Guide to Great Smoothies and the Best Blended Drinks
Smoothie shops are everywhere these days, and they all claim to be an amazingly healthy option for a quick pick-me-up or even as a full meal replacement. What many don’t tend to advertise, however, is that a lot of their smoothies and blended drinks can contain way more sugar than you’d think. These sugars add up fast, and for low carb dieters who love the taste and convenience of a smoothie, that’s not great news.
Fortunately, there are plenty of simple things you can do to make incredibly tasty and very healthy smoothies that are low in sugar and carbs. Most of the time, all it takes is a few small substitutions to cut out the sugar, but keep in all the nutrients and protein. Here, we will take a look at some of the essential smoothie ingredients and techniques that make them so tasty and so popular. In addition, we provide some great tips to help pack in even more goodness in to your smoothies and blended drinks, as well as a couple of fantastic recipes that you’ll simply love.
Smoothies are extremely simple in their concept, which is probably why they’ve become so popular. In a nutshell, smoothies are simply a big pile of fruits and vegetables, all blended together with things like juices and yogurts, to make a delicious and convenient drink that’s packed with plenty of nutrients. They’re a fast and easy way to work in more fruits and vegetables when you’ve got a busy schedule, and they’re so easy to customize you never need to worry about having the same old thing all the time.
Some of the most common and basic elements of smoothies are fruit, vegetables, juices, and yogurt or milk. Smoothies and blended drinks can be made in a huge variety of combinations from ingredients in each of those categories. Some people prefer sweeter all-fruit smoothies, others lean more towards creamier blended drinks that rely on more dairy ingredients, and still others love smoothies that are packed with greens and vegetables. Smoothies and blended drinks are so easily customized to everyone’s personal preferences, it seems almost as if smoothies are like snowflakes, with no two ever being identical! For many health-conscious people, smoothies are one of their favorite food items.
Be Wary of Store-Bought Smoothies
As we mentioned earlier, it’s not unusual for some prepared smoothie drinks to have way more sugar in them than you’d expect. This can occur for a couple of different reasons. First, it’s possible that they simply added sugar, often in the form of a flavoured syrup, to increase the sweetness of the drink. If this is part of their standard method for preparing a smoothie, ask them to skip the syrup for you or if they can substitute an artificial sweetener instead.
Second, it could simply be due to the particular fruits that were selected to make the smoothie. We’ve covered this topic before, in our article that talks about the Best and Worst Fruits and Vegetables for Low Carb Diets, but some fruits simply have higher levels of naturally occurring sugars than others. Take a look at the different fruits that make up a smoothie, and if they all fall in to the high-sugar category, that’s a good indicator that the smoothie will be high in sugar, too. Opt for some of your favourite lower-sugar fruits as substitutes, and it will definitely help to keep the carb count of your smoothie down.
A Word on Bananas
Once you start scanning through all the different smoothie recipes on the internet, or on the menu boards of your favourite smoothie shop, you’ll notice that bananas are an astonishingly common ingredient. This is because they do a great job of thickening up smoothies, and most people enjoy the taste. Unfortunately, they also tend to be one of the foods that most low carb dieters avoid due to their higher sugar and starch amounts. Fortunately, there are alternative ingredients that can be used to thicken up smoothies just as well as bananas. Some alternatives to consider are chia seeds, yogurt, tofu, or avocado. All are low in carbs and work great in smoothies and blended drinks.
Boosting Blended Drinks
In case the nutrient count in your smoothie is just not as high as you’d like it to be, there are dozens of ways you can power up your smoothies and blended drinks with supplements. Some of the most common add-ons to smoothie recipes include things like matcha powder, hemp protein, chia seeds, cacao, and even peanut butter. These ingredients deliver added protein and other nutrients to your smoothie, and can help take it from a tasty afternoon snack all the way to a full-blown meal replacement. Explore different ways to boost your smoothies with supplements until you find a few favourite power-ups to choose from.
Now that we’ve covered the essentials on smoothies, it’s time to get to a couple of amazing recipes we’ve discovered for healthy, low carb and low sugar smoothies and blended drinks. Whether you love something sweet and fruity for a quick indulgence, or are looking for a smoothie loaded with greens to help you detox, these recipes are a great way to go.
Fresh & Fruity Smoothie Recipe
The low carb experts over at Atkins shared this recipe for a Tropical Raspberry Smoothie that is fresh, fruity, and extremely delicious! It uses a combination of unsweetened coconut milk, tofu, and fresh raspberries to produce a light smoothie that’s not too sweet and makes a great snack for a sunny afternoon or as a convenient breakfast treat.
Green Detox Smoothie Recipe
Green smoothies aren’t typically known for their great tastes, but Melissa over at IBreatheImHungry.com has put together this amazing recipe for a Low Carb Green Smoothie that’s going to change all that. It’s dairy-free, packed with nutrients, and has a slightly sweet taste to make it ridiculously easy to drink. This blend of cucumbers, lettuce, pineapple, kiwi and avocado is extremely healthy and very refreshing. A great way to supplement your low carb diet!
Smoothies and blended drinks are a fantastic way to get more fruits, vegetables, and supplements in a quick, easy, and convenient method. Use them to power up in the morning, recharge after a workout, or help get over a mid-afternoon craving. Load them with protein powder to create a convenient and tasty meal replacement, or make them in big batches as a cool treat to share with a gathering of friends.
Whatever way you use your smoothies, and however you choose to customize them, we’re sure that you’ll find them a fun and delicious part of the low carb lifestyle. Now, go fire up that blender!