The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement of how much a carbohydrate-containing food will raise blood glucose levels. The American Diabetes Association labels any food with a GI of 50 or lower as a low glycemic food, which means that it won’t spike your blood sugar as much as a medium or high glycemic food might.
The reason low GI foods are so beneficial is because they’re digested slowly, which means glucose levels and nutrients raise over time (instead of rapidly), allowing for sustained energy.
Many people think that if they’re dealing with blood sugar issues, they can’t enjoy smoothies, but that’s not the case! We’ve found 15 low GI foods that work perfectly in smoothies – most of which can be combined together. We’ve also listed a recipe for each, so you can see other, complimentary ingredients.
Want to add extra protein and volume to your smoothie without adding extra sugar? Plain, unsweetened yogurt – or unsweetened non-diary yogurt – (GI: 14) is the perfect addition, especially because it contains gut-healthy probiotics.
Mango Wake-Up with Wallaby
With tons of healthy protein (thanks to Wallaby nonfat plain yogurt, an organic, small batch greek yogurt with a deliciously different taste), as well as tons of healthy fiber (thanks to a whole mango and spinach), this smoothie is the perfect meal replacement. Relatively low in sugar, it’s still as creamy and as sweet as an orange creamsicle - with the added benefit of vitamins and antioxidants.
A low glycemic food (GI: 15) that’s high in vitamin C, red peppers are a great way to add sweetness to a green smoothie without adding a lot of sugar.
Passionate Red Pepper
Get your blood pumping with this spicy, low sugar snack. Capsaicin, the active component in cayenne, is responsible for this smoothie's anti-inflammatory and metabolism-boosting effects. Rose hips powder adds a delicate floral taste and vitamin C, and hemp seeds provide fiber, healthy fats, and protein. Three super healthy superfoods in one smoothie? Oh yeah!
This dark leafy green adds a multitude of nutrients (vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese, copper, iron and magnesium) to smoothies, but it’s also quiet low on the glycemic index (GI: 15). For a lighter taste, use de-stemmed baby kale.
Extremely high in vitamins K, A and C, with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, kale is one of the best dark leafy greens you can eat. Combine it with the additional vitamin C (and natural sweetness) of a tangerine and pineapple, as well as the healthy fat and protein of half an avocado, and you have a super green smoothie that tastes like a dream. And with only 10 grams of sugar, you’ll feel energized and satisfied without having to worry about your blood sugar.
(GI:15) These veggies are perfect for adding extra hydration to green smoothies without adding many calories, and contain a good amount of fiber per serving. They may also help reduce inflammation.
Cooling Dill Cucumber
If you’ve never used dill in a smoothie, you’re in for a treat! Native to the Mediterranean, dill is an ancient herb, and has a long history of being used to settle an upset stomach. It’s also been studied for its antimicrobial effects, as well as its connection to lowered cholesterol. Combining it with tart lime, sweet apple, and creamy hemp seed creates a truly original flavor profile that will wake up your tastebuds. And because it’s low in sugar, this smoothie is perfect for people watching their glucose levels.
Squash (GI: 15) is one of the best vegetables for adding volume and fiber to your smoothie without adding a lot of additional calories or sugar. Plus, its mild taste means that it blends seamlessly with other flavors.
Almond Butternut Bliss
Hemp is a complete protein, which means it contains all eight essential amino acids, is easily digestible (thanks to its quick dissolving globular proteins), and contains both Omega-3s and Omega 6 fatty acids. Both plain almond milk yogurt and butternut squash are low in sugar, but provide a creamy sweetness to smoothies. Pear provides a creaminess as well, thanks to pectin, a water soluble fiber. Start your day off on a sweet note, while keeping your blood sugar balanced!
Add a creamy texture, as well as healthy Omega-3s, to your green smoothie with walnuts (GI: 15). These nuts have been studied for their ability to help satiate hunger, and have ample antioxidants as well.
Cinnamon Carrot Cake
Every healthy diet needs a little bit of a treat — and luckily, this treat is good for you! Carrots bring a dose of sweetness, as well as beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber. Bananas are also full of fiber, and cinnamon is a natural anti-inflammatory. Imagine walnuts as the “cake” part of this smoothie, providing a dose of nutty sweetness and Omega-3s, as well as potent cancer-fighting compounds.
High in vitamins K, A and C, collard greens (GI: 20) are a mild green that blend well with a variety of other ingredients. They also contain a small serving of Omega-3 fatty acids and protein, which means they’re great for helping to turn a smoothie into a meal replacement.
Green Apple Limeade
Pumpkin seeds are not only full of fiber and heart healthy Omega-3s, they’re also a fantastic source for the minerals zinc and magnesium. Pear and zucchini are wonderful sources of fiber as well, and collard greens are bursting with vitamins A and C, calcium and iron. Add in some lime for a pop of citrus and applesauce for more fiber and sweetness, and you have a nutritionally complete smoothie that will power you through your workout, that two hour meeting, or just a day full of running around and getting things done.
