At first sight you may not like the look or sound of a green smoothie, and I totally get it as they often conjure up images of lots of dark green bitter veggies like kale and cabbage; or green powders such as spirulina and chlorella – all of which leave a lot to be desired in the taste stakes.
However, you can make these smoothies taste awesome with a little imagination. Yes, they still contain all those nutritious greens but you’ll never know they’re in there… I promise. In this post I will show you how green smoothies and weight loss go hand in hand to bring you great fat burning results fast – and they taste good too!
A meal in one!
Personally I love a green smoothie and have at least one a day, either as a snack, or even a complete meal. Yes, if you add the right ingredients they can become a low calorie, highly nutrient dense meal in themselves and will fill you up for hours.
And this is why they are just SO great on a weight loss diet because there is no time consuming cooking involved: you simply chop and chuck all the ingredients into a blender and voila – lunch!
How green smoothie’s boost weight loss:-
- THEY’RE FULL OF FIBER – Which keeps you fuller for longer. Unlike juicing you are blending the WHOLE fruits and vegetables and not extracting the fibers like you do when using a masticating juicer. This is what makes a smoothie much lower GI and more filling than a juice – because fiber keeps you full.
- THEY KEEP YOU FULL – Due to their high fiber content a smoothie will help feel you up and stop cravings for junk foods.
- HIGH IN NUTRIENTS –The high nutrient content of a green smoothie helps to stop food cravings, as your body will be receiving all the nutrients it needs to be satisfied.
- ANTIOXIDANTS – The antioxidants in green vegetables not only boost weight loss, but are highly anti aging and will literally make your skin glow.
- RAW ENZYMES – Blending fruits and vegetables in their raw state keeps all their enzymes, vitamins, and minerals in tact. Cooking foods can often destroy delicate nutrients, therefore eating as many raw foods as possible is a fantastic health boost.
- DETOXIFICATION – Raw greens, along with all their fibers and antioxidants are powerful detoxifyers. Keeping your body detoxifying itself adequately means you fat cells will start shrinking, which ultimately means weight loss. This is because harmful toxins that your body can’t break down will be stored for safe keeping in these fat cells, which will then keep swelling larger and larger the more the body keeps getting bombarded with junk foods, sugar, tobacco, alcohol, and other environmental toxins… and so you get larger with it!
How to use green smoothies:-
The great thing about a smoothie is you can have it any time of day, although maybe not so much in the evening if you are adding superfood powders as they can be stimulating. Other than that, in terms of weight loss you should have 2-3 a day in place of your normal meals or snacks.
There are different ways you can construct a smoothie and some will have more calories and be more filling than others, therefore making some great as snacks and others meal replacements.
Constructing a smoothie:-
Basically, you will want your smoothie to have the 3 main macro nutrient elements of HEALTHY FATS, CARBOHYDRATES, AND PROTEIN; plus FRUITS and VEGETABLES. Having these 3 elements will ensure that you are getting a filling and ‘complete’ meal or snack; but be sure to keep to your portion control (especially with the fats) if you want to lose weight.
The 3 food main groups:-
Pick one each from the protein, carbohydrates, and fats, and unlimited from the vegetables and low sugar fruits. Add together in your blender and enjoy!
TIP:- Frozen sliced bananas, and frozen fruits in general work best as they will not only make your smoothie nice and cold, but add a frothy milkshake texture too.
