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Perfecting the Smoothie

Smoothies are one of the easiest ways to provide controlled calories on a restricted calorie diet. It’s possible that a smoothie made only of fruit and juice may taste great but may not be considered nutritionally balanced. By adding quality protein and healthy fat, you can blend a nutritionally balanced meal replacement.

Learning how to prepare a balanced smoothie as a meal replacement can help you achieve your weight loss goals and healthy eating habits for a lifetime. By combining the 40-30-30 ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fat, you can help stabilize blood sugar to stimulate fat loss, curb your appetite and protect against muscle loss.

Balanced smoothies can also help improve your ability to stick with your diet, prevent overeating at meals and eliminate the confusion and stress that comes with planning and following low-calorie, restrictive diets. They are also incredibly convenient, taste great and allow you to easily prepare an endless variety of healthy, satisfying meal replacements. Smoothies are a delicious way to eat more fruit and vegetables while getting low-fat protein (packed with muscle-building amino acids) as well as healthy fats for appetite suppression and hormone production. Balanced smoothies also add healthy nutrients, live enzymes and fiber. In addition, a Penn State study found that when smoothies were blended for an extra-long time, people ate 12 percent less food afterward and felt fuller than smoothies that were minimally blended. 

Making your own balanced smoothies can be very easy. Using a blender or stick blender, add all the ingredients and blend until smooth. If you like a thicker consistency, add more ice, but if you prefer a thinner smoothie, add a little water.   

A 40-30-30 balanced, 200 calorie smoothie requires approximately:

20 grams of carbohydrates

15 grams of protein

6 grams of fat

Meals and smoothies don’t have to contain the exact 40-30-30 ratio, close is always good enough. Food values differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, so meals will always differ. I encourage you to measure your ingredients when you begin making and designing your own smoothies so you learn the approximate amount of calorie and grams of carbohydrate, protein and fat in a 200-calorie serving. If you add a medium banana to a smoothie, you’ll be adding a whopping 30 grams of high-glycemic carbohydrates. But one cup of low-glycemic strawberries is only 10 grams of carbohydrates. A handful of nuts can easily be 30 or more grams of fat, so it is important to measure and get to know the approximate carbohydrate, protein and fat that foods contain. After a few times of making smoothies, you will no longer need to measure.

The following is a partial list of popular low-glycemic carbohydrate smoothie ingredients. 

Look for fresh, organic, in-season fruit or frozen fruit which is generally less expensive and just as nutritious, since it is picked and frozen at its peak freshness.  

Fruits Calories Carbs Protein Fat
Blueberries (1/2 cup) 40 10 grams    0.5 grams 0.3 grams
Cantaloupe (1/2 melon) 56 13 grams 1.4 grams 0.5 grams
Grapefruit (1/2 fruit) 50 13 grams 1 gram 0.1 gram
Kiwi (1 medium) 46  11 grams 0.8 grams 0.3 grams
Orange (1 medium) 59 15 grams 1.3 grams 0.4 grams
Strawberries (1 cup) 44 10 grams 1 gram 0.6 grams
Tangerine (1 medium) 43 11 grams 0.6 grams 0.2 grams

 

Vegetables Calories Carbs Protein Fat
Spinach (1/2 cup) 6 1 gram 0.7 grams 0 grams
Kale (1/2 cup) 17 3 grams 1 gram 0.1 grams
Carrots (1/2 cup) 22 5 grams 0.5 grams 0 grams
Red Bell Peppers (1/2 cup) 12 3 grams 0.4 grams 0.1 grams

 

Whey Protein Powder

Although there are many types of protein powders on the market, we recommend using 100% pure whey protein powder in smoothies. Pure whey protein contains a high quality amino acid profile for building and repairing lean muscle mass. Look for a 100% pure whey protein with very few or nearly zero carbohydrates and fat.

Fat Sources Calories Carbs Protein Fat
Macadamia Nuts (1 tbsp.) 60 1 gram 0.6 grams 6 grams
Coconut (1 1/2 tbsp.,raw) 55 2 grams 0.5 grams 5 grams
Peanut Butter (1 tbsp.) 65 2 grams 2 grams 5.5 grams

 

Using the above list, you can make an endless variety of smoothies. Here are a few of my favorites:

Blueberry Kiwi Smoothie (Supercharged*)

1/2 cup blueberries

1 Kiwi, peeled 

(You can also wash thoroughly and use the unpeeled kiwi for even more fiber)

1/2 cup baby spinach leaves

15 grams of whey protein powder

1 tablespoon chopped macadamia nuts

ice and water for desired thickness
* 1/2 scoop powdered greens (optional)

Directions:  Place all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Calories: 220, 24g carbs.,17g protein, 7.5g fat

 

Strawberry Tangerine Smoothie (Supercharged*)

1 cup strawberries

1 medium size tangerine

1/4 cup red bell peppers

15 grams of whey protein powder

1 1/2 tablespoons of unsweetened raw coconut

ice and water for desired thickness 

* 1/2 scoop of powdered reds (optional)

Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Calories: 210, 24g carbs.,17g protein, 6.5g fat

 

Special Additions

You can add natural flavorings such as vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg or cocoa powder to add unique complexities and flavors. Adding a handful of baby spinach, sprouts or kale or a slice or two of red bell peppers will add a negligible amount of carbohydrates with a boost of nutrients. Or you might consider adding half of a scoop of organic powdered greens or reds for even more phytonutrients, antioxidants and probiotic protection. Powdered greens and reds are extracts and concentrates of supergreens, vegetables and fruits that have been dried in powdered form. They can be found in health food stores. 

Your choices are endless and by experimenting, you will discover your favorites.

With a little practice, you can become accomplished at making delicious, healthy, nutritious, balanced smoothies for yourself and even your family.

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