Eight Ingredients That Will Make Your Smoothie WAY Healthier

By Sara McGlothlin

Smoothie and acai bowls have been all the rage for years. There’s something about eating your smoothie with a spoon, versus sipping through a straw, that makes them more enjoyable (and more easily digestible!). Not to mention the combination of creamy frozen fruit makes it taste like a treat rather than a nourishing morning meal. But is breaking your fast with a heavy dose of fructose actually healthy?

Fructose is metabolized differently than glucose, and more likely to be stored as fat, rather than be used as fuel. It’s also not as satiating, and may up your chances of overeating. Lastly, loading up on all of that sugar first thing – despite it being natural sugar – without being paired with protein and healthy fats, will send your blood sugar soaring. This can result in decreased energy and increased hunger just a couple of hours later, and you may find yourself reaching for more of the sweet stuff all day long.  

A solution? Substitute some of the fruit with these nutritious alternatives.


Whether frozen, raw, or steamed, this cruciferous veggie will add creaminess to your smoothie or bowl without the sugar. And given it’s a good source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and even protein (just to name a few), cauliflower also packs a powerful nutritional punch. Does eating cauliflower normally result in bloating or gas? It might be best to steam first, then freeze. This helps to break down those difficult-to-digest components resulting in less distress. To maintain some sweetness, blend a few florets with low-fructose fruits, such as strawberries or blueberries.


Just like cauliflower, zucchini also offers a high-fiber, low-fructose option to thicken any smoothie or bowl. And given that it’s almost completely tasteless when blended with other fruits and veggies, the summer squash has become a favorite among health foodies who are looking to maintain that creamy consistency without the sweetness. Zucchini is also good for you, providing potassium, manganese and vitamins A and C. We recommend freezing ahead of time: simply slice it up and store in your freezer for easy access.


It’s always pumpkin season in our kitchen, and incorporating this high-fiber fruit (yes, technically a fruit) into your smoothie or bowl is no exception. A good source of potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants, it’s a nutrient-dense food with a low fructose content. Thicken your smoothie with pure pumpkin puree (not the canned pie mix, which contains added sugar) instead of banana. To spice it up, add some ginger, a little vanilla and a dash of cinnamon.


Healthy fats are important for blood sugar balance, and when it comes to your smoothie bowl, avocado is a great addition. It creates a creamy consistency without an overbearing taste while adding a ton of nutrition. Loaded with fiber, fat-soluble vitamins and even more potassium than banana, it will help keep you full and energized all morning long. Go completely fruitless or pair with berries for an antioxidant-rich option.


Contrary to belief, cucumber is more than just fiber and water. Whichever way you slice it (and we mean literally), this refreshing, low-fructose food will not only add volume to your smoothie or bowl, but also essential nutrients including multiple B vitamins, vitamins K and C, potassium, copper and manganese. Freezing some chunks ahead of time is a good way to keep your smoothie thick and creamy. An added bonus? Consuming cucumber helps to hydrate you and could protect your skin against aging.  

Leafy Greens

Do yourself a favor by plumping up your smoothie bowl with up to two cups of leafy greens. Raw or frozen will do. Think spinach, chard, kale or collards. These verdant vegetables are high in fiber and low in carbs, a good combo for blood sugar balance. They are also rich in antioxidants, calcium and magnesium, which is an important nutrient for preventing insulin resistance. Try reducing the fruit and sneaking in greens to add nutrition without sacrificing flavor.

Nut Milk “Ice Cubes”

This one takes some preparation, but planning ahead will pay off. A great way to add that frozen consistency without the fructose is in the form of nut milk “ice cubes.” Pour homemade or store-bought dairy-free milk (almond, cashew or coconut are a few favorites) into an ice cube tray to freeze. Replace a serving of fruit with 3-4 cubes in your next smoothie bowl.   

An Empower Bar or V Bar

Used to adding superfoods, plant- based protein, and nut butter to your blender? Our bars are all of that and more in one fell swoop. Packed with nutrition and taste, adding one half to a full Empower Bar or V Bar to your favorite smoothie recipe can take having to add “all the things” out of the equation. Here is our go-to concoction!

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