Do you want to lose weight, have more energy, and feel great? Smoothies are an easy, delicious way to make sure you are getting the nutrition your body needs, while also trimming fat from your body!
This easy recipe for a fat burning smoothie provides you with a base that is customizable, so you have the power to make your perfect health drink. You can add and substitute your favorite fruits, veggies, and protein sources to make it right for you.
Many commercially made smoothies are full of sugar with little nutritional value, thus promoting weight gain, especially in the abdominal region. (1) This customizable smoothie recipe is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients to help you stave off hunger, boost your metabolism, and discourage weight gain.
Pro-tip: A smoothie is only as good as the vessel in which it is created. See this article for blender recommendations to create creamy, chunk-free smoothies every time.
Belly-Blasting Smoothie Requirements
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and arugula, provide a low calorie source of important metabolism-supporting nutrients and fiber. Women who consume larger amounts of non-starchy vegetables, including leafy greens, are more likely to lose weight and keep it off. (2) The fiber from the greens slows digestion, keeping you feeling full longer while slowing the release of sugar into the bloodstream.
Leafy greens also help reduce belly bloating, which will make you look and feel leaner. The potassium in leafy greens helps maintain an optimal fluid balance and thus reduces abdominal fluid retention.
Aside from their metabolism-boosting properties, leafy greens will help you age better. Consuming leafy greens daily can slow cognitive decline (3) and reduce your risk of dying from any cause. One study found a reduced risk of heart disease, some cancers, age-related macular degeneration (the most common cause of vision loss in adults), and cataracts. (4)
Protein is more likely to make you feel full and satisfied than carbohydrates or fat, and decreases appetite. (5, 6) If you are consuming your smoothie as a meal, it is essential to have at least 25-30 grams of protein. As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass which in turn slows our metabolism. Increasing protein intake from quality sources, especially when combined with physical activity, can help off-set muscle loss. (7)
Dietary sugar intake is associated with weight gain, while low-sugar diets promote weight loss. (8, 9) Fruit is packed with fiber and important nutrients, but it can also be high in sugar. Choosing fruits that are lower in sugar and high in nutritive value is the best approach.
Choosing the right liquid for your smoothie is essential to creating a satisfying, weight-loss supporting shake. The consumption of sugars, especially sugars found in liquids like juice or soda, has been linked to weight gain. On the other hand, reducing sugar intake increases weight loss, especially in the abdominal region. (10, 11, 12)
So resist the urge to reach for a bottle of juice or coconut water, as these can be relatively high in sugar. Instead opt for low-sugar options like water, milk, or the unsweetened nut milk of your choice.
Healthy Fat Source
A moderate amount of fat added to your smoothie will ensure all of the beneficial fat-soluble nutrients found in the greens and fruit are well absorbed. It will also increase satiety, keeping you feeling fuller longer.
Adding nut butter or seeds to the smoothie will provide plenty of fat to promote nutrient absorption. If you opt for protein powder, a teaspoon of olive oil or a quarter of an avocado can provide good quality fat. If you prefer a more creamy smoothie, yogurt is a good way to add fat.
How to Build the Perfect Smoothie
This recipe is flexible for a reason. The best smoothie for you is the one you will love to drink and is easy to make using whatever ingredients you have on hand. Feel free to explore different ingredients, flavors, and quantities using this guideline. Add ingredients in this order:
1. Start with Greens
If you are new to this, start with baby greens or mild greens like spinach and baby bok choy. Using a variety of greens will ensure you get a variety of nutrients. Add 1-3 cups to the blender.
- Baby Spinach (mild)
- Baby Kale (mild)
- Red Leaf Lettuce (mild)
- Microgreens (opt for mild versions)
- Bok Choy
- Swiss Chard
- Collard Greens
- Baby Arugula
2. Add Protein
There are many sources of protein you can consider. The quickest way to get to 25-30 grams of protein is with a high-quality, low- or no-sugar protein powder. Other options include nut butters or seeds. Read nutrition labels and aim for 25-30 grams for a meal replacement, or 10-15 grams if you are consuming the smoothie as a snack.
Best Protein Options:
- 1-2 scoops Protein Powder
- 2 Tbsp Nut Butters (peanut, almond, or cashew)
- ¼ cup Pumpkin Seeds
- ⅛-¼ cup Sunflower Seeds
- 1-2 Tbsp Flax Seeds
- 1-2 Tbsp Hemp Hearts
- 1-2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
3. Add Low-Sugar Fruit
Use frozen fruit for convenience and ease. Choose lower-sugar options to promote belly fat loss. If you are not able to use frozen fruit, it is recommended to add ice to create a cool, creamy smoothie.
Best Fruit Choices:
- 1 cup frozen blueberries or wild blueberries
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 cup watermelon
- 1-2 kiwi
4. Add Low-Sugar Liquid
The amount of liquid you will use depends upon how many fruits and vegetables you add. In general, add 1 cup liquid for every 2 cups of fruit + greens. For example, if you use 1 cup leafy greens and 1 cup fruit (totalling 2 cups), then add 1 cup of liquid. If you like your smoothie extra cold and want to add ice, scale back the fluid a bit.
Best Fluid Choices:
- Unsweetened Almond Milk
- Dairy Milk
5. Optional: Healthy Fat Source
If you used nut butter or seeds in your smoothie then there’s no need to add more fat. If you only used protein powder, consider adding a small amount of fat to help your body better absorb nutrients and feel fuller longer.
Best Fat Choices:
- 2-3 tsp olive oil
- ¼ avocado
- ¼ cup full-fat yogurt
6. Blend: Start with the lowest speed and slowly increase. Blend until the ingredients are creamy and smooth.
Pam is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a Master’s of Public Health and a Certificate in Integrative and Functional Nutrition. Passionate about the science of health and nutrition, she loves to share her knowledge to help others live healthy, vibrant lives. When not working, Pam can be found hiking, traveling, and enjoying great-tasting, nutritious food.