- Protein powders (up to 30 grams total protein)
- 1 Tablespoon of sugar free peanut or almond butter
- Soya milk
- 1 x Banana
- 2 x Rings of pineapple
- Half a mango
- Half a cup of oats
- Half a mango
- Half a medium avocado
- 1 X Tablespoon of flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, of hemp seeds
- Teaspoon of coconut oil
- 1 X Tablespoon of nuts or seeds
VEGETABLE AND LOW SUGAR FRUIT ELEMENTS
- All greens
- All berries
- 1 X Apple or pear
- 200ml of freshly squeezed orange juice
- Green superfood powders
You may want to use these added extras for taste but use only in moderation:-
- Cacao nibs
- Cacao powder
- Carob powder
- 1 Teaspoon of raw honey, agave nectar, date syrup, or brown rice syrup
Green Smoothies and Weight Loss – The Green smoothie Diet
SNACK GREEN SMOOTHIE EXAMPLES:-
- Large handful of greens such as spinach, kale, or watercress, sugar free nut milk, half teaspoon of spirulina, small ripe banana, half a small avocado. 250 calories approx
Large handful of dark leafy greens, tablespoon of flax seeds, sugar free nut milk, small ripe banana. 200 calories approx
- Large handful of dark leafy greens, blueberries, sugar free nut milk, half a small avocado. 200 calories approx
- Large handful of dark leafy greens, half teaspoon of spirulina, sugar free nut milk, half a small avocado, dessert spoon of raw cacao nibs. 200 calories approx
- 1 whole avocado, oat milk (simple, but outrageously creamy and delicious). 250 calories approx
MEAL REPLACEMENT GREEN SMOOTHIE EXAMPLES:-
- Large handful of any raw greens, half a medium avocado, 1 ripe banana, 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds, organic unsweetened soya milk, teaspoon of any super green powder. 350 calories approx
- Large handful of dark leafy greens, ripe banana, teaspoon of green superfood powder, half an avocado, tablespoon of walnuts, unsweetened soya milk. 350 calories approx
- Large handful of dark leafy greens, 30 grams of plant based protein powder, sugar free nut milk, half an avocado, 1 tablespoon of carob or cacao powder. 450 calories approx
- 30 grams of plant based protein powder, dessertspoon of barley grass powder, 1 ripe banana, half an avocado, unsweetened nut milk. 450 calories approx
The role of avocados in weight loss:-
It isn’t for no reason that I add avocado to almost every smoothie as they are on this list of known fat burning foods. Whether you like them or not you should try to add them to your smoothies, you really can’t taste them when they are mixed in with all the other flavours and they give your smoothie a lovely palatable silky texture. There are also another 5 main reasons that you really need the impressive magical avocado in your smoothie:-
- FAT BURNING – Avocado’s help burn belly fat SPECIFICALLY! Yes they really do, as they help keep your blood sugar stable all day. It is the fluctuations in blood sugar that causes your insulin to spike higher than it should, which then promotes belly fat storage – therefore stable blood sugar means extra belly fat burning.
- HIGH IN MONOUNSATURATED FATS – Avocados are high in the fats that will keep your heart super healthy and strong, thus lowering your risk of heart disease. LOW GI – Low GI foods keep blood sugar on an even keel, which in turn helps to bust sugar cravings. Ending the continual cycle of the sugar train is your ultimate goal as this will also help keep you slim for life.
- HEALTHY FATS – Not only are the avocado’s fats good for your heart, but eating some kind of fat with your greens – be it avocado, coconut oil, nuts, or seeds is essential for the uptake of the fat soluble nutrients A, E, and K in your green vegetables and your green superfood powders. There’s no point in going to all this green eating effort in the first place if you’re not absorbing all the nutrients.
- FILLING – Lastly avocados, due to their high fiber and stabalising effect on blood sugar actually fill you up good and proper. In fact, studies show that those who ate the equivalent of one avocado a day, as high calorie as they may be, still ate FEWER calories overall throughout the day. This really works! I’ve tested it myself many times and they do actually fill you up for hours.
The role of green superfood powders in weight loss
You should be having at least on shot of green superfood powder a day just for the simple fact that they are bursting with life giving nutrition, and those nutrients can get into your cells fast and give you a boost of energy literally within 20 minutes! They are also a great metabolism boosting food that will help you burn belly fat more quickly.
You can choose from spirulina, barley grass, chlorella, or moringa; or simply buy a blend of all of them. This is much more preferable as you will get a good array of the key nutrients from all of them.
Other facts about green superfoods:-
- DETOXIFICATION – Keeping your body detoxifying well is one of the key elements in long term weight loss. The more toxins you can eliminate the more your fat cells will shrink. This only works alongside a general antioxidant rich healthy diet, you just can’t eat junk and expect the same results.
- ANTI AGING – Green superfood is so high in antioxidants that it will literally make your skin glow; and can slow down or even REVERSE the aging process on both the inside and out.
- ANTI INFLAMMATORY – As green superfood is highly alkaline, it helps to lower chronic inflammation in the body. Long term chronic inflammation is now thought to be among one of the root causes underpinning many modern day diseases. This inflammation is caused by things that include under par detoxification, junk foods, SUGAR, smoking, alcohol, and also the barrage of environmental toxins that we are all exposed to on a daily basis.
- BLOOD PRESSURE – Green superfood powders, when used alongside a low saturated fat diet, can also help to lower blood pressure.
- SLEEP – I don’t know why, but green superfood when taken daily definitely helps you get a good night’s kip. I have seen this in myself and in also in others who have reviewed it. It’s probably more than likely due to a combination of its super high antioxidant content and its effects on lowering blood sugar. You always sleep better when your blood sugar is under control, as any spikes and troughs can wake you.
- LOWER BLOOD SUGAR – Which means fewer cravings and sugar spikes, therefore weight loss. Green superfood powder is also great for diabetics for this very reason.
- STRONGER IMMUNE SYSTEM – Green superfood powder help to neutralise the free radicals that harm your immune cells, allowing them to flourish and become stronger.
