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Nutrition

A Nutritionist Reveals the Single Best Thing You Can Do for Your Smoothie If You Want to Lose Weight

Plus four more healthy smoothie ideas

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Smoothies are a great way to pack fruit and vegetables into one delicious package so you can load up on nutrients without even know you’re doing it! They also make for an easy on-the-go breakfast. You can stock up on healthy greens like spinach and kale without having to taste their bitter edge thanks to berries like blueberries and strawberries.

But how do you make the perfect smoothie for weight loss? Here, nutrition experts Mira Calton, CN, and Jayson Calton, PhD, bestselling authors of Rebuild Your Bones: The 12-Week Osteoporosis Protocol (available at Amazon, $21.49), answer questions posed by readers of First for Women to deliver healthy smoothie ideas.

How do I make my morning smoothie more filling?

Q: I start my day with a smoothie but end up feeling hungry by late morning. What can help keep me fuller longer?

A: Kudos to you for starting your day off right! Smoothies supply your body with extra fiber, vitamins, minerals and plant compounds. And a study in the journal Flavour suggests that enjoying drinks with a thick consistency (such as smoothies) are more satiating than thinner drinks, and they fill you up for relatively few calories.

Our best healthy smoothie idea: Swap in one cup of cauliflower florets (fresh or frozen) instead of a banana. The cruciferous vegetable provides a similar creaminess as a banana, and when you mix the raw veggie into a smoothie, it doesn’t have a noticeable taste. But it will help reduce the sip’s sugar content and calories. What’s more, you’ll get bonus protein and fiber to feel full for fewer calories. To make your own cauliflower rice, grate cauliflower on a box grater or shred it in a food processor. No time to DIY? Frozen riced cauliflower is also available in grocery stores.

What can I put in my smoothie to lose weight fast?

Q. My niece’s wedding is in a few weeks. I want to lose 15 pounds and a friend suggested I try a smoothie — how can I make it extra-slimming? 

A. To feel confident at the celebration, we suggest adding kefir to your daily smoothie. This tangy fermented drink is a top source of Bifidobacterium lactis, a strain of probiotic bacteria that has been shown to spur the release of compounds that break down fat and block the creation of new fat cells. to sped weight loss.

To act on this healthy smoothie idea, look kefir at the grocery store alongside yogurt or make it at home. To do: In a glass jar, mix 1 teaspoon of active kefir grains (like Cultures for Health Kefir Starter Culture — Buy from Amazon, $14.99) with 1 cup of whole milk. Cover with a paper towel, secure with a rubber band, and let sit at room temperature until thick, about 24 hours. Strain out the kefir grains and sip the drink by itself, add it to a smoothie or use it to make a creamy salad dressing. 

Do pricey protein powders speed slimming?

Q. I’ve been adding a scoop of whey protein to my morning smoothie for months. Lately I’ve seen ads for fancy patented proteins that are double the price of my grocery-store brand but promise faster slimming. Is it worth switching?

A: When it comes to whey protein, a higher price tag doesn’t equal speedier weight loss. Every whey protein is going to contain the same essential amino acids (like cysteine, leucine, and lysine) that have been shown to speed the creation of metabolism-revving lean muscle, increase calorie burn and boost levels of appetite-suppressing hormones. Some brands advertise specific benefits or studies conducted with their product, but that doesn’t mean a cheaper product won’t yield the same results.

To get the most out of your protein powder, we suggest a whey protein concentrate. Unlike an isolate, in which the protein has been separated from the fat and other components, concentrates deliver compounds (like bovine serum albumin) that have been shown to strengthen the immune system and boost the production of liver-supporting glutathione. 

Can a daily smoothie help me detox?

Q: I’ve been so busy lately and it has derailed my healthy eating habits, so I’d love to do a cleanse to reset my system — without getting cranky and tired. Is there an easier way? 

A: Yes! Research points to a plant extract that can strengthen the liver’s detoxifying capabilities: moringa. This plant, which has been used in South Asian countries for generations to treat liver disease, contains polyphenols that reduce oxidative stress and increase levels of detoxifying enzymes in the liver. An animal study in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology found that taking moringa extract for 15 days resulted in a significant reduction in markers of liver damage.

To get the perks, simply add 1 teaspoon of moringa powder to a daily smoothie. Another boon: Moringa delivers more than 90 protective compounds shown to increase cellular energy and strengthen immunity.

What’s the best non-dairy yogurt to add to my smoothie?

Q: I started sipping a fruit smoothie with creamy yogurt, nuts and seeds each morning and it’s helped me lose weight. But lately the dairy has been giving me indigestion, so I want to switch to nondairy. Which is the best?

A: You’re not alone: Many women over age 45 experience a degree of sensitivity to lactose, so many are ditching dairy in favor of alternatives. And fortunately, there are tons of options on the market. Our favorite is coconut yogurt, which is typically made from coconut milk and added probiotics, plus flavorings or stabilizers. While it doesn’t deliver quite as much protein as traditional dairy yogurt, the coconut milk base has a thick, creamy texture, and it’s packed with healthy slimming fats. Look for a brand that contains no — or a minimal amount of — added sugar, like GT’s CocoYo (available in health-food stores). 

Not a fan of coconut? Try a cashew- or almond-based treat. These yogurts are easy to find on most grocery store shelves, plus offer a more mild taste — perfect for using in baking or blending into smoothies.

Meet Our Expert Panel

Nutrition experts Mira Calton, CN, and Jayson Calton, PhD, are leading authorities on nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. To ask them a question, send an email to health@firstforwomen.com.

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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