Green smoothies are an ideal fat burning food as they are nutrient-rich, loaded with fiber and low in fat. However, there is an art to making a weight loss smoothie. These seven tips will help you create the perfect weight loss shake.
Tip #1: Avoid using dairy products in your smoothies. This includes otherwise “healthy foods” like yogurt and milk. You can get enough calcium from other fruit and vegetables that you don’t need to add milk or yogurt. These foods contain excess fat, hormones and other additives that may sabotage our efforts to lose weight.
Tip #2: Limit the amount of fat you add to your smoothie. This includes healthy fats like coconuts and avocados. Too much fat and fruit in the same smoothie might cause gas and bloating. It may also interfere with your body’s ability to utilize the carbohydrates in the fruit and could cause weight gain. I always recommend limiting the fat in your smoothie to no more than two tablespoons of chia or flax seeds, or 1/4 avocado (I find that nut milks don’t cause problems in smoothies).
Tip #3: Try to use very little to no sweeteners. Refined and concentrated, processed sugar will hinder your ability to lose weight. Ripe bananas or other sweet, ripe fruit will sweeten your smoothies without presenting a problem for weight loss.
Agave syrup, table sugar, honey and other concentrated sugars will turn a healthy, weight loss smoothie into a sugar bomb. If you absolutely must add a sweetener to your smoothie, try dates. However, wean yourself off of them as soon as you can since dates are a dried food with concentrated sugars.
Tip #4: Avoid using store-bought fruit juices or plant milks. These processed drinks are full of added sugars and preservatives. If you want fruit juice in your smoothie, squeeze your own juice from fresh citrus or make your own almond milk. It’s very easy to make most nut milks with a blender and a strainer or nut milk bag.
Tip #5: Avoid canned or packaged foods. Fresh fruits, vegetables and dark leafy greens are packed full of fiber, naturally water rich, and full of micronutrients that boost your metabolism. If you are looking to save money, buy frozen fruits or buy fresh in bulk and freeze them yourself. Avoid canned fruit as it is often soaked in syrup and nutritionally inferior to fresh fruit.
Tip #6: Minimize the amount of powders in your smoothies. It’s okay to add a quality hemp or rice protein powder which can help you lose weight, but you do not need to add lots of powered greens and superfoods.
The problem with all those powders is that the water has been removed from them and they are no longer a whole food. Focus on using whole foods for weight loss and avoid gimmicky supplements and expensive pharmaceutical-grade “superfoods”.
Tip #7: Don’t rely only on green smoothies for weight loss. Green smoothies can certainly help you lose weight, but a long-term change in diet and lifestyle will give long term results.
Green smoothies work best if they are part of a healthy, whole foods diet that helps you lose weight and maintain your ideal size and shape. Take a look at my 28-day meal plan that kicked off my 40 pound weight loss with whole foods.
The Best Weight Loss Smoothie Foods
All fruits and vegetables are going to be great for weight loss, but there are a few that stand out in the crowd. Foods that are low in calories and high in fiber are going to kickstart weight loss.
Some of the best ingredients to add to your weight loss smoothies are grapefruit, pumpkin, kale, apples (with skin), blueberries, pomegranates, chia seeds, raspberries, pears (with skin), strawberries, bananas, oranges, broccoli, celery, cucumber, carrots and all leafy greens.
Weight Loss Smoothie Ratio
A good ratio of fruits to greens that I recommend for weight loss smoothies is this: 2 cups of fruit to 3 or 4 cups (packed) of greens and 1 cup of water or homemade nut milk. Add additional veggies if desired.
Here are some of my favorite weight loss green smoothie recipes:
Tracy Russell is the creator of RESET 28: A 28-Day Program For Energy, Weight Loss & A Healthy Glow, and founder of Incredible Smoothies. She has been helping people take control of their health and well being with green smoothies, a whole foods diet, and fitness since 2009.