If you haven’t realized this yet, the health world and social media have been taken over by smoothies, creative smoothie bowls, and juices. Whether you are getting your smoothie from the coolest juice bar in town or making it at home, you want to make sure you are getting the most out of it and taking in all the health benefits.
There’s a lot of debate about whether smoothies are actually healthy or if they are just pretty and colorful desserts that are worth Instagramming. Smoothies can be a great way to take in lots of nutrients and vitamins without having to eat six servings of fruits and vegetables in one sitting, but they can also be high sugar and high glycemic load traps.
What is a glycemic load? Each food has a glycemic index, which measures the amount of carbohydrate-containing foods that raise your blood sugar. When you combine all these individual foods with their respective glycemic indexes, you get a food with a glycemic load.
You want your meals and smoothies to have low glycemic loads so they don’t raise your blood sugar too fast — rather they keep your blood glucose levels steady, leaving you fuller and satisfied longer (#winning). Most of the smoothies you get at restaurants and juice stores tend to have high glycemic loads and are just disguised as a healthy meal or snack.
So how do you keep your the glycemic load low in your smoothie? You have to combine the tasty and nutritious (but relatively high glycemic index) fruits with fats and protein to create a well-balanced food that won’t cost as much as Gwyneth Paltrow’s smoothie.
Here are some things to add to your next smoothie that will lower the glycemic index to make them healthier and taste even better. Now you can sip on these smoothies knowing you are getting the most out of them and still get that Insta.
1. Chia Seeds
Adding a tablespoon of chia seeds to your smoothie will increase its health benefits tremendously at only 70 calories. Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are great fats that help keep your skin clear, prevent cardiovascular diseases and regulate your blood sugar. Also, because chia seeds are high in protein, fat, and fiber, they will make your smoothie take longer to digest, leaving you fuller for longer.
#SpoonTip: Want more ideas to get chia seeds benefits? Try one of these recipes out.
If you haven’t noticed, it seems like everyone and their mother is obsessed with avocado. The reason why people will eat avocado on practically anything is not only because it’s absolutely delicious, but also because it is a nutrient powerhouse. So why not add it to your smoothie?
Avocados contain a plethora of important vitamins that are great for you and are also high in fat and fiber. Since avocado basically has no sugar, it is the perfect addition to your smoothie. Its high fat content will help lower your smoothie’s glycemic load, making it take longer to digest and leaving you feeling fuller after.
#SpoonTip: Freeze your avocado, then add it to your smoothie. This will make it extra thick and creamy like a mousse.
3. Protein Powder
Adding protein to your smoothie will turn it into a more balanced meal. One of the best ways to get a lot of protein easily, and in minimal calories, is with protein powder. Whether you want plant-based or whey protein, adding a scoop to your refreshing smoothie will add flavor and the protein you need. Adding more protein to your diet helps you gain muscle, stabilize blood sugar, improve your mood, slow aging and much more.
Try this smoothie that doubles as your morning coffee for a delicious, protein-packed breakfast or snack.
4. Cocoa Powder
Cocoa Powder is rich in vitamins and minerals that will turn your basic smoothie into a nutrient-rich and chocolatey one. Plus, who doesn’t want chocolate for breakfast? Adding a tablespoon of cocoa powder to your smoothie will add three to nine percent of your recommended daily intake of iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc at only 10 calories. Cocoa powder is also rich in
Cocoa powder is also rich in antioxidants, which are great for making your skin look flawless.
It seems as if green smoothies have recently begun to dominate my newsfeeds with captions of people claiming they are finally going to be healthy and swear off alcohol… #lies.
Instead of having one green smoothie and believing that you are going to change your life forever, try adding dark leafy greens to your smoothies when you make them to increase their nutritional value. Greens are full of all different kinds of essential vitamins.
These popular greens for smoothies are all packed with vitamins and minerals that are great for your skin and immune system. If the “green” taste is too much for you, try starting with something like spinach, or check out this recipe.
6. Greek Yogurt
Adding greek yogurt to your smoothies will not only make them thicker and creamier, but it will also add probiotics and protein. Probiotics are extremely important to gut health and health overall. They help keep you regular, treat skin conditions, prevent allergies and colds, and much more.
Aside from probiotics, greek yogurt is also a great source of protein if you don’t feel like using protein powder. The additional fat and protein from greek yogurt will help balance and complete your smoothie, making it a complete meal on its own.
When buying greek yogurt, make sure you are getting a good one. Look for a plain, organic, and natural product so you aren’t getting the unnecessary sugar and additives.
7. Nuts and Nut Butters
Nuts are some of the best sources of fat and vitamins. Adding fat to your smoothie is crucial to help lower its glycemic load. Adding fat will make you digest the smoothie more slowly, so don’t be scared of fat. Instead, think of it as a good thing.
With so many nuts and nut butters out there, make sure you are picking one that isn’t filled with sugar. Between all the different kinds you will be sure to find one you like, and try this vegan peanut butter protein smoothie for a delicious and nutritious breakfast.