Smoothies are praised worldwide – and we believe it’s for a good reason. They are so versatile that different ingredient combos make up a virtually endless source of inspiration to keep your smoothies exciting and nutritious. This beverage can be a meal that fits in your favorite cup so that you can have it on the go at any point of your busy days and can keep blood sugar under control.
However, not all smoothies are equal; if you’re looking to incorporate them into your healthy diet, it’s essential to understand some basic concepts to ensure you get the most out of this drink. For instance, it’s not uncommon for people to find smoothie inspiration on social media and trade their breakfast for a fancy-looking beverage that will soon mess up their blood sugar levels and leave them starving. In such cases, the blood sugar struggle can last all day long, causing you to grab anything in your eyesight and forget about your healthy diet. With that in mind, we’ve asked experts from a weight loss clinic in Chicago to break down the subject and help us understand how to make a nutritious smoothie that won’t mess up our blood sugar levels (and diets).
The importance of finding the right balance- Keeping blood sugar under control
While it is tempting to blend your favorite fruits into a sweet smoothie, and it can lead you to feel as if you’re having a super healthy snack or a breakfast, it’s easy to go overboard with unnecessary sugars. It doesn’t really matter where the sugar comes from – it can always cause those unwanted spikes, leaving you starving and anxious to grab and eat anything to get it back under control. Therefore, it’s necessary to find the balance between all three macronutrients – protein, carbs, and fats. By mixing them the right way, you’ll ensure your smoothie becomes a nutritious beverage that can perfectly substitute for your breakfast or any snack during the day. Here’s how to do it right:
- Choose the liquid
When choosing a liquid base for your smoothie, it’s best to stick to some of the best low-carb options, such as water, iced green tea, and unsweetened milk. For instance, a cup of unsweetened almond milk contains about one gram of carbs, while a cup of unsweetened soy milk contains three grams. Cow’s milk, on the other hand, has about twelve grams of lactose sugar per cup. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t choose this as your liquid base for the smoothie, just make sure to be moderate when adding other carb-rich ingredients.
- Add a protein
Consider protein a key ingredient here – it’s the star of your smoothie, and it will play a significant role in keeping your blood sugar levels under control. By slowing down the absorption of food, they reduce the speed at which sugars enter your bloodstream. Some of the best protein choices for you to include in your smoothies include plain Greek yogurt, silken tofu, cottage cheese, or a protein powder of your choice.
- Pick a fruit
You want your smoothie to taste sweet and delicious after all, and here’s where you add that sweet note. Still, it’s essential to stop at one serving of your fruits – it’s not uncommon for people to add two to three, significantly increasing the amount of sugar in this beverage. Some useful serving guides to follow include up to one cup of berries, half a cup of mango, pineapple, or a banana, and one citrus fruit per serving. It’s good to note how adding frozen fruits add a nice texture to your smoothies and can be an excellent base for a smoothie bowl.
- Make some room for a vegetable
Smoothies make an excellent opportunity for you to add some leafy greens into your diet – even if you’re not really a fan of them. Spinach and kale are amazing sources of vitamin K, antioxidants, and potassium – all of which will have a positive impact on your blood sugar levels.
Both fruits and vegetables contain fiber, which is essential for a healthy gut and helps to keep you full for longer.
- Add some healthy fats
Fats are finally seeing their fair share of affection among dieters worldwide. While most of us have been scared of fats of any kind at some point in our lives, it’s now the time to proudly incorporate some healthy ones into our diets. When it comes to smoothies, some great fat sources include chia and flax seeds, nuts, and different types of nut butter, as well as avocados. Such fats will aid the absorption of many vitamins in your body and leave you feeling full and satisfied after your smoothie. However, keep your fat servings at about two tablespoons so you don’t end up taking too many calories.
- Spice it up
Lastly, don’t hesitate to spice your smoothies to add some amazing flavors minus the sugars. You can mix and match them depending on the other ingredients in your smoothie and get a new and exciting beverage each time. Some of the best spice choices include cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and turmeric. Fresh herbs, such as basil, mint, and coriander, are bound to add some nice freshness, while coffee and unsweetened cocoa can give you a much-needed boost in the mornings.