- 7 Creative Smoothie Ingredients That Are Also Diabetes Friendly
- Why Smoothies Can Make a Great Snack or Breakfast for People With Diabetes
- Tips for Making an Avocado Smoothie
- Other Green Smoothies
- Avocado Smoothie with Leafy Greens
- Why Drink Your Greens?
- Our Favorite Green Smoothie Recipes From Around the Web
- Green Smoothies and Diabetes: A Good Match?
- Green Smoothies: Health or Hype?
- 8 Protein Drinks for People with Diabetes
- Protein drinks 101
- 1. Peanut butter and jelly protein shake
- 2. French toast protein shake
- 3. Rice protein shake
- 4. Apple cinnamon soya shake
- 5. Soy good smoothie
- 6. High-protein, no-sugar-added, chocolate smoothie
- 7. Strawberry-banana breakfast smoothie
- 8. Mixed berry protein smoothie
- What kind of smoothie did Brenda have?
- Pumpkin pie smoothie:
- Sweet potato smoothie:
- Kale smoothie:
- Peanut butter and berry smoothie:
- Cucumber, Mint, and Melon Smoothie:
- Green tea and cocoa power smoothie:
- Avocado, cherry, and almond milk smoothie:
- Fruity flax seed smoothie:
- Step by step recipes
- Tips for making the smoothies
- Over to you
- How Green Smoothies Have Helped My Readers With Diabetes
- Potential Ways Green Smoothies Benefit Diabetics
- Green Smoothie Recipes By Diabetics
- Charles’ Recipe
- Allan’s Recipe
- Cara’s Recipe
- Trisha’s Recipe
- Lana’s Green Smoothie
- Barbara’s Green Smoothie
- Joann’s Green Smoothie
- Suzanna’s Green Smoothie
- Chris’ Green Smoothie
- Sherri’s Green Smoothie
- Roz’s Green Smoothie
- Diabetic-Friendly Green Smoothie Recipes Submitted by Deb C.
- Diabetic-Friendly “Green Ice Creams” Submitted by Kathleen
- Carol’s Green Smoothie
- Diabetic-Friendly Smoothie by Juanita H.
- Smoothie Recipe From Dr. Colin Lowe
- Low-carb Smoothies for Diabetics
- Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie
- Vegan Blueberry Smoothies
- Low-carb Smoothie Bowl with Berries
- Green Keto Smoothie with Avocado and Peanut Butter
- Chocolate Avocado Smoothie
- Strawberry Basil Smoothie
- Key Lime Pie Protein Shake Smoothie
- Cinnamon Roll Smoothie
- Blueberry Galaxy Smoothie
- Low-carb Strawberry Cheesecake
- More diabetes-friendly recipe roundups
- Fruit juices and smoothies
- What is fructose?
- What is free (added) sugar?
- I’m still confused. Why do I need to watch fruit juices and smoothies but not the whole fruit?
- So do I need to avoid fruit juices and smoothies?
- If I have diabetes, should I avoid sugar completely?
7 Creative Smoothie Ingredients That Are Also Diabetes Friendly
Making healthy choices while managing diabetes, especially when first devising your meal plan, can feel daunting — but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, coming up with creative solutions to keep blood sugar in check may be as simple as buying a blender.
Unfortunately for people with type 2 diabetes, smoothies are notorious for their proclivity to spike blood sugar. (Did you know the small Mega Mango smoothie at Jamba Juice contains 57 grams of carbs?) But if you use the right ingredients, a quick, filling, and nutritious sip has never been so easy to whip up.
RELATED: The Skinny on Shakes for People With Diabetes
Why Smoothies Can Make a Great Snack or Breakfast for People With Diabetes
Not only can you pack them with delicious, diabetes-friendly fruit but, when prepared tactfully and enjoyed in moderation, smoothies can also help you drop excess weight. Maintaining a healthy waistline is critical for people with diabetes because too much body weight is linked with insulin resistance. That’s why losing even just a few pounds counts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that dropping a mere 5 to 7 percent of your body weight can help prevent prediabetes from progressing to full-blown type 2 diabetes.
But it is important to note that not all smoothies are healthy. Some may be processed with added sugar, meaning they may have the opposite desired effect on your weight and blood sugar. The best way to take control of what goes into your drink is by measuring out portions at home to help keep calorie and carbohydrate counts down.
If you’re a newbie to making smoothies, here are a couple of tips:
- Add about 1 cup liquid (water, low-fat milk, unsweetened almond milk, or unsweetened coconut milk) as a base.
- When adding nonstarchy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, be generous with portions (this will provide bulk and fiber).
- Fruit should be portioned to about a single serving, such as 1 cup frozen berries or half of a banana.
- Additional ingredients, such as avocados, seeds, and nut butters, should be measured to about a serving, too. For example, use a quarter of an avocado, 2 to 3 tablespoons (tbsp) ground seeds, or 1 to 2 tbsp almond butter.
One of the most alluring aspects of making smoothies is that the variations are limitless, but don’t forget about these staples. Next time you’re looking for an easy breakfast or snack that won’t spike your blood sugar, add some of these ingredients to enhance a smoothie’s flavor, appearance, and texture while also adding essential nutrients.
Tips for Making an Avocado Smoothie
Need to add more healthy fat to your diet? This Avocado Smoothie with Leafy Greens is a good start.
My husband hit a plateau with his weight loss. My liver enzymes have been elevated due to NAFLD. I asked my doctor for an eating plan that would keep my blood sugars under control while protecting my liver and would also help my husband lose weight. He suggested I read The Plant Paradox (affiliate link).
We didn’t have any plans for the long Memorial Day weekend, so we decided to try the three-day “cleanse” outlined in the book. My husband dropped seven pounds and my fasting blood sugar decreased significantly. This avocado smoothie was our breakfast each day.
Warning: this smoothie is NOT sweet. I liked it just fine, but my husband felt the need to add a little bit of stevia.
- Make sure your avocado is ripe; otherwise, you’ll have a chunky smoothie.
- If you only need one serving, make the full recipe and refrigerate the extra. Otherwise, there may not be enough volume in your blender to get a smooth consistency. Plus you’ll have breakfast already made for tomorrow!
- A cup of greens is basically a couple of handfuls. Don’t bother pulling out a measuring cup.
- Use whatever greens you like (or happen to have on hand). If you want to go all-spinach, for example, do it. I’ve tried various combinations of spinach, romaine, and kale. Don’t bother removing stems; your blender will take care of it for you.
- Need a little sweetness? Use a touch of honey or a few drops of stevia. (But try it without sweetener first. You might like it!)
Other Green Smoothies
If this smoothie isn’t your cup of tea, you might like one of these other options instead. Note that both of the following have more carbs than the avocado smoothie due to added fruit.
- Spinach Smoothie with Apples and Grapes
- Green Smoothie (dairy-free) with mango and kale
Avocado Smoothie with Leafy Greens
Dairy-free green smoothie featuring avocado, leafy greens, and mint.
Author: Adapted from The Plant Paradox by Steven R. Gundry, MD Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Course: Breakfast, Drinks Servings: 2
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup baby kale
- 2 mint sprigs
- 1 avocado peeled and seed removed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
Place spinach, kale, mint, avocado, lemon juice, and water in a high-powered blender. Add ice cubes last.
Blend on the smoothie setting or on high speed until mixture is smooth.
Feel free to substitute the greens used. Go all spinach or swap the kale for romaine lettuce, for example.
If you’d like to add a touch of sweetness, try a few drops of stevia or a tiny bit of honey.
Calories: 214kcal Fat: 17g Saturated fat: 2g Polyunsaturated fat: 2g Monounsaturated fat: 11g Sodium: 25mg Potassium: 685mg Carbohydrates: 15g Fiber: 9g Sugar: 1g Protein: 2g Vitamin A: 62% Vitamin C: 71% Calcium: 5% Iron: 13%
Most of us are looking for ways to not only consume more fruits and veggies every day, but also sneak more leafy greens into our diet. In the past, green smoothie recipes involved little more than blending fistfuls of kale or spinach. This, unfortunately, tasted like blended fistfuls of kale or spinach (aka lawn clippings).
Thankfully for our taste buds, green smoothie recipes have come a long way since their debut in the health and wellness arena. Besides being able to adjust the flavor and nutritional content, making your own green smoothies can also keep your food budget on budget.
Why Drink Your Greens?
While smoothies aren’t for everybody, they can be an appealing option for those who don’t have time to prepare a healthy meal (or don’t like munching kale). For instance, making and drinking a smoothie for breakfast is a nice way to get in a decent dose of your nutritional needs for the day. People drink smoothies for weight loss or management, to help control their blood sugar, as a meal replacement or supplement, or simply as a snack.
