Three Diabetic Smoothie Recipes, Plus How to Make Your Own
Pureed fruit drinks, also known veggie or fruit shakes, have been around since the 1930’s but they became much more popular in the 1960’s as a health food. The basics of a smoothie are simple, but some contain too many calories and carbohydrate for diabetic patients hoping to control their blood sugar yet still have a healthful snack.
For the most part, a smoothie is a blend of fruit and yogurt. However, there are thousands of fruit combinations plus many also add additional components such as extra protein (from a whey or soy powder), herbal supplements, or sweeteners (carob/chocolate, honey, etc). Smoothies are offered as beverage or snack options almost everywhere today as it has become a multi-billion dollar industry.
Smoothies make a great snack and an easy way to get in at least one serving of fruit per day. They are also a terrific on-the-go option for those who normally skip breakfast. Eating regular meals is especially important for diabetic patients to keep blood sugar stable.
However, consumers beware! Just as with many other beverages, serving sizes can be way off target, offering too many calories and grams of sugar. The good news is that smoothies are very easy to make (just 4 basic ingredients) and when you make them at home, you control both the size of the serving and the amount of sugar you put in.
Part 1: Liquid
Start off with one to two cups of liquid. If you are making just a serving for yourself, just use one cup. Dairy milk is a common choice – one cup of low-fat (1%) milk contains 103 calories. You can also choose soy, almond, or coconut milk, however be sure to watch the sugar content (choose a “light” or unsweetened version).
Yogurt is a great choice instead of milk, especially one that contains probiotic cultures. The American Diabetes Association suggests choosing a brand that is non-fat without added sugars (usually labeled as light). Greek yogurt is another good choice, as it is thicker and provides more protein to keep you satisfied longer.
You can use water (making a blander beverage) or even tea or coffee, depending upon your preference. However, when making a diabetic-friendly smoothie, we recommend against using fruit juice. The natural sweetness from the whole fruit should be enough for a satisfying beverage.
Part 2: Fruit and Vegetables
Yes, vegetables. While the first thing you think of in a smoothie is fruit, vegetables can be a nice addition, especially leafy greens to make a nutritious green-colored smoothie. There are a ton of combinations you can make using fresh fruits and vegetables so be adventurous.
First, the fruits. If you are using the glycemic index to choose foods that have less of a tendency to raise blood sugar, choose fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, plums, grapefruit, and berries for your smoothie. But remember, the protein from the milk/yogurt will help slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream, so feel free to enjoy other fresh fruits such as bananas and melon.
Most vegetables are low in sugar and total carbohydrate. The addition of vegetables to your smoothie can also help lower the calories of the final beverage plus add some fiber to help keep you full longer. Tossing a handful of spinach or kale into the blender will add color to the smoothie, but you probably will not even notice a taste change. Avocados make healthful “green” additions to a smoothie as well, plus provide a thicker texture.
Part 3: Special Extras
You may want to add additional protein to your smoothie, which is digested more slowly and can help stabilize blood sugar. Be sure to check the sugar content, as some of the flavored products may have sweeteners added. You can also add peanut butter as a protein-packed thickener (cheaper and easier to find too!)
Another great addition to smoothies are foods that are high in fiber, such as oatmeal (help lower cholesterol) or seeds (chia or flax are good healthful options that provide omega-3 fatty acids). There are also commercial fiber supplements such as Metamucil or Fiber Choice.
Steer clear of added sweeteners to your smoothie. Even “natural” sugars such as honey has the potential to add too much carbohydrate to your snack.
Part 4: Ice
Using frozen fruit will reduce the amount of ice you need to make the final product “slushy” and cold. On the other hand, adding calorie-free ice can add volume to your smoothie, making it seem like you have more. Plus the extra fluid will help you reach your water intake goals for the day.
How to Blend
Using a blender, blend until the liquid is fully circulating for at least 5 to 10 seconds. Make sure you do not have too much in the blender, or you will not achieve proper circulation.
Because being diabetic means accurately controlling intake, remember to keep track of the amount of product you put into your smoothie recipe. Following are three diabetic patients’ smoothie recipes, but as we said earlier – feel free to be adventurous, adding your own favorite flavors!
Joann’s Green Smoothie
• 2 cups spinach
• 1/2 cup strawberries
• 1/2 cup blueberries
• 1 scoop of sugar free chocolate protein powder
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
• 1/4 cup soaked chia seed (it will be thick and gelatinous) [about 2 tablespoons dry seeds]
• A small handful of raw pumpkin seed or walnuts [nutrition information below is for 2 tablespoons walnuts]
Calories: 275 | Fat: 13g | Protein: 18g | Carbs: 27g | Sugar: 13g | Calcium: 11% | Iron: 3.2mg | Vitamin A: 41% | Vitamin C: 89%
Suzanna’s Green Smoothie
• 2 ounces of spinach
• 2 ounces of kale
• 1 ounce of hemp seeds
• 1 large banana
• a tiny bit of Stevia if I wish to have it sweeter.
• 1.5-2 cups of water
Calories: 345 | Fat: 15g | Protein: 14g | Carbs: 41g | Sugar: 17g | Calcium: 14% | Iron: 4.1mg | Vitamin A: 79% | Vitamin C: 128%
Chris’ Green Smoothie
• 8oz unsweetened almond milk
• 2-3 cups spinach (or any green. I use Kale and arugula too) (recipe is for 2 cups spinach)
• 1 medium banana, peeled
• 1/2 small avocado
Calories: 282 | Fat: 13g | Protein: 6g | Carbs: 36g | Sugar: 15g | Calcium: 6% | Iron: 2.4mg | Vitamin A: 41% | Vitamin C: 47%
How to Make the Perfect Smoothie - perfectsmoothie.com