Smoothies for Weight Loss

weight loss smoothie made with greens and celery

The secret to weight loss is simple.  A healthy diet combined with exercise.  Sounds simple enough in theory, doesn’t it?

So why do so many of us struggle so much?  The reasons for this are complex and varied, from eating the wrong food, eating too much and not exercising.

But what if I told you that there is an easy way to lose weight with smoothies.  That’s right, weight loss smoothies.  There’s no cooking involved, very little cleaning up and only a little preparation.  Basically if you can chop fruit and vegetables you can make smoothies.

What is the Secret to creating a Weight Loss Smoothie?

Filling your blender up with lots and lots of fruit, then throwing in some milk or juice just isn’t going to cut it.  For a start you are loading up with too much fruit.  This will give you a quick energy burst, but will leave you feeling hungry again shortly after once the sugar high wears off. 

So your smoothies need to be substantial enough to last you through to your next meal as well as being low in calories.   This means they need to be high in fiber, low in sugar with sufficient healthy fats and protein.

How do weight loss smoothies work?

Weight loss smoothies work so well for the simple reason that you can fill them up with proteins, leafy greens and fruit and still come under 400 calories.  One of these smoothies is so satisfying that it will keep you feeling full for hours so you won’t be tempted to snack on sugary treats such as cookies and cakes. 

If you substitute one of these smoothies for a higher calorie meal you can save yourself several hundred calories per day (provided of course that all your other meals are healthy).  This works best either as a breakfast or lunch-time smoothie. 

What makes a good weight loss smoothie?

  • It should be low in calories
  • It should be low in sugar and high in fiber
  • It should be comprised of low calorie, nutrient rich ingredients, and
  • It should be dense enough to be filling

Calories

One of the easiest ways to lose weight is to reduce the amount of calories in your diet.  The same goes with smoothies.  Smoothies are whatever you put into them and it’s easy to create a 600 calorie monster.  If you fill your blender with calorie dense ingredients you will not lose weight.  Aim for between 300 – 400 calories as a smoothie meal replacement.

Until you learn which ingredients are best and how much to use, use our smoothie recipes below.

Carbs

Carbs have been given a bad rap in the past, but just like fats, are essential for our bodies to function properly.  Carbohydrates are our body’s main fuel source and supply energy to the brain and muscles.   There are three types found in foods:

Sugar - in fruit, milk and the added sugars found in food.
Starches – in grains, legumes and vegetables
Dietary Fiber – found only in plant foods.

Most of the sugar in your diet should come from foods such as fruit and dairy products rather than refined sugars.  These contain other valuable nutrients and in the case of fruit, dietary fiber.   However a smoothie filled with only fruit, is going to contain too much sugar and will leave you feeling hungry shortly after.   For a healthy smoothie you need to balance that out with other ingredients that contain protein or healthy fats such as avocado, greens, nuts or seeds. 

Fiber

Fiber is essential for dropping the pounds.  Why?  There are two reasons.  First because food containing fiber is digested at a much slower rate so you don’t get a spike in blood sugar levels.  It also has the effect of keeping you full for longer which means you won’t be tempted to raid the cookie jar and snack between meals.   Adding fruit and leafy greens to your smoothies will give you all the fiber you need.  

Healthy Fats

Not all fats are bad.  Healthy fats, such as unsaturated fats are essential for good health.  Fat helps your body absorb nutrients.  In fact the fat-soluble vitamins A, D E and K need fat so our bodies can use them.  Monounsaturated fats also lower bad cholesterol and help raise good cholesterol.  Nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts and peanut butter), seeds (flaxseeds, chia seeds) and avocados are excellent sources.  But these foods are also calorie-dense, so add them sparingly to your smoothies. 

Protein

Unless you get sufficient protein you will start to feel hungry again soon after eating.    Protein takes longer to digest so burns up more calories, which means you’ll shed those pounds much quicker.   15 – 20% of your daily calorie intake should come from protein.  Protein can easily be added to smoothies in the form of legumes, nuts, seeds, soy milk and tofu.

The Best Ingredients for a Weight Loss Smoothie

  1. Greens of course top the list.  Leafy greens will add phytonutrients to your smoothie without adding calories or fat.  They are also high in fiber, so will keep you feeling full for longer.  The main ones are: 

    Kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, parsley, broccoli.

  2. Then there’s other vegetables.  These also contain heaps of vitamins and minerals and are also low in calories.  These vegetables are great in smoothies:  

    Beets, carrots and tomatoes.

  3. Next comes the fruit.  Yes you will need some to sweeten your smoothie.  Fruit is still the best natural smoothie sweetener and not only adds extra vitamins and nutrients to your smoothie, it also adds the fiber.   Ideal fruits to sweeten your smoothie are: 

    All berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries), pear, peach, kiwi, bananas and apples.

  4. To make your smoothie filling you need to up the protein content.   Great ways to do this are: 

    Nuts, seeds, beans, Greek yogurt, avocado, soy milk, cottage cheese and soft tofu. 

Ingredients to Avoid

If you are drinking smoothies for weight loss, there are some ingredients you should avoid.  These are:

  • Canned fruits are often full of sugary syrups which will add unnecessary and unwanted calories to your smoothie.

  • Dairy will add extra calories to your smoothies and should be avoided if you are looking to lose weight. 

  • Fruit juice is concentrated fruit.   The sugars are concentrated with none of the fiber you would get with the fruit.  Even if you squeeze your own juice, you are still consuming a lot of sugar.  Best avoided in weight loss smoothies.

  • Flavored Yogurts - The only yogurt I add to my smoothies is Greek yogurt.   Many flavoured yogurts have added sugars so best avoided.

Weight Loss Smoothie Recipes

The following are some smoothie ideas to help you in your weight-loss quest.  But you can create your own.  It doesn’t really matter what ingredients you use to create your smoothies.  Just remember to follow our guidelines.  It really isn’t all that hard to substitute a 600-700 calorie meal with one that is half those calories.   They taste awesome and are so easy to make.

Raspberry Yogurt Smoothie

raspberry yogurt smoothie with goji berries

Ingredients

½ ripe avocado
1 c frozen raspberries
½ c Greek yogurt
½ c almond milk
½ c water
1/3 c goji berries

How to Make

Peel and de-seed avocado and throw one half into your blender.   Add the frozen raspberries, yogurt, almond milk, water and goji berries and turn your blender on low at first.   When the berries are process turn up to high and blend until you have a wonderfully creamy smoothie.

Pour into 2 glasses.

Blue/Black Green Smoothie

green smoothie with blueberries and blackberries

Ingredients

1 ½ c almond milk
1 handful fresh spinach
1 banana, frozen
1/3 c frozen blueberries
1/3 c frozen blackberries
1 tablespoon chia seeds

How to Make

Add the almond milk, spinach, banana, blueberries, blackberries and chia seeds to your blender and blitz on high until smooth and creamy.

Makes 2 glasses.




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