When done right, the best smoothie recipes will leave you feeling full and satisfied for 4 hours afterward while improving your metabolism at the same time. But just how do you reach this utopia of blended-produce-nirvana?
Well, my friend, let me show you the way… because the best smoothie recipes for weight loss have these 6 things in common:
- Power Greens
- No Dairy (I’m looking at you – whey-based protein powder and Greek yogurt)
- No Juice (or other high-glycemic sweeteners like honey, agave, etc)
- And no Ice Cubes
I know, you probably heard a record scratch and stopped reading after the, “no dairy,” part.
But if you want to achieve and maintain your ideal weight, you gotta stick with me here. After all, you can’t keep making the same decisions (read: mistakes) every day and magically expect a different result, right?
So let’s just sidebar dairy for a moment. And before we dive into this list of six items, let’s actually step back for a moment and talk about the bigger picture here.
And the question I’m sure you just asked yourself is, “why these items and not the others?” Because I’m sure you’ve seen all these “no-no” ingredients in a smoothie recipe before.
Here’s the thing, there are actually very few foods that are anti-inflammatory for everyone. Meaning, if you’re looking to lose weight, achieve lasting weight loss, or improve your overall health, most of the smoothie recipes out there are not going to work that well for you.
When a person has more weight to lose, it can actually be pretty easy to start releasing that weight when you know what to do. But, as you lose more and more weight, you have to keep refining and fine-tuning your strategy in order to keep seeing weight loss results.
And that’s especially the time when all these inflammatory smoothie recipes are going to be counterproductive for you.
That’s right, I just called almost all the smoothie recipes out there inflammatory. And it’s because of what I just said a moment ago. There are very few foods that are universally anti-inflammatory for everyone. Meaning that an avocado green smoothie will work for some of you, but not all of you. Or that mango vanilla Greek yogurt smoothie you can’t get enough of, might work for you but not your best friend.
So how do you take the guesswork out of what would otherwise be a huge trial and error process? And how do you avoid the foods that will secretly slow down your metabolism? Well, I basically just put cheat sheets in front of my patients and say, “Go!”
Because the vast amount of research I’ve done on nutrition and weight loss has been about identifying your personal power foods. When people focus at least 80% of their time and attention on those foods, they see huge improvements in multiple areas of their health within the first month alone.
Now, there are some foods that are universally anti-inflammatory for everyone, so those are the ingredients I recommend when I’m speaking to everyone at once. But, there are some rare exceptions to this rule, like if you have a food allergy or sensitivity. But, it’s actually really rare for people to have problems with things like blueberries.
So let’s take this conversation back to the “6 Things The Best Weight Loss Smoothies Have In Common,” and I think that list is going to make a lot more sense now. In fact, it’s likely a much more powerful list for you now because this list not only includes the things that work for everyone, but it also includes a few common smoothie ingredients that really don’t work for anyone with weight loss goals.
With that in mind, you can basically think of this list as the ultimate guide to upgrading your smoothie routine.
So let’s dive in! And we’ll focus first on the three ingredients you should definitely include in your smoothies.
For starters, I love using frozen berries as the main ingredient for smoothies. They’re like little antioxidant ice cubes and there are several berries that make an excellent choice for everyone. For starters, blueberries, cherries, and raspberries are some of the best choices and easy to find. Out of the three of them, cherries are actually the most beneficial for everyone. Buy organic if you can, and there isn’t anything more convenient than buying and storing frozen.
The second main ingredient for blending the perfect power smoothie is to incorporate power greens. I buy mine in the US at Costco, where they sell a big mixed bag of kale, spinach, and Swiss chard. But, if you can’t easily find a blend, at least go for spinach. And here’s my secret bonus tip: when you get home with a bag of fresh greens, just go ahead and throw the whole thing in your freezer – it’s the absolute easiest way to keep those leaves healthy and easy to use. If you’re buying greens outside the US, you may find frozen spinach in little bricks at the store. If that’s the case you’ll want to prep that ahead of time just by setting one of those bricks or cubes into your smoothie cup, or blender, so it can defrost before you’re ready to smoothie-it-up. As for ratios, you want a ratio between greens and berries to be equal, or slightly heavy towards the berries to avoid an overly “green” flavor or texture, especially if you’re sensitive towards that. So work your ratio to get as many greens as you can but in a way where you still enjoy your smoothie. If you haven’t heard me say it before, healthy eating should taste good, too.
And the third main ingredient I want you to be sure and focus on is fiber. Now, my favorite way to add fiber to smoothies is with whole flaxseeds. I’ve got a Vita-mix blender so I can blend all sorts of things into smooth creations. And I recommend you add 2 tablespoons per smoothie serving. Fiber is a crucial ingredient to creating the perfect power smoothie because fiber is what leaves you feeling full and satisfied for hours on end. Flax has huge health benefits by supplying omega-3 fatty acids and supporting healthy cardiovascular systems.
Now let’s take a look at those three ingredients you should definitely avoid if you’re looking to improve your metabolism and your overall health.
I would really encourage you to let go of dairy as much as possible when it comes to your smoothies. If you follow my lead by including the three power ingredients from above, you’ll still end up with creamy smoothies. The truth is, dairy is very problematic for most people who are trying to improve their metabolism. And it’s not just the milk or yogurt you might be adding in, it’s also the whey-based protein powders that dominate the protein powder aisle. So if you want to include protein powder, my recommendation is to use pea protein. It’ll give your smoothies a wonderful creamy texture without imparting a strong flavor. There’s also rice protein powder, although some people find it a little grainy texture-wise; and there are also a variety of other vegan protein sources, but they aren’t anti-inflammatory for everyone like a pea or rice-based protein powder is.
The second big mistake I see people making is to add juice or other sweeteners to their smoothies. Now, if you’re following my recommendations and using berries, you don’t need to add juice. Just to point out the obvious, juice is made from fruit or berries, but it’s watered down and usually has a ton of sugar added to it. And we don’t want either of those things because they’ll water down our digestive process and slow our metabolisms. So if you need to sweeten your smoothie, I recommend you add small dried figs or prunes. Either of these two options is small, soft, sweet, and anti-inflammatory for everyone (minus the rare exception like I mentioned above about blueberries).
And the last thing I want you to avoid is adding ice cubes. Your smoothie will be cold enough if you’re following my frozen berry and frozen power green recommendations. And ice cubes just water everything down. You want a smoothie that’s thick and satisfying, not something that’s the consistency of water. What’s more important here, is that you want to be consuming most of your water away from your meals because the more water you consume with your meal, the more you are watering down and diluting your digestive juices. Put more simply, too much water with meals is bad for your metabolism. You want your stomach acid and digestive enzymes to be as concentrated as possible so you can break your food down as best as possible. That way you can absorb more nutrients, decrease inflammation, and improve your metabolism.
Now, I've reworked smoothie recipes on multiple continents at this point, so chances are you're making one of these common mistakes. But, now you've got a solid understanding of which ingredients you should and shouldn't be focusing on to improve your metabolism with the perfect power smoothie!
Be sure to download my personal power smoothie recipe and give these tips a try!