Meal replacement smoothies are a great alternative to traditional meals when you're on the run or in a rush. They also take the guesswork out of how much you're eating and minimize the need to count calories, often making it easier to lose weight.
Before attempting any weight loss diet, consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian for advice and guidance or to find out whether it's right for you.
Read more: How to Replace One Meal With a Protein Shake
Are Meal Replacement Smoothies Effective?
Swapping a traditional meal, which may contain 500 to 800 calories, for a meal replacement smoothie containing 200 to 300 calories, will effectively reduce your calorie intake per day.
In a small study of 25 older, abdominally obese men and women published in January 2015 in the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, researchers found that a 12-week weight loss intervention, which incorporated meal replacement products, was associated with clinically significant weight loss and improvements in cardiometabolic risk.
Although meal replacement smoothies aren't sustainable in the long term, anything that helps you eat fewer calories throughout the day will help you lose weight in the short term. Subbing in a meal replacement smoothie for one meal per day while consuming whole foods in your diet will allow you to get the nutrients you need for a healthy, energized body.
Read more: The Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Women
Benefits of Protein
Proteins are the building blocks of life because they help your body repair cells and create new ones. Protein in your diet is essential, especially for the growth and development of children and teenagers, as well as the support of fetal growth during pregnancy. When choosing a meal replacement smoothie, it's important to pick one that has a combination of amino acids that your body can't produce on its own; these are referred to as essential amino acids.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, a smoothie consisting of just fruit is an unbalanced mini-meal, so it's extremely important to add protein and/or greens. Protein powders that can be used as a meal replacement in smoothies usually contain one of the following:
- Whey protein
- Casein protein
- Egg white protein
- Soy protein
- Pea protein
- Rice protein
Read more: The 3 Best Types of Nondairy Protein Powders
Making a Healthy Smoothie
Be sure to measure your ingredients and track your calories when creating your own healthy smoothies for weight loss.
1. Start with a liquid.
Try picking a low-calorie, low-sugar option for your liquid base such as nondairy milk, green tea or coconut water.
2. Pick a protein.
Here you can add a scoop of protein powder such as whey protein, plant protein or soy protein. If you want to skip the powder, nut butter, tofu and/or yogurt are all healthy choices for added protein as well.
3. Add fresh or frozen fruit.
Almost any cut fruit will taste great in a smoothie. If you're using fresh fruit, try adding ice cubes as well for a thicker texture.
4. Add vegetables.
Adding kale or spinach to a smoothie is a smart way to pack in the greens without sacrificing the taste of the drink. The Mayo Clinic notes that a green smoothie mixed with fruit is an excellent source of vitamins A and C.
5. Finish off with a flavor booster.
Create custom flavor by adding vanilla extract, mint or ginger to your smoothie. Cinnamon is also a good addition with amazing health benefits.
- NCBI: Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging: "Effect of Protein Source During Weight Loss on Body Composition, Cardiometabolic Risk And Physical Performance in Abdominally Obese, Older Adults: A Pilot Feeding Study"
- MedlinePlus: "Protein in Diet"
- MedlinePlus: "Whey Protein"
- Health Finder: "Weight Management"
- Mayo Clinic: "Green Smoothie"
- Cleveland Clinic: "6 Awesome Ingredients to Add to Your Smoothie"