At Erbology, we believe that food should be a source of joy and nourishment for your body and soul. However, we know that there are times in all our lives when we want to lose a bit of weight for health reasons. Here are five healthy smoothies for weight loss that can help you on your journey.April 27, 2022 4:27 pm October 12, 2021 4:47 pm
Healthy smoothies for weight loss
Has there ever been a more useful food for weight loss than a smoothie? We don’t think so. Generally speaking, they’re low in calories, full of nutrients, all natural and delicious – exactly the sort of food you need if you’re aiming to trim down.
However the calorie content of smoothies can vary enormously. We’d always recommend that you make your own at home, because commercially available smoothies can be surprisingly high in sugar and calories!
Below, we’ve got plenty of tips for you which will help you become a smoothie maker extraordinaire. Once you know the basic components and flavour combinations it’s easy to whip up a huge variety of smoothies, based on whatever you feel like that day!
A note on weight loss
Before we get into our recipes, we should stop for a moment and talk about weight loss. It is a tricky subject. After all, we’ve been so happy to see the growth of the body positivity movement in recent years, and to wave goodbye to the ‘size zero’ model of beauty many of us grew up with.
If you’re keen to lose weight because – thanks to the bombardment of pressure that still comes from society and the media – you feel that you have to be thin to be accepted, we’d encourage you to take a step back.
Self-acceptance is hard work. But we believe it ultimately leads to more happiness than trying to fit into the mould that outdated beliefs have built for us.
That said, there are still some completely valid reasons why you might want to try and lose a bit of weight. For example, you may want to get your BMI down into a healthy range, you might be prepping for surgery, or you may just want to lose weight to boost your self-esteem.
If that’s you, then smoothies may be a great way to help. Now, let’s get into how to make the best smoothie of all time!
Blend, blend, blend
If you’re new to the world of smoothies, you’ll need to invest in a blender. Luckily, there are plenty of affordable options on the market.
If you’re only interested in making smoothies, go for a blender which is specially designed for them; they’re often very affordable. You just need to make sure that the blades are strong enough to withstand any tough fruits and vegetables you’re planning to use.
Or, if you’re a culinary whizz, go for a model which has other functions too (such as chopping or grinding). You’ll then be able to use it in your other recipes too! These models tend to have stronger blades as well.
Are smoothies good for you?
In a word, yes! Smoothies are good for you. As they’re made primarily from fruit and vegetables, they’re full of healthy nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fibre.
There has been some debate recently around whether smoothies are that great for your health because of the sugar they contain. Unless you add lots of sweeteners such as sugar, honey or syrup, most of that sugar comes from the fruit you use.
While naturally occurring sugars in fruit are not generally considered to be bad for us, when you blend fruit in a smoothie you’re turning it into what’s called ‘free sugars’. (If you’re unfamiliar with the term, click for a more detailed article all about refined and free sugars.)
This is because you’re releasing the sugar from the cells of the fruit, where it’s normally contained by fibre and other nutrients. These prevent you from absorbing the sugar so quickly.
Free sugars are more easily absorbed by the body and can lead to sugar spikes in your bloodstream. They can also damage your teeth.
Making the most of your smoothies
You can avoid any issues around free sugars in smoothies as long as you try and avoid adding too much extra sugar or sweeteners, carefully consider the fruit you use, and keep to one smoothie per day.
The NHS recommends that a portion of smoothie should be no more than 150ml – that’s a small glass.
Importantly, the NHS also says that a smoothie can only count as one of your recommended five a day, regardless of the ingredients you use.(1)
How to make your smoothies more filling
If you’re aiming to replace a meal with a smoothie, you will need to make sure it’s filling enough to power you through the rest of the day.
While some people will manage just fine on a fruit-based smoothie, others will need a bit more bulk to provide the energy they need.
Luckily, there are a few easy additions you can make to almost any smoothie to make it more filling.
Firstly, make sure you use whole fruits rather than fruit juice in your mix. This is because with fruit juice all of the fibre has already been removed from the fruit, making it less filling.
Add more protein
One area where smoothies often struggle is providing you with protein. Fruit and vegetables don’t contain much of it, so you’ll need to source it from elsewhere.
While there are lots of commercial protein powders on the market, at Erbology we tend to avoid them. This is because they are usually heavily processed and contain lots of unnecessary artificial ingredients. Plus, we don’t particularly enjoy the taste of ‘artificial vanilla’ or ‘salted caramel’ in our fruity smoothies!
Fortunately there are plenty of natural protein sources that blend really well into a smoothie.
If you are able to eat nuts, a spoonful of peanut or almond butter will do the trick – and add a lovely nutty flavour to your smoothie.
Alternatively, throw in a handful of oats. While this might sound odd at first, they will blend away in your smoothie maker into a silky smooth drink with plenty of protein.
