When dieting to lose weight, shakes are a convenient option if you're in a rush and can't make time to sit down to a solid meal. Rather than buying a premade weight-loss shake that could contain added sugar and processed ingredients, a better option is to make your own, adjusting it to your own dietary needs.
First Up -- Fruit
Base your weight-loss shake around fruit. This will give the shake a sweet taste extra sugars or flavorings. By using whole fruits in your shake, you're also getting more fiber than if you were to use fruit juice, notes Joanne Slavin of the Department of Food Science and nutrition at the University of Minnesota. Use one to two portions of fruit, such as bananas, apple, strawberries, raspberries or cherries. You could even use vegetables such as kale, spinach, carrots and broccoli.
The Power of Protein
Including more protein in your diet could help you lose weight. A study published in a 2005 edition of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" found that participants who increased their protein intake from 15 percent to 30 percent of overall calories noticed a significant increase in satiety, which could help weight loss. One of the easiest ways to get protein into your shake is with a protein powder, such as whey, hemp or casein. If you'd rather not go down the supplement route add low-fat natural yogurt or cottage cheese to your shake.
Putting extra fat into your shake might not seem like the brightest idea when trying to lose weight. Low-fat diets, however, aren't optimal for controlling and lowering body weight, notes Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health. Plus, you need plenty of unsaturated fats for good health. To solve this, add a small handful of chopped nuts, a tablespoon of peanut butter or shredded coconut, or a tablespoon of olive, macadamia or walnut oil to your shake.
Putting It All Together
A good blender is essential for making a shake, writes nutritionist Ryan Andrews on the Precision Nutrition website. Consider the liquid you use too. To keep calories lower, stick to water, but if you want a slightly different taste without adding too many calories, try almond milk, skim milk or green tea. Above all, your weight-loss shake needs to fit in with the rest of your desired calorie intake each day.
- Chicago Tribune: Fruit Juices and Smoothies: Dangerous for Your Health?
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: A High-Protein Diet Induces Sustained Reductions in Appetite, Ad Libitum Caloric Intake, and Body Weight Despite Compensatory Changes in Diurnal Plasma Leptin and Ghrelin Concentrations
- Harvard School of Public Health: Ask the Expert: Controlling Your Weight
- Precision Nutrition: The Super Shake Guide