How to Make A Smoothie Sweeter: 4 Healthy Ways
Sometimes, smoothies just need a little help in the sweetness department, and that’s okay. Depending on what you decide to put into your nutritious smoothies, it can be hard to figure out what to add to make it taste a little better, or to hide some of the stronger, more green ingredients. By the end of this article, you will know all the best ways to sweeten your smoothie recipes WITHOUT using refined sugar, as well as some healthy alternatives and their benefits. Let's get to the healthy smoothies that are ideal for your taste buds with these low sugar smoothie recipes!
How to make a smoothie sweeter?
Sugar and Smoothies
Nothing is better than drinking a chilled smoothie after getting right out of bed. But these smoothies, no matter how healthy they are, can be made even healthier by looking out for small details, such as sugar! The right amount of sugar is the key to a perfect smoothie. However, quality matters over quantity. Low sugar smoothies full of healthy fats are a great way to avoid unnecessary weight gain. Even if weight loss isn't your goal, low sugar smoothies simply taste amazing!
Speaking of sugar, there are many types, sources, each with a different metabolic fate in our bodies. Sugar has been the talk of the town recently, with many people tightly managing their sugar intake or avoiding it completely by cutting it out of their daily calorie intake. Their concern is on point, because we all are well aware of the never-ending list of health risks associated with adding sugar to our diets.
The problem with sugar arises when we are not educated and aware of the different types and varieties of sugar out there and the problems that can accompany the wrong types of sugar. The two most basic types are natural and refined sugars.
As the name suggests, natural sugars are present in most natural food resources, such as fruits, rice, and dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. However, the sugar present in fruits is less than the one percent of that present in other sugary foods. Natural sugar present in all fruits is usually half fructose and half glucose. Both of these bad boys have a completely different metabolic fate. Glucose, after absorption, enters the bloodstream and elevates the blood sugar content. To balance that, the body produces insulin. However, fructose is completely metabolized in the liver alone. It does not interfere with the blood and insulin. Sugar taken in natural form is metabolized slower and keeps you full for a longer time.
To the contrary, refined sugar is metabolized very quickly, making you crave more. This leads to consumption of excessive high sugar servings and eventually obesity (thanks high fructose corn syrup). It is worth noting that many processed foods contain artificial sugar, which is, for the most part, glucose. This is why natural sugars, such as those from low sugar fruits come with heaps of other nutrients and fiber as well - bonus!
How to Make Smoothies Sweeter
Here is our main concern, how can we enhance the flavor smoothies naturally without all of the extra sugar. Consuming sugar comes with many cons. This makes it hard to determine exactly how to make healthy smoothies sweeter naturally, without degrading the health benefits? Let’s talk about it.
The simple solution is to use less refined and more natural sugars and natural sweetener in our smoothies. In other words, we need to opt for sugars that contain higher levels of fructose as compared to glucose. There are many options out there within easy access of most, which can effortlessly replace the bad old sucrose in our daily lives and smoothies as well, and for better.
Sweeten a Smoothie with Natural Sweeteners
Natural sweeteners for smoothies should be our topmost priority if we wish to choose a healthier lifestyle and still satisfy our sweet tooth. All the natural sweeteners contain some amounts of added nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and different enzymes. Natural sweeteners are generally safer than that of refined sugar. However, when used excessively, they can prove to be equally as harmful as refined sugar, so as with most things, moderation is key.
Natural sweeteners tend to be sweeter than refined sugars, so a little goes a long way. When making smoothie recipes using natural sweeteners, it is always better to add little, try it, and increase only if necessary. You can always adjust the quantity to your taste. Below, you will find a list of some of our favorite natural sweeteners, all natural staples you need stocked in your pantry.
Honey is by far the best option out there to replace table sugar. It has been used by humans for thousands of years - not only for nutritional purposes, but is also known to have had medicinal importance in past civilizations. Honey is sweeter than refined sugar, so you only need a small amount if you are using this as a substitute. However, honey has a lesser glycemic index than refined sugar. This means that compared to refined sugar, which can elevate your blood sugar level far more quickly, honey is a much healthier option. This alone makes it a much healthier option for those with diabetes as it’s less likely to impact your blood sugar levels in comparison. Further reading: Smoothies for Diabetics.
Honey is also known to have small quantities of zinc, potassium, iron, and antioxidants. Due to this, they serve to relieve inflammation which, in turn, prevents many health risks such as cancer and heart diseases.
All you have to do to use honey as a smoothie sweetener is to swap the refined sugar in your smoothie recipe with honey to make a healthier version. Plus, you also get to enhance your smoothie recipes with a delicious honey flavor! You do need to be careful about the quantity used, however. One cup of refined sugar equals one-fourth cup of honey!
2. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is essentially dehydrated maple tree sap and an excellent option to make a smoothie sweeter with a natural sweetener. Maple syrup sugar has a pretty similar nutritional value as honey; however, it does come with fewer calories. Again, it is sweeter than refined sugar but has a lower overall glycemic index. Maple syrup comes in a variety of grades, which actually differ by the intensity of maple flavor they contain. Maple syrup contains nutrients such as riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, and calcium. It is known to have more than 24 antioxidants that help lessen the impact of inflammation and helps combat other issues that wreak havoc on the body. Due to the enormous amount of antioxidants, maple syrup also contributes to reducing skin redness, acne, and dry, flaky skin, a cherry on top of any smoothie, am I right?
Just like honey, you need to take into account its sweetness when making your healthy smoothie - a little goes a long way.
