There seems to be a limitless variety of weight loss products on the market today, and it seems that each of them promises dramatic weight loss with little effort. And, in all honesty, some of them do produce results if the directions are followed closely. One of the weight loss plans that is becoming increasingly popular is a diet that includes smoothies. Such a plan can provide a delicious, safe, effective, and healthy plan for losing weight.
What Is A Smoothie?
The term “smoothie” has actually been around since the 1940′s, and is being heard with increasing frequency. Many restaurants and fast-food eateries are now offering smoothies to their health-conscious customers, although many smoothies are consumed by people who are not trying to lose weight, but just love the flavor of a smoothie. A smoothie is a beverage that has a consistency similar to that of a traditional milk shake, and contains such foods as chopped fruit, chopped iced, and also flavorings. Thickening agents such as ice cream can be used, but the more common foods for this purpose include low- or non-fat yogurt (frozen or unfrozen), and/or milk.
Many times the fruits and other foods found in smoothies is crushed, and may include:
Other foods may be added to smoothies to provide additional health benefits, such as:
*green tea extract;
*flax seed, or flax seed oil;
*natural sweetening agents.
Is A Smoothie The Same Thing As A High-Protein, or Meal-Replacement Shake?
Typically, the answer to this is “no”; however, a smoothie can be made in such a fashion that the nutrients contained therein are sufficient to replace a meal. It is recommended, though, that meal-replacement with smoothies be exercised with caution. Meal-replacement shakes, on the other hand, are usually presented in liquid form to be consumed as a drink. It is possible, though, to transform a meal-replacement shake into a smoothie simply by adding chopped or crushed fruit, or other ingredients listed above, to the shake ingredients and give it all a whirl in the blender. By doing this, it is possible to combine the nourishment of a meal-replacement shake with the delicious flavor of a smoothie. An added bonus to this is that the extra fruit, or other foods added to the shakes, help the shakes to be more filling and satisfying.
Can I Purchase Smoothies Already Prepared?
Many grocery stores and supermarkets have a nice variety of smoothies, usually in the dairy case. A word of caution, though – the labels should be read carefully. Even though the label may say “healthy” and/or “all natural”, there may be ingredients listed that are unsatisfactory to the conscientious consumer. Such ingredients may include sugar, corn syrup, or xylitol which is a sugar-alcohol product that can cause gastric problems. Health food stores also have an impressive supply of smoothies, but it is always advised to study the labels regardless of where the smoothies are purchased. A positive aspect of frequenting a health store is that the likelihood of a healthier product is better; also, health stores are a great source of information about ingredient choices and recipes.
Ready-made smoothies can also be ordered from online vendors and shipped directly to the consumer.
Where Can I Find Recipes For Smoothie Diet?
Recipes for smoothies are everywhere! Most cookbooks, especially ones that target consumers who wish to eat a lighter fare, have recipes for smoothies. Additionally, the internet is a great resource for smoothies recipes. For the adventurous smoothie-lovers, it is easy to make one’s own recipes. Simply begin with 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk, and 1/2 cup plain or flavored yogurt. This is the base of the smoothie. To this, foods such as peanut butter, bananas, crushed ice, frozen fruit such as blueberries or strawberries, coconut, chopped nuts, honey, mangoes, pineapple, peaches, sunflower seeds, or other similar items may be added in any combinations that suit the palate.
For an extra flavor burst, fruit-flavored drink mixes can be frozen into ice cubes, then crushed and added to the smoothie instead or, or in addition to, plain crushed ice. One can use the sugar-free varieties and save calories and decrease the sugars in the smoothie.
Other items that may seem less-than-healthy, but that can add great taste (especially for kids) is chocolate syrup, marshmallows, chocolate chips, crushed candy pieces, or other flavorings. These additions are definitely not recommended for anyone seeking to enhance his/her health or reduce sugar intake.