Looking for a dash or a cup of inspiration? To help get that blender revving, here are nine green smoothie recipes that are as healthy as they are tasty:
Our Favorite Green Smoothie Recipes From Around the Web
1. Banana-Green Smoothie
Enjoy a healthy portion of dark, leafy greens day or night with this delicious green smoothie recipe from EatingWell. Besides the sweet, creamy texture of bananas, this recipe includes ground flaxseed for an additional punch of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat that actually offers some pretty big health benefits. If you have leftovers, we suggest pouring the extra mixture into a freezer-pop mold to make frozen treats.
2. Pineapple-Green Smoothie
Photo via Foodnetwork.com
Who doesn’t like the taste of fresh pineapple? This eye-catching green smoothie, courtesy of Food Network Kitchen, is jammed with fiber, vitamin C and lutein, a powerful carotenoid that may aid in warding off vision loss (research has shown lutein can help prevent eye conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts). Lutein is considered a top-recommended nutrient for overall vision health. A quick and easy recipe perfect for breakfasts on the go.
3. Jolly Green Smoothie
Photo via Blendtec.com
This green smoothie recipe from Blendtec provides giant-sized flavor with few calories. Loaded with fresh fruit and spinach, one serving delivers half of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C, one-third of the RDA for vitamin A and all of the RDA for vitamin K.
4. Green Goblin Smoothie
Photo credit: Joanna Slodownik via Foter.com / CC BY
After a good workout, it can be tempting to reach for a handful (or a bag full) of chips. After all, you burned off a ton of calories, right? Well, if you’re like most Americans desperate to squeeze in more fruits and vegetables, you should consider giving the “Green Goblin” from Two Peas and Their Pod a whirl. Do not fear the green color. We promise you won’t even taste the spinach.
5. Glowing Green Smoothie
Photo credit: Stacy Spensley via Foter.com / CC BY
It doesn’t have to be so hard eating greens. In fact, it can be quite easy. One single serving of The Glowing Green Smoothie contains over three cups of dark, leafy-green vegetables (more than most people get in an entire week). Make a big batch of this one to save in your fridge for almost three days (just make sure it’s covered) or freeze in glass containers for an even longer shelf-life.
6. Coconut-Green Smoothie
Photo via Natashaskitchen.com
Coconut milk gives this green smoothie recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen an added nutritional and sensational kick (with few calories). Adding frozen pineapple is inexpensive, and helps chill and thicken the smoothie. This option is a breeze to make and costs only about $5 to $6 per two servings.
Green Smoothies and Diabetes: A Good Match?
First and foremost, if you have diabetes, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before diving into green smoothie recipes. It’s true that smoothies can provide a lot of what’s good for you, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and protein. However, it’s also true they can sometimes be high in both calories and carbohydrates. That’s why it’s critical to choose your ingredients carefully and monitor the amount you drink.
Note: Be sure to check your blood sugar before and after drinking a green smoothie to evaluate how it affects your diabetes control.
For those with diabetes, here are three green smoothie recipes worth blending:
7. Raspberry-Banana-Beet Green Smoothie
Photo credit: ideowl via Foter.com / CC BY
Yes, even beet greens can taste great! While not necessarily green in color, this green smoothie recipe from Diabetes Forecast-The Healthy Living Magazine includes chopped fresh beet greens, frozen unsweetened raspberries, frozen banana, honey, water and plain, nonfat regular or Greek yogurt. One cup contains 27g of carbohydrate, 5g of protein and only 125 calories.
8. Super Green Smoothie
Photo via Motherearthliving.com
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a Super Green Smoothie! This green smoothie recipe courtesy of Mother Earth Living is a wonderful option for diabetics, as most berries are low in carbs. In fact, the American Diabetes Association named blueberries a “diabetes superfood,” so blend away! Plus, the recipe calls for only four ingredients: frozen blueberries, fresh spinach, water and fresh ginger.
9. Good Ole’ Diabetic-Friendly Green Smoothie
Type 2 diabetes has, unfortunately, become a major health issue not only for adults, but young adults and kids, too. Drinking a daily green smoothie can help diabetics because of three benefits: it can improve digestion, it can deliver more energy and it can boost weight loss. Versus juicing or juice cleansing, blending your greens into smoothies delivers a lot of fiber, which slows down the release of natural sugars into the bloodstream. Check out this flavorful, diabetic-friendly green smoothie recipe from Family Sponge to get your whole family drinking green.
Green Smoothies: Health or Hype?
If you’re someone who doesn’t like to eat their veggies, especially the dark, leafy-green ones, drinking green smoothies could be your answer. You might want to rotate your green vegetable choices, however, to help avoid the buildup of alkaloids, compounds that can cause mild discomfort and symptoms like stomach aches. Those who are at risk for calcium oxalate stones (a type of kidney stone) should also monitor oxalates in their diet (common in plant foods like raw spinach and Swiss chard). Talk to your doctor first if you have a family history of kidney stones.
You’ll also want to be cautious about adding any creams or high-fat additions to your smoothies, as this can increase calories and fat. Diabetics, as previously mentioned, should also be mindful of carbohydrate consumption (fruits and juices contain more carbs than vegetables). As a general rule, try to use more vegetables than fruits in your smoothies, as veggies have less sugar and an abundant amount of antioxidants. Blending your smoothie with Greek yogurt instead of protein powders is an excellent method for boosting your protein level, without causing a clumpy or an uneven texture.
Photo credit: Breville USA via Foter.com / CC BY
8 Protein Drinks for People with Diabetes
Protein shakes and smoothies are all the rage these days. These popular pre- and post-workout drinks can include almost any ingredient under the sun, so if you have diabetes, it’s natural to wonder how they’ll affect your blood sugar. That said, there’s no reason to shy away from these drinks. There are countless diabetes-friendly recipes available online. Here, we round up our top eight protein shake and smoothie recipes for people with diabetes.
Protein drinks 101
In general, protein drinks are made from protein powder and a liquid. Depending on your dietary needs, this liquid may be:
- dairy milk
- nut milk
- rice milk
- seed milk
Other protein add-ins include:
- cottage cheese
- nut butters
- raw nuts
Sweeteners, fresh or frozen fruit, and fresh vegetables may also be added. No one food is off-limits if you have diabetes. Still, it’s important to limit refined carbohydrates that are more likely to spike your blood sugar.
Eating fat with carbohydrates may help slow digestion. This can slow down the length of time it takes sugar to hit your bloodstream. Sources of fat that taste great in protein drinks include:
- nut butters
- raw nuts
- hemp seeds
- chia seeds
If possible, add fiber to your protein drink. It helps slow your body’s absorption of sugar. Oatmeal, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, and wheat bran are high in fiber and are protein-drink friendly.
Some protein drink recipes call for maple syrup or Stevia. Maple syrup is high in sugar, but can be enjoyed sparingly. Stevia is a non-nutritive, no-calorie sweetener that won’t raise your blood sugar. When making shakes and smoothies, use the least amount of sweetener possible.
Many pre-made protein shakes and smoothies are loaded with refined sugar. Your best bet is to make them at home where you can control the ingredients.
Here are eight recipes to try:
1. Peanut butter and jelly protein shake
A regular peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with sugar-rich jelly and high-carb bread is usually off-limits for people with diabetes. Now you can drink your favorite comfort food with this thick and creamy protein shake from Dashing Dish. It provides a triple-dose of protein from protein powder, peanut butter, and cottage cheese. Low-sugar or no-sugar jam adds just the right amount of sweetness.
Get the recipe!
2. French toast protein shake
French toast is often topped with powdered sugar and then drenched in syrup, so it’s generally not considered a diabetes-friendly food. That’s where this protein shake, also from Dashing Dish, comes in. It gives you the decadence of French toast, without the extra sugars. The shake’s main ingredients are protein powder and cottage cheese. Stevia and a touch of maple syrup provide sweetness.
Get the recipe!
3. Rice protein shake
This shake is made with rice protein powder, an alternative to whey protein powder, and fresh or frozen fruit. It also includes nuts and flaxseeds for healthy fat and fiber. A surprising ingredient in this shake is borage oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
You shouldn’t use borage oil if you’re pregnant or if you take warfarin or seizure medications. The oil may also cause digestive problems. If you can’t use borage oil or if you’re concerned about the side effects, you can omit it from this recipe. You’ll still reap the benefits of a tasty protein shake.
Get the recipe!
4. Apple cinnamon soya shake
This protein shake from Tarladalal.com is reminiscent of Grandma’s apple pie. It’s made from fiber-rich apple cubes, a combination of soy and dairy milks, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Fresh apples are a great fruit option for anyone concerned about their blood sugar levels.
Get the recipe!
5. Soy good smoothie
If you’re lactose intolerant or vegetarian, Diabetes Self-Management has an excellent smoothie option for you. It’s made with protein-rich soy milk and silken tofu. Frozen strawberries, half of a small banana, and almond extract add flavor. If you’ve never tried silken tofu before, this is the perfect time to introduce the flavor to your palate.
Get the recipe!
