I love smoothies because they serve as an easy, efficient, and tasty way to get a ton of nutrients. That being said, not all smoothies are healthy. A mistake I see a lot of people and juice/smoothie bars making is creating poorly balanced smoothies that enormously spike blood sugar. Our bodies and brains hate blood sugar spikes and it's important that we actively work to mitigate them. So what does that mean when it comes to smoothies?
- Don't use sweeteners (sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc.) -- all of these create an instant blood sugar spike.
- Stop using so much fruit! Yes, fruit is part of a healthy diet, but it's easy to get into the realm of "too much of a good thing". Fruit contains sugar, and while that sugar comes packaged with some wonderful nutrients, eating a lot in one sitting will cause your blood sugar to spike. I tell my clients to limit fruit to no more than a 1/2 cup per smoothie.
- Make sure your smoothie also contains protein, fat, and fiber, as all three of these work to keep blood sugar stable and you feeling satiated for longer. By incorporating these three elements, you can have a smoothie as a meal replacement and genuinely feel satiated for hours.
Building Healthy Smoothies
Here's the template I give my clients when it comes to building healthy, blood-sugar-stabilizing smoothies that they can use as a meal replacement:
In a blender, combine:
1.5 - 2 cups liquid base
1 - 2 tbsp healthy fat
1 serving protein (20g is generally a good starting point)
½ – 1.5 tbsp fiber
½ cup fruit
Liquid base: nut or seed milk (e.g. almond milk, cashew milk, hemp milk), coconut milk, water
Healthy Fat: nut butter, seed butter, coconut butter, MCT oil, coconut oil, avocado, dried coconut, nuts, seeds, ghee
Protein: collagen, clean protein powders, higher protein seeds (e.g. hemp, chia), nuts
Fiber: chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, acacia fiber, avocado, greens
Greens: spinach, microgreens, kale, mixed greens, parsley, cilantro, etc.
Superfoods: cinnamon, medicinal mushrooms (e.g. lion's mane, chaga, reishi), adaptogens (e.g. maca, rhodiola, ashwaghanda, eleuthero), bee pollen, raw cacao, spirulina, chlorella, blue majik, turmeric, etc.
Creamy Blueberry: vanilla protein powder, blueberries, flax, almond butter, nut/seed milk
Snickerdoodle: vanilla protein powder, walnut butter, flax, cinnamon, nut milk
Strawberry Shortcake: vanilla protein powder, strawberries, flax, coconut oil, coconut milk
Chocolate Coconut: chocolate protein powder, coconut butter, chia, nut milk
Experiment to see what flavors you enjoy!