A lot of smoothies are high in sugar and result in an energy crash. I'm going to teach you how to make a healthy low sugar and high fiber smoothie to help you avoid a mid morning or afternoon energy crash.
Smoothies are an excellent way to pack in lots of nutrients. However, they can also be quite the sugar bomb. Smoothies tend to have a "health halo" making you think all smoothies are healthy but in reality they are not all created equal. If not done correctly, smoothies can lack the balance that is essential for a nourishing and energizing healthy meal or snack.
Components of a Healthy High Fiber Smoothie
For a balanced smoothie, you want to make sure you have a combination of protein, healthy fats, and fiber. The combination of these nutrients will balance your your blood sugar response from the fruit in the smoothie and provide for better energy. Not to mention, these nutrients have many other health benefits. For example:
- Protein is the most satiating macronutrient. This means that it makes you feel the most full and satisfied after eating it. It can also help to manage your appetite and blood sugar throughout the day, especially when consumed in the morning. This can be helpful for people trying to manage their weight or struggle with constantly feeling hungry throughout the day.
- Healthy fats not only make things taste delicious but they are good for your brain, skin, and hair. They also help your body to absorb certain vitamins.
- Fiber can helps to nourish your gut microbiome which can have a trickle down effect on your mental health, weight, blood sugar management, immune system, etc. (pretty much everything). Fiber can also reduce cholesterol levels and help you to feel full and stay full after eating.
Lots of smoothies just contain carbohydrates (juice, fruit, and sugary yogurt or ice cream) and lack the protein, healthy fats, and fiber. These are the smoothies that will spike and crash your blood sugar and are not living up to their full smoothie potential.
Building a High Fiber Smoothie
Liquid: the best way to reduce the sugar in your smoothie is remove the juice. This is the biggest downfall I see in smoothies. While there is nothing wrong with the sugar in fruit, juice is a mega dose of fruit and is stripped of the fiber that whole fruit provides. . Even if you aren't able to completely leave out the juice, consider using 50% juice and 50% one of the liquids I have listed below. I promise that you can still have a tasty and satisfying smoothie without the juice!
Keep in mind that when you buy smoothies out, they are most likely using juice as the liquid. You can always ask what liquid they are using and ask for them to use an alternative - super easy way to drastically cut back on the sugar in smoothies!
I know opting to use water in your smoothie sounds rather lack luster but I promise it still tastes good!
Another trick I like to use is add ½ an orange to the smoothie and still use water as the liquid. You kind of have the taste of adding orange juice but with less sugar and more fiber.
- Unsweetened nut/coconut milk
This is a low sugar way to add some creaminess to your smoothie.
- Coconut water
Coconut water does still contain some sugar but not as much as most juices and also contains certain minerals that a lot of us are lacking.
Fruit: the fruit you choose for a smoothie determines the flavor. You can choose any fruit you like and to have thick and creamy smoothies, you want to make sure at least most of the fruit you are using is frozen.
I know some people may be afraid of using banana because of the sugar content but in general, I would not worry too much about the sugar that is naturally occurring in any fruit. Yes, it is there but it is combined with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, if you don't want to use banana, the smoothie recipe below does not have banana in it. There are also many smoothies in my e-book that do not include banana.
- Any and all fruit is great in smoothies!
- These are the lowest in sugar and highest in fiber.
- Adds creaminess and sweetness to a smoothie. Choose less brown bananas for less sugar but keep in mind these will also be less sweet.
Vegetable: it's always a good idea to add a veggie to your smoothie! Why not sneak some more veggies in your diet, right?? The veggies listed below are rather tasteless but can significantly increase the fiber, vitamins, and minerals in the smoothie. Some may sound a little strange to add to smoothies but I promise you can't taste it. I recommend starting out by adding a small amount and once you see that I'm telling the truth you can start to add more!
- Will turn your smoothie green but you can't taste it.
- Will turn your smoothie green but you can't taste it.
- Frozen cauliflower
- Flavorless but won't turn your smoothie green if that's an issue.
- Frozen zucchini
- Flavorless, won't turn your smoothie green, and can make the texture thicker and creamier.
Protein: next we want to make sure that there is protein in your smoothie. This helps to keep you full, satisfied, and balance your blood sugar.
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Protein/collagen powder
- Hemp seeds
- Nut butters
Healthy fat: by adding healthy fat you are also increasing satisfaction and balancing your blood sugar (aka avoiding the sugar crash). Not to mention, the fat sources listed below are packed with lots of other good nutrients. You can view them as "nutrient boosters"
- Nut butters
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Ground flax seeds
- Flavorless and adds creaminess
Extras: these things aren't essential to your smoothie but some options to change up the flavor and add more nutrients!
- Can add a little bit of a spiciness
- Adds sweetness and fiber
- Sometimes I like to add a little tarte flavor to my smoothies. I like this best in smoothies with ginger.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 1- 1 ½ cup unsweetened nut milk (almond, hemp, cashew, etc.)
- 2-3 handfuls spinach
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1-2 dates
- 1 scoop collagen powder (I like to use Vitamin Proteins)
- Add all ingredients to your blender. Start blending on a low speed and increase slowly. Blend until cream & enjoy!
- If you want to leave out the collagen, I recommend adding 1-2 tablespoons hemp seeds for more protein or using 1 scoop of protein powder.
- If you are looking for a good brand of nut milk, I recommend Elmhurst. There is no added junk - just the nuts and water. There is a "find us" option on their website so you can see where to buy this milk near you.
- If you are feeling a little adventurous, you can try making your own nut milk! I have a reel on Instagram explaining how to do so. It's much easier than you think. Click here to see the post.
More Smoothie Recipes
- The recipe above is from my smoothie e-book that includes 20 different healthy smoothie recipes. I created this book to help take the guesswork out of knowing what foods to combine for a healthy AND delicious smoothie.
- In addition to all 20 recipes, the book includes a mix & match smoothie template, a guide to stock your kitchen with all the smoothie essentials, and my best smoothie tips.
- The recipes in the book are designed to be lower in sugar and higher in fiber than most smoothies. They also show you how you can pack in as many nutrients as possible all while still having a delicious tasting smoothie.
My favorite smoothie essentials on Amazon
- Decomposable straws: these aren't paper and won't disintegrate in your mouth
- Nut milk bag: in case you decide to make your own
- Small Hydroflask: I LOVED this when I was going into the office for work. I am not somebody who is hungry right when I first wake up so I would bring my breakfast to work with me and eat there. However, if I brought my smoothie in a regular container, it would melt by the time I was ready to drink it. With this Hydroflask, you smoothie stays the same temperature and does not melt for HOURS. It's pretty amazing. I also use it for coffee as well as it will also keep your coffee warm for hours.
- Vitamix: expensive but worth the money if you cook often