Bad news if you're trying to cut carbs: a smoothie from your local shop could cost you 75 grams of carbs or more per serving. Considering that most low-carb plans require you to eat fewer than 100 grams per day, that one drink could nearly wipe out your daily budget.
"Many smoothie spots will add honey, agave, maple syrup, dates, multiple types of fruit, and fruit juices, which can drive the overall sugar content sky high," Mary Claire Shurina, MS, RD, LD, an acute care dietitian in Atlanta, GA, told POPSUGAR.
The good news? You can easily build a delicious, low-carb smoothie at home, where you have more control over what goes in it. "I always recommend incorporating one to two fruits, a source of protein, and a healthy fat," Mary Claire said. This combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fat will "prevent blood sugar spikes that ultimately lead to energy crashes later in the day," she explained. Keeping the fruit content low and not adding sweeteners will keep the carb count down, too.
To cover the protein portion of your smoothie, blend in your favourite (unsweetened) protein powder or Greek yoghurt. For a dose of healthy fats, a spoonful of nut butter or half an avocado should do. When it comes to fruits, "berries offer more fibre and less sugar than other fruits, making them great choices," Mary Claire said. (For reference, a half cup of blueberries has 11 grams of carbs, while a medium banana has 27 grams.) Focus on striking that balance, and you could have a smoothie every day while still staying on track with your goals.