Refreshing, Low Carb Blueberry Smoothie

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You know those times when dinner is still hours away and you find your stomach flipping circles and crying out for attention yet you’re a diabetic and you know you’re rather limited in food choices? That’s when I reach for a refreshing, low carb blueberry smoothie.

The great thing about smoothies is that they can be both healthy and filling at the same time. The internet is rich with all kinds of variations, many of which can meet your goals for both reduced calories and low carbohydrates.

This blueberry smoothie is quick and easy to prepare, and registers around 9 net carbohydrates (4g of fiber) and approximately 290 calories.  It usually take me less than 3 or 4 minutes to whip up in my kitchen.

Recipe

1/4 cup of blueberries
1/2 cup of plain yogurt (I prefer Carbomaster, but if you can’t find that, Fage is a great alternative)
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop vanilla or banana flavored protein powder
1 cup of spinach
1/2 cup ice

As a general rule of thumb, I try to limit my carb intake to around 30-60 grams at meals, and no more than 15-30 grams when I’m making a snack. If I want to lose weight, I prefer staying at the lower end of those ranges. This blueberry smoothie is near the top of the range (and a bit high in calories), but ohhhh, is it ever delicious!

By limiting the carbs in my diet, I find it much easier to control my blood glucose levels. Diabetes experts are somewhat divided on just how many carbs a diabetic should consume each day. Personally, I aim for no more than 55-60 per day, especially if I’m trying to lose a few extra pounds.

In general, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend a balanced diet of whole grains, lean meats and dairy, fats, fruits and vegetables. Research has shown that eating a moderate-carb, high fiber diet may improve post-meal glucose levels and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Read more

Should diabetics even drink smoothies?

Sure, why not?

Fruit smoothies make a great drink for diabeticsIn moderation, smoothies can be a great way to boost your nutrition. They are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and protein. However, if you’re interested in incorporating these into your diet, be sure to check with your doctor or dietitian first. Be aware that some smoothie recipes are quite high in both calories and carbs, so don’t think it’s safe for you just because it’s in liquid form. Choose your ingredients carefully, and most importantly, moderate how much you drink. A 20-50 carb smoothie is no good if you consume several portions in a single sitting.

Plan your smoothie well. Get the ingredients right.

The American Diabetes Association reports that certain foods are actually superfoods as far as diabetics are concerned. They recommend foods with a low-glycemic index rating that contain nutrients like fiber, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, C and E.

Let’s look at a few of those:

  • Leafy green vegetables. Everyone (not just diabetics) should be eating lots of these. The darker the green, the better. I personally love spinach in my smoothies. It’s pretty easy to cover up the taste by adding other ingredients in case you don’t like spinach itself.
  • Fruits. Just about any kind of berries are great for smoothies, including blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and more. They are sweet to the tongue, have low-glycemic index ratings, and are high in fiber and vitamins.
  • Citrus. Toss in a few orange slices, lemons, limes or grapefruit and you’ll have a delicious, wholesome smoothie that gives you all the benefits of high fiber content. Be sure not to over do either citrus or fruits, however, due to potentially high sugar content. I’ve always liked a portion mix of 1/3 leafy greens, 1/3 fruits/citrus, and 1/3 vegetables.

Here’s another good tip I’ve learned:  check your blood sugar before and after drinking a smoothie so you can see how it affects you. When you find one that does not affect you negatively, then you’ve got an easy-to-prepare and hopefully delicious answer to those between-meal hunger pangs.

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