Smoothies as Meal Replacements

Smoothies can be a great supplement to a healthy diet. Whether you drink them because they’re nutritious, convenient, or just straight-up delicious, there’s no doubt smoothies are the bee’s knees. I was actually approached recently by someone wanting to replace meals with smoothies to help him lose weight. I’ve had smoothies instead of lunch or breakfast in the past, but not too often because they never seem to tide me over. Nevertheless, a lot of people claim smoothies can be a great aid in weight loss, so I wanted to explore that theory in today’s post.

Smoothies as Meal Replacements - Tips for losing weight through healthy smoothies.

I have travelled to the ends of the internet (that’s a lie) to find how to best use smoothies to replace meals to encourage weight loss (without getting “hangry”). I have come to the conclusion that the following must apply to smoothies in order to make the weight loss work:

Make Them Filling

They say that every meal should be around 400-500 calories. Don’t jip yourself on smoothie if you’re drinking it as a meal. You don’t want to be ravenous after just a couple hours. According to a study done by the journal Flavour, people who drank thicker smoothies felt twice as full as those who had thinner ones. It has to do with us associating a thick texture with feeling satisfied. I found this pretty friggin awesome. Easy ways to thicken your smoothies include chia seeds, xanthan gum, and frozen bananas!

Include Important Nutrients

This one is huge. Every meal should be balanced and include carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proteins. Depending on the time of day and what you have planned, the level of each may vary (aka, if you’re going to workout soon, you’d probably want a smoothie with more carbs for energy). I never have to try to add carbs because everything I want is usually heavy on the carbs. However, for protein I always add Greek yogurt and/or protein powder. For healthy fats, I often use peanut butter and flax seed. And don’t forget to add some fruits and veggies!

Protein Spinach Smoothie

Be Consistent

Like any part of healthy living, consistency is key. If you want to lose some weight by drinking smoothies as meals, you should incorporate the replacement on a regular basis. I’m not talking about three meals a day, seven days a week. You could just do it once or twice a week, or maybe you could start drinking smoothies in the morning for a breakfast on-the-go. It really depends on your lifestyle and when it’s most convenient for you. I know for me breakfast is easiest since I’m at work all day, and I like dinner to be real food.

Get Creative with Flavors

Ideally, you’d have some veggie-packed smoothie everyday, but after my 2012 green smoothie obsession, I recognize that that gets VERY old and blah. And that is how frozen berries became my best friend. If you want to be a rockstar at something, it helps if you actually enjoy it.

Berry Spinach Smoothie

Cut Back on the Bad Ingredients

One of the biggest ones: beware of sugar! I never add sugar to my smoothies (or even juice), but once in awhile I’ll add honey or agave nectar. While these are a little healthier, they’re still sugar in the end. Try to find alternatives to the bad. Fruit is a great option to add some pizzazz to an otherwise boring smoothie. Blueberries, for example, are my best friend.

Recipes to Try

I’ve featured several smoothie recipes on here, as well as protein shakes and a smoothie bowl. Check some of them out:

Almond Oatmeal Breakfast SmoothieAntioxidant-Rich Protein SmoothieBerry Spinach SmoothieChocolate Peanut Butter & Banana Protein SmoothieCranberry Chia SmoothieGreen Smoothie BowlMocha Protein ShakeProtein Spinach SmoothieStrawberry Chocolate Protein Shake, and Tropical Smoothie.

Do you ever drink smoothies in place of meals? What’s your go-to? When I very rarely do, I use my Berry Spinach Smoothie recipe.

When do you usually drink smoothies? (i.e. workout recovery, meals, snacks) I used to always have a green smoothie following workouts but have since gotten lazy. Now it’s more so for a quick and healthy breakfast or lunch.


  1. says

    I always have a fruit smoothie after a weightlifting workout, and often after a long bike ride (70 miles or more). One advantage of being a distance cyclist is that I don’t have to limit my smoothies to 400 or 500 calories. After burning 4,000 or 5,000 calories on a bike ride I really don’t have to worry about a few extra calories in my smoothie!
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  2. says

    You already have lot’s of great tips for making smoothies, but I’ll share a couple of things that also do. Totally agree that you gotta make it thick, so I always use some banana+chia seeds+ scoop of protein powder (unsweetened). Trust me, you’ll feel full & satisfied for a while if you include those 3 things. Often I have one to be my breaky or lunch, so I’ll add some spinach in there too. I think they are a great way to eat healthy and help with fat loss.
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    • says

      Banana, chia seeds, and protein powder all at once!? That sounds like a foolproof way to stay full from a smoothie. Thanks for your tips!

