Smoothies are a great way to pack in tons nutrients into one delicious drink. The bad news is, all the fruit can add up to a lot of sugar. An apple and banana combined have 30 grams of sugar — almost as much as a can of soda!
But wait … what about a smoothie without fruit?
This is the exact question I faced when I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). At the time, I was drinking smoothies daily, but I had to stop because of the sugar content. I began to see that a lot of health foods — especially smoothies and juices — have a ton of sugar in them. So I spent the next few months experimenting with different ways of reducing sugar in my smoothies, and still making them delicious.
Here are my top tips:
1. Make your smoothies creamy.
If it’s not sweet, it has to be creamy. Give your smoothie a creamy base with a milk alternative. I prefer almond or coconut, but choose whichever kind works for you.
2. Bring on the berries.
Antioxidant-rich berries have way less sugar than most fruit. Plus, they’re easy to keep frozen, and you can use them in place of ice.
3. Use seeds.
To give smoothies the thick consistency that banana normally provides, use flax meal or chia seeds instead. The added fiber is excellent for digestion, and even helps stabilize blood sugar.
4. Pack in the protein.
Use protein powders that are low in sugar and high in protein. Protein is key to regulating blood sugar and providing long-lasting energy, so even if you do end up with some sweet ingredients in your smoothie, you’ll avoid a hard crash.
5. Get cozy with veggies.
Go ahead and toss in your greens, but go easy on sweet vegetables like carrots and beets. Rule of thumb: if it’s green, go to town.
6. But if you're skipping the veggies, try nut butter!
If you’re not going to add greens, try nut butter! It adds delicious flavor, texture, and protein to smoothies, but can sometimes clash with greens. See if it works for you.
7. Love it up.
Sweeten your smoothie with your pure, positive energy. Listen to music, sing, and dance while you blend. Remember: you’re sweet enough as you are!