This or That: Playa Bowls Edition

There’s a lot of emphasis on “calorie counts” today. But “calorie” is just another way to say “energy”. So, sure, counting calories isn’t a bad habit to get into but it’s important to understand the difference between good calories and bad ones.


Good calories can contain natural sugar (from fruit) which is very different from the refined sugar you find in many processed foods (candy, fast food). Medium french fries are delicious but at 365 calories, and hardly any of the long-lasting satisfaction, they’re a far cry from healthy. Natural sugars, and the calories that come along with them, take longer to break down—which causes you to feel fuller longer. That means fewer cravings throughout the day.  They’re also filled with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which bring nutritional value to your diet.


Don’t get us wrong, we love fries over a side salad. But when the weather is hot, and the summer days are long, nothing tastes better than something refreshing from Playa Bowls. 


Playa trade: Skip the fries. Order a Coco Craze Bowl instead–a coconut blend topped with granola, banana, pineapple, mango, coconut flakes, and honey. You’ll cool off, feel full, and be thankful for the healthy calories in the long run. 


Just take it from our founders, Abby and Rob. They founded Playa Bowls with their own needs in mind–they wanted delicious food, on-the-go, that was both filling and satisfying.


Describe the “full” feeling from healthy calories versus the full feeling from fast food?

Abby: The full feeling from an acai bowl is different than how you feel after a heavy lunch. You feel full without being weighed down. Something about fueling your body with antioxidants and fresh foods makes me feel energized instead of overly full and lethargic. 


Rob: Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a #2 from McDonald’s every so often. But that doesn’t mix well when climbing a mountain bike or paddling out to surf. The nutrients from the açaí bowl def fuel you to perform at max capacity!


Playa trade: The traditional Caesar salad has 470 calories—a salad! Order a Pura Vida acai bowl instead. For fewer calories, it has pure acai topped with granola, blueberry, strawberry, and honey. 


How did your love affair with açai and super fruits begin?

Abby: My love affair with acai and superfruits began after traveling to Puerto Rico, Hawaii and California. Every location has its take on acai bowls and I was hooked! I came home and started to make my own versions. I wanted to share my love of acai and its health benefits with everyone at home on the Jersey Shore. Especially at a time when things like pizza and subs were the only beach lunch options. 


Playa trade: The average slice of cheese pizza has anywhere from 200-275 calories. For only 100 calories more, order an oatmeal bowl with banana, cinnamon, figs, and walnuts. 


Do you have a go-to Playa snack on the go?

Abby: On the go, I’ll usually grab a smoothie. I love the Orange Power smoothie. I get my protein in and it’s super refreshing and underrated. Our protein bites are also insanely delicious and easy to snack on. 


Playa tip: Do you love a 16oz frappuccino? Well, the average one has 230 calories and 45g of processed sugar. Trade that in for Abby’s Orange Power Smoothie at 310 healthy calories and 39g of natural sugar. 


Rob: Açaí is my love, but I always have one of our New Orleans cold brews in my hands at all times.


What’s your favorite pre and post-surf fuel from Playa Bowls?

Abby: After a long surf there’s nothing better than an acai bowl. I love to have mine topped with banana, coconut flakes, strawberry, and of course our peanut butter. 


Rob: Taking down a playa raw juice and cold brew on the run to a surf session is my go-to and finish it up with an açaí bowl. Or the other way around. Both solid moves.

Playa tip: Nothing beats the heat better than ice cream. But a half cup of the average vanilla ice cream is 137 calories (not including the cone). Trade that in for a 16oz Beach Break juice with pineapple, carrot, ginger, and lemon.


As you hit the breaks this summer check out our complete nutrition guide and get all of the facts.