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Photography by Aya Brackett


Having diabetes doesn’t mean you need to deny yourself all the foods you love, but you do want to make healthier food choices. One good choice is to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, which are heavy in nutrition but light in calories.

Some fruits and vegetables are better for managing your diabetes than others. Look for produce that’s low on the glycemic index and load, meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar.

It’s also important to get plenty of calcium- and probiotic-rich dairy foods to fortify your bones and provide good gut bacteria. Good sources are low-fat milk, kefir, and Greek yogurt.

These foods are essential to any diabetes diet, yet you don’t need to eat them with a fork or even a spoon. You can pack a lot of nutrition into one smoothie and get a delicious treat. As long as you stick with healthy ingredients and don’t add extra sweeteners, you can enjoy these treats on a regular basis.

Just remember when you do blend fruit into your smoothies to count them as part of your daily fruit allowance so you don’t overdo it on carbohydrates. Even natural sugar can drive up your blood sugar if you eat too much of it.

Here are 10 diabetes-friendly smoothie ideas to get you started.

This smoothie has it all — antioxidant-rich berries, healthy fat from the avocado, greens, and protein. Just be careful when buying berry yogurt that you choose a brand that’s low in sugar, such as Siggi, or stevia-sweetened. Or opt for unsweetened yogurt.

This recipe has 404 calories, so use it as a meal replacement instead of a snack.

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This smoothie’s creator has diabetes and discovered this recipe after some careful experimentation.

Not only does it taste great, but also it won’t wreak havoc on your blood sugar. The soymilk and Greek yogurt make it smooth and creamy without adding much extra sugar. You can even bump up the fiber more with a tablespoon of chia seeds.

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The berry base of this smoothie makes it sweet, yet it’s still low on the glycemic index. If your berries are tart, the coconut milk and mango will add some natural sweetness. You’ll also get a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids from the flax.

This recipe makes two smoothies.

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This peach smoothie makes for the perfect afternoon refresher. It’s simple to make with only five ingredients. Plus, it’s loaded with calcium and is light enough that it won’t weigh you down.

Add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and keep the peel on the peach for more fiber. More fiber is helpful in this smoothie because this recipe calls for 4 ounces of sweetened yogurt, which has the potential to raise your blood sugar.

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This smoothie sneaks in a green vegetable, spinach, but camouflages it with fresh berries and chocolate powder. Choose stevia- or erythritol-sweetened protein powder to avoid artificial sweeteners. Chia seeds and pumpkin seeds add a rich texture, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.

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If you’re having trouble meeting your daily green requirements but aren’t a big fan of salads, why not drink your veggies? This take on the increasingly popular green smoothie uses nutrient-dense kale or spinach balanced with tart apple and pear. Lime juice and mint complement the blend, adding a burst of flavor and freshness.

Skip the agave nectar, which may have negative effects on your metabolism.

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Are you craving the chocolate-peanut taste of your favorite candy bar, but don’t want to send your blood sugar soaring? Get the same flavors without the spike by whipping up this candy-inspired smoothie. For less artificial sweetener, swap the 1 tablespoon of sugar-free caramel syrup for 1 teaspoon of caramel extract.

This smoothie is high in protein and calcium.

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This rich and creamy smoothie contains only 5 grams of carbohydrates. To keep the carbs down, use unsweetened light coconut milk. For added sweetness, the author recommends adding a few dashes of powdered Stevia.

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What better way to start your day than with some hearty, fiber-dense whole grains, plus potassium and vitamin C? The uncooked oats also provide resistant starch, which is an excellent source of fuel for gut bacteria and can improve insulin levels.

This breakfast smoothie packs a lot of nutrition into one glass. Here are a few tips to make this smoothie work better for your blood sugar:

  • Choose smaller bananas and don’t forget to add those carbs to your daily count so you don’t go over your allotment.
  • Turn this recipe into four servings rather than two.
  • Use unsweetened almond or soymilk instead of skim milk to further reduce the carbs.

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Nuts are an important component of any healthy eating plan, and this recipe combines some of the most nutritious varieties, almonds and walnuts. Plus, you get greens from the kale, calcium from the milk, and antioxidants from the strawberries. All this for only 45 grams of carbohydrate!

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