Try these slimming ingredients in your weight loss smoothie for a creamy, satisfying shake that’s low calorie, low carb and sugar free.
Smoothies are one of the easiest and most delicious ways to get a serving of lean protein and loads of vitamins, but they can be hard to make thick, creamy and crave-worthy (think: milkshake!) without high sugar fruits and fat-packed nut butters.
IS YOUR HEALTHY SMOOTHIE STANDING BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR WEIGHT LOSS GOALS?
There’s going to be a time you need a 450-calorie shake to get you through a long day, but most of the time, a girl just needs a convenient way to get in a quick health and beauty boost and get out the door in the morning!
If your goal is to lose weight, think twice before you fire up your blender with a popular Pinterest smoothie recipe. I searched Pinterest for “healthy smoothie recipes” and made a list of common ingredients from all the recipes that showed up on the first page.
NUTRITION INFO FOR POPULAR “HEALTHY” SMOOTHIE INGREDIENTS
While any of these ingredients could potentially be part of a weight loss smoothie in small amounts, they do not make it easy to create a shake that is light on calories, sugar, carbohydrates and fat, particularly when you use “normal” amounts and incorporate several options from this list.
HOW TO MAKE FAT BURNING SMOOTHIES FOR WEIGHT LOSS
When creating a smoothie for weight loss, we all know the idea is that you replace a meal with a shake that is low calorie so that you consume fewer calories throughout a day. But if you’re replacing chewable food with a low calorie drink, how do you keep from feeling hungry?
Before you blend, make sure your smoothie checks each of the following boxes:
Weight Loss Smoothie Checklist
1. DRINK DENSITY
Research shows that the thickness of a smoothie can actually impact your feeling of satiation. The study found participants felt more full on thicker shakes (even at 100 calories) vs high calorie (500) thinner shakes! Think THICK if you want to be thin.
Similar to drink density, the volume of your smoothie has a big impact on how full you feel hours later. I’ve been “volumizing” a lot of my everyday recipes because I can feel full on fewer calories, making it easier to drop pounds without starving.
Including a serving of lean protein in your weight loss smoothie is a no-brainer. Protein helps you build muscle and also keeps you feeling fuller, longer.
4. HEALTHY ADD-INS
This is a catch-all for all the health-boosting goodies like fiber, vitamins, low-glycemic fruits, vegetables and supplements. If you simply blend protein powder and almond milk and call it a day, you’re missing a huge opportunity to let your smoothie provide weight loss benefits beyond staving off hunger for a few hours.
Don’t punish yourself with grassy-tasting smoothies. Losing weight is hard enough! A weight loss smoothie can be thick, creamy and taste like dessert yet still be low in calories and loaded with flavorful and good-for-you ingredients like cocoa powder, powdered peanut butter, coffee and stevia. To work long term, your smoothie needs to be satisfying and taste good.
FOUR SECRET INGREDIENTS FOR AMAZING FAT BURNING SMOOTHIES
Drink density and volume are two key components of a satisfying weight loss smoothie that most people overlook.
Too many smoothie recipes make the mistake of adding too much ice or almond milk to add volume without calories, yet both of these options only make your shake thin and watered down.
So let me let you in on a secret: there are four insanely easy and healthy ingredients that make low calorie shakes thick, creamy and satisfying WITHOUT any extra calories, sugar, carbs or fat. I call them “Secret Ingredients” because there are not nearly enough people talking about them. You’ll see what I mean, especially when you get to #4!
Glucomannan is a serious weapon when it comes to transforming sad, thin smoothies into thick and creamy, DQ Blizzard-like desserts.
Glucomannan, powdered konjac root, is an amazing thickener for smoothies and also a powerful weight loss tool. Glucomannan absorbs many times its weight in water to form a gel in the stomach, making you feel full – without any extra calories.
This magical little powder is calorie free, carb free, fat free and CHEAP! One jar will last you a long time. It only takes a little (usually 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon) to thicken a huge, blender-sized shake. (And it works for more than smoothies!)
Tips for Buying Glucomannan
- Look for 100% pure glucomannan powder without any additives or fillers
- Make sure you are buying the powder, not tablets. The tablets are more readily available, as glucomannan can also be taken in tablet form as an appetite suppressant.
- We like this glucomannan powder from NOW brand.
How to Use Glucomannan in a Smoothie
- 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon is typically all you need to create a thick and creamy smoothie.
- Blend in phases. First, blend all of your smoothie ingredients together EXCEPT for ice and whey protein, if using. Once well blended, add your ice until smooth, then mix in your whey protein last.
Low Calorie Weight Loss Smoothie Recipes with Glucomannan
- Ice Creamed Lemonade by Briana Thomas
- Frosted Mocha by Mamashire
- Salted Caramel Protein Shake via Pinterest
#2 XANTHAN GUM
If you don’t want to buy glucomannan, xanthan gum is another good option that’s more widely accessible. Xanthan gum, a common thickener and stabilizing agent used in a wide variety of processed and gluten free foods, can also be used at home to make a low calorie, filling smoothie.
