Smoothies aren’t going anywhere, and for good reason. They are absolutely delicious, loaded with antioxidant-rich, plant-based foods, and are a great simple way to increase the average busy person’s consumption of fruits and vegetables.
With so many people struggling to get enough fruits and vegetables in their diet, smoothies really can be an excellent option for those busy mornings when breakfast may have otherwise been skipped, or for post-workout fuel, that provides a little more nutritional punch than your old protein shake.
But, with smoothie and juice bars seeming to pop up everywhere, and beautiful smoothie bowls flooding your instagram, something has been left behind — balance. You see, most smoothies have begun to look less like a balanced breakfast, or mid-day snack, and more like dessert. With cups and cups of fruit, natural sweeteners, and sweetened yogurts being added to smoothies, the sugar content in most smoothies has gone through the roof. This unfortunately makes smoothies less of a healthy choice, and more like a super-sweet blood sugar spike waiting to happen.
Luckily, there are some very simple steps to make sure that whether you are making your smoothie at home, or ordering it out on-the-go, that your smoothie is balanced and a healthy addition to your diet. Just follow the steps listed below and you will quickly be on your way to avoiding a sugar-laden smoothie, and capable of making a balanced smoothie that is good for your body (and blood sugar) wherever you are.
Choose your liquid. Always make sure the liquid that you will be using for the base of your smoothie is unsweetened. Some great options are 1 cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk like almond milk, cashew milk, or coconut milk to help blend the smoothie together. When ordering your smoothie out, avoid adding extra fruit juice to your smoothie.
Load up on your veggies. Adding veggies to your smoothie is a great way to add more fiber into your diet, and other vitamins and minerals. Try adding two cups of fresh spinach, or one cup of frozen zucchini and I promise you will never even taste it. When ordering a smoothie out, always ask for some leafy greens to be added to your smoothie, this will help keep your blood sugar stable, and balance out the sugar from the fruit.
Add your fruit. Fruits are high in antioxidants and are excellent additions to smoothies — in moderation. Keep your fruit to roughly 1/2 cup. This helps promote a more balanced smoothie that is going to give you the sweetness you desire, without overdoing it on the natural sugar.
Add plant-based protein. All smoothies need to include protein for them to be truly balanced, stabilize blood sugar, and keep you feeling full longer. ALOHA makes one of the best plant-based proteins powders on the market, and is perfect for adding to smoothies.
Don’t forget the fat! Fat is essential for our bodies hormones to function normally (especially us women), and similar to protein, will help maintain a stable blood sugar level over time. Try adding a 1/4 avocado, 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, or 1 tablespoon of nut butter to your smoothies for a high-quality fat source.
Avoid unnecessary “extras”. When ordering your smoothie out and on-the-go, you can be sure to find many unnecessary “extras” that really just don’t need to be in your smoothie. Always avoid things like agave, honey, fruit puree, sweetened yoghurt, and dates. These “extras” may seem like a fun addition to your smoothie, but all they really are doing is making your smoothie much higher in sugar. Instead, if you want to add a few fun “extras” think about adding chia seeds (for extra fiber and omega-3’s), cinnamon (for spice and balancing blood sugar), and occasionally an adaptogenic powder (like maca root for hormonal balance). By following these six simple steps, you will always find yourself with a delicious and balanced smoothie that is perfect for helping you increase your fruit and vegetable consumption, and is a great addition to a healthy diet.