6. High-protein, no-sugar-added, chocolate smoothie
If you’ve been feeling deprived of your favorite sweet treats, look no further. This icy smoothie from Sugar-Free Mom takes care of your chocolate cravings. It’s made from protein-rich almond milk, cottage cheese, and protein powder. The smoothie’s decadent chocolate flavor comes from unsweetened cocoa powder and liquid chocolate Stevia.
Get the recipe!
7. Strawberry-banana breakfast smoothie
Instead of adding strawberries and bananas to a bowl of boring oatmeal, blend them with yogurt, almond milk, and a little Stevia. The result is a protein-rich smoothie from Diabetics Rejoice! that will give you more than enough energy to last until lunch. The recipe calls for PaleoFiber powder, but you can also substitute chia seeds or flaxseed meal.
Get the recipe!
8. Mixed berry protein smoothie
Berries are nothing short of antioxidant superfoods. They contain a type of natural sugar known as fructose. According to a 2008 study, fructose doesn’t raise blood sugar levels as quickly as carbohydrates like bread, pasta, and table sugar do. Even so, it’s a carbohydrate and should be eaten in moderation.
The main ingredients in this slushy protein smoothie by DaVita are whey protein powder and frozen blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries. Liquid flavor enhancer is also added. The recipe calls for ½ cup of whipped cream topping, but you may eliminate this to reduce the overall sugar content.
Get the recipe!
Keep reading: Diabetic-friendly fast food lunch ideas “
Are smoothies good for diabetes? That depends. If it’s the 32 ounce variety from a smoothie chain with a drive-through, probably not.
If you make it at home in your blender, is it then good for diabetes? That depends also. The ingredients that you put in it, specifically the amount of sugar and balance of protein and “good” fats, and the portion size matter.
For diabetes, you should be counting your carbohydrates.
You should know what a good size smoothie is for you. If you wonder what kinds of things you should put in it to make it healthier and delicious, you have come to the right place. We will help you to make nutritional sense of it all.
I enjoy collecting healthy recipes for my patients with diabetes, and for my family. I have compiled a list of the best and healthiest smoothie recipes that I can find on the internet. It is almost fall, and time for Halloween!
Autumn is one of my favorite seasons, and the first two smoothies on my list are made to gather the spices of fall into one.
If your friends are heading out for a Pumpkin Pie Latte, why not make your own healthier smoothie and invite them to try it? First, let’s see what Brenda’s been drinking.
What kind of smoothie did Brenda have?
Brenda came into clinic. She was proud of herself because she was drinking smoothies. She had heard they were healthy. Her A1C was still a 9. Her fasting blood sugar was 197 mg/dl.
“What kind of things do you put in your smoothie, Brenda,” I said.
“Well I put a banana in, and a half cup of blueberries since they’re in season,” she said. “I have to put a few spoons of sugar in cause the blueberries are a little tart, a little early. You know, I put in some honey from the bee keeper down the road.
“Oh, ok,” I said, thinking. “Is your glass this big? (I pulled a juice glass out of the food model box), or is your glass this big? (I pulled out the 8 oz milk model), or is it this big (out came the fast food sized model).”
“That’s it,” said Brenda, pointing to the last marvellously super-sized giant glass. “It’s my whole breakfast. That’s healthy, right?”
Now I had to think. Brenda didn’t have horrible ingredients, but her portions were huge! I took a deep breath. “Do you know how to count carbohydrates,” I said.
“No,” said Brenda.
“Well, would you like to learn how? “Yes,” said Brenda. “Alright, class is next week. Meanwhile, here’s a juice glass. Let’s go with a juice-glass size smoothie that you make at home, ok?”
“Ok,” I can’t drink it all anyway.
“Good, what do you think about just honey? Do you think it would be sweet enough with just a teaspoon of honey?”
“Yes,” said Brenda. “That will cut the sugar down if I just use honey.”
“Great, now can you add a spoon of peanut butter, the natural kind, for “good” fats and protein?” “Sure, I can do that. It sounds delicious.”
Brenda liked the smoothie, and with the added protein, the smaller portion filled her up. She came to class. She learned how to count her carbohydrates. She learned the portion sizes for smoothies, and learned to make some smoothies where the portion sizes weren’t so small, because they were lower in carbohydrates.
(Article is in two parts. Part I: list of smoothies which are good for them (must explain why they are good), Part II: recipes on how to make them)
What Can I Put In My Smoothie That Is Healthy For Diabetes?
To determine the answer to this question, let’s look at some smoothie recipes, and then learn how to make them. We will also talk about planning and preparation, grocery lists, and substitutions for recipes (in case you don’t like certain ingredients). Always talk to your doctor if you have food allergies that would prevent you from eating certain foods, particularly if you are not sure what it is, and see our food allergy disclaimer at the end of this article. Let’s learn to craft our top smoothie picks:
Pumpkin pie smoothie:
I love the smell of pumpkin pies baking around Halloween and Thanksgiving. It brings with it a sense that autumn is here, and the leaves change as the air chills. If you would like to wake up to the smell of pumpkin pie, without all the baking, try Pop Sugar’s Pumpkin Pie Smoothie. This one is healthy and delicious.It is loaded with fiber and protein, and low in calories and fat. There are no Trans fats in this non-dairy smoothie. It’s low in salt, and has absolutely zero cholesterol. A good source of potassium and Vitamin A, it’s also packing around 20% of your daily calcium needs, and about 15% of your daily iron requirements.
It comes in at 181 calories, not bad for a protein-packed breakfast.You can make it in minutes for a meal replacement anytime.The carbohydrates in this smoothie are 36.9 grams. I would recommend it for a lean breakfast.It may be part of a weight loss routine. I would not recommend it for a snack, as there are too many carbohydrates in the recipe for a snack. You could cut the carbohydrates by adding an artificial sweetener as a substitute for honey.That would cut your total carbohydrates by 8 grams, bringing the recipe in at just under 29 grams. That is still a bit much for a snack, unless you are doing vigorous activity, in which case it would be fine to use. The protein in the shake makes it great for muscles. The half banana could be frozen, or use a ripe banana. I like to add a few ice cubes to chill it up even more.
Sweet potato smoothie:
Sweet potatoes are good for diabetes, but they do contain carbohydrates. Portion size is key. They are loaded with fiber, and Vitamin A, and they have a natural sweetness, with a smooth texture.By adding almond milk to this smoothie, you add protein and “good” fat to your diet. Good fat increased HDL, or good cholesterol numbers. Almonds are loaded with good fats, and almond milk is a great source for them. Bananas are packed with fiber. Frozen bananas further chill your smoothie.
Bananas are also loaded with vitamins. Almond butter or natural peanut butter further adds good fats and more protein. Cinnamon has been studied, and is controversial related to its blood sugar lowering ability. Whatever the case, it’s a great spice and certainly not harmful. It will give your sweet potato smoothie a fall aroma, and get you reminiscing about family visits at Thanksgiving. It may even help lower your blood sugar some. This recipe doesn’t have any nutritional information with it, but all of the other ingredients are described in this article. The carbohydrates and calories should also come out to be similar to other smoothies described.
Kale is a leafy green, which also brings up memories of fall. After the first frost, the greens are harvested. We usually had mustard, turnip, or most often, collard greens. You could substitute the kale in this recipe with fresh collard greens. In the South, we think of kale as an ornamental vegetable to make your plate look pretty, similar to the red apple ring garnish. However, many people have embraced kale in more urban areas. The good thing is, if you don’t like the texture or taste or kale, you can mask it by blending it finely, and adding fruits to your mixture. You won’t even know there are greens in your smoothie!
The smoothie recipe below is not for those who faint at the site of greens.It’s for the more experienced green lover. Vegans and Vegetarians should love this recipe. The looks are deceiving, as fruits are in the mix, and the taste is not what would be expected. No holds barred, it is very green. Again mixed with almond milk, frozen mixed berries, and yogurt, you won’t know your greens are in there. A citrusy orange zest will give it some zing. You could also swap out kale for spinach. There are many options with this recipe, and you could change it up to suit your needs.Why is kale good for you? It has almost no calories and plenty of fiber. The list just goes on about the nutritional benefits of kale:
- superfood, nutrient dense
- contains strong antioxidants
- Vitamin C rich
- Cholesterol-lowering effect
- Could reduce heart disease risk
- Excellent source of Vitamin K
- High in cancer fighting nutrients
- Loads of Beta Carotene
- Has many nutrients you can’t get from other foods
- Helps to protect your vision
- May help you lose some weight
Now that you know how healthy kale can be for you, maybe you will give kale a try. A smoothie may be just the way to give kale a first try. This recipe didn’t have nutritional label information with it, but all the ingredients are healthy for diabetes. I would think that this recipe would be lower in carbohydrates, if I had to guess. https://www.healthysmoothiehq.com/diabetic-smoothies
Peanut butter and berry smoothie:
Peanut butter is packed full of healthy protein and fat. It would be recommended to use a natural peanut butter that is less processed, and has no added sugar. Combine that with fresh or frozen berries for a super dose of antioxidants and vitamins, and a boost of fiber, and you have a healthy yet delicious smoothie. Tofu provides added protein and texture, and again, we see almond milk as an ingredient.