"You can avoid any issues around free sugars in smoothies as long as you try and avoid adding too much extra sugar or sweeteners, carefully consider the fruit you use, and keep to one smoothie per day."
Our top six healthy smoothies for weight loss
Here are our very favourite smoothie recipes for weight loss. They’re all completely plant-based, so anyone can enjoy them. However, feel free to tweak our recipes to suit your needs. After all, one of the best things about smoothies is their versatility!
1. Aloe vera smoothie with fresh strawberry
We love the classic combination of strawberry and banana in a smoothie, but were on the hunt for a more complex, slightly less sweet flavour. Luckily, our recipe guru Ana had the answer. Here, she has created a smoothie which combines the comforting, familiar flavours of this classic combo, but with added complexity from ginger, grapefruit and aloe vera.
Why should you add aloe vera to a smoothie, you ask? Well, it adds a lovely, fresh, almost grassy flavour, but it also helps your body to absorb water and minerals from the rest of your food.
2. Ginger and orange smoothie recipe
This recipe is one of our all-time favourites as we are self-confessed ginger addicts. It makes a brilliant breakfast or brunch smoothie.
Brightly-coloured orange and carrot provide a base which is packed with vitamin C and beta-carotene. A tablespoon of ginger adds fire – perfect for waking you up first thing in the morning!
Chia seeds provide protein and fibre here, while sweetness comes from a surprising ingredient: our Organic Nopal Cactus Energy Balls! Blend one into your mix for natural sweetness from dried fruit, while the nuts within also provide a bit of extra protein.
Alternatively, we love to scatter a broken-up energy ball over the top of this smoothie for extra texture.
3. Green smoothie with milk thistle and aloe vera
The term ‘green goddess’ doesn’t exist for nothing: a green smoothie is a classic way to make yourself feel glowing and gorgeous!
Ours keeps the green theme with a collection of fruit and vegetables including fresh pear, kiwi, cucumber and baby spinach.
For sweetness, we like to add pineapple and, of course, banana. In true green goddess style, we also add 1/4 tsp spirulina in this recipe. Spirulina is a kind of blue-green algae which is incredibly nutritious, containing protein, iron and vitamins.(2)
But why add only one nutritional powerhouse, when you can add three?
4. Tropical smoothie bowl with sea buckthorn
For the last couple of years, a tropical holiday has been out of reach for most of us. When the rain and wind gets us down, we turn to this fun and vibrant tropical smoothie bowl and imagine we’re on a sun-lounger in Tahiti.
Make a bright pink smoothie base by mixing up banana, pineapple, figs and beetroot. You can drink this smoothie from a glass, but we prefer to have it as a bowl so we can get creative with our toppings.
Hold back a few figs and slices of banana to lay artistically atop your smoothie bowl, and finish with a scattering of black sesame seeds and coconut chips.
There can be no more cheerful way to start a dreary morning!
5. Beetroot smoothie with aronia
Continuing with our pink theme, here’s another smoothie which gets its fabulous colour from beetroot.
Beetroot seems to be one of those divisive vegetables that you either love or hate, but once you’ve used it in a smoothie you’ll never look back.
This vibrant vegetable provides fibre, vitamin C, iron, magnesium and potassium and a riotous colour to your drink.(3)
For a delicious berry flavour and a dose of anthocyanins – which protect your cells from damage by free radicals – we add our Organic Dried Aronia Berries. If you haven’t tried them before, aronia berries have a flavour which sits somewhere between blueberry and pomegranate, and contain tannins, rather like red wine.
If you like your smoothies with a hit of invigorating citrus, try adding some freshly squeezed lemon juice, or a shot of our Organic Bergamot Juice. Our bergamot is sourced from Calabria, Italy, thought to be the home of the finest bergamot in the world.
6. Chocolate smoothie
Sometimes, nothing but chocolate will do. Fortunately, adding a little healthy raw cacao to your smoothie provides you with a healthy drink that tastes like dark chocolate. It’s one of those wonderful occasions where chocolate can be seriously good for you.
There is a surprise ingredient in our chocolate smoothie which you may not expect: cooked pumpkin!
While it’s perhaps not the most commonly-used smoothie ingredient, we love to use leftover cooked pumpkin in our smoothies. It’s a fantastic way to eat more of this beta-carotene-packed vegetable. Plus, it helps to add body to your smoothie alongside the classic banana.
Make sure you use raw cacao powder for your chocolate smoothies. This is different from the cocoa powder (note the difference in spelling) found in many supermarkets.
Raw cacao powder is made from cocoa beans which have not been roasted. Processing them at a lower temperature allows healthy nutrients, such as antioxidants, to survive.
Meanwhile cocoa powder, often used in baking, is processed at a higher temperature, and is therefore less nutritious.
Our favourite six healthy smoothies for weight loss
There you have it! Our top six recipes for healthy smoothies for weight loss. We hope you enjoy them, and that they inspire you to create your own fun and delicious recipes at home!
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