By Lauren Denos: 9/16/2014 (Nutrition)

There is a trend going on right now. People are getting really into juices and smoothies. They take tons of fruit and then juice it or blend it up and drink it for their meals. It is so healthy, right? STOP! Please, before you give yourself diabetes.

Fruit is a very healthy snack. 1 or 2 pieces can be a good thing to add into your daily diet, but remember that fruit is still sugar. When you blend up 5 pieces or more of fruit you are sending a massive sugar spike through your system.

If you do not have blood sugar problems and you only do a fruit smoothie/juice once in a while as a treat you are probably fine, but if you have them every day or even every other day then there are some better options.

What can you do?

Add more veggies than fruit. Cucumbers are one of the best veggies to add to a juice or smoothie. They have such a mild taste that they are virtually tasteless in your smoothie. Celery is also a good base. It has more of a flavor than cucumber but still mild enough to go with fruit very well.

Add Stevia. If you really need the super sweet taste then add some Stevia into your smoothie. This way you are not consuming as much sugar, but still satisfying your sweet tooth.

For a juice smoothie combo:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 apple
  • 2 carrots
  • 1" ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic

Blend that juice with a big handful of spinach, kale and a handful of nuts (raw). This way you will still have some of the sweetness, the ginger and garlic give it a kick, the kale and spinach add some of the fibers back in and the nuts add some healthy fat. This is juice/smoothie that you could actually have for a meal and have it be a healthy choice.

For a smoothie test out this one, blend:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 6 strawberries
  • 1 handful of green leaf lettuce
  • 1" section of beet
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 tsp of Stevia (liquid)
  • Add as much water as you want for the consistency of your choice

With this smoothie you have the avocado and banana giving it a smooth creamy texture. And the added Stevia can make it taste like a full fruit smoothie.

There are tons of healthy smoothie and juice choices. The examples above are to show you that you do not need a ton of fruit to make them tasty.

If you are adamant about sticking with fruit smoothies then...

  • Add protein into your smoothie. Protein will help slow the absorption of the sugar. Many people will use a protein powder; however, if you do this make sure it does not have a lot of sugar or other sweeteners in it. You essentially want a plain clean protein. Of course you could always just eat some lean meat or eggs with your smoothie, but I doubt that is the answer you are looking for.
  • Fat, like protein helps slow the metabolism of sugar. So you will not have quite as bad of a sugar spike. You could simply add some avocado or nuts in with your smoothie or a healthy oil of your choice. Many people use coconut or olive oil. Some people like hazelnut or macadamia because they have an interesting flavor. Nuts can be a great choice since they have good fats in them but they also have some protien as well.

Fat can be good but this does not mean you should eat tons and ton's of fat because too much fat can cause issues of it's own. A little fat can have a good benefit. Depending on the size of smoothie you are having, a TBSP or two of a healthy oil would work great, a handful of nuts or 1/2 to a whole avocado.

Keep the fiber in it at least. Make sure you are getting the full fruit and not just the juice. The reason fruit juice is such a hit is because all the fiber is stripped. Fiber is yet another thing that will help slow down how the sugar goes into the system. If you are making a fruit smoothie verses a juice you are leaving the fiber in it, but if are adding a lot of fruit, the extra fat would still be a helpful addition.

Smoothies really can be a healthy addition to your menu, but focus on more vegetables if healthy is what you are going for. Reducing the fruit in your smoothies is the best of the options listed above. With the multiple examples offered at least you have options so you can make whatever decision helps make a healthier one. Test it out and see how you feel!



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