It brings up feelings of mom’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, with the grape juice for sweetness giving it that nostalgia. Peanut butter is low in carbohydrates, at about 6 grams per two tablespoons. It does have some of all of the kinds of fats (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated). There are good fats in the mix that promote HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol in your blood stream.
Saturated fat is about 16% of daily allowance. Peanut butter provides some B6 and magnesium, and is low in salt.I live in an area of NC where blueberries are king. There are blueberry farms on the back roads in the interior of our coastal countie, and I have visited many farm workers to discuss their diabetes.We have a fall Farm Worker and Spanish speaking diabetes class that I teach, and they always give me fresh blueberries when I go out to visit the camps. Besides being antioxidants, blueberries provide Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and manganese.
They are a fruit, so they have fiber. A surprising mineral found in blueberries that our bodies need in small amounts is copper. Blueberries do have carbohydrates, and fruit sugar. This smoothie has around 30 carbohydrates, and should be used as a meal replacement for breakfast, or any other meal where you crave a peanut butter and jelly combination.
Cucumber, Mint, and Melon Smoothie:
For a crisp refreshing, salad in a glass, try cucumber, mint, and melon smoothies. Cucumbers are cold and crisp. I love to infuse water with them. For nutrients, they are a good choice for Vitamin A, phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium. They don’t have any fat, salt, or carbohydrates. They pack a lot of fiber into your diet.Honeydew melon is a low glycemic index fruit. There are only about 60 calories in a cup of it, and only about 12 grams of carbohydrates. It’s mostly made up of water, but loaded with fiber, and other minerals. You get some copper, B vitamin thiamine, phosphorus, niacin, and pantothenic acid.
I know what you will say about this next ingredient, but hear me out. Cauliflower, (yes I said you are going to put cauliflower in this smoothie) has 77% of your vitamin C needs daily. It’s also a good source of vegetable protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, riboflavin, and thiamin. There is also B6, folate, phosphorus, and magnesium. You will be grinding the cauliflower up very finely. The other flavors will mask what you may have as a visual for a glass full of cauliflower. Just try it, trust me! I did. I will say it was surprisingly refreshing, and I will make this smoothie again. Nutritionally, mint leaves have a trace amount of vitamin A and C, but they are great to flavor this smoothie.
Green tea and cocoa power smoothie:
Green tea has often been associated with weight loss. It has powerful antioxidants that improve health, memory, and fat burning capabilities. Green tea may decrease your risks for certain types of cancer. This smoothie has almond milk, raspberries, and unsweetened cocoa powder. Cocoa powder can reduce insulin resistance in Type 2 Diabetes, and decrease LDL, or “bad” cholesterol numbers, and raise HDL, or “good” cholesterol numbers. Let almonds, cocoa, and green tea, wake you up in the morning. It should even jump start your metabolism. It’s the first recipe here: https://easyhealthysmoothie.com/10-diabetic-smoothie-recipes/
Avocado, cherry, and almond milk smoothie:
This recipe has cherries, one of my favorite seasonal fruits. Cherries are good for you, and provide a wide variety of dietary benefits, including adding fiber to your diet, and 16% of daily Vitamin C. There is no fat, and no salt in cherries. They provide just 90 calories and 22 grams of carbohydrates per cup. A half cup serving is usually an ample amount when added with the other ingredients in this smoothie. Avocado may seem to be an unlikely pairing with cherries, but you will be pleasantly surprised at the taste. Avocados are good for you, but they are very high in fat content. Therefore, portion size with avocado is important.
They provide some fiber, vitamin K, folate, and pantothenic acid. There are 21 grams of fat, with only 15% in the saturated fat category, so avocados are mostly made up of good fats. There are 12 grams of carbohydrates, and a high potassium level, though avocados are low in salt. Added in small amounts to the diet, avocados are a source of good fats to increase HDL, or “good” cholesterol. You will also add a half a cup of fresh blueberries, and a half cup of almond milk to this smoothie. Yum!It is recipe # 5 here: https://easyhealthysmoothie.com/10-diabetic-smoothie-recipes/
Fruity flax seed smoothie:
I love strawberries. They just look healthy. So red and juicy! If you like strawberries, you will love this smoothie. I also enjoy the combination of strawberries and bananas. The bananas make for a nice texture in this chilled drink. Tofu, flaxseed, skim milk, and a helping of ice cubes round out this smoothie. Strawberries nutritionally contain fiber, vitamin C, A, folate, and potassium.
They have less than 12 grams of carbohydrates per cup of berries. Strawberries may promote heart health, prevent certain cancers, and help to regulate blood glucose. Still, some people have an allergy to strawberries, and must avoid them.
It is recipe #4 here: https://www.sharecare.com/health/diabetes/slideshow/diabetes-smoothie-recipes-for-diabetics#slide-4
For more dietary tips related to diabetes read the following:
- Can My Eating Habits Cause Diabetes?
- They ACTUALLY Ate This to Treat a Low Blood Sugar!!
- How Much Sugar is in Popular Drinks?
- 10 Superfoods for Diabetes
- Diabetes Recipes: Low Carb Baking for the Holidays
Step by step recipes
For the ingredients to make these 8 smoothies, refer to the link to the website for each recipe. It’s good to make a grocery list, and get prepared. It’s also a wonderful way to jump start a weight loss program. You can replace any meal with each of these smoothies, which all should be around 30 carbohydrates per serving.
1. How do you make a pumpkin pie smoothie?
This one is my favorite, so I will start with it. First you need a ripe banana, about half of it. Open a can of pumpkin puree, and put the pumpkin puree, and the half banana in your blender. The recipe calls for unsweetened soy milk or coconut milk. I am not recommending the coconut milk, but prefer for diabetes that the unsweetened soy milk be used. It has less saturated fat.
Put in a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, and I prefer a half teaspoon of vanilla extract instead of the quarter teaspoon listed in the recipe. A half tablespoon of honey, and several ice cubes (I use at least 3 or 4), and blend it all together. This is a fall morning treat that you won’t want to miss.
I like to make it in the morning, and curl up with a book and some hot coffee, then take my morning walk with my cockapoo, Bear. I think you will find a way to enjoy this smoothie, too.
2. How do you make a sweet potato smoothie?
This one calls for half a frozen banana, and a half a cup of almond milk, placed in the blender. You can freeze your bananas for all of the smoothies that contain them. You can use a half cup of sweet potato puree from a can, or you can cook and mash your own sweet potatoes. This is the healthiest option, and avoids any processed foods.One tablespoon of natural peanut butter, or better yet, almond butter, and a half teaspoon of cinnamon to spice it up, and you’re ready to turn on the blender for a few whirls. I like to put a few cubes of ice in mine, as I want it to be frostier than the frozen banana alone makes it.
3. How do you make a kale smoothie?
For this “green” smoothie, place a half a cup of unsweetened almond milk into your blender, along with a small orange. You could use a cutie orange. Now put in one cut of chopped raw kale, or you could use spinach. Then put in a half a cup of fresh or frozen mixed berries. You can use a mix of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
Last, add a half a cup of Greek yogurt for a protein-packed breakfast, or pre-exercise snack. Blend all together in a blender, and I usually add a few ice cubes. If when you think of smoothies, you think of a frozen treat, add some ice cubes into yours as well.
4. How do you make a peanut butter and berry smoothie?
This one is called a PB and J Smoothie. To make it, simply place 6 ounces of light silken tofu into your blender. Place in two thirds cups of fresh or frozen blueberries (you can freeze the fresh ones). Place 1 and one fourth cup of vanilla flavored almond milk (or you could use regular unsweetened almond milk, and add in your own vanilla flavoring). One half cup of grape juice will give it some sweetness also. Add in a half cup of crushed ice, give the blender a whirl, and voila! This one is a winner. You could garnish with a few fresh blueberries for show.
5. How do you make cucumber, mint, and melon smoothie?
To make this smoothie, coarsely chop fresh cauliflower in your food processor. Add in two cups of fresh and ripe honeydew melon. Thinly dice one large, fresh cucumber, and place it in the food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Add in a half cup of fresh mint leaves from your garden (or produce section of your grocery store). Add in a fourth a cup of water, 2 to 3 tablespoons of honey to taste, and a cup of crushed ice. Blend all in the food processor, and serve right away. This recipe makes four servings.
6. How do I make a green tea and cocoa powder smoothie?
For this smoothie, place a cup of almond milk into your blender. Add in one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. Place in one tablespoon of green tea. I found that a handful of frozen raspberries is about a fourth a cup. You can add up to a half a cup of raspberries. I prefer to, because I love them. Blend all this with a few ice cubes, and you have a tasty treat with some insulin resistance lowering powers to boot.
