do the cherries still have their stems on them? And what about that orange peel? I’d want to hang this in my living room as a piece of art, but eat it? I’m not so sure.

A new trend in smoothie bowls is putting the smoothie inside carved out fruit — things like, papaya, coconuts, and pineapple. Why would you do that? And why would you top your smoothie bowl with lots of little frozen berries?

Listen, I’m not totally hating on smoothie bowls — I think they are truly works of food art. We even have a couple recipes on Kitchn that I think are relatively easy for anyone to make for breakfast, including this one with a simple topping of fresh fruit and granola. But why would you ever choose to create a smoothie bowl versus a simple smoothie for breakfast? Why would you eat a smoothie with a spoon? Why would you spend so much time artfully crafting toppings for your smoothie bowl when you should just be eating?

The answer, of course, is Instagram — and that’s totally acceptable and fine. It needs to be said, however, that this new “breakfast” trend is really less about breakfast and more about the photo. Do you really think you’d go through all that trouble to create a smoothie bowl if you didn’t post it on social media? I doubt it.