Green Smoothies can be a great and easy addition to your daily diet. When they're properly built, they can be an ideal fat burning food as they can be nutrient-rich, loaded with fiber and protein and an easy way to your ten-a-day. However, there is an art to making a pimped up nutrient dense smoothie that tastes as amazing while it's serving your body well.
These seven tips will help you create the perfect green smoothie:
Tip #1: Start with water or plant milks. Water, unsweetened coconut water or unsweetened plant milks like almond, coconut, hemp and cashew milk are low in fat and usually calories but do read the labels carefully as products really vary. Almond milk helps give your green smoothie a creamy texture, while making it more filling.
Tip #2: Add a pinch of healthy fat. Add 1/4 of an avocado, or a tablespoon of chia seeds or flaxseed, or a few nuts to give your smoothie some heart healthy fats which help you absorb all the vitamins from the green veg. Nut milks are good, too!
Fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. Healthy, plant-based fats eaten in the right proportions, are good for you and can help you reach your weight loss goals.
Keep the fat content low, however, as too much fat and fruit in the same green smoothie might cause gas and bloating. Fat is also a dense source of calories. While calories from whole foods are better for you, too many calories from any source may sabotage any weight loss efforts.
Tip #3: Sweeten it with a little fruit. Keep the ratio 2 veg to 1 portion of fruit. Aim for low GL fruits like apples, pears, berries, kiwi fruit - and just add 1 or 2 portions max to at least 3 portions of green veg, to keep the sugar content low.
Skip the honey, agave, and maple syrup. Any concentrated sugars can turn a healthy, weight loss smoothie into a sugar bomb. Refined and concentrated, processed sugar might stall your ability to lose weight.
Tip #4: Use a quality protein powder. Feel free to use a quality, plant-based protein powder in your green smoothies which boosts the protein content, and it helps you feel full and satisfied. I use That Protein, The Organic Protein Co, Pulsin’s or Naturya’s hemp or pea protein in my green smoothies, which are easily available at big supermarkets or health food shops.You can also increase the protein content of your green smoothies naturally using chia seeds and goji berries, as well as higher protein greens like kale and dandelion greens.
Tip #5: Make it a meal. I have found it very effective to use green smoothies as a meal replacement. Replacing one meal each day with a smoothie is an easy way to lower daily calorie intake. It also increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables while boosting your water and fibre intake – all great things for healthy weight.
** Meal replacement is not advisable for children - just use smoothies alongside other nutritious breakfast options or as a post school snack.
Tip #6: Stick with fresh, whole foods. Fresh fruits, vegetables and dark leafy greens are packed full of fibre, 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 for later use. Avoid canned fruit as it is often soaked in syrup and nutritionally inferior to fresh fruit.
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 provide more sustainable long term results.