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If You Want to Lose Weight, This Is the Smoothie Formula to Use

Feb 5 2017 - 3:15am

Whether you're new to the smoothie-making scene with a barely-out-of-the-box NutriBullet in your kitchen or your blender has hundreds of smoothies under its blades, you can easily learn how to make a delicious, satisfying smoothie that can also help you slim down. We've enlisted the expertise from three nutritionists — Stephanie Clarke, RD, and Willow Jarosh, RD, of C&J Nutrition [1] and Elyse Wagner, CN, from My Kitchen Shrink [2] — to share the perfect equation for how to make a filling, lip-smacking-good smoothie that will help you lose weight.


Smoothies are a great choice for breakfast, since they're fast and easy and you can take them on the go. Be mindful of just how many healthy ingredients you're shoving into your blender — it's easy to make an over 600-calorie creation! When you're first beginning to make smoothies for weight loss, it's best to measure ingredients instead of eyeballing them. Willow and Stephanie note that everyone's daily calorie needs are different depending on height, weight, and amount of exercise. In general, aim for a 300- to 400-calorie breakfast smoothie.

This chocolate banana cashew smoothie [4] is 375 calories.


Getting your fill of fiber is essential for dropping pounds, because it fills your belly and keeps you feeling full longer so you won't feel hungry. Daily recommendations for fiber are around 25 grams, so Willow and Stephanie suggest trying to fit between five and 10 grams of fiber in at breakfast. Here are some ingredients you can add to your blender to boost the fiber content. The protein content is included to see how one ingredient can offer double the weight-loss power (fiber plus protein!). Aside from the typical fruits and greens listed below, Elyse recommends getting a little creative by adding Swiss chard, arugula, or even romaine.

Ingredient Fiber (g) Calories Protein (g)
1/2 cup blueberries 1.8 [5] 42 0.5
1/2 cup strawberries 1.5 [6] 24 0.5
1/2 cup raspberries 4 [7] 32 0.7
1 medium banana 2.3 [8] 59 1.4
1/2 apple (with skin) 2.1 [9] 47 0.2
1 kiwi, peeled 2.1 [10] 42 0.8
1/2 pear 2.8 [11] 52 0.3
1 medium peach 2.3 [12] 59 1.4
2 cups spinach 3 [13] 18 1.2
2 cups kale 2.7 [14] 67 4.4
1/4 avocado


Getting enough protein in the morning is also essential for weight loss. Since protein takes longer to digest [15], it also takes more calories to burn, so you'll shed pounds faster. Consuming 15 to 25 percent of your total daily calories from protein each day is a healthy spot to aim for, which would be 60 to 100 grams. Willow and Stephanie say that the lower-mid end of that range is perfect for most people, so let's say 65 grams of protein each day, which would be about 10 to 15 grams in the morning. While yogurt and milk are great options for protein-packed smoothie ingredients, check out the others below — some offer tons of filling fiber as well.

Ingredient Protein (g) Calories Fiber (g)
1 cup skim milk 8 [16] 90 0
1 cup unsweetened soymilk 7 [17] 80 2
1 cup Original Silk Almondmilk Protein + Fiber 5 [18] 90 5
3 ounces plain Greek yogurt 5.6 [19] 30 0
3 ounces vanilla soy yogurt 3.5 [20] 75 0.5
1/5 block soft tofu 6 [21] 60 0.5
1/2 cup cannellini beans 6 [22] 100 5
1 serving plant-based protein powder 17 [23] 90 3
1 tablespoon almond butter 3.5 [24] 95 2
1 tablespoon hemp seeds 3.3 [25] 57 1

This vegan vanilla milkshake smoothie [26] offers 17.4 grams of protein.

Healthy Fats

Don't avoid fats because you think they make you fat. Although they can be high in calories, small amounts are essential. Willow says, "Not only does the fat help your body fully absorb all of the nutrients you're getting from the other ingredients (fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K need fat in order for our bodies to use them), but fat helps a meal feel more satiating." Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) also have the added benefit of raising good HDL cholesterol, lowering bad LDL cholesterol, and helping prevent belly fat. Almonds, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and avocados are excellent sources; just go for small amounts, since they're calorie-dense.

This clear-skin smoothie [27] is made with both avocado and almond butter.


When trying to slim down, carb intake can be a major concern for many individuals. Since smoothies tend to include fruits, the high-sugar content may worry you. Willow, Stephanie, and Elyse agree that an all-fruit smoothie wouldn't be the best idea, since it's a large dose of sugar coming at you at one time with not a lot of protein or healthy fats to satiate you and balance out the meal. Plus your energy levels will soon plummet as your pangs of hunger rise. As long as you include 10 to 15 grams of protein and add some other ingredients besides fruit such as kale, avocado, and nuts, these nutritionists say not worry about overdoing it on the carbs.

This chocolate milkshake smoothie [28] is loaded with sweet, dessert-like flavor and has just over 15 grams of sugar.


Aside from fiber, liquid can also offer that full feeling, as well as prevent the bloating that accompanies constipation. Aside from hydrating fruits and veggies, go for low-cal options like straight-up water, coconut water, green tea, or unsweetened almond milk (it's only 30 calories per cup [29]).

Elyse suggests also trying coconut milk, kombucha, or kefir, and Stephanie and Willow love adding a few ice cubes, since it makes the smoothie frostier. If you're worried about the sugar content but love using coconut water or coconut-water ice cubes [30], Willow suggests cutting down slightly on the fruit when using it as an ingredient.

This debloating pineapple-papaya smoothie [31] is made with cucumbers, coconut water, and ice cubes.

Smoothie Recipe 1 (Dairy)

Now that you've got a handle on the perfect smoothie equation, here are two perfect examples to get you started on dropping pounds.

Pineapple Kale Smoothie


2 cups kale

1 cup frozen blueberries

1/2 cup frozen pineapple

3 ounces plain Greek yogurt

1/4 avocado

1 cup water

Source: Calorie Count [32]

Smoothie Recipe 2 (Vegan)

Strawberry Banana Spinach Smoothie

2 cups spinach

1 banana

1/2 cup strawberries

1/5 container soft tofu

1/2 tablespoon almond butter

1 cup unsweetened soymilk

1/2 cup coconut water

Source: Calorie Count [33]

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