Sweet Black Cherry and Chocolate Smoothie

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH
Published July 29, 2022

Getting in your leafy greens has never been so delicious! The combination of black cherries and chocolate makes this healthy smoothie a treat to drink. Forget everything you've heard about those asterisks and fruit smoothies "for diabetics" -- this is a bombshell beverage anyone can enjoy for any occasion!

Smoothies are a fabulous occasional treat to get a hearty dose of fruits and vegetables into your diet. Because smoothies are loaded with fruits and vegetables, they also tend to be loaded with fiber. The healthy fruits and vegetables in each smoothie pack an extra nutrient punch and give you more than enough vitamins for the day.

Cherries, Cacao, AND Spinach in a Smoothie? Of course!

Fresh cherries are one of the most beloved fruits, and for good reason. They’re not only delicious but also pack vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds with powerful health effects.

Cacao is a bit of a magical food, too. Not only is it used to make chocolate, but it's packed with antioxidants, minerals, and even some fiber to boot. Cacao flavanols promote the secretion of insulin, the hormone that shuttles glucose into your cells. This helps stabilize your blood glucose (blood sugar), preventing it from spiking. Cacao also contains some fiber, which slows the absorption of carbohydrates, thus stabilizing blood glucose levels and providing you with a more steady stream of energy throughout the day.

Add in spinach and you get a variety of health benefits as part of a balanced diet. Spinach nutrition contains a good amount of fiber in each serving, which can help slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream in order to keep your blood glucose levels steady.

Contrary to popular belief, the cause of diabetes is not from sweets or from sweet things, at least not directly. It's from fats, and foods that your body can't process and turn into nutrients. So delicious, tasty fruits? Count us in!

Why are Black Cherries So Good for You?

Cherries are hailed as one of the healthiest of all fruits, and in fact, they are one of the healthiest foods overall. A single cup of this fruit or around 20 cherries has less than 90 calories, about 3 grams of fiber, and plenty of vitamin C. On top of all that, cherries are also packed with powerful antioxidants, potassium, and even melatonin.

Black cherry juice and fruit has a high amount of anthocyanins. This compound is what gives the fruit its dark coloration compared to cousins like fresh sour cherries, but also acts as protective antioxidants, helping your body cells avoid the damage of oxidative stress. They also contain a high concentration of anti-inflammatory agents to reduce the symptoms of arthritis, gout, and other joint-related problems. 

Black cherries can boost your insulin levels, which in turn controls your blood glucose. This is one of the reasons why black cherries are recommended for people living with diabetes, especially as an in-between-meal snack. Talk about a breakfast smoothie "for diabetics" that'll make all your friends jealous!

Now, we also get some people asking "are red cherries good for you?", and the answer is yes! Any form of cherries (red cherries, black cherries, frozen cherries, fresh sweet cherries, tart cherries) are good for you, as long as you don't add tons of syrup or artificial sweeteners! But that does mean your maraschino cherries, and even most sweetened tart cherry juice won't fit the bill.

Buying & Storage Tips

When buying black cherries, look for bright green stems, which are signs of freshness. You want cherries that are firm, plump, and dense, with shiny skins and saturated color. Avoid bruised or wrinkled cherries.

After you bring those delish pieces of fruit home, cherries should be stored unwashed and uncovered in the coldest part of your refrigerator. However, make sure to keep them away from strong-smelling foods. When you are ready to eat them, give them a thorough washing under cold water.

Since cherries are best when fresh, don't hesitate to eat them. They should last 5-7 days in the refrigerator, but are very perishable and should be eaten soon after buying. If you don't plan on finishing your cherries right away, try freezing them for later or preserving them.

Why Spinach for Smoothies?

Adding spinach to your smoothie significantly increases the nutritional quality of your drink, upping your fiber, antioxidant, and phytochemical intake. Spinach is also high in calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin A.

Eaten raw, the leafy green's powerful antioxidants and inflammatory properties provide a multitude of nutritional benefits, such as improving the health of your eyes, combating depression, and lessening your risk of chronic disease.

A Breakfast Shake for Diabetes?

For a lot of people early on in their diabetes journey, looking at a rich and creamy smoothie seems like a recipe for blood glucose spikes (blood sugar spikes). But made correctly, and avoiding some slip-up ingredients you might not even know about (like coconut milk), you can make some incredible smoothies for diabetics that everyone else will love too. 

So maybe it's time to stop looking at 'diabetic' smoothie recipes, 'diabetic' breakfast smoothies, and breakfast shakes 'for diabetes' as a bad thing. Cause they just might blow you away AND be packed with health benefits! Give this healthy shake 'for diabetes' a try below... because it turns out, healthy, weight loss smoothies 'for diabetics' work for everyone!

Sweet Black Cherry and Chocolate Smoothie

Beverly Verwey
Getting in your greens has never been so delicious! The combination of black cherries and chocolate makes this healthy smoothie a treat to drink.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Servings 1 person
Calories 449 kcal


  • 1 1/2 cup non-dairy beverage (oat milk, almond milk or soy milk)
  • 1 cup frozen sweet black cherries
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 tbsp cacao
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 2 cups spinach cut into pieces


  • Blend all the ingredients in a high-power blender until smooth.
  • Enjoy!


Serving: 1glassCalories: 449kcalCarbohydrates: 72.4gProtein: 13.4gFat: 7.8gSodium: 214.5mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, and Robby Barbaro, MPH are the coauthors of the New York Times bestselling book Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. They are the cofounders of Mastering Diabetes, a coaching platform that teaches people how to reverse insulin resistance via low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition. Cyrus has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002, and has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley. Robby was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000, and has been living a plant-based lifestyle since 2006. He worked at Forks Over Knives for 6 years, and earned a Master’s in Public Health in 2019.