Southern California is known for its trendsetting habits, and food is no exception. This latest culinary find is the açaí berry. Well, actually, it’s the coldest trend, because Backyard Bowls in Goleta is serving up the best frozen açaí bowls ready for Gauchos to devour.

Açaí berries come from the açaí palm, a species of palm tree primarily found in Central and South America from Peru to Brazil to Belize. In recent years, the berry’s popularity has increased rapidly and the cultivation of the fruit from these trees has dramatically expanded. A traditional staple food of the Amazon tribes, this fruit has been deemed a “super food” in the United States because of its nutritional benefits, which are similar to antioxidants in mangos, blueberries and pomegranates. What better way to kick off the spring season than with an ingredient that delivers tons of vitamins and minerals?

In addition to boosting libido and stamina and promoting regular sleep patterns, açaí berries are also proven to increase moisture in your skin and hair, so you’ll be glistening during beach season. Other perks of açaí foods are high fiber content, anti-inflammatory effects, disease-preventing properties and their rejuvenating effects on mind, body and spirit.

Backyard Bowls, a natural and healthy food establishment, has found the perfect recipes to complement the açaí berry, and with three locations in the Santa Barbara area, we can all enjoy this sweet treat. The two founders of Backyard Bowls met in the dorms in Santa Barbara, and, staying true to the oceanfront setting of Isla Vista, they wanted to create a business revolving around their favorite in-between-surfing meal.

The restaurant’s motto is “Better Life Through Better Food,” reflecting their mission to provide customers with energy and nutrition at breakfast or lunch so they can flourish in their daily lifestyles, and they do so sustainably. Believing that many societal problems are attributed to the foods we all eat, Backyard Bowls guarantees all-natural ingredients and eco-friendly production.

Although açaí berries are the main component of the menu, other exceptionally healthy elements include hemp foods, bee pollen, goji berries, honey and kombucha. Starting at just $5.50, you can enjoy The Original Bowl: açaí, bananas, strawberries and apple juice, topped with granola, honey and bananas. Other fan-favorites from the açaí bowl menu are the Island Bowl ($6.85 – $8.25), which includes coconut milk and pineapple juice, and the Green Bowl ($6.85 – $8.25), a true power meal with broccoli and spinach added to the surprisingly sweet mix.

In addition to the ever-so-popular açaí bowls, you can also choose your organic meal from the breakfast bowl or smoothie menus. The breakfast menu offers protein-packed oatmeal ($6.25) made with steel-cut oats, homemade cashew milk and cinnamon, finished off with a variety of toppings such as agave nectar, almonds, brown sugar and fresh fruit. You can also opt for a quinoa bowl, cottage cheese, granola or creamy yogurt, each for under $7.50.

The delicious smoothies are positively healthy because rather than using sorbet or ice cream, this health-nut establishment uses organic Straus Yogurt as the base of their icy drinks with tropical ginger, Amazon cherry, carrot or peanut butter variations.

Visit one of Backyard Bowls’ restaurants in downtown Santa Barbara, La Cumbre or Goleta to start your healthy Spring Quarter lifestyle the right way with these unique and organic meals.