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6 tricks to make your smoothies lower in sugar

2nd April 2018 by Jess

This blog post is going to arm you with ideas so that next time you’re ordering a smoothie, you can keep these low sugar tips in mind. When you’re making smoothies at home, you can combine these tips into your existing DIY recipes too.

jess smoothie

If you know me one bit, you’ll know I’m a HUGE fan of smoothies - they’re part of my breakfast 5 days out of 7, and I’ll often have a juice or a smoothie mid-afternoon as well as a pick-me-up if I’ve had a very go go go day! I recommend them to many of my nutritional clients as well, for the reasons I’ll delve into now...

Jess, graze nutritionist
jess smoothie

Why are smoothies so great?

  1. They’re quick to make and it’s such a delicious and simple way to squeeze in a lot of nutrients when time is of the essence.
  2. You can keep the majority of ingredients in the freezer or cupboard so it doesn’t require you to have fresh ingredients to make.
  3. Let’s face it, sometimes our fridges look rather bare, especially if you’re nearing the end of the week and you’re not due a food shop for a day or two, or you’re back from a night out and you don’t have the energy to swing by a supermarket on the way home. It means you always have a meal you can whizz together, no matter the time or fridge situation.

But not all smoothies are created equal.

Smoothies, especially ones you pick up at a supermarket or have made for you at a juice bar or restaurant are often loaded with extra sugar, in order for it to “taste good” and for us to come back for more.

vegetables

Sugar and carbohydrates from whole foods aren’t “bad” - it’s a case of everything in moderation.

With smoothies and juices however, it’s so easy to overdose on sugar if you’re unaware of the hidden sources. The sugar content regardless of whether it’s from fruit or not can easily climb up to 50 g of sugar in some smoothies.

If you’re an active person and you exercise, walk to work etc. then that’s not an issue. However most people drink a (sugar-filled) juice or smoothie thinking they’re choosing a “healthy option” and then spend a lot of time sat down, which after weeks or months of enjoying that habit, is likely going to play havoc with their health and body composition.

The goal is to combine fruits with protein, fibre, vegetables (especially greens) and healthy fats so you have a balanced meal.

Here are some simple tips and tricks to down-level the sugar content of your smoothies effortlessly, whilst still keeping them tasting great.

jess courgette 1

COURGETTE

Adding courgette into smoothies is the most genius and creative way to get more veg into your body.

It adds fibre, potassium, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin A as well as a creamy texture to your smoothies. They also have a very neutral taste so if you’re worried about them overpowering the flavour, panic not.

They are really easy to prep; chop them into chunks and put them in a freezer bag. Then you can just throw a couple of frozen courgette pieces into your blender, along with your other ingredients.

This shaves off valuable time in the morning and means you don’t need a constant stock of fresh courgettes in your fridge - win-win.

jess avocado 2

AVOCADO

This is my favourite fruit to add to smoothies, for its healthy fats, fibre and creaminess. They also contain vitamin E and K, potassium and folate. Like I suggested with the courgette, you can keep a stash of frozen avocados in your freezer.

Simply cut the avocado in two using a sharp knife, remove the stone and then scoop out the flesh from the skin using a large spoon.

Chop the flesh into 2-3 chunks for each half and store the avocado in a freezer bag. That way you don’t have to wait for the narrow window of time to use a perfect avocado!

raw cacao milkshakes
nut milk 3

SWITCH THE BASE TO ALMOND MILK OR TEA

If you’re currently using a fruit juice as the base to your smoothie, switch this to filtered water, unsweetened almond or coconut milk or if you haven’t already tried it, unsweetened green tea!

Green tea pairs really well with smoothies and you’ll also benefit from the antioxidants and bioflavonoids that are present in the tea.

Brew a cup of tea and leave it in your fridge overnight so you can add it to your smoothie in the morning.

make your own coconut milk
jess's green juice 4

FROZEN PEAS

This is my husband’s favourite ingredient in his smoothie. Whenever he makes them for me I know they’re in there somewhere!

Again, they’re flavourless but they’re an ingredient that is often in peoples freezers and they’ll add protein, vitamins K, B1 and C, manganese, dietary fibre, copper, phosphorus and folate.

vegetables 5

CUCUMBER

The addition of cucumbers is an amazing way to increase the water content of your smoothies since they’re such a high-liquid vegetable.

They also contain a good amount of fibre, polyphenols, vitamin C and antioxidants.

Top tip: choose organic when possible.

carrots & greens detox juice
shake 6

BEETROOT

Beetroot is naturally sweet and it lends such an incredible ruby-red colour to the smoothie.

They’re also high in vitamin C, folate, and manganese.

Top tip: chop up your raw beets into bite-sized chunks and freeze them.

If you want to steam them for 15 minutes before freezing them then you can do, but I often just chop them up and put them straight in the freezer in my smoothie-devoted drawer.

blueberry, ginger & beetroot shake

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jess fruit

By Jess, graze nutritionist.

Our nutritionist extraordinaire, Jess trained at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and is a registered practitioner with the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She's the creator of our health badges, to help you choose the snacks and boxes that are right for you. Check out everything from Jess on our blog, with recipes and tricks to help you keep making better choices, or go to Jess's blog at jessipes.co.uk for even more.

view all posts by Jess

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