Does Your Smoothie Need a Makeover?

Many smoothies are packed with carbs and sugar

Here’s how to switch to smoothies with protein, healthy fat & fiber

Smoothies are a great option for breakfast, snack, or post-workout.  They’re refreshing, easy on the stomach, and can feel like a treat.  However, many contain large amounts of sugar and carbohydrates and little protein, fat, or fiber.  Consuming large amounts of sugar/carbs will quickly raise and then drop blood sugar, leading to dizziness, moodiness, and fatigue.  Blood sugar spikes and drops are also factor in weight gain as they are stressful to the body and increase hunger and cravings.  If your goal is to maintain or lose weight, balancing blood sugar with filling snacks is key.

We’ve compiled a list of ingredients to add to your smoothies that will balance blood sugar and leave you satisfied and energized.

1. choose a protein

Protein powders – Protein promotes fullness and staves off hunger.  While protein powders are an easy way to add protein to smoothies, some are better than others.  It’s a good idea to look for protein powders with minimal ingredients and no added sweeteners.  Also, soy and whey-based protein powders may be irritating for some people.  Better options are proteins made from collagen, hemp, or pumpkin seed.

Yogurt – If you are not sensitive to dairy, cow and goat yogurt can be added to your smoothie.  Steer clear of yogurts with added sugars, natural flavors and other additives, and don’t be afraid of full-fat.

Nuts and seeds – These supply the triple-whammy of nutrients to keep you full and energized: protein, fat, and fiber.  Almonds, walnuts, chia, flax, pumpkin seeds, and hemp are all great options.

2. choose a fat

Avocado and coconut (butter, cream, milk, flakes) – These healthy fats are satisfying and easily blend into smoothies.  Plus, they are anti-inflammatory, meaning they help balance the immune system.

3. add some greens

Greens – spinach, swiss chard, collards, kale and other greens will supply fiber to keep you full and boost energy.  They are also a great source of antioxidants which protect cells from damage.  Greens powders can also be used for this effect.

4. add a small amount of fruit

One serving of fruit — berries are always a good choice — will add just a touch of sweetness as well as vitamins and antioxidants.

Smoothie formula: protein + fat + greens + 1 serving of fruit = energy + satiety

A few smoothies that we love follow this formula:

Apple Pie Protein Smoothie

1 cup coconut milk

½ cup water

1 green apple, peeled, cored and chopped

2 tbsp almond butter

2 tbsp hemp hearts

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

2 dashes nutmeg

small handful of ice

Creamy Green Smoothie

Diane Sanfilippo

2 cups packed spinach

2 cups full-fat coconut milk or almond milk

1 cup ice

½ avocado

juice of 1 lemon

1 (½ inch to 1 inch) chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 green apple, peeled, cored and chopped

½ -1 cup of water

need more help with making healthy food choices?

The holistic nutritionists at Healthy Nest Nutrition believe that smoothies can be tasty and nutritious.  We have really strong opinions on which protein powders and greens powders are best. We use shakes as part of blood sugar balance, which really helps with weight-loss efforts and feelings of well-being. To schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation with a Healthy Nest holistic nutritionist, click here.


Ajeigbe KO, Owonikoko WM, Egbe V, Iquere I, Adeleye G. Gastroprotective and mucosa homeostatic activities of coconut milk and water on experimentally induced gastropathies in male wistar rats. Tissue Cell 2017;49(5): 528-36.

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