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.
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!
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.
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 Smoothie, Antioxidant-Rich Protein Smoothie, Berry Spinach Smoothie, Chocolate Peanut Butter & Banana Protein Smoothie, Cranberry Chia Smoothie, Green Smoothie Bowl, Mocha Protein Shake, Protein Spinach Smoothie, Strawberry 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.