All carbohydrates are sugars, but some are better than others. Your body processes refined carbohydrates such as table sugar, white flour and candy very quickly, which results in a blood sugar crash. Complex carbohydrates like whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and beans are digested much more slowly, keeping your blood sugar and energy levels stable. The natural sweetness of fresh fruit provides a wonderful base for a low-carb smoothie. Add-ins like yogurt, cottage cheese, ground seeds and nut butters will give you an extra boost of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Cut up fruits and vegetables into large cubes. Some of the lowest carb fruits include watermelon at 5.5 grams, strawberries with 6.5 grams and cantaloupe at 6.5 grams per half-cup serving. Don't be afraid to branch out, though. Avocado is a wonderful, if unusual, smoothie fruit because it is rich in healthy fat, fiber and other nutrients. Avocado is also the ultimate low-carb fruit, containing only 3 grams of carbohydrates per serving or one-fifth of the fruit.
Put the fruit chunks into the bowl of the blender. Add a handful of crushed ice. Sprinkle ground flaxseed over top. Ground flax is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and lignans. In small quantities, ground flax won't change the texture of a smoothie.
Scoop yogurt into the blender. Greek-style yogurt has much more protein than other varieties and will keep you feeling full longer. Greek yogurt has roughly half the carbs of the regular variety -- between 5 and 8 grams -- but choose the unsweetened variety to avoid added sugar.
Puree the ingredients until smooth. Add a small amount of unsweetened almond or soy milk to make the drink more liquid.
Items you will need
- Smoothies are incredibly versatile drinks. Incorporate unconventional ingredients such as cottage cheese, peanut butter, avocado, chia seeds, carrots and almond milk into your smoothie. In combination with the natural sweetness of fruit, you won't notice the taste of the "secret" healthy ingredients.
- Instead of crushed ice, freeze your fruit for several hours before making the smoothie. When the fruit thaws, it won't dilute your drink.
- Harvard School of Public Health: Carbohydrates
- Harvard School of Public Health: Carbohydrates: Good Carbs Guide the Way
- MayoClinic.com: Ground Flaxseed: Better than Whole?
- dLife: The 25 Lowest Carb Fruits
- California Avocado Commission: Nutrition
- U.S. New Health: Greek Yogurt Vs. Regular Yogurt: Which Is More Healthful?
- Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images