Smoothies are probably the greatest nutritional invention of all time! Smoothies beat juices as far as I’m concerned.
Smoothies and juices are a great way to get your daily requirement of fruit and vegetables. There are many benefits to both but I prefer smoothies by a long way. I cannot find one good reason why anyone would want to throw away the pulp and fibre and just drink the juice.
The right smoothies can be powerful weight loss allies. They can curb your hunger, speed your fat burning, and help you throw more effort into your training.
However, choosing the wrong type of smoothie is a good way to quickly pile on the pounds.
All smoothies could be seen as healthy options because they are so rich in nutrients and antioxidants. The problem is some of the smoothie ingredients that provide these things are too high in calories.
Smoothies and Calories
That does not mean you have to avoid them entirely but it does mean a little discretion is required.
Take bananas, for example. There is no doubt that they are healthy. Bananas provide dietary fiber, along with important nutrients. They also contain quite a lot of calories
Each 100 gram serving of banana provides 89 calories. That a lot more than many other fruits. A similar size serving of apple only provides 52 calories.
Vegetables and grains can be much better options. They are as good at providing nutrients but often don’t have so many calories.
|Veg (Cals/100 g)||Fruits (Cals/100 g)|
|Kale 49||Raisins 299|
|Beetroot 43||Avocado 160|
|Carrots 41||Banana 89|
|Broccoli 34||Apple 52|
|Spinach 34||Peach 39|
|Celery 16||Strawberries 33|
The other thing to know with fruit is where those calories are coming from. Most of them are coming from simple fructose sugars.
The body absorbs simple sugars fast and, if it doesn’t need the energy, it stores it as fat.
A lot of the calories in vegetables come from complex carbs which offer a slower, steadier energy supply.
So, although strawberries provide less calories than carrots or broccoli the calories they give you are more likely to be stored as fat.
Why Homemade Smoothies Can Be Good for Weight Loss
The best thing about making a smoothie at home is you get to control the ingredients. That’s not the case with smoothies you buy from supermarkets, health food stores, or from smoothie bars when you are out and about.
Sure, if you go to a smoothie bar you have a number of recipes to choose from. That’s not the same as making your own smoothie from scratch. When you do it at home you get to choose what goes in and how much goes in. You are 100% the boss.
That means, if you get it wrong you are also 100% to blame.
Don’t get it wrong.
Calorie-Crunching Smoothies: Why They Work
The good thing about smoothies is they can provide you with the nutrients you need without too many empty calories—if you get it right.
Some smoothie ingredients can also help you to lose weight faster by reducing hunger, boosting metabolism, and providing other benefits.
Once you know what ingredients to add you can enjoy smoothies that provide a healthy balance of nutrients and antioxidants.
Yes, antioxidants are important too and the right smoothies can deliver a hefty dose.
Why Antioxidants Are as Important as Nutrients
Believe it or not, your body is under constant attack. You can’t see it and may not be aware of it but a war is being waged within. The two opposing forces are antioxidants and free radicals.
Free radicals are a type of toxin. They come from food, from the environment around us, and we even manufacture them ourselves. Albeit as a byproduct of certain biological processes.
Antioxidants are the good soldiers that man the body’s defenses and keep the toxins under control.
When the body is short of antioxidants the free radicals run amock. This can causes disease. It can also interfere with metabolism, leading to weight gain. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3116179/)
The Role of Smoothies in a Weight Loss Diet
Smoothies are a good thing to incorporate into a healthy low-calorie diet. You cannot and will not lose weight just by drinking smoothies. You need to pay attention to the other things you are putting into your body as well.
Nor would it be wise to try and live on smoothies. Your body is a biological machine and it’s designed to run on solid food. A little variety is fine, but don’t try to mess with the basic programming.
Admittedly, the right kind of smoothie can make a good homemade meal replacement shake. But it’s best to only try and replace a maximum of two meals per day. The right smoothie can help boost your calorie burning capacity as well. As a pre-training aid, a good smoothie can also give you the extra invigoration you need to get the job done.
As far as the recipes go, there’s nothing to stop you creating your own. Though for weight loss purposes, green smoothies that contain more vegetables and less fruit are likely to be the best option.
3 Super-Healthy Weight Loss Smoothie Ideas
Whatever your weight loss needs may be, there’s a smoothie option that can give you the right support.
Kale as a Cucumber (Metabolism-Boosting Smoothie)
If your metabolism gets faster, you start burning more calories per day. Presuming you’re already following a low-calorie diet, your body will then experience an even greater need to burn fat.
All of the ingredients in the Kale as a Cucumber smoothie work in harmony with your body to provide a speedier metabolism and help get you thin.
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup green tea
- 2 leaves of kale
- 5-inch chunk of cumber
- 1 stick celery
- 1 kiwi fruit (skimmed)
- A teaspoon of turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Place the almond milk and green tea in a blender with the kale and cucumber then blend until smooth.
