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6 Tips for Lower-Sugar Smoothies

6 Tips for Lower-Sugar Smoothies
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Few things can beat the sweltering summer heat better than a cold smoothie, even if you’re watching your sugar intake. Not all smoothies are created equal: The average restaurant fruit smoothie carries anywhere between 10-20 teaspoons of sugar! Lower-sugar smoothies can be hard to come by.

The best way to enjoy this sweet treat is to prepare your own, and to sip it in moderation (we’re talking about a 1-cup serving). Try to use as little of these common high-sugar smoothie ingredients as possible:

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Instead of turning to the refined forms of sweetness listed above, play with the smoothie’s fat, protein and texture. Start blending lower-sugar smoothies with these tips:

6 TIPS FOR LOWER-SUGAR SMOOTHIES

1. START WITH A CREAMY BASE

Forgo the fruit juice, and add fat to your smoothie! Chances are you’ll be more satisfied with the taste, and feel fuller after drinking your smoothie. Even if your smoothie is higher in sugar, upping the fat helps slow down digestion, which prevents your blood sugar from skyrocketing. If the creaminess is too much for you, use half as much creamy base, and make up for the reduced liquid with water.

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*Use with 1/2 cup water

2. SPOON IN YOUR FAVORITE NUT BUTTER

Peanut, almond, sunflower and cashew butters are a great way to add both protein and healthy fats into your smoothie. Calorie-dense nut butters will make the smoothie more satisfying, and give you a good dose of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (a.k.a. the “healthy” fats). If you’re mindful about sugar, look for nut butters where “sugar” isn’t listed as an ingredient.

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3. SPRINKLE CHIA OR FLAXSEED TO VARY TEXTURE

Both chia and flaxseeds are a great way to play with texture and add more omega-3 fats into your diet. Omega-3 fats are essential but we typically don’t get enough of them in our diets. These fats are commonly found in fish (hint: don’t add this to your smoothie!), and are stored in the oils of seeds like chia and flax. Sadly, you don’t get omega-3 fats by eating the seeds whole, but if you break into the seeds (think high-power blender), you release the omega-3 fats.

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4. TOSS IN SOME MILD VEGETABLES

Smoothies are a great way to hide vegetables, especially if you’re someone who turns up your nose at salads! Slice up mild-tasting vegetables and tuck them in your smoothie so you can get valuable vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber.

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5. SPICE IT UP!

The same baking spices you use in desserts can make your smoothies smell “sweet” without actually adding very many calories, carbs or sugar. Play around with some of these spices to enhance the tastiness of your lower-sugar smoothie: vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom and allspice.

6. CHOOSE LOWER SUGAR FRUITS

Even if your agenda is to slash sugar from your diet, fruit is the the last place we’d pick (this is why it’s our last tip). The amount of sugar in fruit is low, and fruit is naturally packed with valuable vitamins and minerals. If you’re still concerned, then reach for lower-sugar fruits. Here’s a list of smoothie-friendly fruits listed from less to more sugar (in grams) for your convenience:

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2 KITCHEN-TESTED LOWER-SUGAR SMOOTHIES

Make a delicious tasting smoothie under 17 grams of sugar (that’s less than two tablespoons of sugar)? Challenge accepted! Here’s two tasty kitchen-tested lower-sugar smoothies from the folks here at MyFitnessPal.

1

CREAMY ALMOND BUTTER AND BANANA SMOOTHIE

6 Tips for Lower-Sugar Smoothies

2

SILKY STRAWBERRY-BANANA SMOOTHIE

Do you make lower-sugar smoothies? If so, share your tips and tricks in the comments below.

Originally published June 2015, updated July 2023

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