Similar to glucomannan, it takes just a little bit of xanthan gum to add density and volume to an ordinary smoothie. Just one-quarter to one-half a teaspoon will thicken up most smoothies.
Beyond smoothies, xanthan gum is the key ingredient in another frozen, low calorie treat popular with IIFYM dieters called “protein fluff.” Protein fluff is a massive, oversized and super-filling smoothie bowl (think your largest mixing bowl) that eats like ice cream. It’s fun to try and perfect for hangry days.
Tips for Buying Xanthan Gum
- Look for it in the health aisle or baking aisle at your grocery store. Frequently used in gluten free cooking, it’s often stocked with the gluten free baking supplies.
- If you’re like me and prefer to order everything on Amazon, I like the xanthan gum from Now Foods because it comes in an easy to store and use small container with a cap (vs most packaged in messy bags that don’t close), and it’s a reasonable 6-oz amount.
How to use Xanthan Gum in a Smoothie
- 1/2 a teaspoon of xanthan gum is typically enough to thicken any shake or smoothie. If you’re unsure, start with less and add as you go.
- Blend your smoothie a little longer than you typically would to give xanthan gum time to work. With my Vitamix, it takes about 90 seconds.
Low Calorie Weight Loss Smoothie Recipes with Xanthan Gum
- Chunky Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Shake by Lillie Eats & Tells
- Lemon Shake by the Dashing Dish
- Peanut Butter Smoothie from Ideal Fit
#3 FROZEN CAULIFLOWER
If you’ve always relied on bananas to thicken up your smoothies, cauliflower could easily be your new best friend. Just like banana, frozen cauliflower will add heft and creamy volume to your smoothie. Most importantly, it will not taste anything like cauliflower!
Beyond its ability to deliver a thick and creamy smoothie, cauliflower gets bonus points for adding healthy fiber, potassium, phytochemicals and vitamins C and K without all the sugar, carbohydrates and extra calories that come along with frozen fruit.
Mild tasting, cauliflower can be used with just about any smoothie ingredient. Any hint of cauliflower flavor easily disappears!
Tips for Buying Cauliflower for Smoothies
- Frozen riced cauliflower provides a more delicate, velvety texture than florets. It blends smooth faster, too!
- If you only have frozen cauliflower florets, pulse them in a food processor or high powered blender until they break down into rice-sized pieces.
How to use Cauliflower in a Smoothie
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup frozen riced cauliflower is typically the right amount to add for smoothie volume and thickness.
- If you are worried about a cauliflower taste, start with 1/4 cup and work your way up. You’ll find you were worried about nothing!
Low Calorie Weight Loss Smoothie Recipes with Cauliflower
- Mocha Cauliflower Cold Brew Protein Smoothie by Peanut Butter Fingers
- Malted Chocolate Cauliflower Smoothie by Eating Bird Food (this shake is a personal favorite!)
- Tone It Up’s Cauliflower Protein Smoothie via Well and Good
#4 FROZEN OKRA
This is my favorite on the list because it’s so surprising. It may take you some courage to throw okra into your next smoothie, but trust me when I say you really won’t need it -okra makes a fantastic shake.
Okra shakes have been growing in popularity ever since their introduction in the first Trim Healthy Mama cookbook. The novel weight loss shakes, named “secret big boys” because no one would ever guess or detect the okra, okra smoothies are now a weight loss darling because so many women have noticed that adding a daily serving of okra helps them bust through stubborn weight loss plateaus and lose weight faster.
Okra does have a flavor, but there are ways to get rid of it! Okra disappears best in bold flavors like chocolate, gingerbread and mocha. A great resource for okra shakes are the Trim Healthy Mama cookbooks. Get the first THM cookbook for the original shakes, and the Trim Healthy Table has even more variations that even include a tropical fruit smoothie with okra.
Tips for Buying Okra for Smoothies
- It must be diced and frozen! (It’s never slimy.) No substitutions.
- Shop early and often. At least in my local Connecticut stores, frozen diced okra isn’t readily stocked, so I’m in the habit of looking for it every time I’m at the store and adding a few bags to my stash when they have them. I never want to be caught without it!
How to use Okra in a Smoothie
- Use about one cup of frozen diced okra for a typical meal-sized smoothie. Feeling okra-shy? Start with 1/2-3/4 cup and work your way up.
- You must have a high speed blender like a Vitamix. (I have this one.)
- First blend the okra with everything except ice and whey, and blend like a maniac! You want the okra to completely break down and disappear. Then add your ice until smooth, and finally, whey protein if using.
Low Calorie Weight Loss Smoothie Recipes with Okra
- Pumpkin Spice Cafe Secret Big Boy by Trim Healthy Mama
- Secret Ingredient Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake by My Montana Kitchen
- Chocolate Dreamy by Briana Thomas