Naturally sweet smoothies

Smoothies are a great source of fruit, fibre and important vitamins and minerals - but they can also be a high source of sugar.

Although the sweetness found in fruit has benefits and is not 'bad sugar' like the highly refined granules you sprinkle on your cereal or add to your baking, it is still worth consuming it in moderation.

For example, a large smoothie with generous dollops of frozen yoghurt and honey could have more sugar than a small glass of soft drink, even though it seems like a healthy choice.

Of course it is much better than the fizzy option, given all the extra energy and vitamins the ingredients carry, but it is still worth remembering that if you are trying to limit your sugar intake, fruit juice and smoothies may not be the best option.

However, that's not to say that you should avoid them completely! Here are a few tips that may help you make smoothies that are both naturally sweet and low in sugar.

Use Veges

Did you know that you can add vegetables to a smoothie? Carrots, beetroot and even pumpkin can add different flavours to your regular cup of fruit juice.

Pick the right fruits

Some fruits are higher in sugar than others. Bananas, oranges and pineapples are particularly sweet, according to LiveStrong.com. Don't avoid them completely - perhaps just limit your intake.

Fruits with lower sugar levels include peaches and nectarines and blackberries, blueberries and strawberries.

Avoid extra sugar

The main reason smoothies can have such a high sugar content is because people add ingredients such as sweet yoghurt, honey or syrup to their drinks.

But your smoothie doesn't need all of this extra sugar! Try avoiding honey and syrups altogether and if you have yoghurt, replace it with a low-sugar natural option.

If this is too tart for your tastes, try adding a small sprinkle of Stevia. This is a natural sugar replacement that tastes just as sweet.

Limit your portion size

Sometimes people drink huge glasses of smoothies and forget all of the ingredients that went in there. In what other setting would you eat two bananas, two peaches, an orange, a handful of berries, half a carton of yoghurt and a sprinkle of oats all in one sitting?

Try limiting your portion sizes so that you don't overdo it. As always - everything in moderation.

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