Next add the turmeric and black pepper, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Keep blending until nice and smooth.
Almond milk contains up to 80% less calories than regular milk. It’s also a good source of calcium and vitamins D and E. And let’s not forget its suitable for vegans and people who are lactose intolerant.
Green tea is a proven metabolism booster that can go on working for up to 24 hours. It’s also rich in antioxidants. (https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/19991128/green-tea-boosts-metabolism-protects-against-diseases#1)
Kale and cumber are both nutrient dense ingredients that are low in calories and high in antioxidants.
Cucumbers also aid hydration and may lower blood sugar levels. Kale is a source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
All of the ingredients are very nutritious in their own right and correct nutrition is important when you are eating less.
Turmeric and black pepper work together. The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin. The body does not absorb curcumin well, but black pepper provides a compound called piperine that boosts curcumin absorption by 2000%.
Curcumin does a lot of good things in the body and research shows it can help you lose weight. (https://www.organicavenue.com/turmeric-curcumin)
Suppress Me Now (Hunger-Reducing Smoothie)
When you are trying to lose weight, hunger is the enemy that can stop you in your tracks.
The Suppress Me Now hunger-reducing smoothie provides a combination of natural ingredients that can help you say goodbye to hunger while also supporting your weight loss efforts in other ways.
- 1 cup soy milk
- A tablespoon of coconut oil
- 1 cooked beetroot
- A cup of blueberries
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- A teaspoon of flax seeds
- 1/2 cup oats
Add the rice milk, coconut oils, and beetroot to the blender and blend until smooth.
Next, add the blueberries and ginger. Finally, add the flax seeds and oats and continue blending until the texture becomes smooth once more.
Soy milk is very diet-friendly. It’s good for the heart and research shows it can help reduce waist circumference. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3506092/)
Coconut oil is designated a superfood. It can do a lot of wonderful things for the body. Supporting weight loss is one of them. Studies show consuming just two teaspoons of coconut oil per day can help you to lose belly fat.
Ginger is very good for the digestive system. It also boosts the metabolism and can help balance blood sugar levels.
By keeping blood sugar under control, ginger can help prevent the sugar spikes and crashes that may cause carb cravings.
The rest of the ingredients provide dietary fiber, that helps fill the stomach. Oats and flax seeds are particularly good in this regard.
Blueberries are also an excellent source of antioxidants. As for beetroot, it’s rich in nitrates that improve the circulation.
The Mean, Green Power Smoothie (Pre-Workout Smoothie)
When you are trying to lose weight, getting plenty of exercise is a good way to speed things up. Unfortunately, for many of us, lacing up those trainers and pounding the pavement seems like too much hard work. The idea of heading for the gym can be equally daunting. Especially just after a hard day at work when all your get up and go has got up and gone.
These days an energy drink is often seen as the obvious answer but they are loaded with calories. Energy drinks tend to be full of stimulants too. They are not the only option. Nor are they generally the best option. A nice, healthy pre-workout smoothie can be a much better idea.
Instead of stimulants and sugar, a good pre-workout smoothie provides protein and carbs, along with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Carbs are important because they give you energy. The protein assists protein synthesis. This will help you heal faster and prevent a lot of unnecessary muscle pain.
The antioxidants fight the damaging effects of the free radical toxins your muscles produce during exercise and the vitamins and mineral provide help in numerous other ways.
The Mean Green Power Smoothie may take a moment or two to prepare, but it’s infinitely better for you than anything you will get from a can
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1/2 cup coconut water
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- An Apple (decored, but not peeled)
- A banana
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- A teaspoon of chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Blend the spinach, and soy milk until smooth. Gradually add the remaining ingredients and continue to blend until smooth.
In this case, the oats are added because they deliver a steady supply of energy.
Meanwhile bananas are a good source of potassium. This helps maintain electrolyte levels and prevents dehydration.
Coconut water is also excellent for maintaining electrolyte levels and keeping you hydrated during exercise.
Chia seeds are low in calories and high in nutrients. They are also a good source of protein. (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds)
Like bananas, spinach contain potassium. It’s a nutritional powerhouse that provides numerous other nutrients as well.
Taking Things Further
One of the best things about smoothies is it’s so easy to get creative. There is no need for things to ever become boring. So try a few different ingredients combinations. Mix and match. Have fun.
If a smoothie ingredient appears to work well for you or simply provides a flavor you like, try and build other smoothie recipes around it.
For instance, if you find oats are good at suppressing your hunger, try blending them with different ingredient combinations. If turmeric perks you up and makes you feel extra energetic remember that. Notice which ingredients make you feel healthier too.
Try and come up with a variety of good smoothie recipes. The best smoothie recipes will always be the ones that offer the most benefit to you.