That smoothie has how much sugar?!

Juicing and smoothies seem to be some of the most popular drinks these days. Especially for those who find it difficult to eat adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables in a day, these drinks can be an easy way to get a wide range of nutrients a body needs. Unlike a juice, one benefit to a smoothie is the fact that the fiber from the fruit and vegetable remains in the drink. Fiber is needed for many reasons, and the benefit of having it in a drink is to slow down the release of sugar into bloodstream; you feel fuller for longer.  

My husband and I love smoothies, and early in college, Jamba Juice was one of my favorite places to go after a workout. I convinced myself that anything that contained fruit, ice and no added preservatives or flavors HAD to be healthy. And, I was so wrong. I hate to admit it, but my favorite smoothie was strawberry surf rider, and after checking out the nutrition facts, I was appalled! How could something I believed to be so ‘healthy’ have 320 calories, 78 gm carbohydrates, 70 gm sugar and only 2 gm protein in just 16oz! I could have eaten a King Size Snicker’s bar and a pack of Reese’s peanut butter cups for about the same amount of sugar! And even if I requested for it to be made light, I was still consuming 200 calories and 41gm sugar in 16oz. After checking out many websites online, even the smoothies that are advertised with the words whole nutrition, real fruit or wellness pack as much as 117 gm sugar! This triggered my desire to create a healthier option at home by controlling the ingredients using my own blender and without sacrificing the taste!

We received a Nutri Ninja for Christmas last year, and I have to admit, I think it’s one of my most favorite kitchen gadgets we own. It blends up everything I put into it without difficulty and makes the consistency of our smoothies so smooth. Since receiving it, I have been on a constant quest to find new fruits, vegetables, protein sources, and liquids to blend, and we have loved it! When creating a smoothie, there are a few basic steps that will help. You need:

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  • Base: These are usually hard and chunky foods to establish your smoothie and should be closest to the blade. Some examples include frozen fruit, frozen vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. Even a few slices of frozen banana will give a creamy consistency to the smoothie.
  • Bulk: These usually give other flavor and consistency to your smoothie. Some examples include fresh fruit, nut butters, leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula), and other fresh vegetables.
  • Additives: Additives are used to provide additional nutrition. I always include a protein additive (if not in the bulk of my smoothie) to ensure I am consuming a balanced breakfast or post workout snack. Some examples of additives include hemp seeds for protein, flaxseeds, chia seeds (blended at the end) or chia gel, PB2 powder, dried herbs, spices, flavoring (like vanilla or almond extract), whey or soy protein powder, and yogurt (regular or greek).
  • Sweeteners (as needed basis): Based on personal preference and the type of smoothie created, sweetener may not be needed. I always create my smoothie and assess after everything is mixed together whether I needed additional sweetness. But, if needed, I will add a natural sweetener like Truvia.
  • Liquids: When using frozen fruit or leafy greens, liquids are needed to get the smoothie to the right consistency. And why not try different flavors? Some examples include coconut water, filtered water, 100% unsweetened fruit juice (like pomegranate), fresh lemon or lime juice, and milk (cow’s/unsweetened almond/soy/cashew/coconut).
  • Ice (added at the end): Try creating different flavors of ice to add an extra boost to your smoothie! Some examples include freezing coconut water, unsweetened milk or green tea.

I hope you enjoy one of the recipes I make below. You cannot tell that spinach is even a part of the recipe.  And, there is no added sugar or sugary liquids used, only the sugar that comes naturally in the ingredients!

What are some of your favorite smoothie ingredients or recipes? We would love to hear!

Smoothie2

 

Summer Smoothie
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • ½ cup of chopped pineapple (frozen or fresh)
  • ½ cup of strawberries (frozen or fresh)
  • ½ cup of spinach
  • ½ cup of coconut water
  • 2 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp (as needed) Truvia
Instructions
  1. Blend all of the ingredients together.
  2. Add ice and blend until at the desired consistency and enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 18 oz Calories: 200 Sugar: 16.4 Protein: 8

 

 

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  1. […] for cool, refreshing meals and snacks in place of warm ones. We previously talked about how much sugar can be in store bought smoothies. Homemade smoothies are usually a healthier and cheaper way to get your daily dose of nutrients. […]

  2. […] loved playing with my Nutri Ninja machine to experiment with different ingredients at home. As we talked about previously, there is a large benefit in the nutritional make up of smoothies if you make it at home versus […]

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