Lose Weight & Keep it off With These Healthy Weight Loss Smoothies (Recipes)
Are smoothies good for weight loss?
Short answer: Yes AND no.
The third rule of easy weight loss smoothie: Remember that losing weight is a symptom of greater LIFESTYLE changes. No weight loss plan is complete without holistic changes, including addressing mental health issues, increasing exercise, getting enough sleep (*raises my own hand*) and overall intentional eating, not just drinking smoothies.
A smoothie subscription CAN be a great way to eat healthy and help lose weight...but the key word there is 'help.' Simply relying on smoothies to lose weight without making overall lifestyle adjustments is probably going to leave you pretty frustrated. Read on to learn about the best weight loss smoothie!
Smoothie Ingredients that can Help With Weight Loss
Smoothies are an awesome way to help support your fat burning and weight loss goals! Smoothies are easy to make, a quick + healthy on-the-go option for breakfast if you're super busy (like me!) and they can help you recharge after a workout. Plus, smoothies are easy to customize!
Blueberries, Raspberries and Strawberries:
Blueberries are hands-down the #1 fat-busting food you NEED to be eating. Blueberries been shown to literally switch on the genes that torch belly fat. In one animal study at the University of Michigan, researchers found that rats that ate a blueberry-rich diet for only three months had significantly reduced belly fat than the control group.
Strawberries and raspberries are also great for weight loss as well: All these delicious little powerhouses are rich in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that can help stop fat from forming in the first place. A great option for wallet-friendly berries are actually frozen fruit! Frozen berries have just as many nutrients, and they're actually more blender-friendly and create a more creamy, cool smoothie. Frozen blueberries and frozen strawberries are excellent additions to a breakfast smoothie.
This leafy green might not sound like it would be very tasty in green smoothies - but think again! If your goal is fat burning, spinach is one of the best things you can add to green smoothies to burn fat. There's a reason green smoothies are so popular! In our opinion, the best healthy green smoothies contain spinach for the extra nutrients and overall health benefits.
In one Swedish study published in Appetite, overweight women drank a mixture with five grams of spinach extracts each morning. After three months, they lost 11 pounds, far more than the control group. The women also reported fewer food cravings, thanks to elevated levels of GLP-1, a physiological regulator of appetite and food intake. Basically, spinach has the power to keep you feeling fuller, longer, and is rich in tons of vitamins and minerals. Added to other fruit and superfoods, spinach actually adds a nice, green note (like our Glow smoothie kit!).
Side note: did you know that baby spinach is just the smaller, younger leaves of regular spinach? Baby spinach brings a sweeter, less earthy flavor than regular spinach, so feel free to use it when that's your goal!
Like other leafy greens, kale is low in calories for its volume (25 calories per 2-cup serving). More importantly, Kale is a nutritional power-house, two cups of kale delivery almost all your vitamin A for the day (99%) along with 67% of your vitamin C, PLUS 2g of fiber and protein. Kale is another of the healthy ingredients that are important for a green smoothie. Be cautious with the amount of kale you put into a kale smoothie, the flavor can overwhelm the other ingredients if you're not careful.
Coconut is a natural superfood that tastes amazing in almost everything! Studies have shown that eating just two teaspoons of coconut oil a day can help reduce belly fat. Plus, coconut is rich in filling fibers and has a light, nutty flavor that pairs with EVERYTHING.
A key ingredient in easy smoothies, frozen banana creates an amazing, creamy smoothie texture almost akin to ice cream for WAY less calories (one medium frozen banana contains just 106) plus bananas can have major weight-loss benefits. A study in the journal Anaerobe found that women who ate a banana twice daily before meals for two months reduced belly bloat by 50 percent. Strawberry banana smoothie anyone?
Bananas also boost bloat-fighting gut bacteria, plus, bananas are super rich in potassium, which can help reduce water retention and bloating. And of course, bananas are a good source of fiber, which keeps you feeling full (are you sensing a theme?) Banana smoothie for the win!
Obviously citrus fruits (like oranges and lemons) are packed with vitamin C and make a delicious smoothie. But did you know that they also contain folate? Folate helps produce and maintain your body's cells. Citrus is also a great source of fiber, which of course keeps you feeling full! They'll also add a zesty note to whatever else you're blending.
We've got a great recipe for a sunrise smoothie (with frozen pineapple) that makes use of those bright citrus flavors! Frozen mango is another favorite.
Add-ins for a Healthy Smoothie:
While maybe not the main 'star' of a weight loss smoothie, these superfood smoothie additions will help boost the nutritional value of your weight loss smoothie, as well as add some flavor of their own (I'm looking at you, ginger!)
- Chia seeds: Chia seeds help increase the satisfaction and fullness you feel when you drink your smoothies, keeping you feeling fuller, longer. Chia seeds have become a staple in smoothies! We love chia seeds some much, we've written a couple of other articles related to chia seeds: Read: The 3 Best Super Seeds for Smoothies and/or Why We Love Chia Seeds in Smoothies.
