I think smoothies are a great breakfast option. They’re quick, tasty and packed with nutrients. But just because smoothies contain a lot of nutrients, it doesn’t mean they are always healthy. Smoothies often contain a ton of added sugar, which makes them more like a dessert than a breakfast.
Who wants to start their day on a sugar overload? Not me!
Why is sugar so bad you ask? Well, excess sugar contributes to weight gain and weight gain increases our risk for cancer and other nasty diseases. We need to decrease the sugar in our diet whenever possible. Breakfast is a great place to start!
3 Tips to Decrease the Sugar in your Smoothies
- If you use yogurt in your smoothies, try a plain, unsweetened variety. Many flavored yogurts contain and ton of added sugar. The added sweet from yogurt is completely unnecessary in a smoothie because the fruit you add contains natural sugar that will make your smoothie sweet. Keep in mind that it is impossible to take all the sugar out of yogurt because milk contains the natural sugar, lactose. Check the nutrition facts label and ingredients list to find the yogurt with the lowest amount.
- Stop adding sweeteners. Do you frequently add honey, agave or maple syrup to your smoothies? Many smoothie recipes suggest adding honey or other sweeteners, but I also find this completely unnecessary. The fruit you add to your smoothie will be plenty sweet. If you are used to adding sugar or syrups to your smoothies it may take a little while to adjust without it, but your taste buds will get the hang of it.
- Use water instead of juice to make your smoothie spin. When you make a smoothie you are essentially making fresh juice, so there is no need to add packaged juice. Plus, many juices also contain added sugar, the thing we are trying to get rid of! Check the ingredients list on the back of your juice to make sure it contains no added sugar. If you want to add some 100% pomegrante juice for an antioxidant boost, do so in small quantities and make the rest of your liquid water. Sometimes a creamy smoothie is in order. For those times I will use an unsweetened almond milk instead of water.
Changing these 3 little things will make your morning blend a lot more healthy!
Other Things to Consider
1. Try adding some vegetables to your fruit smoothie, it will give you a healthy boost and you won’t even be able to taste it! Good veggie add-ins include carrots, kale, spinach and romaine lettuce. A few chunks of avocado will supply you with some healthy fats and make your smoothie extra creamy.
2. Be cautious of smoothies you buy at stores, restaurants or cafes. They are often made with frozen yogurt, ice cream, sorbet or sherbet as a base. While all of those things taste wonderful, they are not the type of foods you want to start your day with. I hope you agree. Even juice bars such as Jamba Juice fall guilty of this. All of their “classic” smoothies are made with sherbet or sorbet as a base. If you are purchasing a smoothie be sure to ask what’s in it!
Do you have any other smoothie tips or secrets? Leave a comment in the comment box below
photo by: Gracie Hagen