These tasty smoothies can beat bloat, help you lose weight, and keep hunger pangs in check.
Banana. Peanut butter. Cocoa powder. Milk. Ice cubes. Yogurt. Done. While this swirl of chocolate-peanut butter goodness sure does sound enticing, who are we kidding: Sometimes our DIY smoothies might as well be a double fro-yo order with milk chocolate malt balls forall the calories and added sugar they pack in.
Smoothies can absolutely be a part of your strategy for healthy, lasting weight loss—if that’s what you’re after—but only when done right. (Otherwise, consider them slurpable desserts with a health halo around them.) Nutritionists agree that incorporating a nutrient-dense smoothie into your daily diet can help avoid pound creepage by keeping hunger levels in check and even promote weight loss thanks to their filling fiber and muscle-building protein. To find out their go-to slimming sippers, we tapped top R.D.s for their favorite recipes.
Before we get into those, let's chat about weight loss for a minute. A perfect smoothie will not magically make you lose weight. In fact, no one thing is going to do that—at least not in a healthy or sustainable way. If you want to lose weight (and not everyone does), you have to also address a range of other factors that play important roles: sleep, stress, hormones and and other medical issues, to name a few biggies. Only by looking at weight loss from a holistic point of view can you really home in on a healthy goal, effect meaningful change, and see sustainable results. For some people, weight loss in and of itself might not be a healthy goal. If you have a history of disordered eating, you should consult a doctor before making any changes to your diet.
Now, whether you're looking for help on your road to weight loss or just want some delectable smoothie inspiration, read on, and dust off that blender.
"In the fall, I loveincorporating pumpkininto as many of my meals as possible,” says Rebecca Lewis, R.D., in-house nutritionist for meal-kit delivery serviceHelloFresh. "What gives pumpkins their gorgeous orange color is the antioxidant beta-carotene. This nutrient is helpful in slowing down aging in the body.” Did we mention pumpkin is a rich source of vitamin C? With only 49 calories, a cup of cooked pumpkin boasts 3 grams of fiber—great for filling you up without weighing you down.
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 frozen banana (adds creaminess and sweetness without added sugar)
handful of ice cubes
dash of pumpkin pie spice (swap for cinnamon if you don’t have this)
“The Green Sunrise Smoothie has everything you need to start your day right,” says Alexandra Miller, R.D.N., L.D.N., corporate dietitian atMedifast. “You’ll get a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids and essential vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy and strong while losing weight.”
Greek yogurt aficionados, rejoice. This creamy, decadent smoothie is also a nutrient powerhouse with the addition of chia seeds and berries. “This super simple smoothie is packed full of protein and fiber to crush cravings and keep you feeling satisfied for hours,” saysErin Palinski-Wade, author ofBelly Fat Diet for Dummies. The omega-3 fatty acids in the chia seeds help reduce stress hormones and decreaseinflammation, and the berries are packed full of antioxidants, she adds.
1 cup plain Greek yogurt, unsweetened
1 cup frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, or açai berries make great options)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp ground chia seeds
1/2 cup ice
Blend all ingredients together and enjoy.
Spicy Tropical Greens Delight
“Capsaicin, the active ingredient found in peppers, acts as a mild metabolism stimulant,” says Julieanna Hever, M.S., R.D., C.P.T., a plant-based dietitian and author ofThe Vegiterranean DietandThe Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition. “As an added bonus, pineapple has a diuretic effect which helps the body get rid of retained water.” (Read:Bye, bye, bloating.) Did we mention how good all the phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals found in those greens are? Yeah.
1 cup frozen mango chunks
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 1/2 unsweetened coconut water
1 cup leafy greens (baby spinach, kale, collard greens, etc.)
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Blend all ingredients together and enjoy. (Note: This recipe yields about two servings.
Vending machine cravings, meet your match. “At just 250 calories, this refreshing and delicious smoothie is packed with 18 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber to keep you satisfied and to keep energy and blood sugar level on an even keel without crashes,” say Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames, R.D.s atThe Nutrition Twins. The rich and creamy sweetness of this smoothie is especially great to satisfy a sweet tooth if you're trying to avoid consuming extra calories from unhealthier options. “Plus, the berries contain the phytochemical C3G that may increase the production of both adiponectin (which enhances fat metabolism) and leptin (which suppresses appetite),” they add.
1 quart plain nonfat Greek yogurt
8 ounces unsweetened frozen strawberries or blueberries
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 banana, frozen
1 tsp cinnamon
Add half of each of the yogurt, berries and milk into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the remainder of the ingredients and blend until smooth.(Note: This recipe yields about three servings so either refrigerate for later or pour into three glasses and share!
Say hi to spirulina. This exotic-sounding blue-green algae readily available in powder form at health food stores is well worth befriending. The low-calorie superfood is brimming with nutrients and is an easy slip-in for your next shake or smoothie bowl. “A 500 mg serving contains just 2 calories, allowing you to pack your body with nutrients while saving on calories,” says Lisa Hayim, registered dietitian and founder ofThe Well NecessitiesandTWN Collection. “The protein in spirulina is also easily digested and absorbed, making it easier to build lean muscle, which helps the bodyburn more calories and fat throughout the day.”
1/2 cup coconut water
1/2 cup almond milk
1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder (optional)
1 tsp spirulina
Blend all ingredients together and enjoy.
Belly-Busting Berry Smoothie
Here, creamy banana melds together with metabolism-boosting berries (blueberries and raspberries contain the flavonoid anthocyanin, which is associated with lower glucose levels, fewer cravings, and increased metabolism) in a simple shake that’s as filling as it is tasty. “The nut butter provides healthy fats and protein to keep you satisfied for a few hours and keep blood sugars steady,” explains celebrity nutritionistLisa DeFazio, author ofThe Women’s Health Big Book of Smoothies and Soups. "This prevents mindless snacking on high-sugar, high-calorie foods that contribute to weight gain.” Bonus: Thanks to banana’shigh potassium content, this shake helps crush bloating.
1 cup almond milk
1 cup frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.)