You all know that I love Green Smoothies. The beauty of green smoothies and a plant based diet in general, is that you can eat as much as you want until you are full. Now I’m talking about an eating regime based on whole, natural foods. This can be a tough concept for many people used to eating a highly processed diet because when you eat until you’re full with a standard American diet, you’ll likely gain weight, feel bloated. You may even feel sick.
Listen to Your Body
Check out BWLW’s Green Smoothie Guide,
Our bodies are designed to give us signals to let us know when we should eat and when we should stop eating. This works well with whole foods that have not been processed because of the abundance of fiber and nutrients. Over the years, we have created convenience foods and added chemicals and preservatives to many foods, which basically changes their composition. When we eat these types of food, our stomachs are full initially, but our brains get confused. We’ve gotten more than enough food in the way of volume and calories, but not nearly the nutrients we need. Because of this, our brain tells us we need to eat again sooner than we really need to in order to get the amount of nutrients and vitamins we really need. This leads to overeating and weight gain, yet still leaves many of us malnourished. Until we begin eating the right amount of nutrients, it becomes hard to get out of this vicious cycle. Green smoothies are an easy answer, and one that works.
Fruits, veggies, and other plant foods are high in nutrients and fiber that fills you up, but is lower in calories than many foods Americans eat every day. If you sat down with a plate of spaghetti and meatballs and were told to eat until you were stuffed, you would probably consume a ton of calories, not to mention saturated fat, refined carbs and sugars, and then you might be hungry again in a few hours. Drink green smoothies until you are full and you will feel comfortably satisfied, with a fraction of the calories and fat. You will likely not be starving any time soon.
Replacing a whole meal
The question is how much smoothie should you drink to replace a meal.
This question of how much doesn’t really doesn’t have a definite answer, although many people find 12-28 ounces of smoothie to be sufficient. The key is that you have to look at it in terms of calories and nutrients. For example: If you are eating 1400 calorie a day doing 4 meals a day, you would want a smoothie that is 350 calories and full of balanced nutrition to replace a meal. If you want your overall meals to be 40% carbs, 30% fat and 30% protein, you can work meal replacement smoothies into that goal by adding things like protein powder and flax seed.
Each person is different and has different nutritional needs. If you drink a hearty green smoothie for breakfast, and then again at lunch and have a healthy meal full of beans, lean meat, veggies, greens or whole grains for dinner, you will likely find that you are getting more than enough food. You can have some healthy, unprocessed snacks in between meals or just have another smoothie.
Things you can add fruits and leafy greens to a basic smoothie to make it more of a meal:
- Vegetables: Squash, Pumpkin, Carrots, Sweet Potato, Avocado, etc.
- Oatmeal and Steel Cut Oats
- Coconut milk
- Coconut oil
- Protein Powder (as natural as you can find – dairy based or plant-based is fine depending on your needs – Look for no GMO, no added sugar)
- Coconut butter
- Coconut cream
- Nut Butter (Peanut, Cashew, Almond, etc)
- Nut Milk (Almond, Cashew)
- Soy Milk
- Seeds (Sunflower Seeds, Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, etc)
- Cottage Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Raw Honey
- Nuts (Raw Almonds, Unfrosted Cashews)