One of the fastest, healthiest, easiest breakfasts you can whip up and enjoy on the go is a deliciously cold and creamy smoothie. If you're worried about it being loaded with sugars and carbs, certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition, and and Willow Jarosh of C&J Nutrition, registered dietitians and authors of Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook, want to assure you that you can enjoy a fruit smoothie for breakfast; you just have to be mindful of a few things.
Stephanie and Willow say that "while the sugar from fruit is different in that it brings along fiber, vitamins, and minerals, too much sugar in any form can cause a steep rise in blood sugar levels that is then followed by a steep crash." Leslie agrees when she says, "an all-fruit smoothie wouldn't be the best idea, since it's a large dose of sugar coming at you at one time with not a lot of protein or healthy fats to satiate you and balance out the meal." Aim for just two cups or fewer of fruit (or two servings) — that will help keep your carbs to between 50 and 60 grams. Choose fruits that are lower in sugar such as raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries.
Your smoothie should also offer fiber (five to 10 grams), so add veggies like spinach, kale, or broccoli, and nuts and seeds like almonds, flaxmeal, or chia seeds. These will help make your smoothie take longer to digest and keep you feeling fuller longer. Protein is also essential (10 to 15 grams), so go for tofu, beans, nuts, seeds, plain yogurt, and dairy-free milks. Protein powders are also an easy way to get a large amount of protein; just check the labels to make sure they're low in sugar. And of course you can't forget the healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, or seeds. These will also help to keep that full and satisfied feeling longer.
Another thing to keep in mind is not to throw added sweeteners into your blender. Honey, agave, and maple syrup aren't necessary since the fruit will sweeten your smoothie naturally. But if you absolutely love having those added sweeteners, stick to no more than one teaspoon. Skip the vanilla-flavored milk alternatives since those pack on extra unnecessary sugars, and go for unsweetened milks instead. Fruit juice and coconut water also add sugars, so if you like to add those to your smoothies, stick to no more than a quarter-cup and then use a little less fruit.
See? You don't have to fear the sugar in your smoothies! As long as the only source of sugar being added is fruit and you're sticking to the two-cup maximum, you can feel good sipping down whatever concoction you create.
Here are some recipes that are have fewer that 20 grams of sugar:
- Berry Cinnamon Cashew Smoothie: 9.5 grams
- Banana Cream Overnight Oats Smoothie: 17.8 grams
- Strawberry-Watermelon Hydrating Smoothie: 13.6 grams
- Low-Calorie Chocolate Almond Smoothie: 1.8 grams
- "Sweet Potato Pie" Smoothie: 6.7 grams
- Banana Protein Smoothie: 7.8 grams
- Vegan Chocolate Milkshake Smoothie: 15.8 grams
- Avocado Strawberry Grape Clear-Skin Smoothie: 16.5 grams