Smoothies are filling, nutritious drinks you can use as meal replacements or as snacks between meals. These drinks are easily portable, so you can enjoy them at work or school, before a workout or on road trips. Simple ingredient choices can help you create flavorful, healthy smoothies that are appropriate for a diabetic diet.
Use soy milk as a base for healthy diabetic smoothies. Soy milk adds protein and calcium to smoothies, and gives them a creamy consistency. Unlike whole milk, soy milk does not add saturated fats, which can increase "bad" cholesterol and increase your risk of diabetes-related heart disease. If you are allergic to soy, opt for skim milk or fat-free milk to minimize your intake of saturated fats.
Although some diabetics avoid fruits because they are sweet, most fruits are appropriate for a diabetic diet, provided they are served in limited portion sizes. Apples, pears, berries, kiwi fruit and mangoes contain fructose, which does not increase your body's dependence on insulin. However, some fruits score high on the glycemic index, such as pineapple and melons. As a result, these fruits should be avoided because they have a more significant impact on the body's blood sugar levels than fruits that score lower on the glycemic index. Also, avoid using watermelon and oranges in smoothies -- these fruits are high in glucose, which can elevate blood sugar levels.
Although smoothies typically contain fruits, you can add vegetables to boost the nutrient content of these drinks. Carrots, broccoli, kelp, kale and spinach are high in dietary fiber, which may help manage blood glucose levels, according to Phyllis Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." They also contain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, folate, manganese and beta-carotene, which are necessary for optimal health.
Add 1 or 2 tbsp. of whole flax seeds to smoothies before blending. Flax seeds provide additional fiber and protein in diabetic smoothies. They also contain essential fatty acids, which may help raise high-density lipoprotein levels in your bloodstream. High-density lipoproteins are the "good" components of cholesterol that may help prevent lipid blockages in your arteries and prevent heart disease.