Molasses has more nutritional value than all the natural sweeteners mentioned above. Molasses come in three different varieties, namely, light, dark, and blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap molasses are widely preferred over its siblings, as it contains a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals - with a much stronger taste. The iron and selenium in molasses account for good bone health. It also contains the most antioxidants as compared to honey and maple syrup. Another excellent option to make a smoothie sweeter with a natural sweetener.
Xylitol is another dentist's favorite sweetener because it is not broken down in the mouth and does not feed the bacteria living in it. In fact, it is not even broken down by the body like many other types. This is the primary reason that it contributes to zero-calorie intake. Xylitol is also well known to stimulate the digestive system, helping the body to overcome and prevent constipation. Apart from that, xylitol comes with a generous amount of healthy benefits. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it helps us live healthier, more comfortable lives. In addition, it also contains various antioxidants that reduce the cell-damaging effects of free radicals making it a popular option in detoxes.
Stevia is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of a stevia plant. It comes in two varieties, refined and pure stevia, both of which are equally beneficial. Stevia is very well known among people who wish to lose weight as it reduces one's calorie consumption down to zero. Due to that fact alone, it greatly reduces the blood sugar content, helps prevent high blood pressure, and thus, the risk of heart diseases, which means that this magic sweetener is a lifesaver for people struggling with diabetes and hypertension.
Stevia comes in powder form under the brand names Stevia and Truvia. It is also available in the form of drops. You can even grow a little stevia plant in your house and use its leaves to spruce up all your smoothies, meals, and desserts. You can directly add the leaves to your smoothies making it a healthy and easy choice!
If you are looking for a sweetener that has essentially the same taste like sugar, then erythritol is the one! Erythritol works the same as stevia, having very few calories and thus having no effect on blood sugar and insulin levels. Apart from benefiting people with type two diabetes, it also prevents tooth decay. It suppresses the growth of bacteria found in the oral cavity, which causes tooth decay. It is also a preference of many since it does not cause acidity and flatulence. This is because 90% of it gets digested, and the remaining amount is not enough to disturb the bacterial flora in the colon, which contributes to flatulence.
Sweeten a Smoothie with Artificial Sweeteners
If you can not find the natural sweeteners, do not worry because there are plenty of artificial sweeteners as well, which are still a better alternative to refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Artificial sweeteners are chemicals used to sweeten many foods and beverages. They are generally way too sweeter than sugar. However, they contain zero to no calories! The reason is that they are required in very minute quantities that you end up consuming little to no calories.
For a nice healthy smoothie, much like natural sweeteners, do not underestimate the artificial ones as well. In this case, even a single serving packet of them may be too much for a single serving smoothie! So make sure you add a tad bit oily and taste it first.
Splenda is a popular, powerful artificial sweetener that tastes similar to refined sugar but is 400-600 times sweeter. Therefore you need very little sucralose in your smoothie. Like all other artificial sweeteners, sucralose is beneficial to people having diabetes and for those trying to lose weight.
Healthy Smoothies with More Fruit
Why go for fancy sweeteners when we’ve got many fresh fruits to choose from! Yes, whole fruit has plenty of natural sugar (and no added sugar!) in them with mountains of other nutrients. Here are some of the fresh fruit that has proven to be the best sweeteners and delicious flavors to make a smoothie sweeter:
- Monk Fruit
- Goji berries
All of these sweet fruits are very high in healthy sugars, giving you an instant boost of energy and your daily dose of vitamins. All fruits, in general, contribute to healthy-looking and glowy skin. Figs are high in Vitamins A and C and thus contributing to healthier eye help and tighter, healthier skin if used on a daily basis. Dates are jam-packed with iron, thus making them excellent choices, especially for those who lack healthy levels of iron or struggle with anemia. Berries are well known to make the body’s vessels more elastic and help keep the heart healthy. Bananas, a key ingredient in all smoothie bowls, is full of calcium and so it helps increase bone health. Whether frozen fruit, fresh fruit or dried fruit, sweet fruits are an excellent option add a natural sweetness to your smoothie!
It is to be noted that, be it sugar or nutrients, everything is welcome when it comes directly from a natural source - within moderation, of course.
Sweeten a Smoothie with Other Flavors (vanilla extract anyone?)
Beyond fruit, there is still a great load of things you can sweeten your smoothie with, and all of these are probably already lying around in your house. Here is a list of such marvelous ingredients:
- Almond butter
- Peanut butter
- Pumpkin puree
- Pumpkin butter
- Vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- Mint leaves
- Protein powder
Again, the list seems never-ending. All of these ingredients are lifesavers when you don't have any other sweeteners at the moment. Nut butter and smoothie bowls have always been the best friends. They are also a great source of all the good vitamins and minerals coming from the nuts. Pumpkin butter or puree paired with some cinnamon, ginger, and pumpkin spice can serve to be the perfect fall smoothie! Another option is including protein powder in your smoothies to make them sweet, side by side, getting your daily dose of proteins. Vanilla extract and almond butter taste amazing and make delicious smoothies.
Bonus: Liquid Matters
Apart from the things you put into your smoothie, you also need to keep in check your smoothie’s liquid base, ensuring you're not adding empty calories or added sugar. Using sweetened bases such as cow milk can also contribute to the sweetness of the smoothie, but oftentimes aren’t the healthiest choice. Instead, opt for unsweetened almond milk or soy milk. Another thing to consider is the creaminess of your smoothies. Creamy smoothies are far heavier and thus contribute to an overall better taste, and are oftentimes more filling. Always add some ice or coconut water along with milk to make a nice smooth smoothie that is low on calories and overall more rounded flavor!
Start treating your body with healthier sweetener options and ingredients now, because after all, your diet is a bank account; good food choices are good investments!
Low Sugar Smoothie Recipes to Excite Your Taste Buds
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