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Making Thick Smoothies For Diabetics

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Canthespam Mar 21, 2008 03:36 PM

It is so hard for me to make a thick rich smoothie as I am unable to use a lot of fruit. Bananas are especially bad.... but oh soooo good, as are all fruits. I usually use frozen strawberries, non-fat milk, vanilla, some homemade yogurt and Splenda and a few ice cubes.

My old Braun blender which made them exactly the way I love them, is finally kaput. After doing A LOT of research, I decided to buy a very powerful Breville 600XL. I have been using the same measurements and ingredients and using the smoothie setting but I think that it makes them too watery and not very flavorful. I eliminated the ice cubes and it was a little thicker, but still not what I want. I like them very thick and icey (but not with ice chips floating around). Tomorrow I'll try using just the pulse setting and hopefully that should help some.

I was thinking about adding strawberry extract, can you recommend a good brand that doesn't taste artificial. Hopefully one that can be bought in local stores and not online. I tried one from Rainbow (S.F.) - Frontier Strawberry Flavor, which contains no actual strawberry, but I don't think it adds any flavor.

Any suggestions or recipes (sugar free and minimal fruit). I make one a day and miss the kind that plops into my glass, not pours like a very thin milkshake. Blueberry recipes need not apply!

  1. Ruth Lafler Mar 21, 2008 03:47 PM

    I think some people use silken tofu in smoothies. Also, have you tried draining your yogurt to remove some of the water before you use it?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler
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      Hungry Celeste May 14, 2008 08:31 AM

      This (silken tofu) was my first thought, second thought was Fage Total greek yogurt (that stuff is certainly thick, even after blending). Ground almonds or pecan meal is another good alternative, as is unsweetened peanut or almond butter.

    2. Miss Needle Mar 21, 2008 03:58 PM

      I find that adding ground flaxseed thickens a smoothie up.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Miss Needle
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        Canthespam Mar 21, 2008 04:05 PM

        I do make yogurt cheese and have used it in the past in my smoothies, thanks Ruth, I'll try that again instead of the tablespoon or two or yogurt. I just thought that it would improve the flavor, but I will try it for thickness too,. I don't know anything about flaxseed, but I''ll try it. I give my dog flaxseed oil. Do I just buy whole seeds and just throw them in? How many? Maybe a cheap blender works better as the Braun (8 years old) took some work, but the end results were perfect.

        1. re: Canthespam
          omotosando Mar 21, 2008 08:30 PM

          I have a new Vita-Mix and I have the same problem - drinks don't come out as thick as they did in my old less powerful blender.

          1. re: Canthespam
            Ruth Lafler Mar 21, 2008 08:34 PM

            For that matter, you can use nuts. One of my favorite beverages is a liquado (Mexican milkshake) flavored with ground pecans.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler
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              Canthespam Mar 22, 2008 10:20 AM

              I just made a fairly thick smoothie in my Breville. I did not use the smoothie mode exclusively I played around with the mix, pulse and a few seconds of the smoothie mode. Easy enough and tastes pretty good. I did use yogurtcheese and a small amount of ice. Tomorrow I'll leave out the ice, I hope that the frozen strawberries will make it cold enough. I had enough left over to pour some into one of my individual little plastic ice cream bar molds and froze it. A 2-fer.

            2. re: Canthespam
              WCchopper Mar 31, 2008 12:23 AM

              Try a Tbl of flaxseed meal to start and let it sit in the liquid for a minute.

          2. n
            Nonsenseprecious Mar 29, 2008 03:37 PM

            I put cold cooked oats/oatmeal prepared with ground flaxseed in my smoothies to make them thick. (You can also throw in a few spoonfuls of uncooked quick oats, but the cooked ones are a little smoother. I use the steel-cut.) Usually I just cook the oats and the flaxmeal at the beginning of the week, store it in a container in the fridge, and then just use some as I make smoothies during the week.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Nonsenseprecious
              Emme Mar 30, 2008 01:43 AM

              In addition to cooked oats, you can also use uncooked oats pulsed in a processor to form a finer powder.

              If you can tolerate the carbs, try mixing in some Fiber One or All Bran cereal.

              Another option that is non-carb/sugar would be to add a little cream cheese (fat free or low fat if you prefer) or ricotta cheese or mascarpone cheese.

            2. Azizeh Barjesteh Mar 30, 2008 01:49 AM

              Look for shake mixes made for people who have had gastric bypass... they can't have sugar either.

              1. Caroline1 Mar 30, 2008 07:09 AM

                You may be a victim of too much power in your blender. Shortening your blending time may or may not help. Would you consider an old fashioned milk shake? Instead of ice cream, use sugar free frozen yogurt (I like it better than ice cream), and use 2 scoops of frozen yogurt, fruit of choice (if any) or other flavoring and about a half cup of milk. Pulse until thick and just blended.

