It’s no secret that I LOVE my smoothies. They are an easy way of getting your daily dose of antioxidants and protein in one convenient drink. Smoothies, in particular, form a part of my everyday life (these days I even travel with my trusty Vitamix). I make smoothies for breakfast or as a perfect digestive friendly lunch for my hubby and I when we’re at work.
I see a lot of smoothies out there, particularly in cafes and the blogosphere, that look magnificent, but can often be loaded with a heap of unwanted sugars. I’m a big fan of using natural sugars in my recipes, coming from fresh fruits or unrefined sources. I also use considerably less sugar in my recipes, so they are not too sweet and help to keep blood sugars steady.
To help get you through Summer and the rest of your healthy year ahead, I’ve come up with the ultimate low-sugar smoothie guide, which shares my tips on creating the ultimate low-sugar smoothies that taste purely delicious.
LOVE YOUR HEALTHY FATS
I love to add a good dose of healthy fat into my smoothies, which not only makes them creamy and delicious, it will allow you to use less sugar in the recipe and keep insulin at bay.
Healthy fats like a spoonful of avocado, almond butter, coconut butter or tahini are my secret ingredients.
ADD SUBTLE FLAVOURED VEGETABLES
I love cooking with zucchini and cauliflower, mainly because my body absolutely loves them and secondly their subtle flavour profile and texture makes them suitable for adding into the yummiest smoothies. Freeze chunks of them into freezer bags and add ½ cup into your next smoothie, you’ll notice they add creaminess, fibre, minerals and antioxidants without being overpowering. Job done!
USE LOW SUGAR FRUITS
I’m a big fan of eating all sorts of whole fresh fruits in their natural form, but some of my favourites are also low in sugar. These include kiwi fruit (my favourite gut loving fruit) strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapefruit, lemon, limes, honeydew melon, fresh whole pear, fresh young coconut, avocado, and dragon fruit (pitaya). I also love making acai berry bowls, but find that many of the café style bowls are quite heavily sweetened as they use the sweetened acai frozen pulp – so make sure you buy the unsweetened acai frozen pulp when purchasing.
Low sugar fruits include kiwi fruit, berries, grapefruit, lemon, honeydew melon, fresh whole pear, fresh young coconut, avocado, and dragon fruit (pitaya).
USE A CLEAN PROTEIN POWDER
A great way to start the day is with a protein-rich smoothie. Protein not only stops you feeling hungry between meals, it also stabilises blood sugar and it’s a vital macronutrient that your body needs to repair cells, make hormones, sustain lean muscle and create firm skin and lustrous hair.
It’s really important that you use a quality protein powder that is all natural, free from fillers and gums, gut friendly, and one that doesn’t contain ingredients you can’t pronounce on the back label.
AVOCADO FOR CREAMINESS
My secret weapon to creating keto style and low sugar smoothies is the trusty avocado. They are one of my favourite fruits as avocado’s are loaded with the good mono-unsaturated fats your body craves. A smoothie blended with avocado will make it luxurious and ultra creamy. Avocado is also rich in magnesium and contains essential nutrients like potassium, folate, and vitamin K, so they are a great base ingredient for many of my breakfast smoothie recipes. Use ¼ avocado for each serve. I like to smash avocado with a little lemon juice and spoon them into freezer ice cube trays – quick and convenient with no wastage.
USE MORE WATER + DRINK MORE TEA
When I make my own smoothies at home, I prefer using more water, rather than fruit juices or litres of nut milk. I normally use ½ water and ½ nut milk or even unsweetened iced tea in preference to water, which adds a boost of antioxidants.
If you’re up for an energy boost that doesn’t stress the nerves, add a teaspoon of Matcha Tea which will add a gentle dose of caffeine, antioxidants, amino acids, and chlorophyll.
LOVE YOUR ROOT VEGETABLES
Root vegetables such as carrots, roasted sweet potato and beetroot are naturally sweet and jam-packed with antioxidants and minerals that help your body thrive. I generally add beetroot into my berry-based smoothies and carrot into green based smoothies and sweet potato into chocolate smoothies. Try my carrot cake smoothie by blending Healthy Chef protein with 1 organic carrot, ½ banana, Healthy Chef turmeric latte, almond milk and some ice next time you have breakfast.
ADD CINNAMON, GINGER + TURMERIC
These spectacular ingredients cinnamon, ginger and turmeric have all been found to manage blood sugar levels and they are also the main ingredients found in our Healthy Chef Turmeric Latte.
What’s wonderful is that all these spices combine perfectly into most smoothies, so I love to add ½ teaspoon into my own smoothies.
Studies suggest that cinnamon decrease blood glucose levels in type-II diabetics.
Studies conducted at Sydney University found that extracts from Buderim Ginger (Australian grown ginger) rich in gingerols - the major active component of ginger rhizome - can increase uptake of glucose into muscle cells without using insulin and may, therefore, assist in the management of high blood sugar levels.
Other studies on curcumin (found in turmeric) found it was effective in the prevention and treatment of diabetes and its associated disorders.
A FEW TAKE HOMES MESSAGES…
Just remember when making your smoothies, try to add either leafy greens or vegetables to the mix alongside your fresh fruits and compliment with healthy fats and protein. This combo will help keep you energised, support your digestive health and keep you feeling wonderful for the New Year ahead.