Low-carb diets are purported to help people lose weight. Whether or not this is true, following a diet that includes less processed carbohydrates like grains, fruit, and starchy vegetables can help lower the risk of diabetes and other metabolic issues.

Carbohydrates: An Overview

Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients provided by foods. Along with protein and fat, carbohydrates provide the energy we need to fuel our bodies. Many foods contain carbohydrates, but not all carbohydrates are equal nutritionally.

Whole, unprocessed carbs occur naturally in a number of nutrient-dense foods, including grains such as whole wheat, wild rice, quinoa, and others, and vegetables and legumes. Simpler but naturally unprocessed carbohydrates are found in milk and fruit. But many manufacturers of processed foods add refined carbohydrates, including white flour and sugar. These processed, “simple” carbohydrates can be found in things like:

  • cakes
  • cookies
  • candy
  • white bread
  • pasta
  • sodas

The American Diabetes Association has these recommendations for limiting simple carbs in your diet:

  • Drink water instead of sugary beverages like juices, sweet teas, sports drinks, and sodas.
  • Eat fruit instead of drinking juice.
  • Substitute sweet potatoes for white potatoes.
  • Eat whole grain breads instead of white bread.
  • Substitute whole grain brown rice for white rice.

Low-Carb Smoothies at Home

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
The glycemic index (GI) measures how fast foods break down into sugar and enter the bloodstream. Foods with a low GI rating won’t spike your blood sugar like foods that are high on the GI.

The glycemic load takes into account both the GI of a food and the portion size of food commonly eaten. Foods with a glycemic load under 10 are a good first choice for carbs.

To make homemade smoothies that are low in carbohydrates, make smart choices about fruit and try incorporating greens for extra nutrients. The healthiest low-carb smoothies keep the fiber from the fruits and vegetables.

Fiber aids in digestion and helps you feel satisfied. Use a high-powered blender to make your smoothies as smooth and creamy as possible. For liquids, avoid juices in favor of plain water, milk (skim, almond, coconut, or rice), and ice. Add Greek yogurt or milk to increase the protein content.

1. Low-Carb Green Smoothie

Green smoothies usually get their vibrant color from a generous addition of greens, such as spinach. Spinach is ranked among the healthiest vegetables, thanks to its many essential nutrients. This recipe also incorporates avocado, flax seeds, and almond milk.

spinach smoothie

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2. Low-Carb Strawberry Crunch Smoothie

This easy smoothie recipe features strawberries, almonds, and cinnamon. Cinnamon may help to lower blood sugar levels.

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3. Red Velvet Smoothie

The beautiful color of this smoothie comes from the addition of beets, which add nutrients like vitamins A and C, plus calcium and iron. Avocado makes it smooth and filling.

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4. Low-Carb Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie

Unsweetened soymilk and cottage cheese make this strawberry smoothie high in protein and low carb-friendly.

strawberry cheesecake smoothie

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5. Low-Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

This smoothie uses stevia for sweetness instead of traditional sugar. Stevia is an artificial sweetener that comes from the stevia plant. According to the Mayo Clinic, stevia may help with weight management, but should be used in moderation.

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6. Low-Carb Citrus Pear Sensation

Frozen, peeled avocado is a great substitution for banana in this smoothie. Replacing banana with avocado eliminates all of the sugar and you’ll get plenty of healthy fats as well. High-quality fats keep you feeling fuller longer. This recipe also has spinach and parsley for extra nutrients.

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7. Polka Dot Berry Dance

This smoothie recipe uses blueberries and blackberries, two fruits that are low on the GI. Chia seeds are also included. They are a rich source of dietary fiber.

polka dot berry smoothie

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8. Peach Pie Protein Smoothie

Peaches are another fruit low on the GI. This smoothie blends peaches with high-protein Greek yogurt, cinnamon, and protein powder. Substitute almond or coconut milk for dairy milk to keep the calories down.

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9. Minty Green Protein Smoothie

This green smoothie blends refreshing peppermint extract, almond milk, avocado, and spinach. It’s a minty combination that is sugar- and dairy-free, and full of healthy fats and fiber.

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10. Blueberry and Spinach Smoothie

A mix of frozen blueberries, spinach, almond milk, and Greek yogurt make this smoothie filling and delicious.

blueberry spinach smoothie

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