Smoothie Sailing: Long-Lasting Energy is All in the Mix

By Alyse Borkan  |  Jun 19, 2014
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Is your brain still thinking about bed when your body’s already heading to work? Gentlemen, start your blenders. Smoothies are tasty way to get a morning boost, and throwing healthy ingredients in the mix will take you from zombie to multi-tasker in no time.

But learn before you churn: because not all smoothies are created equally. Some additions, like simple sugars, can cause sharp energy spikes that end in a mid-morning crashes. These sugars require less power to break down, and are digested quickly — causing a sugar rush of glucose in the bloodstream. The body releases extra insulin to transform glucose into glycogen, but when the glucose subsides, you’re left drained and exhausted.

Skip those sugary guilty offenders, and blend up a simple smoothie with some of the ingredients recommended below. We promise you’ll be alert through lunchtime.

Smoothie Essentials:
plain Greek and regular yogurt: A few dollops add creaminess and protein to any smoothie. Avoid fat-free, which often has added sugar, and opt for low-fat instead.
low-fat milk: A necessary base of calcium, protein, and vitamin D.
almond milk: Chock full of protein and omega-3s.
fruit: Frozen is just as good as fresh. We love to add a handful of berries for a boost of fiber and antioxidants. When it comes to the sweeter fruits like banana, mango, and pineapple, go with only half a cup.
natural peanut butter: Keep the calories at bay by only using 1-2 tablespoons.
almond butter: Just like its sister almond milk, this butter brings you protein and omega-3s.
flax seeds: Full of fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3’s
chia seeds: Packed with omega 3’s, fiber, and protein. They slow digestion, and give you a steady stream of energy.
• cinnamon: Add spices without adding calories — cinnamon also helps stabilize blood sugar level. You can also try ginger, nutmeg, or pumpkin spice for an added zing.

Guilty Offenders:
• fruit juices: Since they are pasteurized, there’s not a lot of vitamins or fiber left in them. These types of juices will be very concentrated and will be detrimental to your blood sugar.
protein powders: It’s harmful to consume too much protein. If you’re blending a plain, fat-free yogurt, there’s already plenty of protein in your smoothie.
• table sugar: You don’t need to add unnecessary sugar to your smoothie, you will already get enough natural sugar from fibrous fruit
• store-bought honey: The label may say it’s natural, but it’s a sugar bomb in disguise.
• regular yogurt: Another high sugar ingredient. Ditch the regular stuff and opt for plain.

— Kimberly Geller

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