This article was originally published on dLife.com — a website dedicated to helping people with diabetes live happier and healthier lives — as “Smoothies: Healthy Or Not For People With Diabetes?,” and is reposted with permission from the author.
Smoothies are all the rage these days with smoothie shops popping up everywhere and bottled smoothies filling up the refrigerator section in grocery stores.
They are advertised as healthy and packed with fresh fruits (and sometimes vegetables), but some smoothies can be loaded with carbohydrates and can raise blood sugar levels too much. So, be cautious with these smoothies and don't be fooled into thinking these are "free foods." For example, a large Mango-A-Go-Go smoothie at Jamba Juice has 119 grams total carbohydrate and 509 calories. The light version of the large Mango-A-Go-Go smoothie has 75 grams total carbohydrate, which is still a ton for a drink. McDonald's large Strawberry-Banana smoothie has 79.8 grams total carbohydrate and 344 calories. And, the problem is many people think of smoothies as a snack and don't realize they are getting more carbs than they should get in a meal.
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Beware Bottled Grocery Store Smoothies.
Now let's talk about the bottled smoothies at the grocery store. Naked is a popular brand and they even offer a "no sugar added" version of their Green Machine smoothie. But even this still packs 60 grams total carbohydrate and 240 calories per bottle. This is a ton of carbs for a drink, especially when you can eat a small sweet potato, chicken breast, 1 cup berries, green beans, and 1 cup milk for 60 grams carbohydrate. Drinking half of the bottle would obviously decrease the carbs in half, though, if you are someone who can stop at half.
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The Healthiest Smoothie? One You Make At Home.
So, what is your best option if you would like a smoothie? It's best to make a healthy smoothie at home, and let's preface this by saying you don't need a $400 blender to do make it. You can use a regular blender or food processor. Ideally, you want to add some low-carb vegetables into your smoothie, since this is not only a great way to get in a vegetable serving, but it also adds bulk to the smoothie without adding carbohydrates. You don't really taste the vegetables because the fruits overpower them, so don't be scared to try some spinach or kale in your smoothie. Yes, it will be green! I find most kids love the appearance and taste of green smoothies. Most adults like the taste of green smoothies, but they are afraid of drinking something green. My advice is - try it! You will be amazed at the refreshing and delicious taste. Here is a recipe for making a healthy smoothie that you can try today!
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Try This Healthy Fruit and Veggie Smoothie.
Nutritional information will vary based on ingredients selected, but this smoothie will contain between 20-30 grams total carbohydrate per serving (recipe makes 2 servings).
Step 1: Add:
• 1 banana
Step 2: Choose 1 item from below:
• 1 cup baby spinach
• 1 cup kale
• ½ cup carrots and ½ cup celery, chopped
Step 3: Choose 1 item from below:
• 1 cup frozen blueberries, raspberries or strawberries
• 1 cup frozen mango
• 1 cup frozen pineapple
• 2 clementine oranges, peeled*
Step 4: Choose 1 item from below:
• 1 cup 1 or 2% milk
• 1 cup almond or coconut milk (these are lower in carbs than regular milk)
Step 5: Choose 1 item from below (optional)
• 2 tablespoon flax seeds
• 2 tablespoons chia seeds
Blend until smooth. Yield: 2 servings
*If not using frozen fruit add 1 cup crushed ice.