I have a love-hate relationship with my scale…and my kitchen. Yes, I stock healthy foods (like my freeze dried fruits and veggies), but some days I wish I had a secret stash of chocolate bars, Starburst, and Junior Mints. I know I’m not alone.
Losing weight is hard. If you’re like me, you lose a little, get excited, and then you celebrate…with food. The food we use to celebrate isn’t usually something that’s “diet” friendly, and we end up gaining a few pounds, even if they’re water weight.
This small gain causes frustration in the long run, which leads to excuses to have an extra helping or stop through the drive through for a “mini” shake (which still has 400 calories, in case you were wondering. I looked it up.).
It’s a vicious cycle. I have found that, for me, weight loss is the wrong focus. If I focus on the number on the scale, I get frustrated, beaten down, and I’m liable to give up. Instead, I’ve found far more success with striving to get more exercise in each day. Sure, I’m busy, but I can do things like write blog posts from my FitDesk (which I’m pedaling on right now), and use my Zova app to get in a 10-minute workout when I find myself with a bit of “extra” time.
But let’s get real-exercise isn’t going to do anything for your body (or your weight) if you don’t eat foods that will help aid in recovery and muscle growth. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to eat nasty tasting protein bars. Or subsist solely on eggs. There are lots of ways to get good nutrients into your body that will help to curb that shake craving (because yes, that’s a very real thing for me).
One of my favorite meals (and snacks) are smoothies. Why? Well, because there are seriously thousands of ways that you can enjoy them. From super creamy and chocolatey, to energy sustaining oatmeal smoothies, to green smoothies. And that’s just the tip of the smoothie iceberg, so to speak.
I personally love smoothies. I make a lot of them. I’ve sipped them through straws, put them in bowls, and even frozen them into a type of “ice cream.”
I have to say that sipping smoothies and smoothie bowls are currently my favorite. Plus, smoothies are awesome for helping lose weight.
Smoothies are a great tool for weight loss because you control the ingredients. Smoothies are (in my opinion) the perfect vehicle to deliver relatively low-calorie, nutrient-laden ingredients. And they’re capable of keeping you full for a long time.
By combining the right ingredients, you can create smoothies that taste great and help you drop pounds. It doesn’t take long to learn what to use and how to make the right combinations.
When you know what ingredients to include in a delicious and balanced smoothie, you end up with a good balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, as well as vitamins that your body needs after you exercise.
If you’re going for a gold star, you can include powerhouse ingredients that will help increase the nutritional value of your smoothie (without adding extra calories).
11 Essential Smoothie Ingredients
While many traditional smoothie ingredients support a healthy weight, there are certain things you can put in your smoothie that will further boost your weight loss efforts:
Avocado will help make your weight loss smoothie thicker and creamier. Avocados supply your body with healthy fats, which help keep you fuller longer. Plus they’re delicious and chock full of vitamins.
I don’t care what kind of berry you like. You could love strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries. All of these berries add a ton of flavor to smoothies without adding a ton of sugar. Additionally, berries are high in fiber, which help keep you full. The antioxidants in berries are awesome for your overall health.
Smoothie Boost Seasoning
I recently tried Just Spices Smoothie Boost, which contains sweet mint, zesty lemon and orange peels, sharp ginger, and a delicate taste of floral hollyhock blossom. It’s a great addition (with very few calories) to any fruit smoothie or smoothie bowl.
Chia seeds are packed with fiber and protein to help keep you satisfied. They contain calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids and are known to absorb toxins from your digestive tract.
This popular spice helps regulate blood sugar levels by improving the metabolism of glucose. This results in a reduction of the amount of excess blood glucose that can be stored as fat. Abdominal fat, studies have shown, is more sensitive to the effects of cinnamon than fat from any other part of the body.
Coconut or MCT Oil
Ample healthy fat in your smoothies (and your diet) is imperative if you’re serious about losing weight and achieving optimal health.
The predominant fats in coconut oil are used by the body for energy as opposed to being stored as fat. This keeps you satiated, energized, and feeling good. I prefer to use organic virgin coconut oil for smoothies and internal consumption.
As we’ve already discussed, healthy fats are essential to weight loss and staying full. Include nut butters such as almond, cashew, and macadamia in your smoothies to maximize the benefits of healthy fats.
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens (think kale, spinach, collards and romaine lettuce), are packed with phytonutrients and are low in calories. They are also high in fiber. And if you use them in the right way, you won’t even taste them.
If the fruit you add to your smoothies isn’t sweet enough for you, consider adding organic stevia. Stevia is a natural, zero-calorie sweetener.
To avoid the extra calories, use tea, water, or ice instead. A fruity, herbal tea (I love this one) is an awesome substitute for juice. For a consistency more like a shake, use ice cubes or frozen tea.
5 Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss
Now that we know what we need to use in our smoothies, it’s time to figure out how to put them all together. Here are some of my all-time favorite smoothie recipes. Now, you can sip these through a straw, or you can add toppings such as nuts, seeds, coconut shavings, and fruit to make a smoothie bowl. It’s really up to you!
To make any of the weight loss smoothie recipes below, simply add the ingredients into your blender (I use a Vitamix), and blend until smooth. Easy-peasy!
Banana Avocado Smoothie
- 1/2 an avocado, pitted
- 1 cup fresh spinach, or 1/2 cup frozen spinach
- 1 large ripe banana (with spots)
- 1 tablespoon natural almond butter
- 1/2 cup water
- 4-6 medium ice cubes
Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
Berry Blast Smoothie
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/2 cup frozen blackberries
- 2–3 dates
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup freeze dried or frozen peaches
- 1/2 cup cool rooibos tea
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Mango Banana Butter Smoothie
- 1 1/2 water
- 1 cup frozen mango
- 1 cup frozen bananas
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons raw almond butter
- 7-8 drops vanilla flavored stevia
Now, I get that smoothies aren’t for everyone, but if you haven’t tried them (or if you haven’t found one you love), then give some of these a try. Sip them through a straw, or top them and create deliciously thick smoothie bowls.