Reader Q: How Can I Sweeten Smoothies Without the Sugar?

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Q: How can I sweeten smoothies without the sugar?

A: Add naturally sweet foods that offer extra beauty benefits.

One downfall of smoothies you buy at chains like Jamba Juice and Planet Smoothie is the major sugar content- 30, 40 or 50 grams of sugar (50 grams of sugar is the equivalent of 12 sugar packets!).

When you make smoothies at home,  you can leave out the fruit juice concentrates and high sugar fruits, sweetened yogurts or sweetened non-dairy milks, and added sweets (like sherbet!) that are included.  But truly healthy smoothies aren't all about sweetness. In general, avoid sweeteners (a bit of stevia is okay), since they don't offer much in the way of nutrition. Instead, sweeten smoothies with beauty foods that are also sweet to the taste. Bananas (try them frozen to add great texture) are a favoriteβ€” and they're packed with potassium and the beauty mineral silicon. Greenapples are naturally sweet, and they cleanse and detoxify the body. Lemons and limes add an alkaline burst to smoothies, and they cut the taste of greens instantly! You can even use a handful of frozen grapes (I like red seeded varieties).

For fall, you can take a break from purely green smoothies and try using naturally sweet root vegetables like cooked pumpkin, sweet potato or butternut squash (all incredibly rich in skin healing vitamin A) as the creamy base of your smoothie. Instead of a sweet flavor, boost them with spices like cinnamon and ginger. And be sure to add healthy fats like raw walnuts, hemp seeds or chia seeds so you absorb all of the awesome beauty nutrition in every sip.

You'll find that delicious smoothies aren't all about sugar!

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Image: The Digitel Beaufort