A lot of people are probably surprised that cherries are a low glycemic food (GI: 22), but they are! They may also help ease sore muscles, improve sleep, and fight inflammation.
Apple Cherry Lemonade
Try this nutrient-filled smoothie instead of store-bought lemonade at your next BBQ! Thanks to anthocyanins (natural pigments that are also found in blueberries), Cherries are fantastic at lowering inflammation and easing aches and pains. Maqui berry adds a burst of antioxidant power, while tomatillos, rhubarb and apple bring a sweetness and a healthy serving of fiber. A half a lemon rounds everything out with an alkalizing burst of citrus. Low in calories and fat, this sweet treat is the perfect way to indulge without any guilt.
Cashews are a light, mild nut (GI: 23) rich in protein, healthy fats, vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc. They’re also perfect for adding creaminess and volume to smoothies. Add 2 – 3 TBSP of cashews to your next blend, and make it a meal replacement!
Orange Carrot Cashew
With around 190 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin A, and more than 60 percent of your recommended value of vitamin C, this smoothie is fantastic for both your skin and your immune system. With less fat than most other nuts, the majority of the fats that cashews do contain are monounsaturated fatty acids, the healthy fat that’s essential for a steady metabolism. Stay satisfied all day with this light meal replacement!
One of the best fruits you can eat for brain health, blueberries (GI: 28) are practically bursting with antioxidants, and contain a nice serving of fiber as well. Freeze a bunch and toss into your smoothie for a frosty purple treat!
Here's why blueberries are amazing: They're low in sugar, there are numerous scientific studies showing how helpful they are to brain health, and they make any smoothie taste like a summer's day! Also known as Indian gooseberries, amla berries are native to southeast Asia, and contain phytochemicals (among other nutrients), which are plant compounds that do battle with unhealthy free radicals in the body.
This common fruit has a whole bunch of health benefits, including fiber, ample antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. And even though apples are sweet, they’re still considered low glycemic foods (GI: 38).
Blueberry Apple Cider
The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties in apple cider vinegar mean that it’s perfect for fighting back against colds and sinus stuffiness, and it may also help ease glucose and insulin spikes, giving the body more time to digest simple sugars into energy. Hemp seeds are also natural anti-inflammatories, and the fact that this smoothie has only 11g of sugar means it's a great breakfast for anyone who's trying to keep their blood sugar balanced.
If you like your smoothies really green (more veggies than fruit), a pop of citrus can really help ease the bitter taste of dark, leafy vegetables. Even though oranges are considered a low glycemic fruit (GI: 44), they’re fantastic at sweetening up any blend.
Orange Hibiscus Ginger
Because of its noted antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, hibiscus (a flower that is common in both tropical and subtropical climates) has been connected to lowered blood pressure and lowered cholesterol. Orange and ginger add to the antioxidant goodness, and honeydew and squash add volume and hydration without a lot of excess calories.
These summer sweet berries are low on the glycemic index (GI: 41), but perfect for sweetening up any green smoothie, and adding a healthy dose of vitamin C as well. They’ve also got folic acid, manganese, and potassium.
Strawberry Pear Pancakes
A fat free and low calorie food, strawberries are full of fiber and vitamin C. They’re also full of polyphenols, antioxidants that have been specifically categorized as cancer fighters (red wine and green tea have them too). Flaxseed also contains potent antioxidants called lignans that may help balanced hormones and fight against hormone-related cancers. A sweet treat that's great for your immune system - it's a win/win!
These tart fruits (GI: 45) have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and may actually promote oral health. Keep a bunch in your freezer for a pop of vitamin C goodness.
Low in calories and fat, this sweet/tart smoothie is bursting with vitamin C (more than 60 percent of your daily needs per serving) and fiber (thanks to oats and hemp seeds). Grapes provide immune-boosting polyphenols, and clementines are full of calcium, magnesium and potassium. Start your day with a fresh burst of fruit, and feel satisfied till lunch!
A sweet vegetable that’s perfect for brightening up a very green blend, carrots (GI: 47) also include vitamin C and beta-carotene, which means they’re fabulous for your skin.
Lemon Carrot Creative
With almost 200 percent of your daily vitamin A requirement per serving, this smoothie is a dream come true for the complexion. Ginger is another fantastic food for skin, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, and lemon helps to alkalize the body - which is also great for your face. Who needs wrinkle cream when you’ve got this sweet and refreshing breakfast?
GreenBlender and Blood Sugar
In addition to our three, low sugar superfood cereals that we offer every week, we allow you to choose your smoothie recipes for each delivery, so you can focus on your personal health goals (like beating diabetes). A low sugar lifestyle doesn’t have to be boring! Learn more about our smoothies here >>>