Strawberry shakes can be healthy additions to your weight-loss plan, and the even better news is that they can help you slim down if you use them to replace higher-calorie foods. Plus, making shakes yourself allows you to maintain control over the ingredients you use and the number of calories in your drink.
Adding strawberry shakes to your normal daily diet is more likely to help you gain weight than lose it, since those shakes come with calories. However, using low-calorie shakes as meal replacements is a proven strategy for long-term weight loss. In one study published in 2011 in “Nutrition Journal,” obese subjects who used shakes as meal replacements daily for 40 weeks lost significantly more weight and body fat than subjects following a food-based, reduced-calorie diet.
To steadily lose weight, your strawberry shake needs to have fewer total calories than the meal it’s replacing. Jefferson University Hospital registered dietitian Emily Rubin recommends using meal replacement shakes that are no more than 200 calories. Start with fresh strawberries -- 1 cup of sliced berries has just 53 calories. It also has 3.3 grams of fiber, which is the part of plant foods your body can't digest and which doesn't contribute calories to your diet. Fiber helps fill you up and keeps you feeling full for a while after you've finished your shake. This may help you consume fewer calories overall for weight loss.
The Power of Protein
Adding some protein to your strawberry shake may help keep you full until your next meal, since protein is more satiating than any other type of nutrient. One cup of nonfat, plain Greek yogurt has just 100 calories and 18 grams of protein. The same amount of skim milk has about 80 calories and 8 grams of protein, and 1 cup of soft tofu cubes has 150 calories and 16 grams of protein. Another option is a low-calorie protein powder, such as whey. Two scoops of one popular brand have about 150 calories and 26 grams of protein.
Easy on the Sugar
Strawberries are naturally sweet, with almost 8 grams of sugar per cup of sliced fruit. If you use ripe berries, that sweetness should be enough to infuse your shake. Avoid adding any type of processed sugar, which is not only linked to obesity but also heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure. If the berries alone aren’t sweet enough for you, considering tossing in half a very ripe banana, which will add about 50 calories and 7 grams of natural sugar.
- Nutrition Journal: Efficacy of a Meal Replacement Diet Plan Compared to a Food-Based Diet Plan After a Period of Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance
- ABC News: The 'Skinny' on Nutritional Weight Loss Shakes
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Protein, Weight Management and Satiety
- FAGE USA: FAGE Total 0% Greek Yogurt
- BBC Good Food: The Health Benefits of... Strawberries
- Harvard School of Public Health: Obesity Prevention Source -- Health Risks
- The New York Times: Is Sugar Toxic?
- Fitness: Fiber -- The New Fat Fighter
- The Washington Post: Are Green Drinks -- Juices and Smoothies -- An Effective Way to Get the Nutrients You Need?