The name of the game for diabetics is to avoid harmful sugar intake and to encourage natural blood sugar control. That means low-glycemic ingredients and digestion-slowing combos that keep blood sugar levels stable. We have a list of some of the best ingredients you can include in homemade smoothies for diabetics, plus 10 unique healthy smoothie recipes to inspire delicious blends.
Best Diabetic Smoothie Ingredients
Conditions like type 2 or type 1 diabetes need to be managed carefully due to their chronic nature. While genetics and other existing health concerns vary from person to person, a low-glycemic diet paired with certain key natural supplements can help many people with diabetes manage the condition without medication.
Here are some of the ingredients that are proven to help control glucose levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce destructive inflammation.
- Berries: Among fresh fruits, dark berries like blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, and raspberries are sweet but nevertheless appropriate not only for preventing metabolic syndrome disorders like diabetes and hypertension, but also for their anti-diabetic effect.
- Nuts and legumes: Unsalted tree nuts may play a role in diabetes prevention and management. Nuts, legumes, and their products, like unsweetened almond milk, peanut butter, soymilk, and tofu, provide natural protein and other plant compounds that support heart health and help regulate cholesterol levels, factors that help prevent cardiovascular disease in diabetic populations.
- Healthy fats: Natural, healthy fats like those in coconut oil and avocado can help with glycemic control and improve the blood lipid profile of diabetics. Avocados also make for an excellent green smoothie component, but more on that below.
- Seeds: Seeds like chia seeds, ground flaxseed, hemp seeds, etc. are not only good for increasing satiety and promoting weight loss, but they also slow the glycemic response thanks to their dietary fiber content and contribute valuable nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids that are often severely lacking in modern diets.
- Leafy greens: Healthy for literally everyone, superfood veggies like kale, spinach, and other dark, leafy greens suppress postprandial increases in plasma glucose levels and contribute valuable nutrients like vitamin K, calcium, and folate.
- Probiotics: Plain yogurt is healthy enough and can be quickly boosted (especially in smoothies) with the other healthy ingredients listed above, but the dramatic probiotic content in a product like Greek yogurt and other fermented foods such as kimchi and kombucha shows promising results in the areas of type 2 diabetes prevention and control.
Sweet Smoothies for Diabetics: Top 10 Natural Recipes
Here are our favorite naturally sweet diabetic-friendly smoothie recipes designed to help lower high blood sugar levels, promote healthy digestion, and arm your immune system with natural nutrients. We here at VeggieShake literally make it our business to create healthy shakes made from real food ingredients with products like our All-in-One protein powder and meal replacement mix—you could add a scoop of it to any of the recipes below for an extra high-fiber, low-carb nutritional boost to a diabetes diet.
With pumpkin, pumpkin spice, banana, stevia to sweeten, and the mild root vegetable jicama, this vegan delight can fit perfectly into a diabetic meal plan. Instead of 1 cup skim milk, this recipe calls for a cup of non-dairy coconut milk and contains no extra sugar content so your blood glucose levels are protected from dangerous sugar spikes. Top it off with a gluten-free ghost marshmallow for Halloween or a non-ghost marshmallow for a low-calorie, sugar-free pumpkin pie in a cup all through the winter holiday season.
Stress and the resulting inflammatory damage it causes to the body can be especially dangerous to those with a condition like diabetes. Stress can exacerbate the disease, raise blood pressure, and tax the heart. But it's a modern fact of life that sometimes stress simply cannot be avoided. Work and family life and natural disasters: sometimes stress finds you, and the best you can do is manage it as safely as possible.
One way to destress is to whip up this soothing smoothie containing blueberries, almond butter and almond milk, cauliflower, avocado, culinary lavender, and chia seeds. Beautiful to behold and full of ideal ingredients for diabetes management, this stress-reliever will relax and replenish you.
Here's a tasty way to energize your metabolism in the morning: a smoothie mixture of banana, peach, granola, graham cracker, almond milk, and cinnamon, with a dash of nutmeg on top. The secret ingredient is MCT oil, a concentrated form of coconut oil that gives your body something substantial to break down alongside the digestion-slowing granola. When paired with fiber-rich foods, you can gain the anthocyanins, quercetins, and catechins found in peaches that can lower the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome without any significant sugar rush disturbing your blood glucose stability.
With any chronic condition, the last thing you want your immune system dealing with is an avoidable cold or flu infection. That's where immune-boosting foods like apples, bananas, plantains, and cinnamon come in: they contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like B6, quercetin, cinnamaldehyde, and more. With nutmeg and a graham cracker to garnish, this tall drink of apple pie will leave you feeling satisfied.
The fiber in bananas is a gentle digestive aid, and the fruit itself a tasty ingredient that gives any smoothie a milkshake-like consistency. With blueberries, cacao nibs, coconut milk, ground cinnamon, and a splash of vanilla extract, this smoothie grants you slow and regular digestion with anti-inflammatory compounds and electrolytes that help prevent dehydration.
Winter comfort foods are often full of carbs and sugar, but you can still enjoy those familiar flavors in much healthier ways. Cue in: the Sweater Weather Smoothie. Alongside antioxidants like vitamin C in pumpkin and/or butternut squash, flavors like cinnamon and ginger trigger fond memories while spices like cayenne and turmeric promote your good health. For natural sweetness there are dates and cacao powder, for substantial nutrients you've got carrots and chia seeds, and to blend it's ice cubes and vanilla with unsweetened almond milk.
Speaking of butternut squash, here's another variation for this versatile winter gourd. Paired with banana, pumpkin spice, and sugar-free maple syrup, this smoothie has all the classic fall flavors plus essential vitamins and minerals from whole-food ingredients. Toss in some plain pecans and enjoy.
Let's get peachy-keen again with this peach parfait blend. With oats and flaxseed for fiber content and cherries that are low on the GI scale, this parfait smoothie is rich in potassium, vitamin C, and other antioxidants like cyanidin and anthocyanin. Yogurt adds smoothness and enhances digestive health, while almond milk offers up vitamin E and calcium. A perfect breakfast concoction, this smoothie can also tide you over until dinner when you hit that mid-afternoon slump.
Heart-healthy nuts are excellently filling and hardy, a perfect way to start off a busy day or boost your energy for a workout. The protein naturally contained in nuts such as walnuts and nutmeg helps build your strength, while banana, almond and coconut milk, plus cinnamon and cacao nibs aid the blood's volume and oxygen transfer abilities.
This strawberry-banana smoothie is made with non-dairy coconut and almond milk, cocoa powder, pitted dates for natural sweetness, and vanilla and MCT oil to provide a filling weight-loss-friendly shake that tastes as sweet and simple as candy-pink strawberry milk, but without any damage done to your blood glucose levels.
Naturally Sweetened Smoothies for Better Diabetes Management
These deceptively sweet smoothies are balanced blends that utilize sugar-free sweeteners to help keep them low on the glycemic index. You know which ingredients are particularly beneficial for diabetics, now it's only a matter of what combination to include in your food processor or blender to get a tasty treat that actually improves your health.