Say goodbye cravings with this yummy, nutrition-packed powerhouse of a smoothie. It’s creamy, dreamy, ice-cold and packed full of everything you could ever ask for in a delicious-but-healthy frozen treat. Yogurt, frozen berries, banana, greens, chia seeds to the rescue.
Whether you’re trying to eat less added sugars after a bit too much indulgence around the holidays, or looking for ways to sneak more fruits and veggies into your life – a smoothie truly is your best friend.
I took this jewel-toned concoction to the next level with a few more ingredients to help keep the hunger pangs, and ultimately cravings at bay. What’s not to love. It’s incredibly creamy and silky-smooth, with a good amount of thickness like any good smoothie should be. And whenever I have it for breakfast or a mid-morning boost, I feel a million times better about my day, having started off with it’s fruit-and-veggie-packed, protein-filled goodness.
Breakfast and snack time has never been so good.
Ingredients that Pack a Punch
Stop hunger pangs and cravings in their tracks with these powerhouse ingredients:
- Cacao Powder – Different than cocoa powder, cacao powder is packed with more antioxidants than berries, tons of iron and magnesium, and bonus – it’s a natural mood elevator. We could all use a little boost on these dreary days, right?
- Plain Yogurt – Tons of protein and good-for-your-gut probiotics
- Chia Seeds – Packed with omega 3, protein and fiber, these little seeds gel and make smoothies extra thick and creamy
- Nut Butter – Healthy fats to help the body digest all those vitamins, and just because, yum
- Berries – Add sweetness, fiber, even more antioxidants, and a wonderfully slushy-like texture
- Banana – A smoothie MUST in my book, bananas provide a super creamy base, and potassium to boot
- Greens – Personally, I prefer the flavor of spinach to kale in smoothies, and with all the other ingredients, you won’t even know it’s in there. Sneaky, huh?
Natural vs. Added Sugars
Looking at the nutrition label below this recipe, you might be taken aback by the sugar count. With nearly 17 grams of sugar per serving, this smoothie may seem unhealthy or incompatible with a sugar-free or low-sugar diet at first. But this is where the very important difference between natural and added sugars comes in!
When I say natural sugars, I’m not talking about things like honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar. I’m talking about the sugars that occur naturally in foods like fruits and dairy products. These sugars, when you eat them as a part of their original packaging – like in bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and yogurt – they come wrapped up with fibers that make them move sloooowly through your digestive system. The impact on your blood sugar levels stays stable over a long period of time, sending the signal to your brain to you’re full and happy.
Added sugars on the other hand – like table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup – have a very different effect. These sugars have been altered from their original state, and the fibers they were originally packaged with stripped away. So when added sugars hit your digestive system, they process very rapidly – making your blood sugar spike. Your body will work hard to level this out by pumping out tons of insulin, who’s primary role is to turn sugar into fat stores. After this process, your blood sugar crashes and you feel hungry all over again. Unfortunately, things like honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar all fall into this category. They may sound healthier for you, but without their natural fibers in tow, they have the same effect on your body and blood sugar as their more demonized counterparts.
All this to say – the 17 grams of natural sugars in this smoothie come from whole-foods sources, and have a very different and much gentler effect on your body than if you were to have 17 grams of added sugars, say in a cookie or muffin.
Interested in learning more? I highly recommend the documentary Fed Up – available on Netflix. I recently re-watched it for a refresher, and a helpful nudge to keep an eye on how much added sugars I eat. This is not to say that I don’t still enjoy chocolate, muffins and pancakes on occasion. I just make sure that when I do, they’re reeeaaally good and I take the time to savor them. It’s all about balance and moderation, right? 😉
What are you waiting for?! Bust out that blender – you’re gonna love it.
- ½ cup plain yogurt or kefir
- ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 small banana, broken into pieces
- ½ cup frozen strawberries
- ½ cup frozen blueberries
- 1 cup spinach or kale, lightly packed
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp peanut or almond butter
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- Add everything to your blender and blend away!