7. How do you make an avocado, cherry, and almond smoothie?
You can blend avocado into your smoothies, and this recipe does just that. Place 1 cup of frozen fresh cherries, pitted, into your blender. Place in a half a cup of frozen blueberries, then add in a half of an avocado. Top this off with one cup of almond milk, and give the whole thing a few spins with the blender. Enjoy!
8. How do you make a fruity flax seed smoothie?
For this smoothie, start with 1 and a half cups of fresh strawberries, cleaned and de-capped, and a half a banana. Freeze the fruits for the best effect. Add into your blender a half a cup of tofu, and 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds. Add in 2 tablespoons of skim milk, 2 teaspoons of honey, add in a cup of ice cubes or crushed ice, and turn on the blender. Fresh, strawberry goodness!
Now that we know how to make some healthy and delicious fresh smoothies, let’s look at some tips for making them healthy. You can apply these tips to any of the recipes, to ensure that you are making the very best for your health with diabetes.
Tips for making the smoothies
Here are some tips for making great healthy smoothies.
What about carbohydrates?
Make sure you watch for the carbohydrate content of your smoothie. Be sure to avoid adding extra sugar, especially of the white, raw, and processed variety. You also need to keep track of the amount of fruit sugar, or fructose, and the amount of lactose, or milk sugar that goes into your smoothie. All of these are sugar, and raise blood glucose. In general if you keep the carbohydrate servings to 3 or less, you will be doing ok on your smoothie.
What kind of protein is good to put in a smoothie?
Always add in your protein when you are making a smoothie. The protein helps to balance the carbohydrates. It prevents the carbohydrates from causing a huge spike in your blood glucose by slowing how fast they are absorbed into your blood stream.
Adding in a wide variety of animal and plant proteins will also help to slow the absorption of carbohydrates. Protein from Greek yogurt, non-fat yogurt, other milk products, tofu, flax and other seeds, whey protein, and other bean proteins can ensure that you get the healthiest proteins in your smoothie.
Are there some fats that are better than others to put in smoothies?
Some fats are better for you than others. You want to try to add the good fats into your diet. These are the ones that raise your good cholesterol, or HDL cholesterol. Eating the good fats versus the bad fats can actually help your liver process out more of the saturated and Trans fats that you eat. The good fat carries the bad fat out, so to speak.
Natural almond butter or natural peanut butter will add some good fats to your smoothie. Chia or flax seeds, avocados, or pecans, walnuts, and other nuts can add good fats. I don’t particularly recommend coconut oils or milk, due to a tendency to elevate LDL cholesterol.
Get your fiber
Make sure to add some fiber, meaning fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables to your smoothie. Fiber will help to keep you full. All varieties of nuts and seeds also contain fiber, and can be added to your smoothie.
What kinds of low glycemic fruits and vegetables are good to put in a smoothie?
A low glycemic food raises your blood glucose more slowly than a high glycemic food. Fifty or less on a glycemic index is considered to be ok.
Fruits with a low glycemic index
Cherries, pears, grapefruits, and plums will do the trick. Apples, strawberries, oranges, and raspberries also have a low glycemic index.
Vegetables with a low glycemic index
Vegetables with a low glycemic index include spinach, cabbage, kale, broccoli, and green peas. Pumpkins and carrots also make the list.
Boosting flavors in your smoothie
You can give your smoothies more flavor by adding in a number of different tasty ingredients. There are a variety of flavor-infusing ingredients that go into the smoothies that we have been featuring in this article. For added flavorings, try adding some of the following ingredients:
Over to you
We hope you try to make some of these smoothies at home, and let us know how you liked them. How did they affect your blood glucose? If you have previously drank the high carbohydrate version of smoothies, do you see a difference in how it affects your blood glucose with the addition of protein? Let us know your weight loss results as well in the comments section below.
Disclaimer: watch for food allergies of any kind, but especially to nuts, milk products, and proteins, glutens, and other common food allergies. If you have Celiacs Disease or ulcerative colitis, or anytime you are in doubt about what foods you may eat, consult with a registered dietician.
TheDiabetesCouncil Article | Reviewed by Dr. Sergii Vasyliuk MD on September 10, 2018
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Last Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 Last Reviewed: Wednesday, September 12, 2018One of THE biggest questions I get is about whether or not diabetics should consume green smoothies. I will attempt to answer this question in this post.
First, you should know that I am not a doctor, and that absolutely nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. Always work with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes when you have a medical condition, such as diabetes. Keep in mind that your results may vary from somebody else’s.
Okay, now with that out of the way…
The biggest concern that diabetics have about green smoothies is their sugar content. It is true that fruit contains glucose (and fructose). People with metabolic disorders such as diabetes should strictly monitor their carbohydrate intake – including the amount of sugar that they get from each meal. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t have any fruit, or that green smoothies are not for you.
Fresh, whole fruits, as well as blended green smoothies not only provide a healthy way for diabetics to get more fruits and vegetables in their diet, green smoothies also may help reverse some of the diet and lifestyle problems that exacerbate diabetes, or contributes to its progression.
How Green Smoothies Have Helped My Readers With Diabetes
I have collected countless testimonies from readers who have told me about how green smoothies have benefited their diabetic condition. I have heard from people who no longer need anti-diabetes medication, and who have brought their high blood sugar into the normal range!
One of the most striking green smoothie success stories I received was from a reader named Charles from Michigan. He shared his amazing story with me:
“I lost a total of 35 pounds in 11 weeks. My doctor has discontinued ALL of my medications for high blood pressure, and I am no longer taking ANY insulin for my type 2 diabetes. I also have WAY more energy, I sleep better, and I am much more focused at work.”
And then there was Allan from California. He wrote that: “As a type 2 diabetic, improving my blood sugar numbers was a top priority. Since I began incorporating green smoothies into my lifestyle, my blood sugar numbers are excellent. My A1C number is currently 6.0 as opposed to a high of 7.5 (a number many diabetics would love to have). My fasting numbers are around 100 upon waking up each morning and fluctuate throughout the day based on what I eat. These current numbers reflect readings after having had my medication (Metformin) dose cut in half.”
He continued by saying, “I have lost 40 pounds.”
Two other stories I’ve published came from two women who were pre-diabetic and taking Metformin (an anti-diabetes medication). A reader from Utah named Cara was able to cut back on Metformin. She shared her transformation with me:
“I have lost 32 pounds since last June. My blood sugar numbers have gone down and my A1C is now 5.4, well within normal range. My diabetes counselor has halved my Metformin dose.”
Trisha was also on Metformin. She wrote to me saying that: “My bloodwork has improved dramatically. My triglycerides went from 109 to 42. My fasting glucose dropped to 91. My insulin was at 19, and now it is at 5. I no longer take Metformin…I lost 70 pounds. I went from a size 20 to a size 6 or 8.”
And then there’s Hilda’s story. Her fasting glucose went from 169 (high) to 94 (normal). This is what she wrote:
“I have shed 40 pounds so far. My blood sugar dropped from 169 to 94. My doctor is impressed and I no longer take pre-diabetes medication…I feel great!”
These stories are pretty typical of what I hear from type 2 diabetics who start drinking green smoothies.
Charles, Allan, Cara, and Trisha all shared their typical green smoothie recipes, which I will share below.
Potential Ways Green Smoothies Benefit Diabetics
I can’t precisely tell you exactly what it is about green smoothies that lower (and normalize) abnormal blood sugar in certain individuals with type 2 diabetes.
I don’t believe that there is a specific fruit or vegetable combination that does the trick. Instead, a daily green smoothie kicks off a chain-reaction of lifestyle changes that reduce or eliminate the factors that exacerbate the disease, and reverses the condition in some individuals.
The top three benefits of green smoothies for type 2 diabetes are:
1 – Weight Loss: Excess weight is a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Those who lose weight through diet and exercise are often able to reverse and effectively manage their diabetes. Green smoothies are a potent weight loss strategy that boosts fruit and vegetable intake.
2 – Energy to Exercise: Exercise is another method that is known to reduce the symptoms and severity of diabetes. The overwhelming majority of those I’ve interviewed who drink green smoothies report having more energy and exercising. Green smoothies are fitness food!
3 – Healthier Diet Overall: Green smoothies are a step toward a diet and lifestyle overhaul that inevitably follows. The overwhelming majority of people I’ve interviewed who drink green smoothies on a regular basis also consume much less processed foods. Their diet evolves in a direction of plant-based, lower calorie, higher nutrition, health-supporting.
I have experienced this in my own life as well. Before green smoothies, I’d be lucky to get one serving of vegetables a day. Today, I will consume more than 12 servings of fruits and vegetables, most of which are in my green smoothies!
Green Smoothie Recipes By Diabetics
I reached out to my readers with type 2 diabetes for green smoothie recipes. I’ve compiled the list here, along with some anecdotes about how each recipe affects their blood sugar.
