Given the number of food trends these days, there’s no shortage of delicious smoothie recipes to choose from. From bright, citrusy smoothies to deep purple bowls of earthy goodness, the combinations of fruit, vegetable, liquids, and protein sources are endless.
However, if your ultimate goal is weight loss, there are a few factors to consider when making your morning shake or smoothie:
What should I consider when making my smoothies?
We tend to think of sugar as an additive, but when it comes to smoothies, another big source of sugar is fruit. Fruit contains naturally occurring sugars that aren’t often a problem if you’re having an apple or a handful of strawberries as a quick snack, but can be if you add six different types of sugary fruit to your smoothie.
Besides avoiding adding sugar, honey, and syrup to your smoothies, also avoid adding high concentrations of tropical fruits such as mangos, bananas, and pineapple, as well as dried fruits like dates and raisins. The good news is almost all your favorite berries are low in sugar, so add plenty of those to your smoothies instead.
2. Nut butter:
We often add nut butters to our smoothies to for their high protein content and smooth texture, but whether you choose almond butter, peanut butter, or cashew butter, it is ultimately a high-calorie food. A lot of American nut butter brands also have added sugar, which we can easily overlook due to healthy buzzwords on the packaging. Try protein powder instead; it’s lower in sugar and carbs while still providing the protein you need.
3. The type of milk you use:
Remember that not all kinds of milk are equal. Cow's milk contains a lot of protein but is also high in calories, which can be a disadvantage if you’re on a weight loss program. For those who experience colds, find that they have a lot of mucus, or are lactose intolerant, dairy can also be uncomfortable to consume. Instead of dairy milk, opt for nut milk like almond, cashew, or coconut as these contain protein but fewer calories. Oat milk, soy milk, and hemp milk are also tasty and nutritious vegan options if you’re looking to avoid dairy. Whichever you choose, read the labels to make sure there is no added sugar.
4. The amount of protein in your smoothie:
Protein is key in smoothies because it keeps you satiated while promoting muscle gain. Many store-bought smoothies claim to contain protein, but be sure to look at the label to see how much protein it contains. Many pre-packaged smoothies contain more sugar and fat than protein which can hinder your weight loss progress, so make your own whenever you can to avoid getting caught out. If you don’t like whey protein powder, opt for pea, or you can blend silken tofu or a little Greek yogurt into your smoothies.
4 Best Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss
Sometimes simplicity is key, so whether you crave something chocolatey, tangy, sweet, or creamy, there’s something here for you. Here are four of our favorite weight-loss-friendly smoothie recipes you’ll love – just blitz the ingredients in your blender and enjoy!
1. Simple Berry
1 cup of frozen berries (mixed berries, strawberry, blueberry, or blackberry are great options)
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1-2 scoops of protein powder
2. The Greens
1 cup of almond milk (or milk of choice)
Greens, such as spinach, avocado, or kale
1 green apple for sweetness
(optional) 1 tbsp chia seeds for protein
1-2 scoops of protein powder.
3. Winter Wonderland
1 cup of fuji apples
1/4 tbsp of cinnamon or nutmeg
1 cup of nut milk (your choice)
A dash of vanilla
1-2 scoops of protein powder.
4. Chocolate Shake
1-2 scoops of chocolate protein powder
1 cup of nut milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
If you make a habit of drinking a smoothie every day, it’s good to remember why you’re doing it. If you see your smoothie as a vessel for getting in your protein, be sure to check what type of nut butter you’re using. If your aim is to minimize your sugar intake, make sure your smoothie isn’t overloaded with sugar and consider switching to plant milk if you haven’t already.
Looking for more healthy recipes from Dr. Nancy? Order her cookbook that includes 75 more recipes just as delicious as this one! If you try one out make sure to post a picture and tag us on instagram @drnancymd