This content has been Fact-Checked by a Certified Nutritionist in our Publishing Team. Learn more here. Always consult a medical professional before commencing any diet.
A smoothie diet seems like the perfect meal replacement to shred a few pounds.
It can be time-saving and if done correctly, smoothies can be nutritious and full of vitamins.
So why not?
We did all the research for you and learned what the smoothie diet is all about.
Including also what makes a good smoothie and how a smoothie diet can help you lose weight.
What is the Smoothie Diet?
A smoothie diet is a meal plan that replaces 2 meals a day with smoothies.
It was created and popularized by Drew Sgoutas, a health coach and nutritionist. Since then, there have been many variations of the smoothie diet that often fall short of its belly fat burning promise.
In fact, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of consuming smoothies with too many fruits. Surely they will taste good, but they won’t be all that nutritious.
Too many fruits void all the benefits of a low calorie, smoothie diet.
The legit smoothie diet should be made of fruits, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats, the smoothie diet was designed to aid weight loss. So it doesn’t only help with weight loss but also is healthy, low in calories, and rich in phytonutrients.
So far so good!
You can start off on a 3-day smoothie diet, or opt for 1 week (7 days), 10, or 21 days.
You are allowed to have 2 smoothies, 1 solid meal, and 1 snack per day.
“Flex Day” Smoothie Diet
On days where you expect to be physically more active, and planning on exercising hard switch to a “flex day” option.
How does it work?
Instead of 2 smoothies to replace 2 main meals, trim down to one smoothie and two regular meals.
That’s a personal preference in case you feel your body can’t cope better with solids on super active days.
Do remember, in order to lose weight, make sure you do not consume more than 1,500 (women) and 2,000 calories (men) per day.
If you enjoy healthy eating but are not sure what kind of solid meals to eat, check out Shepherds Diet Food Guide for natural ingredients and not processed foods.
Smoothie Diet Ingredients
Don’t fall into the fruit smoothies trap. Smoothies should be tasty and most importantly nutritious enough to keep you satiated.
As they are going to replace a meal, it is important not to get carried away and make it a fruit smoothie.
Negative calorie foods are generally a good safe option to add to your smoothie if you ever run out of an ingredient.
Nevertheless, here are 5 components to nutritious and yummy smoothies:
- Vegetables or fruits
- Liquids to thicken such as unsweetened yogurt, Greek yogurt, milk (skim milk) and milk alternatives (coconut milk or cream, almond milk, soy milk, flax milk, rice milk, hemp milk)
- Flavor boosters such as spices, ginger, herbs, spirulina, chia seeds (natural)
- Protein and healthy fat such as protein powder, peanut butter, almond butter. Avocados are high in omega-3 fatty acids but it can easily drive your calorie intake up. So use it sparingly and not more than half an avocado per smoothie. MCT oil or medium-chain triglyceride oil can be used as a supplement to improve protein synthesis and decrease muscle loss. MCT oil is made of coconut oil, palm oil, and other dairy oil sources.
- Grains such as oats lends the smoothie more body and helps to keep you satiated longer. Not all recipes require grains and hence it is optional.
Check out these 5 highly recommended ingredients by dietitians that will help you make the most delicious smoothies ever.
1. Dark leafy greens
Kale, spinach, celery, and other leafy vegetables are staples for making smoothies.
Green vegetables are bursting with fiber, folate, and phytonutrients. This is to ensure that you’re not missing out on any essential nutrients.
2. Cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, brussels sprouts, arugula, and radish are rich in cancer-fighting compounds according to this study. Power-packed with antioxidants, these vegetables strengthen the immune system and help to fight the flu and cold.
3. Nuts, nut butter, and seeds
Nuts add a nice earthy flavor and some bite to your smoothie.
Chia seeds, cashew nuts, walnuts, and peanuts are bursting with healthy fats that will slow your digestion and keep you fuller longer. Ground flax seeds are another option rich in omega-3 fat and protein.
Since nuts are high in calories, add not more than half an ounce of seeds or nuts. And not more than 1 tablespoon of nut butter per serving.
4. Greek yogurt, milk and milk alternatives
Adding Greek yogurt in your smoothie will give you the needed protein boost.
Packed with probiotics, the friendly bacteria in yogurt helps to maintain your gut health, fortify your immune system, and prevent depression too according to this study. If you are into gut health, check out our kombucha recipes for weight loss.
