Many assume that smoothie bowls are a healthy breakfast or snack option. And while they are certainly healthier than some other things you could eat, they are not as healthy as you might think. The main issue with smoothie bowls is that they are high in fruit sugar.
Fruit sugar, or fructose, may be a natural form of sugar, but to the body, sugar is still sugar. Most of the smoothie bowl recipes you will find use bases of several bananas, or exotic fruit such as mango and pineapple. And although delicious, these contain very high levels of fruit sugars, so are a big no-no on a Candida Diet.
Although I was a fan of smoothie bowls in the past, I now cannot stand how sickly sweet they are! But with the hot weather approaching, I was determined to come up with my own recipe that was much lower in sugar. Enter my super thick, ginger and blueberry smoothie bowl!
💕 Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This low-sugar smoothie bowl recipe uses sweet potatoes as the base instead of fruit, and you won’t believe how amazing it tastes!
I also used fresh ginger to add a kick of flavour that pairs brilliantly with the sweet potato. The result is a refreshing and slightly sweet (without being sickly!) smoothie bowl, that will satisfy your sweet cravings without the blood sugar spike.
And if the delicious flavour wasn’t reason enough to love it, you might be pleased to hear that this smoothie bowl is an antioxidant powerhouse! I might even need to rename this smoothie the "antioxidant smoothie" as it is rich in carotenoids and ascorbate (vitamin C) from the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, anthocyanins from the blueberries, and gingerol from the ginger.
The first and most important ingredient is sweet potato. I know what you’re thinking, a potato in a smoothie?! But trust me on this one, the texture and subtle sweetness is just perfect!
Now a little preparation is required as the sweet potato must be pre-steamed or boiled in cubes and then frozen, but I promise it's worth it! You could also save yourself time by making a big batch of steamed sweet potato, and then freezing it into handy portions for later.
I prefer to peel my sweet potato before steaming, as it results in a smoother consistency, but you could keep the skin on if you want to keep the added fibre.
Now before I go any further, I know that not all Candida Diet protocols include sweet potato, however, the one that I followed did. If you are concerned about the carbohydrate level of the sweet potato and would like to further reduce the sugar level, then boil the sweet potato instead of steaming it. When boiling, more water is absorbed by the potato which will result in less sugar gram for gram.
Having said that, there really isn’t much sweet potato in this recipe. For context, this is what 125g worth of uncooked sweet potato looks like, which is a small-medium potato. The recipe calls for 100g of cooked sweet potato for one serving.
As well as adding a gorgeous purple hue, frozen blueberries will add another layer of sweet flavour without adding too much sugar. This is because blueberries are a naturally low sugar fruit.
Also, a small portion goes a long way. 30g of blueberries is approximately one half of a “portion” of blueberries, as outlined on the NHS 5-A-Day guide.
As well as having fantastic anti-inflammatory properties, the spice from the fresh ginger gives the smoothie bowl huge amounts of flavour without relying on additional fruit sugars. I recommend using fresh over dried for maximum flavour.
I like to prep my fresh ginger in advance by blending and then storing it in an ice-cube tray which can then be transferred into a freezer bag (check out my chopped ginger hack video on instagram). Now you have the freshest most vibrant tasting ginger without any of the hassle! You can use either fresh or frozen fresh ginger in this recipe.
Flaxseed is a great source of fibre, protein, and omega 3. Adding fibre in the form of flaxseed to this recipe, will help to stabilise your blood sugar levels. This is because studies have found that consuming flaxseed can lower glucose and insulin levels, and improve insulin sensitivity.
Another benefit of including flaxseed in this low-sugar smoothie is it will absorb some of the water from the other ingredients, which will help you to achieve the desirably thick consistency that has made smoothie bowls so popular!
Finally, the recipe calls for the addition of some coconut milk. I like the creamy texture of coconut or even oat milk, however, you could substitute for your favourite unsweetened plant milk. You can use frozen milk (stored as ice cubes) if you wish, however, the small quantity of milk required means that it is not necessary to freeze first.
🤫 The Secret to a Thick Smoothie Bowl
Here are my top tips for achieving the thickest smoothie bowl of your life!
- Use only frozen ingredients – in this recipe as a minimum you must use frozen cooked sweet potato and frozen blueberries over fresh.
- Add a powdered thickener – a popular thickener in smoothie bowls is protein powder, however, I prefer the addition of flaxseed for the added health benefits. Also, flaxseed is extremely hydrophilic so will naturally thicken the smoothie. You could also add other “superfoods” such as powdered collagen if you wish.
- Limit the amount of added liquid. Do not be tempted to add more liquid in the early stages, even if you are frustrated that the mixture is difficult to blend – more on this below.
- Finally, work quickly, and enjoy immediately before it melts!
🌪 Blending Tips
The blending process is very important here. In order to get the lusciously thick consistency, a little extra TLC is required. If you have a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix then it will be easier, however, it is still possible to achieve the desired result with a smaller blender.
Firstly, try and opt for the smallest capacity container you can. I use the 500ml / 18oz Nutribullet container for this single-serve recipe.
Secondly, you are going to want to blend the mixture in very short bursts. The moment you suspect the blades are turning but not hitting anything, you need to stop and scrape down the container with a spatula as well as around the blades. This is to minimise unnecessary heating of the mixture.
It may take a few attempts, but eventually the ingredients will break down enough to blend to a completely smooth consistency. As soon as this happens you can stop!
🍽 Serving Suggestions
I personally like to enjoy this smoothie bowl as a treat as opposed to a full meal as it is quite low in calories (around 150 calories without toppings, and depending on the type of plant milk you use).
It is also quite low in protein on its own, so if you are in the earlier stages of a Candida Diet and you are struggling with an insatiable appetite, you are better off focusing on high protein meals and snacks in order to keep your hunger at bay.
Having said that, this smoothie bowl makes the perfect refreshing summer-time snack or after-dinner treat to enjoy occasionally.
Your smoothie bowl will be delicious on its own, but why not try one of the following toppings to take it to another level:
- Plain or toasted coconut flakes – these look beautiful against the purple backdrop too!
- Toasted chopped nuts and / or seeds - for added crunch, protein, and healthy fats
- A drizzle of almond butter
- Crunchy granola – give my chunky cinnamon pecan granola a try
- Cacao nibs
- Fresh or frozen berries
And if you have a super aesthetic coconut bowl then even better!
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Be sure to rate and leave a comment below, and tag @anti_candida_kitchen on Instagram with the hashtag #anticandidakitchen. Happy cooking!
Low-Sugar, Ginger and Blueberry Smoothie Bowl - Candida Diet Friendly
- 100 g frozen cooked sweet potato
- 30 g frozen blueberries
- ½ tablespoon ground flaxseed
- ½ teaspoon chopped ginger fresh or frozen fresh
- 5 tablespoon coconut milk = 75 mls
- Add all of your ingredients to a blender, using the smallest capacity container option. I use the 500ml / 18oz Nutribullet container.
- In short bursts, begin to blend the ingredients. Every few seconds stop to scrape down any of the mixture which has stuck to the edges with a spatula. You will need to do this several times before the mixture combines. Do not be tempted to add more liquid, as this will result in a runny smoothie bowl.
- Serve immediately and enjoy with toppings such as fresh or frozen berries, desiccated coconut, chopped toasted nuts and seeds, or granola.