Have you ever wondered how to make a smoothie sweeter without sugar? If you want to make your smoothies to taste better without adding empty calories, then we’re right there with you.
Taste and flavour are hugely important in building healthy eating habits for the long-term. But what can you do if your smoothies taste a bit bland?
In this article – we share 7 ways to sweeten a smoothie without adding sugar.
A quick online search for smoothies will return lots of 5* rated recipes with mouth-watering photography. Yet when you delve deeper into the detail, it’s surprising just how many of these supposedly healthy smoothies include directions to ‘add 1 tablespoon of sugar to the blender’.
That’s crazy. And a fast track to weight gain…
It still shocks us to see these ‘healthy’ smoothies being loaded up with unnecessary sugar. If it’s really a decent smoothie recipe, then it absolutely won’t need sugar. That’s just a trick people (and big companies) use to mask bland flavours or dodgy ingredient combinations. But worst of all, it completely undermines the healthiness of a smoothie.
We get it… fresh fruit and veg doesn’t always taste as good as a packaged juice drink. But we have a few recipe hacks that can completely change this. Your home-made smoothie will taste amazing and still be made of real produce that doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or chemicals.
So, if you’re looking for healthy ways to sweeten your smoothie, then here are 7 of our favourites…
#1 – Buy produce in season
This is when it’s at its juiciest, sweetest, and most flavoursome. The natural sugars in fruit are usually at their highest when they’re fully ripe. This is the time when fruits taste their very best.
If you’re adding strawberries to your smoothies in winter, chances are they’ll taste pretty bland (not to mention have flown half way around the world). But if you consume strawberries when they’re in season (May – July) then they’ll be super sweet and pack the most flavour.
Fruit and veg that’s in season also tends to be at its most nutritious. This handy cheat sheet on seasonal smoothie ingredients can help you pinpoint which are at their best right now.
#2 – Use spices instead
Want to know how to make a smoothie sweeter without sugar or extra calories? Then spices are your friend. Adding them will improve the taste and create more flavour without adding unnecessary sugar. Simply sprinkle a little in with your fruit and veg before adding the liquid (this will ensure it blends thoroughly).
Some spices also provide additional health benefits, so can add extra nutritional value to a smoothie. Cinnamon and ginger are our personal favourites, but you could also experiment with turmeric, ground cloves, and allspice. If you’re wondering how to make smoothies sweeter without sugar, then adding spices should be high on your list.
#3 – Add vanilla or almond drops
This is a trick that many physique competitors use when prepping for an event. Because they’re super-strict with their calorie intake, they have to be creative with their recipes. Adding a drop of vanilla or almond extract is an effective way to sweeten anything without adding sugar.
Although there are specialist health products out there, you can save yourself some money with the supermarket alternatives. You’ll find them in the baking aisle with other cake ingredients. They do contain sugar but since you only need a drop, it hardly adds any calories. If weight management is your goal then this is a decent option.
#4 – Include a scoop of protein powder
Adding a scoop of protein powder can add extra sweetness as well as nutrients. Vanilla is usually a safe bet since it mixes well with most other ingredients. However, it also important to note that some protein powders contain sugar so you may be adding it without realising. Take a look at the ingredient list so you know exactly what’s in it beforehand.
We like MissFits vegan protein powder in Vanilla or Butterscotch and Free Soul vegan powder in Vanilla or Ginger. Both contain extra vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in addition to high-quality protein (without loads of sugar).
#5 – Blend some herbs in
Herbs don’t tend to be sweet but they do provide additional flavour. They’ll add a different dimension to your smoothies and may make them taste fresher. Herbs can also disguise other bland ingredients while adding some extra nutrients too. Mint is one of our favs that we add to mojito smoothies (with citrus and cucumber).
#6 – Add a little nut butter
If you’re wondering how to make your smoothie sweeter, then adding nut butter is a great option. Almond or peanut butter are our absolute favourites but there are lots of different flavour combos now available.
As with protein powder, you’ll need to check the ingredients list to ensure you’re not adding additional sugar too. There are lots of pure butters that don’t contain anything except nuts but you’ll need to check. Most of the mainstream supermarket brands are positively unhealthy so avoid those.
#7 – Use other fruits to sweeten a recipe
If your green smoothie is tasting that bit too ‘plant-based’ then try sweetening it with more fruit instead. Of course, sugar is still sugar but the fibre in fruit means your body digests it more slowly. As a result, you don’t get the sugar rush or GI spike which can cause hunger pangs afterward. Try incorporating new fruits into your recipes and avoid getting stuck in a rut. Adding a nectarine, strawberries, or pear can add varying levels of sweetness at different times of the year.
Can I have honey in smoothies?
Some people think that honey in smoothies is a healthy alternative to granulated sugar. After all, it’s a natural product, right? But the evidence on this is pretty mixed so it’s hard to say one way or another.
Although honey occurs naturally in nature, this doesn’t automatically make it a healthy addition to your smoothie. It’s pure, unrefined sugar and still causes an immediate spike in your blood sugar. It doesn’t contain fibre like fruit does, so will hit your system pretty fast. Honey also isn’t an option for vegans and we know many of our readers follow a plant-based diet.
You can also sweeten a smoothie with maple syrup or agave nectar but we don’t recommend adding either. This is because they’re all forms of additional sugar and don’t provide your body with much nutritional value. It really doesn’t need syrups – what it needs is the vitamins, minerals, and fibre found in fresh fruit and veg.
Some people put stevia in smoothies to add some extra sweetness. We’re not big fans and have found that it can sometimes taste bitter. So, we’d suggest that you’re better off going with one of our 7 alternative ideas.
How To Make A Smoothie Sweeter (The Healthy Way)
So, now you know exactly how to make a smoothie sweeter without adding extra sugar. These tips can help you to reduce your processed sugar intake and maximise the nutritional value of your smoothies. We’d love to know how you get on – tag us on Instagram @theblendery to get your photos featured!