- Flax seeds: Ground flaxseed, like blueberries, are one the most amazing weight loss ingredients you can eat. Flaxseed (or fax seed) is a great source of 'soluble mucilaginous' (gum-like) fiber that can help lower bad cholesterol in your blood, and are also great hunger suppressants!
- Ginger/Ginger Powder: Fresh ginger can have amazing health benefits! Not only does it help with healthy digestion, but it also helps balance blood sugar levels. To learn more about ginger in smoothies, read: Why We Love Ginger in Smoothies.
- Cinnamon: This common kitchen staple, ground cinnamon, is one of the best additions to a healthy weight-loss smoothie. Cinnamon is rich in polyphenols, which have been proven to help with bloating, and cinnamon is known to improve insulin sensitivity. A study printed in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adding a little over a teaspoon of cinnamon to a carb-heavy meal could help stabilize blood sugar, preventing munchie-inducing insulin spikes.
- Cayenne: Add a kick to your next weight-loss smoothie with this spicy addition! Cayenne contains capsaicin, a natural compound that not only gives peppers their burn but also helps reduce belly fat, suppress appetite and help your body burn food as energy efficiently. One review in Open Heart showed that capsaicin can boost the metabolism, leading to fat loss, as well as prevent heart disease. Read: Why we Love Cayenne in Smoothies
- Blendtopia Detox smoothie
- 1/8 tsp cayenne (a pinch)
- 1 cup spinach
Oh, and while we're talking about add-ins, don't forget to think about the Best Smoothie Toppings to help make your smoothie a complete meal!
Don't forget protein!
A key ingredient for any healthy meal replacement smoothie needs to have enough grams of protein! Your body needs protein - otherwise it just won't work the way it should. Proteins are found all throughout your body, from your organ to your muscles, tissues, bones...and of course skin & hair!
Protein is also an important part of the process that fuels your energy levels and carries oxygen throughout your body in your blood. Protein also helps make antibodies, and keep cells healthy.
Great Protein Options for Smoothies and Healthy Eating
Almond Butter (or other nut butter): Although all nut butters are great sources of protein, almond butter specifically is a weight-loss superstar. Almonds are packed with good, healthy fats to help keep you full. They also have fat-burning compounds that help limit the amount of fat absorbed by your body, letting those fats pass through undigested (yay!). Many people use peanut butter or cashew butter as a replacement, just be cautious with the nutritional facts on your chosen product.
Plant-based protein powder: Plant-based protein powder is an EXCELLENT addition to your smoothie. Protein powder helps you burn more fat, and come in so, so many different flavors to customize your smoothie's flavor. Additionally, plant-based protein powder, like pea protein, are lactose-free, gluten-free and and dairy-free. Be cautious of whey protein powder if you're following a vegan diet. Protein powder typically comes in a variety of flavors, for making smoothies we recommended the least "flavored" protein powder you can buy. If you can't find unflavored protein powder, go with vanilla protein powder, it typically has the most milk impact on flavor.
Tofu: A hidden gem, tofu can make your smoothie taste extra creamy and luxe, while adding creaminess and protein—plus serious fat-burning benefits. Tofu is packed with isoflavones, a type of antioxidant, and is also particularly high in fat-blasting genistein, a compound that acts directly on obesity genes, helping to turn them off and reduce the storage of body fat.
Protein-rich Smoothie Recipe:
- Blendtopia Strength smoothie kit
- 6 oz silken tofu
- unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Choosing the right liquid for your smoothie weight loss plan:
It’s a no brainer that water is the only calorie-free, sugar-free, money-free liquid option for your smoothie. If you’re drinking smoothies for weight loss, water should always be your number one because drinking water helps you burn calories and stay hydrated.
One study showed that participants who drank one extra liter of water per day burned 46 more calories. Which may not seem like much. But over the span of a year, that is equivalent to 5 pounds of fat.
But if you’re gunning for flavor or texture, like me, water may not be your best choice in a smoothie. With water, your smoothie will be less creamy and the flavor of your individual ingredients will be more evident (this could be a good or bad thing depending on if you’ve blended a greener or fruitier smoothie).
Unsweetened Almond Milk
Unsweetened almond milk is definitely a crowd-pleaser. It has the same consistency of milk but only HALF the calories. Unsweetened almond milk is also naturally lactose-free, and free of cholesterol and saturated fat - so it keeps your heart happy and healthy.
Although unsweetened almond milk is slim pickings when it comes to calcium and protein compared to regular milk, it is a significant source of Vitamins A and D, filling roughly 20% of your daily recommended amount respectively.
Overall - unsweetened almond milk has killer texture, killer taste, killer nutrients. Unsweetened almond milk is a win-win-win for most smoothie combos. Make sure to target the "unsweetened almond milk" when picking it up to avoid extra sugar and calories. Unsweetened almond milk contains zero grams of sugar.