Adding superfoods to your smoothies is a must if you really want to cut fat and take your health to another level. There are many to choose from, and they all have different nutrient profiles. I advise to rotate or mix at least 2 or 3 – or ideally buy a blend. Always go for organic to ensure purity of the product. Please read my ultimate green superfood powder guide before you buy to be sure you get something that will work for you and your needs.
The role of protein powder for weight loss
Protein powders are just so easy to take, and ideal to use in a smoothie. They help you obtain your protein needs (especially on a plant based or vegan diet) and they also keep your muscle mass high, which can be another quite challenging thing to do when cutting calories.
Other benefits of protein powder:-
- MUSCLE MASS – The more muscle you can keep a hold of whilst dieting, the more calories you will burn because muscle in itself is a super calorie burner. Protein powders are excellent at helping you maintain your requirements without too many extra calories.
- WEIGHT LOSS – A high protein diet will automatically help boost weight loss, mainly due to the fact that you will be filling up on protein rather than carbohydrates, but also because protein is thermogenic – meaning it boosts metabolism; plus it’s filling.
- LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX – Protein has a low GI, which is yet another weight loss advantage as it will help to keep your blood sugar stable and as mentioned previously, this helps with weight loss.
- COMPLETE MEAL – Many of the protein powders available come with added enzymes, nutrients, fiber, greens, even probiotics, all of which can make them a complete meal in themselves; OR great added to your smoothie to bulk it out and make it more filling.
TOP WEIGHT LOSS TIP:-
Every morning I have a low carb chocolate protein pudding and it’s absolutely delicious, in fact I can’t wait to get up and make it it’sthat good!
To make your smoothie:- use 30 grams of protein powder – that is 30 grams total protein. This will usually work out more in actual weight as most protein powders are around 50% protein, therefore you would need 60 grams of the powder to get 30 grams of protein, and blend with half an avocado, xylitol for sweetness (if the protein doesn’t have added sweeteners), a tablespoon of carob or cacao, and some nut milk.
The secret is to blend it with as little milk as possible so it’s really thick like a pudding, and then just eat it straight out of the blender cup. I think smoothies are more filling the thicker they are, and this one fills me up for at least 4 hours.
The reason I do this every day is that having a very low carb/high protein breakfast really keep your body in fat burning mode after you have been fasting all night. I then just have a normal lunch or dinner; and sometimes another high protein smoothie if I do a workout.
Plant based protein is best
Whether you’re a plant based eater or not, vegan protein powders are the best way to go as they are ‘cleaner’ protein and cause less inflammation in your body than their whey or dairy counterparts. This means less muscle aches after exercise, and quicker recovery (yes, I’ve tried and tested this).
There are many plant based protein powders on the market such as pea, rice, potato, hemp, sunflower, quinoa, pumpkin, almond, and many more. It seems they are making protein powders out of everything these days to keep up with the demand of the plant based diet explosion.
What to choose:-
Here’s the tricky bit: some plant proteins don’t have all the amino acids of animal proteins, or they may be higher in some and lower in others. This is by no means a problem though because their benefits are so much higher in other ways – you just need to be sure you either buy one that is either already a complete protein, OR buy a couple and mix them up or rotate them, or much more conveniently, buy a blend.
Manufacturers of the blends have already mixed them up into their perfect amino acid ratios and have often added other nutrients into the bargain. I have sourced out the best available with the highest reviews in my post ‘Best Plant Protein Powders 2018‘. Go ahead and check out what I mean about the fantastic products on the market these days, it’s mind blowing stuff – yes I’m a protein powder fanatic 🙂
The Plant Based Diet:-
I couldn’t end this post without giving you a small piece on why I now prefer eating a plant based diet as opposed to any other diet, and this is simply because it is an absolute game changer in the health, fitness, and weight loss stakes. Since converting to this way of eating my life and health has changed immeasurably. Here are some of the main things I have noticed:-
- My energy is much higher
- My skin is clearer and brighter
- I don’t have brain fog anymore
- My memory and learning capabilities are much better
- No PMT or any of the other hormonal problems
- No aches and pains after exercise
- Able to push harder during exercise
- Higher fitness levels
- Thicker hair
- Stronger teeth and gums
You can probably see from this list why I would never go back, and why would I? I didn’t realise how good it was possible to feel before this. But it must be stressed, for anybody thinking of trying this lifestyle, that I eat a healthy plant based diet with minimum refined sugars or refined carbohydrates – if I didn’t fo it the healthiest way possible then I probably wouldn’t have such a long list of benefits. If you would like to find out more about this game changing way of eating then please check out my beginner’s guide to plant based.