Another research suggested that following a high fiber diet with yogurt can decrease lung cancer, and in a smoothie diet, you can find both the yogurt and high fiber foods.
Try to opt for non-flavored, plain Greek yogurt as the flavored version has excess sugar that adds to the calorie count.
If you choose to add milk into your smoothie, opt for skim milk, or one percent cow’s milk.
If you are vegan or dairy intolerant, milk alternatives such as unflavored almond milk, soya milk, flax milk, or rice milk are suitable liquid options.
Spirulina is a nutrient powerhouse algae found in freshwater and seawater.
Often sold in powder form, spirulina is an ideal dietary supplement that is high in protein and antioxidants.
It is perfect for vegans or individuals who can easily be protein deficient. By adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of spirulina into a smoothie, you can easily meet your daily protein requirement.
Fruits are optional. They do add a delicious natural flavor and are nutritious.
However, fruits can be high in sugar, so to avoid making your smoothie a desert, add only 1 cup of fruit per smoothie. This is equivalent to a serving of fruits.
Moreover, it is easy to get carried away by adding in too many fruits when mixing several fruits. So try to stick to a maximum of 2 fruits per smoothie, totaling to 1 cup of fruits.
3 Day Smoothie Diet Plan for Weight Loss
The 3-day smoothie diet plan is extremely popular simply because it helps to shed visible bulk within three days. Who does not want that?!!
On this plan, you can either drink the same smoothie for breakfast and dinner, or you can have a different smoothie for each meal.
We have added 2 smoothie options per day to break the dietary monotony 🙂
Breakfast: Banana Breakfast Smoothie
- 1 small banana
- A cup of strawberries/berries/mango
- 1/2 small orange
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt low-fat
- 1 cup of water (substitute with rice milk/almond milk/soy milk)
- Calories: 231 kcal for banana strawberries or berries smoothie
284 kcal for the banana mango smoothie
Snack: 1 oz. of pistachios, almonds, cashews or other choices of nuts (160 calories)
Lunch: Ultimate Green Smoothie
- One cup of kale
- 2 small bananas
- Half avocado
- 4-5 dates (optional if you do not like the smell of kale)
- One tablespoon of Chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon Matcha green powder
- one cup unsweetened almond milk
- Calories: 564 kcal
Dinner: Grilled Chicken Breast with a Cup of Vegetables (Calories: 500 kcal)
TOTAL CALORIES FOR DAY 1: 1,455 kcal
Breakfast: 2-Minute Mango Smoothie
- 2 fresh mangoes or 1 cup (7oz/200g) of frozen mangoes
- 3 frozen small bananas
- Optional: One cup of mint/parsley
- Water or almond milk
- Calories: 520 kcal
Snack: Carrot sticks (one small carrot) with 5 tbsp hummus dip (154 calories)
Lunch: Keto Smoothie Recipe: Chocolate Macadamia Smoothie
- 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons macadamia nuts
- 1 cup of ice cubes
- 1 tablespoons cacao
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- one dash salt
- Calories: 412.5
Dinner: Poached salmon with beans (Calories: 500 kcal)
TOTAL CALORIES FOR DAY 2: 1,586.5 kcal
Breakfast: 5 Ingredient Matcha Green Smoothie Recipe
- 2 small Bananas (fresh or frozen, however, frozen is best)
- 1 Mango (207 g) can be fresh or frozen
- 240ml of Light Coconut Milk (or Almond Milk / Rice Milk / Soy Milk / Skim Milk)
- 2 teaspoons of Matcha Green Tea Powder
- 1 cup of spinach
- Calories: 386.5 kcal
Snack: 2 hard-boiled eggs (large size at 50 grams each) 142 calories
Lunch: Keto Smoothie Recipe: Coconut Blueberry Chia Smoothie
- 1 cup of frozen or fresh blueberries
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (you can use low-fat yogurt and other dairy-free/ vegan options such as coconut milk yogurt)
- 1/2 cup coconut cream
- 2 tablespoons full of ground chia seeds
- 1 cup cashew or almond milk (unsweetened)
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
Calories: 828 kcal
Dinner: Healthy Baked Lemon Cod Fish (Calories: 794 kcal)
TOTAL CALORIES FOR DAY 3: 2150.5 kcal
Smoothie Diet For Weight Loss Recipes
Read on to discover more dietician approved smoothie blends brimming with goodness to fuel you till the end of the day.
