Smoothies are an easy and delicious way to lose weight and get our body the nutrients it needs, but not all smoothies are created equal. While some smoothies might appear healthy at first glance, they could actually be causing weight gain among other dietary problems.
If you're purchasing smoothies from grocery stores and fast food chains, or making all fruit smoothies, then chances are they're doing more harm to your body than good.
This step by step guide will show you how to make truly healthy and delicious smoothies that will help you lose weight, boost energy, and even keep your skin glowing and youthful.
Step 1: Forget The Juice
Fruit juices can enhance the flavor of a smoothie and as such, they're the most commonly used smoothie base, but they're high in sugar and calories. In fact, fruit juices usually have as much or more sugar than sodas and other sugary drinks that are generally accepted as unhealthy. (1)
Instead of sugary fruit juices, try to use a healthy liquid as your smoothie base whenever possible. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Coconut Water
- Almond Milk
- Coconut Milk
- Maple Water
- Aloe Water
In addition to cutting out the unneeded sugar and calories from your smoothie, these healthy liquids come with a variety of health benefits of their own. From the skin-hydrating properties of aloe water to electrolyte replenishing coconut water, a healthy liquid base will start your super smoothie off right!
Photo by Derek Story on Unsplash
Step 2: Go Green
Most smoothies available for purchase these days are all fruit smoothies. While fruits contain tons of essential vitamins and minerals, they can be high in sugar and even fattening in large quantities.
To avoid these potential problems, try adding fruit and veggies in equal parts. The delicious fruit flavor can offset and mask the subtle flavors found in many leafy greens and vegetables. The vegetables will add a huge nutritional boost to your smoothie as well as tons of dietary fiber - super important for healthy digestion and weight loss! (2)
Here are some recommended veggies to start experimenting with:
- Spinach (an excellent source of antioxidants and fiber)
- Kale (high in vitamin K and vitamin C)
- Chard (one of the most nutrient dense greens on the planet)
- Beets (low in calories, high in nutrients, and supports a healthy heart)
- Cucumber (hydrating, replenishing, and full of nutrients)
- Carrots (high in beta-carotene, great for skin and eye health)
Step 3: Power It Up With Protein
While fruits and vegetables provide almost all the nutrients we need, your smoothie can still end up lacking in protein. Enhancing your smoothie with high protein foods or protein powder can take your smoothie from a delicious and nutritious snack to a filling meal replacement.
Replacing your breakfast with a nutrient dense super smoothie is a great way to jump-start your metabolism and start your day off right!
If you don't have any protein powder on hand, here's a few high protein foods that go great in smoothies:
- chia seeds
- hemp seeds
- flax seeds
- almond butter
- peanut butter
Step 4: Keep It Smooth
Consistency is key when it comes to diets and weight loss, if you can't stick with it then the pounds you've lost will come right back. Smoothies make this easy because they're so delicious and refreshing, but the addition of leafy greens like kale can turn your creamy smoothie into a lumpy chewy mess if you're not careful.
A smoothie with chunks of vegetables isn't just unappetizing, it can actually be less nutritiously valuable. The more broken down the smoothie ingredients are, the easier and faster our bodies can absorb their nutrients!
If your blender struggles with leafy greens and other fibrous vegetables, try adding just the greens and liquid first. Blend them on high to break them down as much as possible before adding other ingredients.
If you have a powerful blender, you'll still want to stick to this blender layering guide to make sure your smoothie comes out as even and smooth as possible!
Step 5: Supercharge Your Smoothie With 'Superfoods'
If you really want to take your smoothies and your health to the next level, then you should try boosting them with superfoods! These nutrient and antioxidant rich foods typically come in powdered form, making them super easy to blend into your smoothie.
You can tailor your smoothie to your specific health needs just by adjusting your superfood boosts! For example, adding matcha powder for antioxidants and a metabolism boost (3) or turmeric for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
These 5 simple steps will change that high sugar, high-fat smoothie into a super smoothie and take your health to the next level. There's no easier or more delicious way to reach those health goals than with a refreshing supercharged smoothie!