Use this base recipe guide in creating your next low sugar smoothie adventure! This base smoothie recipe is great for breakfast on-the-go, or a 3PM pick-me-up. The possibilities are endless so you won’t get bored, even if you have a smoothie every day!
This smoothie will help you crowd out your sugar cravings, since all combinations will contain less than 10 grams sugar (or contain no-sugar added if you choose not to use the low sugar fruits suggested). You can easily get plenty of energy (and satisfaction) from foods other than sugar, such as high-fiber complex carbohydrates (whole grains, legumes), starches (root veggies, squash), plant-based fats and proteins.
Health Benefits of a Low Sugar Lifestyle
I’ve experienced firsthand how leading a low sugar lifestyle can contribute to feeling your best. Reducing sugar in my diet has offered me more reliable and consistent energy (and moods), and helps me manage cravings in order to maintain my optimal weight.
I’ve been the same weight and relative body composition for the past 4 years now since adopting a lower sugar lifestyle (two things that fluctuated previously). I truly believe reducing my sugar intake, and adopting a predominantly plant-based diet was a big part of this. In alignment with my experience, a meta-analysis by the British Medical Journal linked dietary sugar intake with increased odds for obesity1.
Additionally, research is now beginning to point to sugar intake as a factor in decreased longevity. Connected to biomarkers for heart disease2, sugar intake can raise triglyceride levels and decrease HDL cholesterol, the “good” type of cholesterol.
Transitioning to a Low Sugar Lifestyle
The biggest tip I have for navigating a low sugar lifestyle is to re-train your palate. As you ease into the changes on your plate (or in your glass!), your taste buds will begin to adjust to the point where a carrot or a beet (for example) become very sweet.
I recommend chewing your food more thoroughly and intentionally to let the flavors come really shine through and stimulate your senses without the need for added sugar. You may also want to stock up your spice cabinet, as fresh or dried spices and herbs will be your new culinary best friend to keep your meals appealing.
Low Sugar Lifestyle and Athletic Performance
Natural and unrefined, whole food sources of sugar can be functional when timed appropriately for sport performance. In these scenarios, I prefer food sources such as dried and fresh fruits, coconut sugar and coconut water, maple syrup or whole grain brown rice syrup, which can be useful for energy, stamina, endurance, and/or recovery. These options are all minimally processed or unrefined, and as a result contain some minerals and antioxidants, compared with nutritionally devoid white sugar.
It’s not always easy to stay on track, and sometimes (like holidays and family meals), we eat differently than we intend to, and feel like we are “off track.” Treating each day like a new day, and aim to be more consistent than not. It’s about progress, not perfection, and it’s not worth hanging onto guilt along the way.
Servings: 1 tall glass (apx 500ml/16oz)
Low Sugar Smoothie Components
For best results, add ingredients into the blender in the order that they appear on this list (liquids first)
1. Liquid Base: 1 cup of 1 of the below
- Unsweetened nut milk
- Cold brew coffee (unsweetened)
- Chilled tea (unsweetened)
2. Ice: ½ Cup
Note: For extra variety, try freezing any of the liquid bases in an ice cube tray and when ready, use this in place of iced water
3. Protein Powder or Nutritional Shake: Choose 1 serving, any flavor
(look to complement it with your chosen flavor boosters and superfoods)
- Vega Protein and Greens
- Vega Protein Smoothie
- Vega One Nutritional Shake
- Vega Sport Performance Protein
4. Whole Fats or Complex Carbs (for Texture and Satiety): Choose 1
- 1 Tbsp nut butters: Almond, sunflower, coconut, tahini, or peanut
- ¼ Avocado
- 1 Tbsp whole nuts or seeds: Chia, hemp, flax, coconut flakes, cacao nibs
- ¼ cup cooked grains: Quinoa, oats, amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat
- ¼ cup canned/cooked pumpkin (Note: not pumpkin pie filling!)
5. Low Sugar Fruit or Vegetable Add-ins: Choose 1
- ½ cup low-sugar (<10grams sugar) fresh or frozen Fruit: Apple, melon, papaya, berries, stone fruits (such as peaches, apricots), pear, or 1 kiwi
- 1 large handful fresh leafy greens: Kale, spinach, chard, beet greens
- ¼ cup frozen spinach or kale
- ¼ cup fresh veggies: fennel (bulb), zucchini, beet root, grated carrot
6. Flavor Boosters or Superfood Powders (Optional): Use 1 to 2
- 3-5 fresh leaves mint or basilVega One Nutritional Shake
- 1 tsp fresh or dried spices: Vanilla extract or vanilla bean (scraped), cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, or cayenne (1/4 tsp)
- Citrus zest (1 tsp) or fresh juice (1 Tbsp): Lemon, lime
- Superfood Powders (1-2tsp): Vega Maca, Vega Chlorella, spirulina, matcha green tea, raw cacao powder
1. Te Morenga, et al. (2013). Dietary Sugars and Body Weight: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials and Cohort Studies British Medical Journal. Accessed on 5/20/15 from: http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.e7492
2. de Koning L et al (2015). Sweetened Beverage Intake, Coronary Heart Disease and Biomarkers of Risk in Men. Circulation. Accessed on 5/20/15 from: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2012/03/09/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.067017.full.pdf+html
- 1 cup liquid base
- ½ cup ice
- 1 serving protein powder
- 1 serving whole fats or complex carbs
- 1 serving low sugar fruit or vegetable add-ins
- 1-2 servings flavor boosters or superfood powders (optional)
Add all ingredients to the blender, and blend until smooth.
Pour into tall glass and enjoy!