Most smoothies are extremely high in sugar—in fact, some can pack as many grams of sugar as two cans of Coke.
In our weight loss coaching sessions, many of our weight-loss patients find that “healthy” smoothies or “smoothie detox diets” have been actually making them fat. Many of us think our smoothies are healthy because they are made from only natural sugar found in fruit or honey. That’s great, but the natural stuff will still send your blood-sugar levels sky-high, which we’re betting is not exactly how you want to start your morning or end a great workout.
Here are our Smoothie rules as well as a recipe for super-nutritious, leaner, cleaner drink that still tastes fabulous, but doesn’t have all the sugar of a commercial soda.
Our smoothie rules:
- Proper texture and consistency are key to a tasty smoothie, but adding two frozen bananas to your shake will also add at least 30 g of sugar. Instead, start with an avocado as your texture foundation—they’re low in sugar but amazingly high in fiber, potassium, and healthy fat, and will make your smoothie super rich and creamy.
- The healthiest ingredients you can put in your smoothie are green vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens, so make these the bulk of your healthy cocktail.
- Sure, fruit is healthy, but if you add tons of it to one shake like many smoothie shops do, you’ll sabotage your health and weight management efforts. If you insist on using fruit, choose low-sugar frozen berries, and use bananas, mangoes, and pineapple in moderation.
- Instead of milk and non-dairy milk alternatives like unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk, blend your drink with unsweetened green tea or just water, both which have zero sugar.
- Skip the sweetened protein powders, honey, sugary yogurts and boost your smoothie with unsweetened protein powder instead. Finally, use healthy add-ons such as spirulina greens, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, raw nuts, carob powder, cocoa powder, lemon juice, matcha green tea powder and/or bee pollen.
Our Lean Mean Green Smoothie Recipe:
7 cups chopped spinach
6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups cold filtered water
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup cucumber
1 medium apple, cored and coarsely chopped
1 medium avocado
2 TBSP lemon juice
Stevia to taste
Unflavored protein powder (optional)
Chia seeds (optional)
Combine the spinach, romaine, and water in a blender and begin processing on low. Gradually move to higher speeds and blend until smooth.
Next, add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Add Stevia to taste and blend. Serve at once or refrigerate, covered, for up to 2½-3 days.
Makes 4 servings.