In theory, smoothies are healthy snacks or meal-replacers. They can be great vehicles in which to include all the makings of a fat-burning, nutrient-rich meal. However, most of the smoothies we buy from cafes, health food stores, Smoothie King, etc., –even the smoothies we make for our kids & ourselves are packed with sugar & extra calories that inhibit the best of our weight loss, energy-gain, nutrient-boosting efforts. Don’t toss your blenders though–
Here are 5 tips for creating a No-Sugar-Spike Smoothie:
- Fruit juices, sweetened milk alternatives (like rice/almond/hemp milk), flavored yogurt/kefir add lots of unnecessary calories. Instead, use water, unsweetened milk alternatives, plain yogurts/kefirs.
- Include low glycemic fruits like berries, apples, pears, & peaches. Instead of using a whole banana, try just half for a sweeter, creamier smoothie. *My rule of thumb: include 1 serving of fruit total; i.e. ½ apple & ½ ¼ c frozen pineapple chunks, or ½ banana & ½ peach, or ½-3/4 c berries. Even though fruit contains fiber & vitamins, eating too much at a time can adversely affect blood sugar levels, which will sabotage our weight loss & mood-stabilizing goals.
- Include some protein to maintain those blood sugar and energy levels. Nut butters, high quality protein powders, chia/hemp/flax seeds, plain whole milk yogurt, & raw eggs (pasture raised only) work well.
- Add healthy fats. Fat is not your enemy; sugar is! Healthy fats will feed your metabolism, support healthy brain & immune function, & they’ll keep you satiated for longer. Avocados are ideal: they add a lovely creamy texture to smoothies, plus they lower LDL and increase HDL cholesterol levels. Coconut oil and nuts/seeds are some of my favorites as well.
- Sweeten with care! A bit of raw honey or a couple of dates are great whole-food, nutritious sweeteners; but if you want to avoid the extra sugar altogether, go for stevia—my family likes SweetLeaf liquid vanilla stevia, a couple drops goes a long way!
Need some family-friendly smoothie recipes? Try these:
Pear Avocado Smoothie
- ½ avocado
- 1 c almond/coconut/rice/hemp milk
- 1 pear, coarsely chopped
- 1-2 tbl grnd flax/chia seeds
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 date, pitted (or sweeten with stevia)
- sprinkle of cinnamon/nutmeg
1 c pitted cherries (frozen),
1 c almond/coconut/rice/hemp milk
½ c plain yogurt (or ¼ avocado)
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tb grnd flax/chia seeds
Nutty Berry Blend
½ c frozen blueberries
2 Medjool dates, pitted (or sweeten with stevia)
1 heaping tbl almond butter
1 heaping tbl grnd flax/chia seeds
Small handful of spinach
1/2 tbl lemon juice
1 c water/milk substitute