A lot of people see smoothies as being the ultimate solution for weight loss, fitness, and meal replacements. After all, they’re jam-packed with awesome ingredients, so how could they not be great for your health? Well, before you start your smoothie-only diet, there are a few things you need to know about making the perfect smoothie.
The Myth of the “Perfect Smoothie”
Let’s get one thing clear: the “perfect smoothie” doesn’t exist! Some smoothies are aimed at weight loss, others at muscle-building, and still others at providing critical nutrients. You won’t find any smoothie that will deliver all three results! Smoothies are made according to your needs, so you should start thinking of smoothies that will give you the nutrients that your body needs in order to reach your goal. In the end, it’s that goal that determines what kind of smoothie you’re going to end up making!
The Weight Loss Smoothie
A weight loss smoothie should have all three macros: carbs, fats, and protein. It should be weighted slightly heavier on the carbs side—roughly 45% carbs to 30% protein and 25% fats. This is done to keep you full for longer, as the high-fiber content of the smoothies will ensure that you are not hungry until your next meal. In a way, this makes weight loss smoothies a decent meal replacement, as you get a balance of the three critical macronutrients. Your goal should always be to use high-fiber carbs, as little sugar as possible, and enough fruits and veggies to deliver critical micronutrients.
The Muscle-Building Smoothie
A muscle-building smoothie is all about the protein! Protein powder delivers a hefty dose of the amino acids required to build new muscle tissue, making it the most important component of your muscle-building smoothie. If you’re not going to use protein powder, you’ll need to use a high-protein vegetarian ingredient like hemp seeds or quinoa. A bit of carbs and fats will help to provide the energy your body needs to function before, during, and after your intense training session, and to replenish expended energy. A bit of fruits and vegetables are okay after the workout is done, but a pre-workout smoothie should have as little fiber as possible to avoid indigestion.
The “More Veggies” Smoothie
This type of smoothie is ideal for people who struggle to eat veggies in their regular meals but want to try a new and creative way to get more veggies. It’s all about packing as much fruits and veggies as you can into a delicious smoothie, and hopefully the fruits will mask the taste of veggies enough that you can enjoy it. This smoothie is typically made with water, coconut milk, or juice, along with fruits that provide sweetness. Then you add in a lot of veggies—kale, spinach, carrots, and celery among the most popular options. These smoothies will usually have a bit more sugar (from the fruit), but the high fiber content makes them a decent option for those who have a hard time eating veggies.
The Hydrating Smoothie
This smoothie is all about giving your body more liquid! You’ll want to cut back on sugars and sweeteners, and instead stick with smoothies that provide a lot of fiber, potassium, and water. Watermelon, bananas, spinach, celery, and melons are all very hydrating ingredients, making them excellent to use in your hydrating smoothie. Truth be told, these are often closer to blended juices than proper smoothies, and they’re a great choice if you don’t like drinking plain unflavored water.