I recently wrote about how a 500-calorie green smoothie is not “too high in calories” for weight loss. Now I’d like to share about how to make meal replacement smoothies that helped me lose 40 pounds.
Like many people trying to lose weight, I went from fad diet to fad diet with limited (and temporary) results. Or worse, they just didn’t work! I hated it and I was frustrated.
Then green smoothies came along and instead of worrying about calories, carbs, points and serving sizes, I started enjoying a guilt-free appetite for healthy food. The only thing I ever have to concern myself with now is not losing TOO much weight, and on my non-starvation diet, that’s not really a concern at all.
So, how do I do it? The answer is simple – meal replacement green smoothies. It’s something I learned from trial and error. I lost 5 pounds (of my 40) just by replacing my breakfast with a big green smoothie.
Now I drink two meal replacement green smoothies every day, not because I have to, but because they are delicious, simple and super nutritious – not to mention super convenient (this girl’s busy!).
Meal Replacement Green Smoothie Basics
A good meal replacement green smoothie for weight loss should contain at least 350-500 calories. This is a meal, not a snack, so don’t worry about making it “low-calorie”. Starving your body isn’t healthy, and it’s not going to lead to permanent weight loss.
Don’t skimp on calories by filling up on cucumber, tomatoes and celery! While rich in minerals, these are starvation foods if that’s all you’re eating.
A medium banana has about 100 or so calories. A large mango has about 140. A medium apple contains about 94. In contrast, a plum only has 30 calories, a kiwifruit has less than 50. An entire cucumber only has 45 calories. Unless you are prepared to drink a 60-ounce green smoothie, then stick with sweet fruit.
You should also toss in a bunch (about 3-4 cups, packed) of greens and aim for getting at least 10 grams of protein. You can double the protein content with a quality protein powder. Add a tablespoon of flax seeds, chia seeds or some raw cacao and you’re on your way to having a delicious weight loss meal.
Tips For Making A Big, High-Calorie Green Smoothie Meal For Weight Loss
Tip 1: Don’t Use Store Bought Plant Milks & Juices. If you are going to add a liquid other than water to your green smoothie, make it yourself. Store bought milks and juices are loaded with preservatives and added dyes and sugars. It’s really easy to make your own almond or coconut milk. If you use fruit juice, squeeze your own. It’s easy and much healthier.
Tip 2: Load Up On Leafy Greens. Dark, leafy greens like kale and dandelion greens are loaded with vitamins and minerals – especially calcium and iron. Greens provide a significant source of protein, vitamins A (as beta carotene), C and K. They also provide a good source of magnesium, manganese, copper and other important minerals in your diet.
Tip 3: Skip The Dairy. This can be hard for a lot of dairy lovers, but you can actually get more calcium from a smoothie than from a glass of milk. Ice cream and yogurt are going to have lots of extra fat and sugar in them, and you don’t want that stuff in a weight loss smoothie.
Dairy will only serve to add additional (excess) calories and fat to your diet. If you want that creamy ice cream or yogurt texture to your smoothies, try adding frozen banana or mango to your recipes.
Tip 4: Keep Fat Low. Mixing too much fat and fruit in the same smoothie can cause gas and bloating. It could undermine your weight loss and set you up for failure when trying to lose weight with green smoothies and raw foods. Carbs give your body fuel. This fuel provides lots of energy so that you can exercise and be active. If you are going to restrict something, restrict the fat. Use high-calorie sweet fruit and steer clear of overusing avocado, coconuts, nut butters and seeds.
Tip 5: Avoid Canned & Dried Fruit. Always use fresh, whole, ripe fruits and vegetables. Choose organic whenever possible. Canned foods have added preservatives to help keep them fresh, not to mention the syrups and sugars they are often soaked in. Dried fruit adds concentrated sugar to your smoothie and it’s not a whole food. If you don’t have time to add fresh fruit, frozen fruit is better than dried or canned.
Tip 6: Keep It Simple. Meal replacement smoothies shouldn’t be complicated. Mix a liquid, base fruit (banana, mango, peach, pear), flavor fruit (berries, pineapple, kiwifruit, etc.), dark leafy greens and veggies. You’ll get more nutrition from blending a lot of a few ingredients then you will if you add a little bit of a lot of ingredients. Too many ingredients might also cause some digestion problems, not to mention some pretty interesting (and not always in a good way) flavor combinations.
Tip 7: Use Protein-Rich Produce. Yes, produce can be rich in protein! It’s important to make sure that you are getting enough protein in your meal replacement green smoothies. Try to get at least 10 grams of protein in each recipe. That’s not too hard to do if you use calorie-rich, sweet fruits and protein-packed greens like romaine lettuce, kale and dandelion greens.
Green Smoothie Meal Replacement Recipes
Below are a couple of my favorite meal replacement green smoothie recipes. If you really want to know what I eat, exactly how I lost 40 pounds, and to see my incredible before and after photos, than check out my Green Smoothie Weight Loss program or join the 30-Day Whole Foods Challenge.
- 2 bananas, peeled
- 2 oranges, peeled and deseeded
- 3 cups kale, chopped
- 4 ounces of filtered water
Calories: 447 | Protein: 12 grams | Fiber: 16.3 grams | Calcium: 34% RDA | Iron: 4.4 milligrams
- 2 bananas, peeled
- 4 medium plums, pitted
- 1 cup frozen wild blueberries
- 1 head romaine lettuce (yes, the whole head!)
- 4 ounces of filtered water
Calories: 478 | Protein: 12 grams | Fiber: 28.2 grams | Calcium: 21% RDA | Iron: 7.8 milligrams
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Tracy Russell is the creator of the Green Smoothie Weight Loss Program, the 30-Day Whole Foods Challenge and founder of Incredible Smoothies. She is passionate about helping people improve their health with green smoothies and a whole foods lifestyle.