Daniella Chace, MSc, CN photography by Pornchai Mittongtare, food styling by Liesl Maggiore prop styling by Kim Wong
If your resolution is to lose weight, here's a simple way to kick-start weight loss and keep it going all year long. Simply whip up a nutrient-dense weight-loss smoothie each day. This little habit is easy enough to maintain throughout the year. By adding proven fat-reducing nutrients (found in abundance in smoothies) to your routine, you'll infuse your body with compounds that improve metabolism, reduce water weight, and increase fat release. Is there a more delicious and satisfying way to support weight loss? I haven't found one.
Beyond weight loss, smoothies also provide a little pick-me-up during the day. And by adding extra protein to any recipe, you can enjoy these creamy concoctions in place of a meal. Smoothies are especially effective in the morning, providing a blast of nutrients to help start the day off right. Eating breakfast also helps you to maintain the weight you've lost. Studies have found that those who miss their morning meal are four times more likely to be obese.
Secret "Skinny" Ingredients
Popular smoothie ingredients that contain weight-loss-supportive nutrients, include:
Apples. Glutathione-a compound in apples-was found in studies to increase levels of antioxidant enzymes in the blood. These enzymes protect the body from toxins that are linked to obesity. Apples also contain ursolic acid, which increases muscle while reducing body fat.
Healthy Fats. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are healthful fats that we need for many different processes in the body. Just 1 gram of EFAs per day increases production of fat-burning enzymes. For smoothies (and weight loss), avocados, nuts, and seeds are good sources.
Liquid EFA products (fish and flax oils) also work well in smoothies. And consider adding conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) to your smoothies for its weight-loss benefits. This omega-6 fatty acid has been shown to help reduce fat, particularly around the midsection. Look for products that contain Tonalin CLA.
Herbs. The top herbs for trimming down are rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme, holy basil, and peppermint. These flavorful gems contain rosmarinic acid, a naturally occurring antioxidant that supports metabolism and reduces water weight. Basil, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, and thyme are also rich sources of ursolic acid.
Turmeric. Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, is an anti-inflammatory agent that helps the body excrete excess water weight. It also adds a tannic flavor that tones down the sweetness of fruit in smoothies.
Green tea. The active compound in green tea-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)-supports production of the hormone noradrenaline, which increases fat-burning and modulates fat absorption and metabolism. Brew up a batch of green tea and keep it in the fridge to add to smoothies.
Protein. Studies show that increasing dietary protein reduces both appetite and sugar cravings. Protein-packed foods are the best source of amino acids, which are vital for metabolic function and weight loss. Three options for upping the protein content of any smoothie are hulled hemp seeds, chia seeds, and protein powder. Hemp and chia seeds are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Probiotics. These healthy bacteria in our gut play a significant role in metabolic function, helping enhance digestion and detoxification, and supporting the metabolism of phytochemicals (plant nutrients). Researchers have discovered a correlation between higher levels of probiotics in the digestive tract and successful long-term weight loss. In addition to supplements, probiotics are found in yogurt, kefir, cultured coconut milk, and other fermented and cultured foods.
Give Yourself a (weight-loss) boost!
Some common ingredients used in smoothies really can help you lose weight. Here are the a few of the best-along with how much to use:
- Apples: ½-1 apple, with skin
- Avocado: 1/4 avocado, peeled and pitted
- Cultured foods: 1/2 cup
- Chia seeds: 2 Tbs.
- Herbs: 1/4 cup fresh leaves
- Hulled hemp seeds: 2 Tbs.
- Nuts: 1 Tbs.
- Probiotic Supplements: 1 tsp. powder (or according to label directions)
- Turmeric: ¼-1 tsp.
- TONALIN CLA: 2 tsp.
Nutritionist Daniella Chace knows a thing or two about blenders. As the author of more than 20 books on nutrition, including Smoothies for Life! and the newly released 365 Skinny Smoothies, Chace has pulsed and whirled her share of blenders. "I'm constantly trying new blenders," she says. Among her favorites is Blendtec (shown here) for its size and power. We agree: Blendtec's high-powered blenders are the perfect combination of strength, small size, quiet motor, and glass/BPA-free pitchers. Visit blendtec.com to learn more.
-the editors of Better Nutrition
Almased is an award-winning German weight-loss formula with three simple ingredients: non-GMO soy protein, honey, and yogurt.
Barlean's Tonalin CLA Swirl is a creamy, sugar-free emulsion featuring a highly absorbable form of CLA. The Fresh Apple flavor shown here is heavenly.
Country Life Realfood Organics Probiotic Daily Powder is a unique blend of 20 raw fruits and veggies with probiotics and the prebiotic inulin.
Natural Factors PGX Satisfast Vegan Protein is the only product that combines PGX, a fiber that helps increase feelings of fullness, with vegan proteins; there's no sugar, too.
NovaForme CytoGreens are a high-quality, energizing blend of green foods nutrients, including ultrafine matcha green tea, flaxseeds, and prebiotics.