Ways to Make Smoothies Healthier

Smoothies are absolutely delicious. But, sometimes, they can really be milkshakes hiding as a health food. And, even a genuine smoothie can pose health problems for people with blood sugar concerns. However, some people love them as a way to start the day. They are a great way to enjoy fruits and veggies. But, your healthy drink can actually be a Trojan horse.

Fruit and vegetables are a rich source of fiber and nutrients and can help keep blood sugar normal. While fruit juice can spike blood sugar because it has the fiber removed, blended fruit retains fiber and provides you with many benefits. However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. It is hard to judge portion size when making a smoothie. Even with fiber, a smoothie can end up being very high in carbs.

As well as being high in carbs, they can be high in calories. While you may be making your smoothie with healthy things like yogurt, peanut butter, milk or avocado, you are still eating a whole meal as a drink. They tend not to be as filling as a meal. And, most “hacks” to make them more filling are by adding more fat.

But, if you love smoothies and want to keep them as part of your day, there are ways to make them better! We completely understand wanting to enjoy your favorite food. There are compromises you can make to enjoy what you love!

For one thing, to make the smoothie filling, always turn to fiber first: add greens like raw spinach. Fiber can help bulk out your smoothie and help you feel fuller. The extra veggie adds nutrients to your drink too! Mild flavored greens are easy to cover with your other ingredients — you will still have a fruity drink — and will make you feel like you had a real meal.

Another tip is to pay attention to the amount of an ingredient you’re putting into the blender before it goes in. Many of us look at the line on the side of the blender, but it’s not as accurate as figuring out your portions beforehand. When you are making the recipe from scratch, do the math. All of your healthy ingredients add up!

We also like using a lot of ice. Adding the ice in two batches means it can give the smoothie extra body — some ice stays in small pieces instead of being thoroughly blended. The ice makes the smoothie also have more fluid overall. That’s important. Often, when you feel hungry, you’re actually dehydrated. Smoothies aren’t the most hydrating meal, despite being a drink. Adding extra water makes them add hydration to your morning without adding extra calories. It also makes a smaller drink feel bigger, tricking your brain into thinking you’ve had a larger meal than you did, which can help if you’re watching your calories.   

Finally, read the ingredients. A fat-free yogurt can be heavy in sugar! A healthy-looking label doesn’t mean you’ll like the ingredient list. Once you know the brands you want and the ratios you like, your healthy breakfast smoothies can be a snap to make in the morning!

Banner image: Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash
February 05, 2021
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