Low Carb Smoothie Love
There is no denying it, cutting back on carbs is difficult. Who doesn’t love indulging in warm, freshly baked bread or a nice big bowl of spaghetti? For those who are new to low carb dieting, deciding what can and cannot be eaten is not only hard but extremely intimidating. After all, how can you sacrifice so many yummy things when you don’t have substitutes that are not only delicious but nutritious as well? That’s where low carb smoothies come into play! We have all of the tips and tricks to make your low carb, low sugar smoothies better than ever.
What are carbs, anyway?
It’s important to understand what carbs are and how they affect you before jumping in head first into a low carb diet for weight loss. Carbs, or carbohydrates, are an important nutrient found in many different types of foods. While most people associate carbs with bread and pasta (because, yum), you can also find carbs in:
- Dairy products
- Sugary foods and sweets
The main purpose of carbohydrates in our diet is to provide energy. Most carbs get broken down into glucose, which is used by the body for energy. While this is a good thing, there is such a thing as overconsumption of carbs, which can lead to a wide variety of health issues like obesity and diabetes.
There are two different types of carbs, simple carbs and complex carbs. Simply put, simple carbs are sugars. These are the types of carbs you want to avoid or reduce in your diet to live a healthier lifestyle. Complex carbs are considered complex because they bring to the table more nutrients like fiber and are slower to digest. Complex carbs are also made up of two different types of nutrients, fiber and starch. Complex carbs that are beneficial to any diet are grains, fiber-rich fruits, and fiber-rich vegetables. If you’d like to learn about carbs more in-depth, checkout out our C-A-R-B-S: Let’s Break It Down blog post.
Are low carb smoothies (and diets) beneficial?
Now that we have a little bit of a better understanding of what carbs are, you might have some more questions like, are low carb smoothies (and diets) beneficial? Can they help me lose weight? And the answer is, yes! At least, they can, but you need to be cautious and pay attention to the fuel you're putting in your body.
Cutting down on carbs aligns with the keto diet where the body begins a natural process called ketosis. Ketosis is initiated to help us survive when food intake is low. During the state of ketosis, our bodies produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver. The ultimate goal in a low carb, keto diet is to force the body into a metabolic state.
This is where smoothies come in. Depending on what you pack into your smoothies, they have the power to help support bodily functions and improve your overall quality of life. Keep in mind that smoothies can both make or break a low carb diet depending on the ingredients you choose to put in them and how much you choose to put in them. Because smoothies are so delicious and easily tailored to your taste, it’s easy to overdo it when it comes to smoothie carbs.
Making low carb smoothies is easy!
Aside from indulging in delicious low carb, low sugar smoothies the best part is MAKING your smoothies — and they are super simple to make! We already have a good understanding on what carbs are and why it’s important to limit the amount of carbs consumed, so let’s talk more about what low carb smoothie ingredients are best. Build your own low carb smoothie recipe!
Low Carb, Keto Friendly Fruits
Fruits are essential in making delicious, keto low carb smoothies. However, it's critical to understand the nutritional content of your fruits, especially if you're focused on a traditional keto low carb smoothie recipe. Some of our favorite fruits to use in a low carb smoothie recipe are (measurements are per 1/2 cup):
- Strawberries: 6 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of total carbs
- Raspberries: 5 grams of net carbs, 5 grams of fiber, 10 grams of total carbs
- Blackberries: 5 grams of net carbs, 6 grams of fiber, 11 grams of total carbs
- Blueberries: 12 grams of net carbs, 2.5 grams of fiber, 14.5 grams of total carbs
- Watermelon: 7 grams of net carbs, 0.5 gram of fiber, 7.5 grams of total carbs
- Peaches: 8 grams of net carbs, 1.5 grams of fiber, 9.5 grams of total carbs
- Pineapple: 12 grams of net carbs, 1.5 grams of fiber, 13.5 grams of total carbs
These fruits are not only delicious but they are packed with vitamins and nutrients that help further support your healthy, active lifestyle.
Low Carb, Keto Friendly Vegetables
Low carb vegetables can add a nutrient dense punch to any smoothie recipe. Adding vegetables to a low carb smoothie may seem a little intimidating, but they can be delicious when done correctly and paired with other great flavors. Some of our favorite low carb veggies to throw into the mix are (measurements are per 1/2 cup):
- Cauliflower - One cup of cauliflower delivers 2g net carbs (5g total)
- Cucumbers - 3 grams of net carbs, 0.5 gram of fiber, 3.5 grams of total carbs
- Spinach - 1 gram of net carbs, 2.5 grams of fiber, 3.5 grams of total carbs in fresh spinach
- Celery - .5g of net carbs, 2.5 grabs of fiber, 3g total carbs
- Kale - 3 grams of net carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of total carbs
- Avocado - technically a fruit, but typically eaten as a vegetable - 2 grams of net carbs, 7 grams of fiber, 9 grams of total carbs
In terms of vegetables to avoid, for the most part you want to stay away from those that grow below-ground such as: potato (sweet or regular), parsnip and beetroot.
Low Carb, Keto Friendly Grains & Seeds
When it comes to deciding whether something is considered low carb, grains can be the trickiest. There are grains that are great high fiber, low carb options. And then on the other hand, there are grains that are the exact opposite and are high sources of carbohydrates. A good rule of thumb is to avoid highly processed, refined grains that have been altered to improve their texture and shelf life. Some good, healthy options include oats, quinoa, hemp seeds, and flax seeds.