    • Leah says

      lol, I can agree with that! I’m SO looking forward to trying some of the smoothies I’ve been seeing around because I’ve gotten super curious about how effective they really are. It should work for me because personally I’ve had a lot of success just focusing on developing habits that contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle. That tends to be the basis of most successful weight loss strategies, it seems. In fact, the following article that does a wonderful job of explaining the key factors in an effective, long-term weight loss strategy:

  3. says

    HI! I juice and make smoothies everyday for lunch and dinner. I actually eat breakfast because you are supposed to have the bulk of your calories early in the day. It’s great! Totally loved this post. Keep up the good work!


  4. BONNIE says

    Hi I am wondering if I were to just have a smoothie for lunch instead of breakfast will I get the same results? I get up early and don’t want to wake the rest of the house by running a blender. Also should I have one everyday? I want to lose 15 pounds by July 1

    • says

      Hey, Bonnie! I’m with you on not wanting to run the blender in the wee hours of the morning. I think replacing lunch with a smoothie would be just fine. In regards to losing weight, the whole day’s worth of food really comes into play, though. I think swapping out a healthy smoothie for a big meal would really help though. Hope this helps!

  5. BONNIE says

    I am trying this smoothie right now it has water,lemon, lime,blueberries, ginger, honey and kale Is there a way to make the kale blend up more so its is not so chunky? otherwise very tasty

    • says

      The only way I have found is to but the kale already chopped up in bit sized pieces. I sometimes juice the kale and pour it into the blender before I blend. I would juice the kale and then follow it with the lemon so the kale washes out of the juicer well.
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  6. Thomas says

    I usually start the day with a pint of oatmeal smoothie. I mix juice, 100g of oat, and a layer of frozen berries. Blueberries are the cheapest so usually that. occasionally I´ll put in a banana. Without the banana this adds up to 570 +- kcal, 14gprotein, 8g fat, and 104g carbs. I´ll top it off with a protein shake adding another 30g of protein.

  7. Angie says

    Is it possible to replace all meals with a nutritionally complete smoothie? I’m trying to lose weight but its difficult to make 2 separate meals each meal (one for me and one for the rest of the family)

    • Chris says

      Hi Angie. I have been pondering the same question for the last week or so and doing some research. As far as I can tell it is definitely possible to do this but there are a couple of nutrients and minerals that might be hard to come by in smoothie recipes, especially when following a vegetarian or vegan diet. The main things that might be hard to get are vitamins A, D and B12, iron, zinc and calcium. I understand that these are available from various plant based foods but have lower absorption rates when compared to dairy, meat, fish, poultry and eggs (which I assume won’t be going in your smoothies). That’s just from what I’ve been reading though so I could be totally wrong haha. I’m thinking about heading to a registered dietitian and seeing what they have to say. Hope your weight loss journey is going well. Regards, Chris.

  8. Katie says

    I just got a ninja blender for my birthday and I’m going smoothie crazy right now! I love it! I’ve been adding flaxseed meal and Brewers Yeast for protein and other vitamins and minerals along with a veggie blend of organic– chard, spinach, kale, and carrot I get from sams club. I add bananas, blueberries, and strawberries you can’t even taste the green stuff and it’s a great amount that’s in the smoothie!

    • says

      Awesome!! Look at you with that variety! And it’s so amazing how veggies can be masked with the flavor of fruit. I feel guilty when I DON’T include veggies now.

  9. Kristy88 says

    I usually replace lunch 5 days a week with a smoothie consisting of kale, spinach, chard, cruciferous microgreens, 1 frozen banana, frozen blueberries, cherries, 1 tbsp almond butter, Fat free vanilla Greek yogurt, dash of pomegranate juice, super reds powder and almond milk. This satisfies me although I don’t want to lose weight. Is this not recommended to replace a meal if I am trying to maintain my weight? Do I need to eat something besides it?

  10. Thomas says

    I loved the article and how you went into detail of whats needed, and how your opinion reflected that point. The only piece of criticism is that this has been tagged under weightloss, where under ‘Include important ingredients’, you say that if you are going to workout later, add carbs for energy, where realistically carbs are what restrict a lot of peoples weight loss, it means the body has to burn through the carbs to then burn fat, its the reason Atkins diet has been so popular for so long, don’t consume carbs (or a miniscule amount) and the body doesn’t have to burn it, just instant fat burning. On average, with an average australian diet, it takes 2 hours of exercise just to burn through your carbohydrate stores.


  1. […] is standing right in front of you at once? Probably not, because in reality, it is a lot of fruit! Gettin My Healthy On argues that smoothies can and actually should count as meals (especially if it is a big one). […]

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