Since there is a lot of variation in how bodies react to fruits, always monitor your blood sugar levels when trying green smoothies for the first time. What is tolerated well by one person may be problematic for others.
Also, check out these 30 green smoothie recipes with 30 carbs for less.
- 1 banana
- handful of blueberries
- 2 tablespoons soaked chia seeds
- 1 cup of kale
- 1 cup of spinach
“I wasn’t concerned about fruits raising my blood sugar because I am more of a fan of “savory” flavors. I use just enough fruits in green smoothies to balance out the taste of the greens, not to disguise it.
My blood sugar only goes up slightly after a green smoothie. It slowly decreases to normal levels so that I never experience a “rush”, unlike most people who have that afternoon dip, I have not experienced that.
There are no specific fruits I avoid.”
- One large orange
- A cup of kale
- Two cups spinach
- Three stalks celery
- A medium or large cucumber
- 5 ice cubes
- 6-8 ounces Minute Maid brand light lemonade
“My blood sugar tolerates oranges and mixed berries quite well so I use them in green smoothies. Others with diabetes would have to find out what works for them.”
- 1 frozen banana
- 1-2 cups greens (I rotate between chard, collard greens, spinach and kale)
- 1 cup frozen or fresh fruit (I rotate berries, pineapple, pomegranate seeds/arils, mango, grapes, etc.)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons ground flax seed or chia seed
- 1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 inch segment of ginger root
- 4 cups of leafy greens (spinach, kale, cabbage, beet greens, etc.)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds (soaked)
- 2 tablespoons flax seeds
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 small cucumbers
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 apple or pear
- 1/2 c blueberries
- 1/4 c pineapple
- Top with ice and water and blend
Lana’s Green Smoothie
- Handful of spinach
- 3 slices of cucumber
- 1/2 stalk of celery
- 1 teaspoon of organic cinnamon
- 2 frozen strawberries
- 1 tablespoon of flax seed
- 1/2 cup of blueberries(frozen or fresh)
- 3 tablespoon of organic rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon of raw cacao
- 6 ounces of unsweetened almond milk
Blast all the ingredients in a Nutri Bullet and enjoy! Makes around 8 to 10 ounces.
Calories: 343 | Fat: 12g | Protein: 13g | Carbs: 45g | Sugar: 10g | Calcium: 13% | Iron: 4.8mg | Vitamin A: 21% | Vitamin C: 41% |
I drink one green smoothie every morning. I have tested before having a green smoothie in the morning and then went to an exercise class, tested again, and it made blood sugar go into the normal range. Example: Morning blood sugar was 130, two or three hours later it was 95! Normal range!
Barbara’s Green Smoothie
I have a green smoothie every morning for breakfast and it is:
- 1 small orange, peeled
- 2 big handfuls of spinach
- 1 large kale or chard leaf or 2 baby bok choi (nutrition info is for 1 kale leaf)
- 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries (nutrition info is for blueberries)
- 1 serving vegan protein powder
- 1 teaspoon goji berries, soaked for 10 minutes
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened organic coconut milk
water to adjust consistency to personal preference
Calories: 239 | Fat: 6g | Protein: 13g | Carbs: 39g | Sugar: 21g | Calcium: 15% | Iron: 3.2mg | Vitamin A: 91% | Vitamin C: 219% |
This makes approximately 4 cups of finished smoothie.
To change it up, I will add a small handful of cilantro, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, a tblsp of pureed pumpkin, or a tblsp of shredded coconut.
I am Type 2 (since 2008 when I quit smoking and gained 20 lbs), but am NOT on any medications for it, and never have been nor will I be if I can prevent it.
Because I add the protein powder to my smoothies, they don’t affect my blood sugar very much (well within the acceptable 2 point increase two hours after eating – Canadian measurements), certainly much less than a “conventional” breakfast did before. In general my blood sugar numbers have been steadily getting better since adding green smoothies to my lifestyle.
Joann’s Green Smoothie
- 2 cups spinach
- 1/2 cup strawberries, with tops still on
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 scoop of sugar free chocolate protein powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 1/4 cup soaked chia seed (it will be thick and gelatinous)
- A small handful of raw pumpkin seed or walnuts
Calories: 275 | Fat: 13g | Protein: 18g | Carbs: 27g | Sugar: 13g | Calcium: 11% | Iron: 3.2mg | Vitamin A: 41% | Vitamin C: 89% |
I add water and blend. There’s nothing better than a Nutriblast in the morning!
The more careful I am with the ingredients, the less impact green smoothies have on my blood sugar level. Since I have been making green smoothies and eating at least a 50% raw diet raw (fruits and veggies), I have cut my insulin use in more than half! I can’t wait to see my A1C next month!
I drink one every morning when I wake up and take my medication. My diabetes is Prednisone-induced, so I have to take insulin (Novalin NPH 26 units) immediately after I take my Prednisone. I have a nutritious green smoothie and it has minimal impact on my blood sugar. As a result, I don’t have to take my Novalog Pen like I would with a normal breakfast.
Suzanna’s Green Smoothie
- 2 ounces of spinach
- 2 ounces of kale
- 1 ounce of hemp seeds
- 136 grams of banana (1 large)
- a tiny bit of Stevia if I wish to have it sweeter.
- 1.5-2 cups of water
Calories: 345 | Fat: 15g | Protein: 14g | Carbs: 41g | Sugar: 17g | Calcium: 14% | Iron: 4.1mg | Vitamin A: 79% | Vitamin C: 128% |
I blend it in NutriBullet until it becomes deliciously smooth and thick. Makes the full Bullet, about 24 ounces and 300 calories.
I drink two shakes per day. Sometimes three during the hot days as I make them ice cold and they are very refreshing.
They keep the blood sugar stable, yet deliver an extreme burst of energy. I can play tennis for two hours after having this little shake, performing at high level. Never feel any high-followed-by-crash. It’s amazing how great the green shakes work.
Chris’ Green Smoothie
- 8oz unsweetened almond milk
- 2-3 cups spinach (or any green. I use Kale and arugula too) (recipe is for 2 cups spinach)
- 1 medium banana, peeled
- 1/2 small avocado
Calories: 282 | Fat: 13g | Protein: 6g | Carbs: 36g | Sugar: 15g | Calcium: 6% | Iron: 2.4mg | Vitamin A: 41% | Vitamin C: 47% |
I blend the milk and greens first. add the banana the avocado last as it thickens the smoothie.
I drink 1 or two green smoothies each day, always for breakfast. I see less of a spike with smoothies than eating a “traditional” meal that is supposed to be for diabetics.
Sherri’s Green Smoothie
- 2 cups Kale
- 1 cucumber
- 1 stalk of celery
- 2 cups frozen fruit chunks (peaches,mango,pineapple) (nutrition info is for 2 cups peaches)
- 1 frozen banana, peeled
- 1/2 small avocado
- 1 lemon, peeled
- 16 ounces water
Makes 2 quarts. Protein powder & Chia seeds added last.
Calories: 476 | Fat: 15g | Protein: 14g | Carbs: 89g | Sugar: 47g | Calcium: 27% | Iron: 4.5mg | Vitamin A: 107% | Vitamin C: 309% |
My husband turned 62 on 4/29. He has type 2 diabetes & all the major issues that come with never being able to get control. Last November, we made some changes. Green Smoothies top the list. He no longer takes Humalog (was taking 150 units a day). He is still taking Lantus (100 units a day), but cutting that back soon. His blood sugar is under control!!! His average is 124. No more spikes!
He has lost 50 pounds and is down to 260 now & feels good. We just finished a 4 day cleanse Fruits & veggies ONLY He did great if anything his sugar ran a bit low & had to eat more & often. I kept track of everything & checked his sugar hourly. Morning lemon water and chia seeds are a big key.
Roz’s Green Smoothie
Current blend (Autumn in Australia) is –
- Ice water
- Handful dandelion greens*
- Handful chickweed*
- Several sprigs of mint and parsley*
- 3 small leaves spinach*
- Half large avocado
- Chia seeds – 2 teaspoons
- Plain yogurt – about 1/2 cup
- Frozen berries
* Fresh from my garden.
Blend using more yogurt to thicken or more water to dilute as required.
I have home made green smoothies every second day on average, usually for breakfast, as this suits my lifestyle best. My blood sugar levels are good following this sort of blend. If other fruit (e.g. banana or mango) is used, my readings are higher.
Diabetic-Friendly Green Smoothie Recipes Submitted by Deb C.
