Can Smoothies Really Help You Lose Weight?
Guest Post by Jessica Mason.
Jessica is a clinical dietitian who has a strong passion for healthy eating. She has a Master of Science degree in nutrition and food management from The University of Central Oklahoma. She likes to write about all aspects of health and wellness and enjoys staying up to date with industry news.
Smoothies have been around (in one form or another) in the United States since the 1930’s when the electric blender first emerged. The first wave of smoothies were primarily aimed at beachgoers looking for something tasty to quench their thirst and usually consisted of nothing more than blended fruit, fruit juice, and ice.
Later on down the line, around the time of the Hippies, there was a big surge in vegetarianism and veganism. More people were taking interest in their health and turning to organic and natural products as a result.
As a healthy mix of fresh fruit and vegetables, some people even began substituting meals for smoothies. And with the right ingredients, these super drinks can indeed help you lose weight.
How To Make Your Smoothies Healthier
Not all store bought smoothies are good for you. In fact, a large portion of them contain way too much sugar and far too many calories to be considered anything near healthy. The best way to ensure you’re devouring a healthy smoothie is to make it yourself and to follow these tips:
Make Them Green
Dark, leafy greens such as spinach and kale are perfect for making smoothies as they’re low in both sugar and calories. They’re also packed full of goodness, consisting of more protein and iron than most fruit.
Add a Blender Bomb
Blender Bombs are an excellent source of Omega-3s and unlike most power bars, they contain 100% natural ingredients. Blender Bombs are a total meal replacement food, keeping you full for longer. They also come in 7 different flavors, so you can have a different one every day! Add one of these babies to your smoothie or sprinkle one over your acai bowl, and you’ll feel full for hours.
Add Some Nuts and Seeds
Nuts, seeds, and nut butter all contain high levels of protein. Not only is this good for stabilizing your blood sugars, making you feel full. It’s also good for boosting your omega-3 levels.
Substitute The Milk
If looking to make a true replacement meal smoothie, you’re going to need a little consistency in your mixture. However, regular milk is fattening. For a healthier alternative, why not consider using plain greek yogurt, or almond or soy milk instead.
Make It Berrylicious
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries. Whichever is your favorite, berries are a great source of fiber, helping you stay full longer. They also contain a good amount of antioxidants, and are low on the glycemic index. So while they add a nice, sweet flavor to the mix, they won’t spike your blood sugar as quick as some other fruits might.
Why You’re Not Losing Weight
If you’ve been on a smoothie diet for quite some time and don’t seem to be shedding the pounds as quickly as you’d hoped, it’s time to evaluate more closely just what’s going in those smoothies of yours.
The key to losing weight is to lower your calorie intake. Essentially, you need to burn more than you consume. Smoothies are a great way to do this as made with the right ingredients, will make you feel just as full as if you’d eaten a whole meal, but with a fraction of the calories.
If you follow the tips above on how to make your smoothies healthier, and still aren’t shedding any weight, there may be other underlying factors at play:
When it comes to losing weight, there is no magical fast-acting solution. It takes time. It’s estimated that just to lose 1 pound a week, you need to burn around 500 calories more per day than you consume. By following a good diet and exercise regime you should see results within a few weeks.
Smoothies are great for using as a meal replacement as they tend to fill you up quite quickly. The problem is that you still need to be careful with the calories. Replacing a 500 calorie meal with a 500 calorie smoothie, isn’t going to help you lose weight. You need to keep them well-balanced, but light.
As nice as smoothies are as a meal replacement option, some people still struggle severely with cravings. If you’re used to a certain type of food and suddenly that food source disappears, your body will crave them. Quite often it’s physiological and can be battled with some strong willpower. However, in other cases it’s actually addiction. Hence when dieting, you tend to crave sweet foods more than anything else.
Smoothie Tips for Losing Weight
In addition to making your smoothie healthier as noted above, there are other things you can do to help lose weight while trying this kind of diet:
Manage Your Portions
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because it’s a smoothie and it’s packed full of fresh fruit and vegetables you can consume as much as you want and still lose weight, as you will be very disheartened.
Even healthy smoothies can contain a large amount of calories, so just remember to keep your portion size in control. If you make a large batch, you can always freeze some for later.
Look for Super Ingredients
There are certain foods out there that are extremely good when it comes to losing weight, one of which is green tea. Thanks to the catechins found in the herb, adding just a sprinkle of green tea powder to your smoothie can help boost metabolism and accelerate weight loss.
Another good ingredient to add to your smoothie when wanting to lose weight fast is cinnamon. This spice works wonders at relieving bloating and water retention. It also adds a nice autumnal flavor.
Don’t Overdo it
As tempting as it may be to start throwing in everything fresh and healthy from your food cupboard, the calories and sugar content will soon stack up when you add certain fruits.
Try to keep things balanced by having just one fruit that’s high in sugar, such as mango, a banana, or some pineapple. Then add one or two that are low in sugar, such as raspberries, kiwi, or some dragon fruit.
Losing weight doesn’t have to be boring, not when you have a blender to hand. If you’re ready to give the whole smoothie diet a go, then stock up your cupboards with some fresh fruit and veg and other key ingredients noted above, and get ready to make some fabulous creations.