                You might also consider picking up one of those cheap milk shake machines. Well, I guess "cheap" is a relative term. You can find them in prices ranging from under fifty bucks to over a hundred.. They are designed for making thick drinks like smoothies, shakes, and malts. They're still on my, "Oh, God, I WANT one of those!" list... But I did use them regularly when I was a teen and my grandparents owned a real honest to goodness '50's malt shop. Great machines! My hips are still wearing some of their output.

                1. 4
                  4Snisl Mar 31, 2008 10:47 AM

                  I just wanted to check and see if the carbohydrate load in dairy foods- even sugar-free versions- is OK for you, canthespam. I realize that USUALLY the protein/carbohydrate (and sometimes fat) combo of dairy foods means that the carbohydrate in them doesn't spike blood sugar, but just checking! I'm assuming spiking blood sugars is why you're trying to avoid fruit and sugar in your smoothies, but correct me if I'm wrong.

                  The flaxseed suggestion is a good one, but I find that there's a fine balance between getting a nice thick consistency and ending up with goop! I'd start with a tsp. preground flaxseed allowed to soak in a cup of liquid and proceeding with your recipe from there.

                  1. designerboy01 Mar 31, 2008 09:47 PM

                    In Southeast Asia they make smoothies with avocados. Avocados are also good for people with diabetes. The recipe is just ripe avocados, ice, and sugar (sugar substitute for a diabetic) and put it in a blender. I was skeptical trying this the first time someone made this for me, but I was surprised that it was pretty good.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: designerboy01
                      Caroline1 Mar 31, 2008 10:25 PM

                      hmmmmm... Ripe avacado, ice, and sweetener? Toss in a little lime juice, a dash of green Tobasco, and some tequila and you MIGHT get me to try a sip.... '-)

                      1. re: designerboy01
                        WCchopper Mar 31, 2008 11:17 PM

                        Is any other kind of fruit ever mixed in? I wonder what else might be good in an avocado smoothie?

                        1. re: WCchopper
                          designerboy01 Apr 6, 2008 07:14 PM

                          I had this when I was staying with a Burmese family. They only used avocado, ice, and sugar. I was very skeptical but it was good.

                          1. re: designerboy01
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                            Canthespam Apr 7, 2008 02:42 PM

                            Thanks for all of the great suggestions - the guac smoothie with a few chips thrown in, sounds great :-)

                            1. re: Canthespam
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                              lgss Apr 7, 2008 04:25 PM

                              Stevia or xylitol as sweetener...

                              1. re: Canthespam
                                designerboy01 Apr 15, 2008 09:58 PM

                                Its actually pretty good but I would leave out the chips.

                                1. re: designerboy01
                                  c
                                  Canthespam Apr 16, 2008 02:06 PM

                                  Oh come on, live a little - you only go around once. You don't have to always 'blend' in.

                                  1. re: Canthespam
                                    designerboy01 May 13, 2008 12:03 AM

                                    Whatever floats your boat. But I'm not going to argue with a many years of tradtion.

                        2. a
                          Angela Roberta Apr 17, 2008 09:25 AM

                          I always freeze the blender's jar and blade for a while before making smoothies. I think a room-temperature jar can steal a lot of cold from your foods.

                          1. t
                            tinymango Apr 17, 2008 02:37 PM

                            sort of deviating from all the natural or healthy suggestions here, but when i make smoothies at work, i use one of the sugar-free vanilla frappe mixes (powder form) in addition to the fruit, yoghurt, ice, etc. this makes it perfectly thick and adds a nice flavour. ive also made apple and spice chai smoothies this way. this stuff is my miracle powder. cheers.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: tinymango
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                              Canthespam Apr 18, 2008 10:40 AM

                              Sounds delicious. I've never used a packaged frappe mix. I'll check out the carbs and if they aren't too high, I just may be a convert. Thanks.

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                              Orchid64 May 13, 2008 03:39 AM

                              I have no idea how it affects diabetics but pectin thickens cold beverages. It's used by Starbucks in Frappucinos for this purpose. My brother-in-law swears by adding in either sugar-free pudding mix as a thickener or one of those diet drink powders (can't recall which one).

                              1. lynnlato May 13, 2008 04:09 AM

                                Hi, I'm a type 1 diabetic and I use Calorie Countdown milk. It tastes just like regular milk (it is, but has other stuff in it too) but it's ultrapasteurized and only has 3 carbs per cup. I think skim milk has like 11 carbs. I also use fresh strawberries (low glycemic index) and Splenda.

                                You could also try adding a dollop of sugar free ice cream. Peach and fresh ginger is a nice combo too.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: lynnlato
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                                  Canthespam May 17, 2008 07:37 PM

                                  Thanks lynniato, I've never heard of Calorie Countdown milk but I will start looking for it.

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