- a cup spinach
- 1 handful of fresh mint
- one handful of fresh parsley
- Juice from 1 small lemon or 2 limes
- a pinch of fresh ginger (grate the outer bark)
- 1 stalk of celery
- a cup of water
Pumpkin Super Smoothie
- 1 cup of vanilla almond milk (unsweetened)
- Half banana (frozen)
- 1 cup of pumpkin puree (can or homemade)
- A dash of pumpkin pie spice (you can use cinnamon as a substitute)
- 1/2 frozen banana
- A handful of ice cubes
Green Smoothie Cleanse
- 2 cups of water
- A handful of romaine lettuce
- One handful of spinach
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1/2 cucumber, chopped
- A medium apple quartered
- One banana, chopped
- 1 pear, quartered
- A lemon, squeezed
- ¼ cup spirulina powder
If you are into healthy smoothies, check out Acai Berry Cleanse.
Smoothie Diet Pros and Cons
We have created this image below to help you figure out the pros and cons and if this diet plan is right for you:
1. Calorie restriction for weight loss
Weight loss happens when your body expands more energy than consumed.
On a smoothie diet, your calorie count should not exceed 1,500 calories per day.
An average adult woman needs to eat 2000 calories per day to maintain her weight. An average adult man needs 2,500 calories to remain status-quo.
To lose one pound of weight per week, women need to reduce calorie intake to 1,500 per day, and men to 2,000 calories daily.
Based on these numbers, ladies would have recorded a shortfall of 500 calories per day on a smoothie diet. And this calorie deficit will force your body to burn other sources of fat, to convert to energy.
What’s great about the smoothie diet is that you will not be nutritionally deficient.
Selecting the right mix of greens, liquids and natural flavors (such as herbs, spices, and other ingredients listed above) ensures that your body is not traumatized, unlike crash diets.
2. Reduces insulin production over three days
As the smoothie diet requires consuming less food, your body will produce less insulin. With reduced insulin, the body is tricked into burning more fat.
The best way to maintain insulin levels low and fat-burning high is to sip the smoothie throughout the day.
Avoid downing the smoothie in a few gulps as this insulin levels to spike.
3. Boost human growth hormones
With only one solid meal per day, a smoothie diet is a form of mild fasting.
HGH is important as it helps to build, maintain, and repair healthy tissue in the brain and other vital organs.
Most importantly, we need more HGH as we age because HGH levels decline over time.
4. Rich in fiber and phytonutrients
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), adults should consume 25 grams of fiber per day.
While most of us fall short of that benchmark at 15 grams per day, adding one or two smoothies helps us meet the daily fiber requirement effortlessly.
To put things into perspective, one cup of broccoli contains 2.3 grams of fiber. To consume 25 grams of fiber per day you will need to eat 10 cups of broccoli.
While this can sound like a copious amount of broccoli, blending them into a smoothie makes consuming fiber so much more palatable!
In short, smoothies help you achieve your daily fiber goals and ensure that your diet remains rich in phytonutrients.
In addition, the high fiber content in a smoothie makes you feel fuller on fewer calories and less bloated, meaning flat belly here we come!
5. Easy to prepare
Whether you are a fulltime mum, working mum, or corporate warrior trying to juggle multiple tasks in a day, blitzing up a smoothie is pretty convenient and time-saving.
You can cut short your preparation time by bagging your fruits and vegetables in zip lock bags. Simply toss the contents into the blender, add in your liquids, and your smoothie is ready in a jiffy!
6. Less calorie counting and food tracking
Unlike the majority of diet plans in the market, the smoothie diet does not require a food diary, carbohydrate, or calorie counting.
Smoothies are generally lower in calories than full solid meals. And as long as you abide by the recommended recipes, it is almost impossible not to stay within your goal calorie intake.
With recipes and meal plans provided everything in a smoothie diet has been planned out. Just remember to have your recipe list on hand when you do grocery shopping.
7. Clear complexion and healthy hair
Consuming too much-processed food stresses our digestive system. Too much acidity and toxins in the body can make our skin looks dull and rough.
Smoothies can act as a detox because they help to flush out the toxin and reinstate the ideal acid-alkaline equilibrium in the body. You will benefit from having smoother hair and healthier-looking skin.
I think that’s the biggest one… You won’t be able to eat many solids and to get the results, you will need to follow the recipes.
That means, forget about what you have in your fridge and go shopping to try finding that odd ingredient.
You won’t be able to have a meal together with friends, or go to restaurants. Not for 3 days, so avoid meetups, you don’t want to be the one at a restaurant not eating anything.