- 1 head baby bok choy
- 1 cup kale
- 1 red plum, pitted
- 1 medium banana, peeled
- 1/4 avocado
Calories: 258 | Fat: 9g | Protein:7g | Carbs: 46g | Sugar: 22g | Calcium: 16% | Iron: 2.2 mg | Vitamin A: 185% | Vitamin C: 178% |
- 2 heads baby bok choy
- 1 medium banana, peeled
- 2 cups whole strawberries
- 1/4 avocado
Calories: 296 | Fat: 9g | Protein:6g | Carbs: 56g | Sugar: 31g | Calcium: 17% | Iron: 2.9 mg | Vitamin A: 270% | Vitamin C: 330% |
Pineapple-Strawberry Green Smoothie
- 1 and 1/2 cups kale
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 2 cups fresh pineapple
- 1 cups whole strawberries
- 1 medium banana, peeled
- 1 Tbsp Hemp seeds
Calories: 449 | Fat: 8g | Protein: 14g | Carbs: 96g | Sugar: 54g | Calcium: 27% | Iron: 7.2mg | Vitamin A: 116% | Vitamin C: 605% |
I was one of those people who was worried about how my sugar would react to the smoothies since I am diabetic type 2. For the first week, I checked my blood sugar before and one hour and two hours after my green smoothies. My fingers were so sore that week but what I learned is that the smoothies seem to have a normalizing affect on my blood sugar level instead of increasing it.
After the smoothies, my one and two hour blood sugar measurements never increased by more than 20 points over the before smoothie level. That’s amazing!
Diabetic-Friendly “Green Ice Creams” Submitted by Kathleen
Chocolate Ice Cream
(makes two servings)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons cacao powder
- 7 drops stevia (optional)
- half avocado
- about 2 cups ice depending on your ice
Blend on medium speed in a high-speed blender or food processor
Calories: 286 | Fat: 22g | Protein: 7g | Carbs: 21g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 11% | Iron: 3.1mg | Vitamin A: 22% | Vitamin C: 13% |
Spinach Ice Cream
(makes two servings)
- 1 cup almond milk
- 7 drops stevia
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups ice
Blend on medium speed in a high-speed blender or food processor
Calories:72 | Fat: 4g | Protein: 3g | Carbs: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 43% | Iron: 2.4mg | Vitamin A: 62% | Vitamin C: 22% |
Carol’s Green Smoothie
- Juice from 1″ fresh ginger root (I put it thru my Omega Vertical Juicer and then add about 1/4 cup water to help wash out all the juice, and then hand squeeze the pulp to make sure I get it all)
- About 8 oz water, more later if too thick.
- 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon (I use the big cinnamon bottles you get at Costco and just do about 2-3 really good squeezes on the bottle)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1-2 shakes of the cayenne pepper bottle (to taste)
- Can add 1 Tbsp dried goji berries and 1 tsp kelp powder if you like.
Mix lightly in Vitamix then let sit for the chia seeds and goji berries to soften up while you add the rest of the frozen ingredients:
- 1/2 to 1 cup fresh spouts (I just grab a handful)
- 1-2 small pieces of frozen bananas (I let my bananas ripen just right, then cut them in thirds or quarters depending on their size, put them on cookie tray in freezer until frozen, – then transfer to a ziplock bag and keep in freezer – never have to worry about losing bananas due to over ripening)
- 1/4 cup (heaping) frozen blueberries or berry combination
- 3 individual frozen sweet cherries (just for the sweetness – can be less or left out)
Start Vitamix on low, move to high and let mix for about a minute. Pour out into large mug or glass.
This is not very sweet, but has lots of good stuff for diabetics. I usually consume it as breakfast, then follow up either at lunch or dinner with a green smoothie, and eat one small meal of regular food.
When I have it available I add kombucha or other fermented drink instead of part of the water. I used to add yogurt, but learned that dairy products stop the raw cacao benefits. So I keep any dairy for later in the day.
When I’m truly doing the two smoothies (cacao and green) each day, I can keep my blood glucose down in the normal range for fasting, and about 120 when eating. My A1C came back in normal range this last test, and it had been quite high before.
By the way, I went from 210+ lbs in December 2010 to 159 this month. Still have another 20 lbs to go to my target of mid 130s.
I try to get in one cacao smoothie and one green smoothie (using spinach, celery, 1 piece frozen banana, spouts, and sometimes part of an avocado) per day.
Diabetic-Friendly Smoothie by Juanita H.
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
- 1-2 scoops of protein powder
- 1 banana, preferably frozen
- 1 Tbsp. frozen apple juice concentrate
- 6-8 ice cubes
Makes 1-and-1/2 8 ounce glasses of smoothie.
I have been drinking at least one smoothie per day, and generally two smoothies per day, one at breakfast which includes oatmeal, and one for lunch or supper which includes spinach. I vary the ingredients, sometimes adding berries instead of apple juice concentrate, and cocoa powder in the morning oatmeal smoothie.
My daily glucose readings are continuing to drop. In May, my fasting morning reading was anywhere from 150 to 205, my 14 day average was 165 and my 30 day average was 156. My morning fasting glucose readings now range from 130 down to 84. My 14 day average is now 122 and my 30 day average is 132. Weight loss has been extremely slow, only about 1 pound a month, but energy level has increased and I have much less problems with foot neuropathy. I am 71 and moderately active.
Smoothie Recipe From Dr. Colin Lowe
- 1 apple
- 1 banana
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stick (complete)
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 lemon with skin
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 cup of fresh water.
Makes three day supply.
Pancreas started producing required insulin, lost 25kg in weight, insulin daily fast readings are 5,5 to 6,2. Do not get colds or flu.
Off insulin injections, blood pressure normal, cholesterol normal.
Want more recipes? Check out these 30 low-carb green smoothies.
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Smoothies are one of my favorite things to make. They can be made for breakfast, lunch or dinner and they’re great for a pre-workout boost or used post-workout to help my muscles recover. I also love that they can be made however you like!
Whether you like your smoothies rich and creamy like a delicious dessert or fruity and cool for a warmer day, I have put together a list of low-carb smoothies for diabetics and I’m sure there is something here for you to enjoy.
All of the recipes are relatively low carb (less than 20 grams of carbs per serving) so they won’t spike your blood sugar levels too much and are also super easy to make. You can whip most of them up in a minute or two.
Smoothies aren’t only great for when you’re running late and need something quick to eat, they are also a great way to get extra nutrients in quickly. The low-carb smoothies for diabetics that I have included here are filled with fresh fruits and vegetables for that extra boost of antioxidants.
I made sure that the low-carb smoothie recipes you’ll find here have:
- less than 20 grams of carbs per serving (mostly from low-glycemic carbs like berries and chis seeds)
- some protein content (from 5 to 36 grams per serving!)
- some healthy fat (to keep you feeling full)
These guidelines should help create a smoothie that doesn’t give you a blood sugar spike just after drinking it!
So now let’s get started on our 10 low-carb smoothies for diabetics!
Low-carb Smoothies for Diabetics
Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie
With a whopping 25 g of protein in one serving, this smoothie is perfect for replacing a protein shake after a workout. Even better, is it’s made with only 4 ingredients!
Nutrition: 195 calories – 18 g carbs – 25 g protein – 4 g fat
Vegan Blueberry Smoothies
What could be better after a workout than this delicious low-carb, high protein vegan blueberry smoothie? It’s rich, creamy, and full of antioxidants!
Nutrition: 402 calories – 9 g carbs – 15 g protein – 33 g fat
Low-carb Smoothie Bowl with Berries
This low-carb smoothie bowl with fresh strawberries is great for a healthy start to your morning. It’s a delicious, creamy breakfast that’s ready in only 5 minutes.
Nutrition: 166 calories – 4 g carbs – 18 g protein – 9 g fat
Green Keto Smoothie with Avocado and Peanut Butter
This easy green keto smoothie is filled with healthy low-carb vegetables like kale, cucumber, and celery plus healthy (and delicious) fat from the avocado and peanut butter!
Nutrition: 141 calories – 9 g carbs – 4 g protein – 11 g fat
Chocolate Avocado Smoothie
Smoothies can be so thick and rich that we pass them off as desserts. That’s exactly where this smoothie comes in, it’s rich and chocolatey and no-one will know it’s full of healthy ingredients!
Nutrition: 79 calories – 8 g carbs – 2 g protein – 7 g fat
Strawberry Basil Smoothie
Now I know what you might think about putting basil leaves and strawberries in a smoothie, but they definitely work together to make this smoothie super delicious! The strawberries naturally sweeten the smoothie making it the perfect way to start your day.
Nutrition: 159 calories – 10 g carbs –8 g protein – 10 g fat
Key Lime Pie Protein Shake Smoothie
What about a dessert smoothie to end your day? A delicious dessert smoothie inspired by the taste of key lime pie and packed with healthy ingredients and 36 grams of protein!
Nutrition: 180 calories – 7 g carbs – 36 g protein – 0 g fat
Cinnamon Roll Smoothie
The comfort and deliciousness of a cinnamon roll in the form of a smoothie must be tried to be believed. It’s an extremely low-carb smoothie recipe with 27 g of protein per serving!
