12 Low-sugar, healthy smoothie recipes to fuel your day

Smoothies often contain loads of sugar. Try these tips and recipes to make a healthy smoothie that won't spike blood glucose.


Image courtesy Milk & Honey Nutrition


A smoothie can be a convenient way to take in protein, produce, and superfoods—or it can be as metabolically problematic as a milkshake. Take Jamba’s Whey PB + Banana Protein smoothie, which has 38 grams of sugar in a small serving, or their Acai Super-Antioxidant smoothie, which has 53 grams. Smoothie King’s Muscle Punch banana-strawberry smoothie packs 71 grams in a small—more than a Twix and a can of Coke.

You can do better making your own smoothies at home, but you need to choose your recipes wisely. Most fruit-smoothie recipes in particular call for large amounts of high-sugar fruits, juice, and sweeteners, and many are light on protein and fats. This combination can lead to significant blood glucose spikes.

To help you avoid these pitfalls, follow the guidelines below to DIY a smoothie that supports metabolic health and gives you sustained energy. Then check out 12 healthy smoothie recipes that meet our standards for nutrition and taste.

How to Build a Healthier Smoothie

Like any healthy recipe for metabolic health, the healthiest smoothie recipes have a mix of protein, healthy fats, and vegetables and fruits rich in fiber and micronutrients.

Choose the right liquid. Many smoothies, especially the ones you buy at juice bars and cafes, call for high-sugar fruit juices to blend the other ingredients. Skip the sugar and choose unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, or flax milk to avoid a blood sugar spike. These lend a creamy texture without the high sugar content of some alternative dairy (like oat milk) or fruit juices (like orange juice).

Reach for low-sugar fruits. While fruits—both fresh fruit and frozen fruit—are nutritional powerhouses, their sugar content can vary dramatically. To keep your smoothie healthier favor lower-sugar fruits such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and kiwi. These choices are also rich in antioxidants and fiber, promoting a slower glucose release into the bloodstream. If you like the flavor of higher-sugar fruit, like in banana smoothies or pineapple smoothies, use it sparingly and in whole-fruit form (not juice).

Embrace healthy fats. Adding fats to your smoothie will increase satiety and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Consider chia seeds and flaxseeds, both sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health and reducing inflammation. Or try a spoonful of nut or seed butter—such as sunflower seed, peanut, cashew, or almond butter—to add richness and flavor, plus an extra protein boost. Just be sure to choose natural, unsweetened varieties.

Boost nutrition with vegetables. Non-starchy veggies can add nutrients without excessive carbohydrates. Spinach, kale, and cooked or frozen cauliflower disappear into other flavors. Or, for a subtle sweetness and fiber boost, add in a small portion of cooked beet or carrot.

Increase the protein. Adding a quality protein source can transform your smoothie from a drink to a meal that can power your day. Protein powder is the easiest way to ensure your smoothie has plenty of this nutrient. Read the labels carefully to pick one with minimal ingredients and, ideally, no added sugars.

Flavor without sugar. Lean on spices and extracts to flavor your smoothie without spiking blood glucose. Cinnamon, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder can add depth, warmth, and a sweet dimension, while fresh ginger or turmeric can add spice and have anti-inflammatory benefits.

12 Low-Sugar, Healthy Smoothie Recipes

These healthy smoothie recipes meet the guidelines above and deliver on flavor and satisfaction.

1. Low Sugar Simple Green Smoothie

With nutrient-dense ingredients—including spinach, kale, and chia seeds—this green smoothie recipe is a powerhouse of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. The creamy richness of nut butter adds healthy fat that will promote stable blood sugar levels. To keep the natural sugar to an absolute minimum, opt for stevia instead of ½ frozen banana. Then, add a scoop of high-quality protein powder, such as grass-fed whey protein, to increase satiety and encourage muscle repair and growth.

2. Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie Bowl

This spoonable breakfast smoothie blends chocolate protein powder, vanilla almond milk, spinach, and cauliflower rice, which lends a creamy texture. Along with fiber-rich flaxseeds, cinnamon adds extra metabolic-health benefits. Compounds in the sweet spice act like insulin, boosting glucose uptake, and research shows that cinnamon can lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Top with cacao nibs, hemp seeds, almonds, and fresh raspberries (or a few mixed berries of your choice) for a smoothie that’s as eye-catching as it is delicious.

