I am a smoothie girl – if we’ve met in the office or you’ve seen some of my social media posts, I’m always throwing colorful stuff in the blender for a quick meal or snack. As a mom on the go, a balanced treat I can take with me is a staple in my day. But, all smoothies aren’t created equal. If you’re starting your smoothie with juice or adding too much fruit, I’m here to tell you there’s a better way! When your smoothie has too much sugar in it, you’ve punched your ticket onto the blood sugar roller coaster…this means an inevitable crash and food cravings later in the day. No thank you!

So, let’s build a better smoothie in 5 simple steps. One that tastes good and keeps your blood sugar stable throughout the day so you have energy to do all the things!

  1. Let’s start with your base. You’ll need about a cup of unsweetened liquid like water, herbal tea, unsweetened plant milk or cow’s milk if you tolerate it. For cow’s milk, I’m a fan of Fairlife milk, it’s lactose free and has twice as much protein as regular milk. 
  2. Next you’ll want some frozen fruit. We are going to work from a ratio of 1 cup of fruit to a ½ cup of vegetables or more. This will balance the natural sugars in the fruit with the fiber from the vegetables. For example 1 cup of frozen strawberries, ½ cup of frozen cauliflower or 1 cup of frozen blueberries, ½ cup of spinach. More veggies are always welcome. Blend, taste and adjust.
  3. Next up is our protein source. Protein is the ultimate blood sugar balancing nutrient. It keeps you full and satisfied and turns blood sugar spikes into rolling hills. I like to see 20-30g of protein in a smoothie. If you want protein that doesn’t change the flavor, Vital Proteins Collagen peptides is the one for you. If you want to enhance the flavor, I’m a big fan of Just Ingredients. This line has both plant and animal based protein powders in a variety of flavors. Vanilla is probably the most versatile but there is no shortage of flavors here. When I’m low on groceries, I like the flavored varieties with unsweetened plant milk and ice (shout out to the mint chocolate chip flavor)!
  4. Now we want to add some healthy fat and fiber with nuts or seeds. This will balance the smoothie in terms of nutrients but also slow down how quickly the carbohydrates from the fruit will turn into sugar in your bloodstream. My favorites are chia seeds, hemp seeds, almond butter or peanut butter. 
  5. You can stop here or add some herbs and spices for additional nutrients and flavor. This category may include fresh mint, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.

This is a nice framework to start with – you can always blend, taste and adjust to your taste buds. If you need more smoothie ideas, check out any of our meal plans. We include a smoothie every week as a simple way to boost nutrition and stay fueled on the go!

Happy sipping!

Lindsay Malone, MS, RD, LD
Director of Nutrition

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