Nutrition: 145 calories – 2 g carbs – 27 g protein – 3 g fat
Blueberry Galaxy Smoothie
Your smoothie doesn’t only have to be healthy but can also look amazing too! These galaxy smoothies with blueberries are so easy to make with only a handful of ingredients making up this tasty low-carb recipe.
Nutrition: 370 calories – 3 g carbs – 31 g protein – 21 g fat
Low-carb Strawberry Cheesecake
The secret to this creamy delicious dessert-style smoothie is cream cheese! It creates a rich and creamy smoothie while also keeping it low-carb!
Nutrition: 370 calories – 10 g carbs – 18 g protein – 24 g fat
If you have tried any of these low-carb smoothies for diabetics, please let me know in the comments how you liked them. You are also more than welcome to suggest other great low-carb smoothies recipes I should include in the roundup.
More diabetes-friendly recipe roundups
I hope you will enjoy these healthy low-carb smoothie recipes as much as I do. If you want more healthy diabetic recipes, take a look at these roundups:
- 10 Easy Diabetic Desserts
- 10 Low-Card Breakfast Ideas for Diabetics
- 7 Diabetes-Friendly Pancake Recipes
Smoothies are everywhere. Search on the Internet and you’ll come across an endless number of smoothie recipes. But what are they and, more importantly, are they good for people with diabetes?
What is a smoothie, anyway?
In general, a smoothie is a blended drink made from fruits and/or vegetables; a liquid such as milk, a milk alternative, yogurt or juice; and ice. Some smoothie recipes may call for additional protein in the form of a powder. A smoothie’s “thickness” can vary and depends on the ratio of liquid to solid ingredients.
Why do people drink smoothies?
Smoothies aren’t for everyone, but they can be appealing to people who may not like eating a meal or who don’t have time to prepare a healthful meal. For example, many people find that drinking a smoothie for breakfast is a quick and easy way to get a healthy dose of their daily nutrient needs. Other people drink smoothies to help them achieve a particular health goal, such as losing weight or better managing their blood sugar. Smoothies can be used as a meal replacement, as a supplement to a meal, or as a snack.
Are smoothies safe for people with diabetes to drink?
Smoothies can be a great way to boost your nutrition. In general, these popular beverages provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and protein. People who fall short of recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables can make up for that deficit by “drinking” them in the form of a smoothie. However, if you’re interested in trying this beverage, either in place of a meal or for a snack, it’s a good idea to first check with your doctor or dietitian. Depending on the recipe you use (if you’re making your own) and how much you drink, smoothies can be high in both calories and carbohydrate. It’s important to choose your ingredients carefully and keep an eye on the amount that you drink. And don’t forget: Checking your blood sugar before and after drinking a smoothie is important so that you can see how it affects your diabetes control.
What ingredients are best to put in a smoothie?
The beauty of smoothies is that there are endless combinations of ingredients that you can use; you may never get bored. To get you started, here are some tips to making “smooth sailing” of smoothies:
Choose your produce. Fruits? Vegetables? Both? It’s up to you. Berries, bananas, melon, mango, apples, pears, and kiwi are fruits that work well in smoothies. But don’t overlook vegetables. You may not care for kale, but mixed in a smoothie, you’ll never know what hit you! Besides kale, carrots, broccoli, spinach, and avocado are great choices. Also, using more vegetables and less fruit means less carbohydrate.
Choose your liquid. You can use water, but that can make your smoothie thin in consistency. Juice is an option, but that will add a lot of carbohydrate. Consider using skim or low-fat milk. Or, if you prefer or need to avoid dairy, use one of these milk alternatives: soy, almond, rice, hemp, or coconut milk. Go for plain, unsweetened versions of these “milks” to keep a lid on calories and carbs. Not all milk alternatives are the same, nutrition-wise. Almond, rice, and coconut milk are much lower in protein than cow’s milk or soy milk, for example. If you want more thickness, try adding plain, nonfat or low-fat Greek-style yogurt.
Add some protein. If you’re aiming for more protein in your eating plan or if you’re making your smoothie with a milk alternative, you can give your smoothie a protein boost by adding a protein powder. There are many options for protein powders, including whey protein (shown in some studies to help with blood sugar control) and casein protein. Avoid these proteins if you are allergic to milk. Other options include hemp, soy, brown rice, and pea proteins. Don’t go overboard with the protein powder, though; remember that protein contains calories. Too much protein can be dehydrating. And check with your doctor before using protein powder if you have kidney problems.
Boost nutrition with flaxseed or chia seeds. Besides giving your smoothie some bulk, flaxseeds and chia seeds can add protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of whole flaxseeds into your smoothie before blending. Add the same amount of chia seeds, but either soak them for 10–15 minutes or grind them before adding them to your smoothie.
Congratulations! You’ve made your own smoothie. For more ideas, check out Diabetes Self-Management’s smoothie recipes here.
Fruit juices and smoothies
Many of you have contacted us confused about fruit, fruit juices and smoothies and whether they are something you can have if you have diabetes.
So we’ve set out to answer your questions and explain the difference between drinking fruit juice and smoothies and eating whole fruit and how this can affect your diabetes management and overall health.
- What is fructose?
- What is added sugar?
- Why do I need to watch fruit juices and smoothies but not whole fruit?
- Do I need to avoid fruit juices and smoothies?
- Should I avoid sugar completely?
What is fructose?
All fruit, fruit juices and smoothies contain a naturally occurring sugar called fructose. Fructose from whole fruit doesn’t add to your intake of free (or added) sugar, but in fruit juice or a smoothie it does.
What is free (added) sugar?
Free (added) sugar includes the sugars added to foods by manufacturers, eg in cakes, chocolates, jam, some pasta sauces, fizzy drinks and breakfast cereals. It also includes the sugar found in fruit juices, smoothies and honey.
A recent report by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), stated that we need to reduce our intake of free (added) sugars by half.
The report recommends that we should consume no more than 5 per cent of our energy from free sugar. This means the maximum daily intake of free (added) sugar should be:
- 19g, equal to 5 cubes or 5 tsp of sugar, for children (aged 4 to 7)
- 24g, equal to 6 cubes or 6 tsp of sugar, for children aged (7 to 10)
- 30g, equal to 7 cubes or 7 tsp of sugar, for children (over 11) and adults
Eating too much free (added) sugar contributes towards obesity, tooth decay and also puts people at risk of Type 2 diabetes.
The report clearly states that we do not need to cut down our intake of whole fruit and, in fact, recommends that we eat more.
The best thing you can do is to get label savvy, so that you are aware of all the hidden free (added) sugars in the foods that you buy. Aim to cut down where you can. You can control the amount of sugar you use if you cook food yourself. Check out our recipe finder for suggestions.
I’m still confused. Why do I need to watch fruit juices and smoothies but not the whole fruit?
Fructose adds to your intake of free (added) sugars. Whole fruit, on the other hand, does not.
Whole fruit contains fibre (roughage), vitamins and minerals, which are good for your overall health. The fibre helps to slow down the speed the fructose is absorbed into your blood stream and can help you feel fuller for longer. This is why it’s better to eat whole fruit, rather than fruit in the form of juice or a smoothie.
Fruit juice and smoothies, on the other hand, have most of the fibre (roughage) removed when they are made and it’s very easy to drink large quantities in a short space of time. This means you could be drinking a lot of extra calories, carbs and sugar.
We know that too much of our sugar intake is coming from juices and smoothies, so it makes sense to cut down. The good news is that we are not eating enough fruit, so this is something you can eat more of. Though be mindful of serving sizes – it’s easy to overdo the dried fruit, grapes and tropical fruits without really thinking about it.
You can include fruit as part of your meal or as a snack, whichever suits your healthy eating plan. Don’t forget fresh, tinned and dried fruit all count.
Spread your intake throughout the day so that you are not eating a lot of carbohydrate in one go, which could affect your blood glucose (also called blood sugar) levels.
So do I need to avoid fruit juices and smoothies?
Although it’s better to eat whole fruit than drink fruit juice or smoothies, ifyou want to have some it’s better to limit the quantity to the recommended portion of 1 small glass a day (150ml) and make sure your drink goes further by diluting it with water.’
Be aware of the carb, sugar and calorie content and how this may affect your blood sugar levels, and if you drink them with your meal think about how much carbohydrate you are having overall.
For example, if you usually have a couple of slices of bread with your breakfast, on the day that you decide to have a small glass of juice, just have one slice of bread to make room for the extra carbs coming from the fruit juice. It’s an option to ensure that you don’t have to deal with high blood sugar levels as a result of having the juice.
Smoothies are also better if you make them yourself because you can put in the whole fruits, which include the fibre (roughage). You can also be sure that no other sugar has been added, which can sometimes creep into shop-bought ones.
If I have diabetes, should I avoid sugar completely?
There’s no need to totally avoid sugar, but aim to cut down on your free (or added) sugar intake. Remember, this doesn’t include sugar present in whole fruit, so try to meet the five a day target. This will help protect you against stroke, heart disease and certain cancers.