Smoothies are a fantastic way to pack essential nutrients into a single glass, making them a popular choice for health-conscious individuals. However, not all smoothies are created equal. Some can be laden with sugar and empty calories, which can counteract their health benefits.
In reality, you can fill it with any fruit you want and still end up with something unhealthy. To ensure your smoothie has as little sugar as possible while still tasting good, you just need to follow a few tips.
Choose a Nutrient-Rich Base
The base of your smoothie should be a nutrient-rich food such as Greek yogurt, kefir, or almond milk. These contain protein, probiotics, and healthy fats that help keep you feeling full longer. When choosing fruit for your smoothie, choose those with a higher water content, such as berries or stone fruits (peaches, plums).
Load Up on Greens
You can easily add greens like spinach or kale to your smoothie without changing the taste. Greens are an excellent source of iron and vitamins A and C, which can help boost immunity and fight off illness during cold and flu season. They also contain fiber that helps fill you up while providing energy throughout the day. You can purchase frozen greens at most grocery stores if fresh isn’t available locally or if it’s out of season where you live.
Add Fiber with Whole Fruits
Fiber is the key ingredient missing from most smoothies. The problem with most fruit juices is that they’re water-down versions of whole fruits, meaning they have very little fiber. Fiber helps keep you full and satisfied so that you won’t be tempted to overeat later on (or, even worse, snack on junk food) when your blood sugar spikes after drinking your smoothie.
Sneak in Vegetables
If you’ve ever made a smoothie with spinach or kale, you know how hard it is to get a good taste out of those leafy greens. That’s why we recommend sneaking vegetables into your smoothies instead of making them their main ingredients. You’ll still get all the health benefits from these veggies without sacrificing taste!
Smoothies are an easy way to add protein to your diet. They can contain as much as 20 grams of protein per cup! Protein helps you feel full longer and may help prevent overeating later in the day.
If you want your protein fix in a smoothie, try using whey protein concentrate. It’s one of the most popular protein sources because it’s easily digested, inexpensive, and convenient. It is made from milk byproducts, so if you want vegan options, look for pea or brown rice protein powder instead.
Whey protein concentrate (WPC 80) is a whey protein isolate that contains at least 80 percent protein content by weight. This type of protein is ideal for those who are lactose intolerant because it contains little to no lactose compared to other dairy products like yogurt or cheese.
While many people associate whey with dairy products such as cottage cheese or ice cream, it’s a byproduct of cheese production refined into an easily digestible form of protein powder.
You can use nuts as a smoothie base or as an ingredient. Nuts have healthy fats that keep you full longer and add texture and flavor. Blend them with ice cubes or frozen fruit to make an especially thick and creamy drink!
Ditch the Added Sugars
The problem with added sugars is that they provide little nutritional value and can be harmful in excess quantities. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than half of your daily discretionary calories, which works out at 6 teaspoons (24 grams) per day for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) per day for men.
You probably don’t need all those packets of artificial sweetener anyway! Still craving something sweet? Try adding fresh berries or stevia, a natural sweetener, instead — their natural sweetness will boost your smoothie without all the calories.
Spice It Up
Spice it up! Add some cinnamon or nutmeg for a sweet treat that’s still healthy. Cinnamon has been shown to help control blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Nutmeg contains several antioxidants that protect cells against damage from free radicals. Both spices have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties as well.
Supercharge with Superfoods
Adding smoothie superfoods like chia seeds or flaxseed will give your drink a boost of protein and fiber, keeping you full longer. Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed for more fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re trying to lose weight, make sure your superfoods don’t have too many calories!
Remember that portion control is essential. While smoothies can be nutritious, they can also be calorie-dense. Stick to a reasonable serving size, typically between 8 to 16 ounces, depending on your dietary needs and goals. The best way to prevent this is by measuring out the ingredients before you start mixing them together.
Whether you want to lose weight, increase your energy, or improve your overall health, making healthier smoothies is a delicious and convenient way to achieve your goals. Experiment with different combinations of ingredients to find the flavors and textures you enjoy most while staying committed to your wellness journey.
Bea is a copywriter specializing in adept research and creating all kinds of content. She’s all about getting creative, developing relationships, and contributing to making businesses succeed through her writing.
When she’s not writing (professionally), you can see her binge-watching RuPaul’s Drag Race or writing film reviews on Letterboxd.