What Liquid Should I use?
Certainly water should be your go-to if possible...it's the only calorie-free, sugar-free, money-free liquid option for your low carb smoothie. If that works with your taste, then go for it! If not, try one of these other great options:
- Unsweetened almond milk - same consistency as milk, but half the calories. It's also naturally lactose-free so it keeps your heart happy! Around 1.4 grams of carbs per cup.
- Coconut water - 9g of carbs per cup, so be careful, though it does bring a slew of other benefits including electrolytes, potassium, fiber and sodium.
- Other low-carb milks including:
- Macadamia milk: 1 gram of carbs/cup
- Hemp milk: 1.3 grams of carbs/cup
- Soy milk: 1.6 grams of carbs/cup
- Almond milk: 1.99 grams of carbs/cup
- Flax milk: 2 grams of carbs/cup
- Coconut milk: 3.38 grams of carbs/cup (higher carbs, but coconut milk adds a fantastic flavor) - look for unsweetened coconut milk
- Oat milk: 9 grams of carbs/cup
Is a Keto Smoothie Recipe a good low carb breakfast?
Absolutely - the breakfast smoothie has long been a staple in the morning, and a healthy low carb keto smoothie first thing can be both filling and refreshing. In most cases, you'll likely be using this as a meal-replacement, and in that case I would consider adding a scoop of protein powder - preferably plant-based protein powder - and using unsweeted almond milk or coconut milk for your liquid. When choosing a protein powder, ensure you pay close attention to the label to ensure you're avoiding added sugars and bringing in healthy fats. Avocado is another ingredient that can turn a boring keto smoothie into the low carb breakfast smoothie of your dreams, plus they add an amazing creamy texture! For more information, check out How to Make a Low Carb, Low Sugar Keto Smoothie Bowl.
Other Healthy, Low Carb Keto Smoothie Ingredients
Sometimes when you are working on creating a healthy low carb keto smoothie recipe, you just need a little bit of flavor help. As we learned above, sugar is out of the question. What does that leave us with? You have options! Some of our favorite flavor enhancers are ground ginger, ground nutmeg, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. For a little extra sweetness without the sugar, monk fruit extract, stevia, and xylitol are excellent options that pack a sweet punch without the carbs. Consider nut butter, chia seeds, almond butter or protein powder if you are looking for extra protein.
Will low carb green smoothies spike my blood sugar?
Many ingredients suggested on a smoothie diet have a high glycemic index. These are fast-acting medications so you can have high blood sugar or insulin levels fast. This is exactly the opposite of what you're trying to do when you're on a low-carb diet. The best way to minimize this effect is to put a mixture of protein, fiber and fat into the green smoothie for weight loss. The combination of protein and healthy fats in avocado make it green and low in carbs to get blood glucose. You can add fruit to smoothies if you prefer, sticking to the list above. Additionally, I prefer unsweetened coconut milk, almond milk or cashew milk in my low carb smoothies. Not only is it one of the creamiest smoothies yet adding lots of healthy fats, it is very low in carbohydrates.
Can I Make A Low Carb Peanut Butter Smoothie?
Making a peanut butter smoothie recipe that is low carb or keto can be challenging, though not impossible. Overall, peanut butter is a high fat, reasonable protein and low carb food. However, as with most things, it's critically important that you pay attention to the label on the SPECIFIC peanut butter you're considering using before you toss it into your peanut butter smoothie recipe.
Can a Peanut Butter Smoothie Recipe be Keto?
Yes, as a stand-alone ingredient, peanut butter is classified as keto in most cases and works well in a smoothie recipe. The biggest challenge with peanut butter is that it is very easy to eat too much...a spoonful a few times a day adds up quickly. Peanut butter has ~4 net carbs per serving (tablespoon) so while it's Keto, it can bounce you out of ketosis at higher volumes.
Blendtopia Superfood Smoothie Kits
Did you know that Blendtopia has pre-portioned, organic keto-friendly low carb smoothies? No it's not too good to be true, we saw the need for low-carb, low sugar smoothies and decided we couldn't wait! We launched three superfood low-carb keto smoothies that are ready to blend + sip in about 3 minutes!
Blendtopia’s keto smoothie line has some serious perks, check it out:
Our new low carb keto smoothie blends come in three different flavors you can't resist:
Keto Berry: A keto strawberry smoothie bursting with antioxidants that will help protect your body from the inside out. It boasts a wealth of essential nutrients including vitamin C to help support your immune system. Tastes like a berry lemonade! Dairy free, gluten free and keto certified - this low carb strawberry smoothie recipe will be a new favorite.
Keto Green: A keto green smoothie recipe that is a power-packed green smoothie machine delivering a perfect balance of protein, healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients to power up and burn clean. Tastes like coconut-cucumber water spiked with ginger + lemon. Dairy free, gluten free and keto certified. The ultimate keto green smoothie recipe.
Keto Chocolate Chai: A keto smoothie packed with nutrient-dense foods rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants. You'll love the taste but you'll love the health benefits even more. Tastes like the chocolate chai latte of your dreams! Dairy free, gluten free and keto certified.