When you are trying to slim down, it's important to make calories count. If you buy a smoothie at a cafe, you risk wasting calories on a beverage colored with food dyes and flavored with sugary syrups instead of real fruit. Make your own fruit smoothie at home to ensure it's packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and other nutrients essential for healthy weight loss.
Pour milk into the bowl of the blender. One cup of skim milk has only 90 calories but 8 grams of protein, which will help keep your stomach full. Additionally, 1 cup has 129 milligrams of calcium -- a mineral essential for bone and tooth health. If you are lactose intolerant, use unflavored soy milk instead.
Scoop in more high-protein dairy. Nonfat Greek-style yogurt and cottage cheese are both weight-loss superstars, helping to fill your belly without adding a lot of calories. A 6-ounce serving of yogurt has 15 to 20 grams of protein, while a cup of cottage cheese has 15 grams of protein for only 104 calories. Avoid sugary, flavored yogurts and opt for plain, unsweetened varieties.
Blend in some grains. Oatmeal may seem like a strange smoothie ingredient, but the grain is a good source of protein and heart-healthy fiber. One cup of oats cooked with water has 160 calories, 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Run the blender for a few minutes to incorporate the oats completely into your smoothie.
Fortify With Fruit
Toss half a cup of blueberries into the blender for a dose of cancer-fighting antioxidants. Other berries, including raspberries and blackberries, are similarly rich in antioxidants and excellent sources of heart-healthy fiber.
Make the smoothie creamy with sliced banana. This fruit is loaded with blood pressure-lowering potassium.
Slice kiwi and strawberries -- both rich in vitamin C -- into your smoothie. Papaya, another good source of vitamin C, also contains an important B vitamin called folate.
Add a splash of fruit juice. Squeeze a whole orange into the blender for a dose of vitamin C and potassium. Store-bought juices are another option, but avoid varieties with added sugar. Stick with 100-percent fruit juice.