2. Not sustainable
Smoothie diets practiced over extended periods may cause protein and iron deficiencies.
Not eating enough high-iron food such as spinach, kale, and nuts can cause your body to be iron deficient. And this may lead to anemia in the long run.
Moreover, living on a predominantly liquid diet is not something any of us can do!
3. Lack of protein
One of the major pitfalls of smoothie diets, in general, is its low protein content. So if you try to go solo and make your own smoothie diet recipes, do make sure to add protein in it 🙂
Our recipes featured here are specially curated to ensure that you continue to meet the protein, fiber, and nutrient requirements to function at your best.
Throughout the day, you will be eating at least 50 grams of protein as recommended by the FDA.
So the smoothie not only serves as a meal replacement. It ensures that you consume a wholesome meal packed with protein, essential fat, fiber, and some carbohydrates.
Smoothie Diet Results
Walking the talk is important to truly understand what it feels like on a smoothie diet.
Smoothie diet before and after – I tried the 10-day green smoothie challenge and here’s how I felt during the 10 days:
Day 1: Felt weird to have two liquid meals per day. Surprisingly, the smoothies were pretty filling and were sufficient to last me to the next meal.
Day 2: Cravings are starting to kick in. The bread has never looked so enticing and I had to make a mental note not to step into delis or cafes. Snacking on a handful of nuts helps to curb the hunger pangs.
Day 3: Perhaps this is the most challenging day for me. I tired easily at the gym and struggled through my workout which I would normally ace. I slumped into bed early at 9 pm.
Day 4: I’m starting to think that I can cut down on meat post-smoothie-diet challenge. I feel lighter, more alert and my weight started to drop.
Day 5: I’m looking forward to prepping my smoothies in advance. I feel excited to try new recipes. My complexion looks clearer with no acne insight.
Day 6: It’s the weekend! Instead of having a solid meal at the end of the day, I had grilled chicken breast for lunch. Making this swap helps it easier to stay connected with family and friends.
Day 7-9: I’m coping well but can’t deny the hunger. Boosting my snack intake when I feel lethargic has helped. My pants feel loose now.
Day 10: Finally, today marks the last day of a predominantly liquid-infused diet! I’ve lost 3 pounds over 10 days, I feel lighter and now have a flat stomach! Bowel movements have never been this easy. My belly bloat has reduced and this definitely perks me up emotionally!
Was the smoothie diet worth it?
Will I try the smoothie diet again? Only if I feel I need to.
It is a diet that I will adopt whenever I’ve overeaten, and dial back when I’ve lost the excess weight.
Tips To Make a Delicious and Healthy Smoothie
Do you know what kind of blender to use to make smoothies?
Are fresh fruits better than frozen ingredients?
Here are some questions smoothie newbies often ask, and I’ve pulverized the details for you to bite sizes.
What kind of blender to make smoothies?
You can either use a conventional blender or a smoothie maker.
The difference between a smoothie maker and a blender is that smoothie makers are portable and designed with convenience in mind.
Smoothie makers make one portion at a time. The jug conveniently transforms into a cup. This leaves you with less cleaning up to do. Since smoothie makers are smaller, it takes up less space.
But if you are making smoothies for 2 or more, then it makes sense to opt for a blender.
Whichever option you go with, you will still get a decent smoothie.
Fresh or frozen ingredients?
It’s a myth that fresh vegetables are better than their frozen siblings.
According to Sydney based dietician Lyndi Cohen, frozen vegetables may even have more nutrients than fresh produce.
This is because vegetables start to lose their nutrients once it is harvested.
By freezing the vegetables, the greens stop breaking down. And once it is defrosted, the vegetables are as fresh as when it was before freezing.
Blending on the go or prepping in zip bags?
Organizing your smoothies in advance will not only give your body a nutritious head start. You can whip up a smoothie in a matter of minutes!
Pack your mix of frozen fruits a week in advance into zip lock bags.
Add in frozen bananas, mangoes, pineapples along with your favorite vegetables.
For liquids, frozen Greek yogurt, milk, and milk alternatives in ice cubes. Simply use 2 cubes to make a cup of healthy smoothie each time.
Smoothie diets done wrongly can be detrimental.
Too many fruits and artificial sugar and your smoothie is loaded with calories.
Worst still, an inadequate smoothie will make you feel lethargic and ravenous.
This content has been Fact-Checked by a Certified Nutritionist in our Publishing Team. Learn more here.