The Skinny Smoothie
Do all smoothies make you lose weight? Not really. In fact if prepared wrong, most smoothies can actually cause weight gain. Here are a few tips to make sure your smoothie is working for you instead of against you each time.
1. Add a Natural Source Abundant in Fiber - Whole Foods
No, I don't mean for you to dump a heaping tablespoon of psyllium husk into your smoothie. While psyllium can be helpful in some cases of rare constipation, consuming it on a daily basis can weaken the colon muscles and create a dependency for laxatives in order to maintain regularity. Fiber is best when consumed in it's natural state. In other words, we should eat whole foods that are naturally high in fiber such as berries, apples, pears, bananas, nuts, and seeds.
2. Load Up on Berries
Yes, berries. Berries are a great source of fiber. One cup of raspberries weighs in at just 65 calories and provides 8g of dietary fiber and lots of vitamin C, with blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries providing about the same amount of nutrients and calories in each respective category. Berries are also loaded with antioxidants to help fight cancer while strengthening your immune system. Studies have shown that individuals who incorporate fresh berries in their diets have a better chance of both losing weight, and keeping the weight off. The fiber in the berries helps one fill fuller longer and therefore, act as an appetite suppressant.
3. Avoid Adding Juices
Oh I already know what you're going to say... "but my smoothie won't be sweet without it." Juices are usually loaded with sugars and you know what sugar does...get converted to fat (sad face). Most commercially produced juices are full of artificial colors and sweeteners and can turn a very healthy smoothie to nothing more than a cup of sugar. One thing I add to just about every smoothie I drink is a very ripe banana. What do you do with your bananas once they become speckled if you aren't a fan of eating them at that stage? Peel them, bag them, and freeze them, that's what. As bananas begin to speckle or ripen, they become increasingly sweeter and make for a perfect addition to your morning smoothie. And while bananas are very high in sugar, they are equally high in fiber, which decreases the rate of absorption of sugar (glucose) by the body. Consider using coconut water, nut milks, or water to create the perfect consistency for your smoothie. I prefer my smoothies on the thicker side, so I use less liquid.
4. Watch Your Portions
Fruit is extrememly nutritious and I strongly encourage you consume plenty during your daily intake. However, too much of the wrong kind can add unwanted calories and sugar. Pineapples and mangos are great in a smoothie however, due to their high sugar content and low fiber content, they can cause weight gain, so steer clear of using too much.
Having a nutritionally balanced smoothie is of the utmost importance. Be sure to keep your ratio 3:1 berries and/or green leafy vegetables to fruits of the high sugar, low fiber variety. A ratio of 3:1 keeps the glycemic load of your smoothie within healthy levels, improves digestion, and decreases the stress placed on the pancreas when the body becomes overloaded with sugar.