One of the more effective ways to lose weight is drinking a weight loss smoothie in place of one or several of your regular meals. While you can buy commercially-made weight loss smoothies, these are often packed with low quality ingredients, artificial additives and sugar so making your own is generally recommended. All you need are the ingredients and a blender! Smoothies offer several weight loss benefits…
In an ideal world, everyone trying to lose weight would have ample time to shop for, prepare and then cook several healthy meals a day however this is often far from the truth. As soon as time is in short supply, the best laid diet plans will end up in the bin and convenience has to take priority. In the case of dieting, this often means reaching for an unhealthy snack instead of eating a healthy meal. Smoothies take seconds to make and can even be put into a thermos for later and as for washing up – a quick rinse of your blender in warm water is all you need. Smoothies are the ultimate in weight loss convenience.
To burn fat and lose weight, you need to create a kilojoule deficit and that means eating less. To do this you need to know exactly how many calories you are eating per day. Working out how many calories are in your meal can be time consuming but working out how many are in a smoothie is much easier as a) there will be fewer ingredients b) most are easily measured liquids, and c) smoothies are normally prepared in single portions. Many smoothie recipes have already been analysed so you know how many calories you’re consuming and if you create your own weight loss smoothies, you’ll only need to work out the nutrient profile once. Simply use the same amounts and ingredients to ensure your smoothie weighs in with exactly the right number of calories for your weight loss plan.
Unlike many so-called diet foods, smoothies are PACKED with healthy ingredients – the choice of which are yours. You can include greens, cinnamon, fruit, coconut milk, vegetables, protein powder, herbs, spices, yogurt and any other healthy ingredients you feel like adding. Fruits and yogurt are naturally sweet so there is no need to add sweeteners other than maybe some pure honey or real maple syrup and as you’ll be drinking your smoothie shortly after making it, there is no need for any unhealthy preservatives – all too common in commercial products.
Because simply adding water to a smoothie turns it into a bigger meal, smoothies can be very filling and prevent overeating. While all the solid ingredients in a smoothie contain calories, water does not which means you can have as much of it as you like. If you are really hungry, you can add as much as a litre of water to your smoothie to make it a very filling meal. In addition, ingredients like fruit and vegetables contain lots of fibre. Like water, fibre is calorie-free and is also very filling, not to mention being good for your digestive health.
You can choose to have a smoothie anytime you like to replace any of your normally solid meals. A smoothie is an ideal breakfast when you are in a rush, makes for a healthy, light lunch or provides a virtually instant meal in the evening when you are too tired to cook. You can have one or several weight loss smoothies per day depending on how strictly you are dieting, how much weight you need to lose and how much time you have available to commit to cooking regular meals. With weight loss smoothies, you can choose how and when you use them.
Four steps to the perfect weight loss smoothie
Here are the four things you need to create your own tasty, healthy combos.
- A liquid base
Milk is an ideal smoothie base – 1 percent or non-fat is best because it’s rich in vitamin D and calcium, which can help your body break down fat. Non-dairy milks, like Rice Milk or Oat and Almond, are fine too, as is plain and naturally flavoured water.
- Lean protein
Getting protein at every meal helps you maintain lean muscle mass, which means you burn more calories throughout the day. Your best bets: plain non-fat yogurt, silken tofu, cottage cheese or protein powder.
- Healthy fats
These give you energy, make your smoothie satisfying, and help your body absorb vitamins. Use up to two tablespoons of an ingredient that contains monounsaturated fats such as avocado, seeds, or nuts, flaxseed oil, fish oil.
- High-fibre carbs
Any fruit will do, but raspberries and blueberries deliver the most fibre and the least amount of sugar. As for veggies, spinach and cucumber have the mildest, easiest-to-mask flavours.
While you are free to create your own wonderful weight loss smoothie recipes, here are a couple of our favourites to get you started…
- Blueberry smoothie
1 cup skim milk or milk alternative
1 cup frozen unsweetened blueberries
1 tablespoon cold-pressed organic flaxseed oil (high in monounsaturated fatty acids)
Combine milk and blueberries in blender, and blend for 1 minute. Transfer to glass, and stir in flaxseed oil.
Nutrition: 1145 kilojoules, 9 grams protein, 29 grams carbs, 4 grams fibre, 14.5 grams fat
- Peanut butter and banana smoothie
½ cup fat-free milk or milk alternative
½ cup fat-free plain yogurt
2 tablespoon creamy natural unsalted peanut butter (high in monounsaturated fatty acids)
¼ very ripe banana
1 tablespoon raw honey
4 ice cubes
Combine ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and serve.
Nutrition: 1537 kilojoules, 18 grams protein, 40 grams carbs, 3 grams fibre, 16.5 grams fat
- Chocolate and raspberry smoothie
½ cup skim or milk alternative
150 grams vanilla yogurt with no sugar
¼ cup dark raw chocolate chips (high in antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids)
1 cup fresh raspberries
Handful of ice OR 1 cup frozen raspberries
Combine ingredients in a blender. Blend for 1 minute, transfer to a glass, and eat with a spoon.
Nutrition: 1940 kilojoules, 16 grams protein, 77 grams carbs, 10 grams fibre, 13.5 grams fat
Dieting for weight loss is often coloured as being boring but, as you can see from these recipes, weight loss smoothies need never be dull. Inject some flavour into your diet with weight loss smoothies!
Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.
I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.