We’re all familiar with the gorgeous smoothie bowls we come across every single day on Instagram – beautifully-colored, piled high with fruit and granola, drizzled with honey, and sometimes even served in mason jars.

We all hope (and some of us are able) to make these beautiful breakfasts or snacks for ourselves. But what you may not know is that not all smoothie bowls are created equal; despite their aura of health, smoothie bowls often hide a lot of of calories and sugar.

Fear not! This doesn’t mean you should abandon them for oatmeal every morning (though there are some dope ways to dress that up). It only means that you should follow these tips when assembling your Insta-worthy concoction to make sure it really is as healthy as it seems.

Start with clean ingredients

smoothie bowl

Photo by Kathryn Stouffer

The root of all evil when it comes to smoothie bowls is what goes into the blender. This is where, if you’re not paying attention, tons of added sugar can sneak in. Beware of anything sweetened or flavored; opt for plain greek yogurt over the sugar bombs that are the flavored ones, go with unsweetened almond or soy milk over vanilla, skip the honey or agave, and go with stevia if you really need a little extra sweetness.

The last culprit to be aware of is fruit juice – it adds great flavor and texture to your bowl, but avoid overdoing it, because it’s essentially all sugar. Be sure to throw some leafy greens like spinach and kale in there – I promise you won’t taste them and their health benefits are enormous.

Be smart about portion size

smoothie bowl

Photo courtesy of howsweeteats.com

Smoothie bowls should fill a reasonable cereal bowl at their biggest. Though they may look cute overflowing huge mason jars or filling a carved out melon, you really don’t need that much to kickstart your day or keep yourself going until your next meal.

Those big bowls provide a huge dose of sugar that won’t serve you well in the long run. Just because bananas are a fruit doesn’t mean that putting six of them in your smoothie is good for you (educate yo’self).

Choose your toppings wisely

smoothie bowl

Photo by Sristi Pradhan

Congrats, you’ve made it this far! Don’t blow it yet. A common mistake that people make in finishing off their bowls is going heavy on the toppings, particularly granola. Load up on that crunchy goodness because the base is basically just fruit, right? Wrong.

As much as we would all love to eat a heaping bowl of granola every morning, we must remember it is pretty high-cal and can hold a lot of sugar and fat.

So if you want to top your bowl with granola, stick to no more than a small handful, and maybe even consider some lighter alternatives (#SpoonTip: Try Cheerios atop your smoothie bowl – same crunch, less sugar). And don’t forget to load up on all those super healthy extras: chia seeds, bee pollen and fresh fruit.