When making a smoothie here at Blendtopia, unsweetened almond milk is typically our milk of choice.
Coconut water, or 'nature's energy drink,' is rich in electrolytes, potassium, fiber + sodium. In fact, coconut water has 15 times the potassium than popular sports drinks, making it amazing for muscle recovery after a workout. Plus, the electrolytes keeps you hydrated. It also adds some natural flavor and sweetness to your healthy smoothies.
Coconut milk - different than coconut water - is made by blending coconut meat and draining the liquid out, versus coconut water which is the liquid you get when you crack open a coconut. This makes a big difference, because this process means coconut milk is much higher in satruated fatty acids and calories than coconut water.
But that doesn't mean coconut milk is a bad option! A calorie isn’t a calorie isn’t a calorie. Calories are just units of energy, and the type of fat present in coconut milk is great for you, and easily burned as fuel by your body. Plus it makes for an extremely creamy, delicious liquid to add to any smoothie. If you want to lighten it up a bit, try cutting it with water for a lighter flavor and fewer calories.
One of the best choices for a great tasting smoothie, if you add juice it can really help take your green smoothie's taste from 'ehhhh' to 'yum!' But while juice tastes great, it does add a lot of extra sugar, and some extra calories. For example: One serving of orange juice has a whopping 21 GRAMS of sugar (or 5 teaspoons of sugar). Contrast that with a serving of milk, with 13 grams, and you can see why juice should be used sparingly! In small quantities, lemon juice can add a nice flavor to your tropical smoothies, or try a little lemon juice in a green smoothie for a nice tartness.
Dairy milk, although not my personal first choice, has it's benefits. Mainly...calcium, calcium, calcium! Oh yeah, and protein and vitamin D. This makes dairy milk good for your teeth, bones and GREAT in your weight loss smoothie!
Dairy milk also has it's own strong taste that really helps mask the taste of greens in your smoothies (if you don't like that!) And if you snag the right blend of ingredients, you may even be able to trick yourself into thinking your green smoothie is really a milkshake!
In general, for dieting purposes, we generally suggest you choose a non dairy milk or a low fat milk.
In terms of plant milks, it's fair to say that soy milk is the most nutritionally similar to a low fat cow’s milk. Containing nine essential amino acids, soy milk is rich in protein and is balanced in healthy fats and healthy carbs. “Soy milk offers culinary diversity, creamy texture, and a healthful nutritional profile, including essential omega-3 fatty acids [if fortified] and flavonoids that exert antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cardioprotective properties,” says Julieanna Hever, RD, a plant-based-foods dietitian in the Los Angeles area and the author of The Vegiterranean Diet.
For more info, check out: The Best Milk for Smoothies
Some Honorable Mentions:
Often overlooked, but extremely tasty and energizing: Try building a super smoothie-coffee combo. Just remember to make your coffee the night before + store it in the fridge to keep from melting your weight loss smoothie!
Chocolate milk/Chocolate Almond Milk
Extra protein + chocolate flavor - chocolate milk or almond milk helps give your weight loss smoothie an extra boost of protein for muscle repair + carbs to keep your energy up. Plus chocolate to does really take your smoothie to the next flavor level! Cocoa powder can be a great low-cal way to sweeten a smoothie.
Kombucha (or fermented sweetened green or black tea) is well-known to help support your digestive system and counteract liver toxicity. Kombucha also has a bit of an acquired (read: vinegary) taste, so try cutting it by adding a teaspoon of maple syrup or honey to your smoothie. Green tea can also be an excellent option.
Cold Brew Chai Healthy Breakfast Smoothie Recipe:
- Blendtopia Keto Chocolate Chai smoothie kit
- 6 oz cold brew/chilled coffee
- 6 oz plant-based milk of choice (almond milk)
Try a smoothie cleanse!
A smoothie cleanse can be a great way to help jump-start your weight loss journey. Smoothies can help significantly increase your intake of nutrients and antioxidants, while providing you with a satisfying whole-food based meal replacement. Just make sure you're taking in enough dietary fiber and protein to keep yourself feeling full, a smoothie cleanse shouldn't feel like fasting!
Our Blendtopia 7-Day Smoothie Cleanse is very different from traditional juice cleanses. We focus on slowing the digestion process rather than stopping it completely. So no, it’s definitely not a fasting cleanse!
What’s the big difference? Fiber. Since the fiber stays intact, it not only keeps you satisfied but it also aids in proper digestion by carrying the waste and toxins out of the body. Drinking our ready-to-blend superfood smoothies still allows your organs and digestive system to rest because our raw, organic plant-based ingredients are easily digestible.
More Healthy Smoothie Recipes:
- Avocado Smoothie Spotlight
- Green Smoothies for Weight Loss
- The Best Keto Smoothie Recipes
- Keto Smoothies
- How to Make a Smoothie Sweeter
- How to Make the Best Smoothie Bowls
- How Pre-Workout Smoothies Can Supercharge Your Workout
- Detox Smoothie Spotlight
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