If you're not a big fan of eating your fruits and veggies, smoothies may be the way to go, especially if you're following a low-calorie diet where it's important that you make every calorie count. While consuming only 1,200 daily calories generally suits inactive petite women, calorie needs are dependent on age, gender and activity level, and many people require more. Consult your doctor to help you determine your specific needs.
Basic Guidelines for Your Low-Calorie Smoothie Diet
To keep calories in check and make sure you get the nutrients you need, include a variety of healthy, nutrient-rich foods from all the food groups on your 1,200-calorie diet with smoothies. That means fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy. Include three meals plus one snack on your meal plan, where each meal contains 350 calories and your snack 150 calories. Making your smoothies at home gives you control over calorie content.
Thick or Thin at Breakfast
If you're in a rush in the morning, smoothies make a good breakfast on-the-go. For thicker smoothies, freeze your fruit and yogurt the night before. You can make a 350-calorie breakfast smoothie with one large banana, 1 cup of whole strawberries, 1 cup of sugar-free, nonfat vanilla yogurt, 1/2 cup of nonfat milk and 2 teaspoons of peanut butter blended with ice. If your smoothie is a little too thick for your taste, add a little water or use a smaller banana and 1/2 cup of orange juice.
Add Some Vegetables to Your Lunch Smoothie
Most Americans don't get enough vegetables in their diet, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and most convenient lunch options are starch-and protein-heavy. Make vegetables the focus of your lunchtime smoothie to help keep a lid on calories while upping your nutrient intake. A nutritious 380-calorie lunch with a smoothie might include a small whole-wheat pita stuffed with 2 ounces of lean turkey with a green smoothie made with 1 cup of kale, one small peeled apple, 1/2 cup of apple juice, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger blended with ice.
Dinner and a Smoothie
A fruit smoothie makes a sweet ending to your dinner, and a healthy replacement for that 260-calorie small dish of premium ice cream. For dinner within your 1,200-calorie diet, you could enjoy 3 ounces of grilled salmon with 1/2 cup of steamed broccoli and 1/3 cup of cooked brown rice with a refreshing fruit smoothie made with 1/2 cup of frozen cubes of mango, 1/2 cup of pineapple juice and 1/4 cup of soft tofu blended with ice. This dinner and a smoothie contains 350 calories.
Don't Forget Snacks
Healthy snacks on a low-calorie diet not only help with hunger control, but also supply essential vitamins and minerals. Pairing protein and carbs at snacktime may help improve blood sugar and satiety. A 150-calorie smoothie might include 1 cup of chopped cucumber, 1 large kiwi and 1/2 cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt blended with ice or 1 cup of nonfat milk blended with a sliced medium peach and ice. Nonsmoothie 150-calorie snacks include five whole-grain nonfat crackers with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or 3 cups of air-popped popcorn with 1/2 cup of nonfat milk.
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Healthy Eating Plan
- FamilyDoctor.org: What It Takes to Lose Weight
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: The Exchange List System for Diabetic Meal Planning
- American Dietetic Association: Smart Snacking for Adults and Teens
- The Boston Globe: Drink Your Vegetables
- Vitamix: Easy Smoothie Fixes
- U.S. Department of Agriculture & U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Ice Creams, Vanilla, Rich
- Today's Dietitian: Taking Control of Hunger -- Lessons on Calming Appetite and Managing Weight