3. Low Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Peanut butter brings good fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to this chocolate-rich smoothie (just be sure your PB contains no added sugars). And cocoa powder is hands-down the most metabolically-friendly way to satisfy a chocolate craving. One caveat: The recipe calls for a tablespoon of maple syrup. Try omitting it and using a protein powder sweetened with monkfruit to make your drink more nutritious and balance the flavors.

4. Key Lime Pie Smoothie

Inspired by the classic pie, this healthy smoothie recipe is a refreshing twist on the usual flavors. It gets its creamy consistency from avocado. Eating avocado daily was found to have beneficial effects on blood glucose regulation, according to research published in The Journal of Nutrition. Ice cubes also contribute to the texture, as do hemp seeds, which add omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), protein, micronutrients, and antioxidants.

5. Matcha Green Tea Smoothie

Matcha, or powdered green tea leaves, has a complex flavor and aroma. It’s also rich in polyphenols that help fight against cell damage and inflammation caused by free radicals. To get even more benefits from your smoothie, add more protein with collagen peptides or unflavored protein powder. And skip the optional thickeners suggested in the original recipes—these give some people an upset stomach.

6. Easy No Added Sugar Raspberry Smoothie

Packed with anthocyanins and flavonoids, raspberries are one of the best fruits for metabolic health. But consider cutting the quantity to ½ cup to get all the benefits with only a minor impact on blood sugar. And if you’re making this as a meal replacement, use protein-packed Greek yogurt instead of the plain yogurt the recipe calls for. It’s a nutritious option for a healthy breakfast on the go.

7. Green Ginger Fab 4 Smoothie

This refreshing green smoothie will wake you up with tart vitamin C-rich lemon juice and pungent fresh ginger, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Another key ingredient is MCT oil. Research is ongoing, but some studies suggest MCT oil may help with weight loss, boost insulin sensitivity, improve gut health, and control hunger.

8. Fiesta Savory Smoothie

The vast majority of smoothies are sweet and fruity—but there’s no rule that they have to be. This tall glass of green bursts with vibrant flavors, including cilantro, tomatoes, and chili. Chickpeas and avocado make the smoothie thick and creamy while adding a hefty amount of fiber. To enhance this savory smoothie’s anti-inflammatory properties, use bone broth instead of the vegetable stock the recipe calls for.

9. Low Sugar Avocado Blueberry Smoothie

With a base of low-calorie blueberries and low-carb cauliflower, this fruit smoothie is unlikely to spike blood sugar. In fact, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds in blueberries help control blood sugar levels and support overall metabolism by reducing inflammation, protecting cells from damage, and improving blood vessel health, according to a 2020 research review. Just make sure you use unsweetened almond milk. For extra protein, consider adding a scoop of collagen peptides or unflavored protein powder to the original recipe.

10. Keto Coconut Chai Smoothie

Even people sticking to a keto diet can enjoy a smoothie if it’s made with the right ingredients. This recipe combines unsweetened almond milk, spicy chai tea, and frozen coconut chunks. Add a scoop of collagen peptides or unflavored protein powder to increase the protein and enhance the creaminess. The protein and fat make for a snack that keeps you satisfied for hours.

11. Red Velvet Smoothie

Inspired by the beloved cake, this smoothie has three main ingredients with metabolic health benefits. Beets provide heart-healthy folate, blood pressure-lowering dietary nitrates, and polyphenol antioxidants that help soothe oxidative stress. Avocado’s monounsaturated fats help tamp down inflammation. And cocoa powder is high in flavanols, which also fight inflammation and have anti-diabetic properties. The recipe calls for 18 drops of stevia for sweetness. Try a vanilla-flavored protein powder with monkfruit instead. You’ll get sweetness and add protein at the same time.

12. Keto Cinnamon Roll Smoothie

When you crave a cinnamon roll, this delicious smoothie can give you those familiar flavors—without all the sugar and carbs. It’s rich with full-fat coconut milk and MCT oil, and a healthy dose of cinnamon gives it that signature aroma. Add some cauliflower rice for added nutrition and extra fiber, then omit the sweetener in favor of your favorite vanilla protein powder.


Learn how your body responds to your lifestyle

The best way to understand what habits and foods help you achieve balanced blood sugar is with a continuous glucose monitor and an app like Levels to help you interpret the data. Levels members get access to the most advanced CGMs and personalized guidance to build healthy, sustainable habits. Click here to learn more about Levels.