Colorful, fruity smoothie bowls had their run trending not too long ago. When you really sit down and think about all the ingredients that go into them, you’ll hopefully notice the sugars add up pretty quickly. With all the fruits including acai, banana, strawberries, and dates blended together with sweetened almond milk and topped with layers of more fruit and granola, you’re truly doing more harm than good to your body by causing your blood sugar to dramatically spike with the intake of all these carbohydrates. These one-dimensional smoothies won’t keep you full for long, and they may even lead to bloating and a crash soon after.
Lately, I’ve been very into making low-sugar / fruit-free smoothies and I highly suggest you try it out with me!
I’m here to offer some helpful tips that will turn your beloved smoothies (rightfully so) into a substantial, balanced meal or supplement to a meal so that you can enjoy smoothies every day!
My goal isn’t to say that fruit is bad for you and should be avoided at all times, because it’s shouldn’t. Fruit is a fantastic source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It’s just important to be mindful of the amount of fruit you’re consuming throughout the day because the sugars can add up quickly and exacerbate inflammation, cravings and crashes. Personally, I used to make fruit-filled smoothie bowls almost every day, but since my tastebuds have evolved and I crave less sugar, I function much better with low-sugar smoothies. At the beginning of this year, I completely switched up my diet to focus on eating more healthy fats and reducing my overall sugar intake. I’ve completed SIX 7-day sugar detox’s (the last one I extended for 20 days total) and feel much more energized, clear, well-rested and have even noticed quite a bit of physical gains in the gym. Click here for more info on the sugar detox.
Nutrition information is confusing, I totally get it. But, if you hone in on balancing each of your meals throughout the day with protein, fat, fiber and greens (well said by Kelly Leveque), it becomes much less complicated and easier to follow. The same goes for smoothies. By keeping fruit to a minimum (½ cup or less), adding quality sources of protein, fat and fiber, you will help stabilize your blood sugar and in turn, stay full for hours without the crash, of course.
-Try to stick to about 1-1.5 cups for your liquid base, whether that’s unsweetened nut milk, coconut milk, coconut water or water. The smoothie will expand once you add the other ingredients
-Want to still use acai packets? Go for it! Make sure to buy the unsweetened version– They carry them at Trader Joe’s in the frozen section.
-Add a serving a protein powder (can be anything from collagen, egg white, hemp, pea, organic whey, etc.) to help slow the breakdown process, stabilize blood sugars, and support and maintain muscle growth.
-Make smoothies at home!! This way, you’re in control of all the ingredients you add to the blender and can opt for healthier choices.
-Steam and freeze vegetables (yes, I said vegetables) to add to your smoothies! These will take the place of frozen fruit, make your smoothies thicker and colder, and offer tons of vitamins and minerals. *Start out by adding small portions to your smoothies and work your way up each time.
-If you do buy a smoothie when you’re out and about, make sure to MODIFY! Most places are more than accommodating when you ask for say, ½ the amount of fruit, no dates, add flax, add coconut oil, sub almond butter, add avocado, etc.
-At home, top your smoothies with higher energy options like drizzled nut butter (2 ingredients or less is ideal), coconut butter, cacao nibs, coconut flakes, etc.
I hope those tips are helpful! 🙂
Now onto my latest smoothie obsession.. My Peanut Butter Chip Smoothie.
I don’t know about you, but I have a love affair with peanut butter. It’s pretty intense, which is why I love incorporating it into my day, one way or another. This time, it was in this delicious fruit-free Peanut Butter Chip Smoothie.
The smoothie contains super simple ingredients including nut milk, frozen veggies (zucchini & cauliflower to bulk it up), powdered peanut butter, spinach, cacao nibs and Bob’s Red Mill Organic Golden Flaxseed Meal– one thing I add to almost all my smoothies because it’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and plant-based protein. I like using powdered peanut butter in smoothies because to me, I notice more flavor than when I use regular.
If you try this recipe, let me know what you think below in the comments! 🙂
Peanut Butter Chip Smoothie (Fruit-free!)
- 1.5 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup frozen raw zucchini
- 1/2 cup steamed then frozen cauliflower
- 2 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Golden Flaxseed Meal
- 3 tbsp powdered peanut butter
- 1 Handful spinach
- 2 tbsp cacao nibs
- Blend all ingredients together in high-powered blender. Top with peanut butter and cacao nibs.