Is Your Green Drink Too Bitter? Let’s Fix That.
Green drinks are the healthiest drinks on earth (outside of just good old water). Green drinks are nutrient dense, filling the body with much-needed vitamins and minerals. They provide an infusion of nutrients without laborious eating…
But sometimes a green drink can be, well, a little gross.
Well, it doesn’t really have to be. But more on that below.
Sometimes we just endure the earthy, soil-like, dirt-laden taste profile because we know we want to improve our health.
That makes sense.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We may not have to exchange a palatable, good tasting experience in exchange for improved health.
By adding some natural sweeteners to our green drink blends, we can often conceal the earthy tastes while enhancing the overall taste profile.
Is All Sugar Bad For Me?
Ah, the $3 million dollar question.
Everyone wants to know if sugar is bad.
Its a legit question considering the heavy implications in being wrong and the complexity of sugar itself.
Processed Sugar Isn’t The Same…
Refined sugar is straight sugar. This means it has no fiber-buffer (I’m getting to that). Its difficult to control sugar when pouring it into a green drink, or even coffee. And the more you use, the more of a “sugar blast” you shall receive. And sugar is an addictive substance, meaning, you will constantly need more and more to get that “sugar high.”
Sugar From Natural Fruits Often Has Fiber
When the sugar is from natural fruits, this means the body has to break down the food, and often, fiber, to receive the sugar. This means a slower sugar uptake, which is much easier on the body.
So yes, table sugar is different than sugar found in fruit (buy a substantial margin).
Straight Sugar Sans Fiber Can Be Bad
Sugar isn’t great for any of us, but it also isn’t the devil it is made out to be in every case. When you mainline sugar, of course, it’s not good. For example, drinking orange juice, or Dr. Pepper, means taking in straight sugar.
But sugar in the presence of fiber is an improved environment. When the digestive system has to take the time and effort to extract the sugar, the sugar hits the bloodstream slower. This means less of an insulin spike.
That’s why fruit is good, but juices can be bad.
Yes, your juicer is awesome, but it may not be as healthy as you think it to be.
Your green drink should have some fiber in it. In any case, you can easily add fiber into your green drink. For example, oats, chia seeds, and flax seeds are often added into green drinks to give more fiber and increase satiety.
Sugar And Fat (A Winning Combo)
Healthy fats, somewhat like fiber, can help to slow down sugars effects on the body.
Fats such as coconut oil, avocados, and flaxseed oil, are great options to add to your green drink as a way to help curb the sugar load.
Sugar And Protein (More Good)
Protein will help to slow down sugar’s absorption into the bloodstream. You often hear that hypoglycemics need to eat smaller, more balanced meals. This typically means a meal with protein, carb, and fat. Both the fat and protein will help slow the effects of the carb.
So now that we understand that sugar isn’t evil, it is just the way we ingest it, we can move on to making those earthy green drinks a bit more palatable.
What About Stevia?
Stevia is one of the trendiest sweeteners on the market today. People who quit sugar, or lower carbs drastically, often use stevia for their coffee, tea, and cooking.
But is stevia really a good option to sugar?
Stevia is a highly processed substance. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar when dispensed in the same concentrations.
There is decent research showing the stevia elicits an adrenal response because the body thinks it’s getting sugar.
Conclusion on sugar or stevia?
You can add either to your green smoothie, but we don’t recommend doing that. That said, we are going to find some crafty, healthier ways to sweeten up that bitter green drink.
How to Naturally Sweeten Your Green Smoothies
Now for the prize. If you’ve read this far, then you know we want to sweeten our healthy green smoothie without ruining its health benefits. We’ve decided to leave table sugar and stevia out of play.
So what’s left?
Oh. So. Much. Goodness.
Using bananas are my favorite way to sweeten a green drink smoothie. I like to freeze them first, they help to “chill out” my smoothie. But that’s preference. Bananas are a great complex starch that is full of potassium and other nutrients.
The banana, unlike a lot of other sweetening means, will give your smooth a wonderful base. The banana base will make the smoothie dense and somewhat creamy.
You can choose your bananas based on your own taste. More ripe (more yellow, darker yellows) will be sweeter. The greener, less ripe versions, are less sweet and denser. In fact, less ripe also means more resistant starch, which is super healthy for your digestion.
Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Honey is a robust subject. People think of honey as a simple natural sweetener, but it is anything but. There are kinds of honey made in New Zealand called Manuka that is said to be as powerful as antibiotics. That stuff is a bit expensive, but you get the idea. Honey is a wide-ranging matter. Different honey types can even taste different due to regional influences.
Honey is sweet. Its automatically going to assist your picky palate. Although it can be messy due to its sticky nature, honey tends to blend well in green smoothies.
Honey is also full of powerful antioxidants and has been shown to boost the immune system.
Dates are awesome. But they are often overlooked in the green smoothie world. And that’s unfortunate. They are very high in minerals, potassium, and electrolytes.
Here’s the thing – people tend to avoid dates because of their hard, sticky texture. People assume they won’t play well with a common blender. But that’s not true, they blend in excellent fashion.
TIP: Soak in hot water for a few minutes prior to blending.
If you really, really, really, need to add some sweet to your smoothie, nothing accomplishes that more than maple syrup. Maple syrup is ultra-sweet. Its a great source of iron and other minerals.
But be warned, you only need a little of it. And since it will be “fiber-less,” you should proceed with some caution. Maple syrup does the job in small doses. Which works out, because it can often be pricey.
OK, my chosen picture to represent sweet molasses is a bit overdramatic. But come on, that picture is completely awesome!
This low glycemic option can often be missed by green smoothie connoisseurs. Not only is it healthy, it can make your smoothie a little rich, almost like a desert.
This is one of my favorite ways to pop some healthy sweet into a green smoothie. I know, some of you don’t like coconut water (I happen to love it, but only when it is from a can).
That said, you shouldn’t deny coconut water as an option for sweetening your smoothie just because you don’t like it straight. You might be truly surprised by how much you love it when it is added to your green drink.
Coconut water is naturally high in magnesium and potassium. Additionally, it is lower in sugar than many other drinks with equal sweetness. No, your green smoothie won’t taste like a big coconut. Not at all.
Coconut water is probably one of the healthiest options for your green smoothie, it would definitely benefit you to try it out.
Figs and Prunes
Yeah, sounds odd, but consider something.
Figs and prunes, when dried, have a high concentration of sweet to them. This means you need to use less natural sugar to get the desired effect.
TIP: Soak either or both in hot water for a few minutes prior to blending.
Blueberries and Strawberries
Berries of all sorts can add a layer of wonderful sweetness to your green smoothie. And they are packed with antioxidants and natural fibers. They blend super easy.
There is no reason to feel bad if you can’t stomach a green drink. The more you ingest green drink smoothies, the more you will get used to the grassy, earthy taste profile. That said, you have a slew of natural, healthy options for sweetening your green drink. It’s best to experiment around and find what you like. It is best to avoid straight sugar, while it will sweeten the smoothie, it can be harmful to your health in large doses.