Smoothies are incredibly versatile and a great way to get the nutrients you need in a quick and convenient way.
Whether you are trying to lose weight or just want an instant, nutritious meal we have found 10 great meal replacement smoothies for you to try.
Some people are not fans of eating fruit and vegetables but will down a smoothie like it is nectar.
So these meal replacement smoothies are a great way to get the fiber, protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats that we need every day to stay healthy.
Let’s take a look at how these smoothies work as meal replacements, what the benefits are and which ingredients you need to include. We also have 10 smoothie recipes for you to try.
How Do Smoothies Work As Meal Replacements?
Drinking smoothies as meal replacements can work really well as long as you include the right ingredients and in the right proportions. The smoothie should be a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat.
If you leave one of these three components out of your smoothie then it will not work well as a meal replacement, and you may find yourself getting hungry soon afterwards.
Smoothies are also not the same as shakes. This is because you need to blend whole fruit and vegetables in order to get the nutrients you need to replace a meal.
Shakes do not have the bulk or the dietary fiber that smoothies do and therefore make poor meal replacements.
Some people may use smoothies as part of a low carb diet but your body needs carbohydrates which act as your fuel.
You also need the protein for healthy muscles among other things and fat to help you absorb vitamins such as A, D and E.
Benefits Of Smoothies As Meal Replacement
There are many benefits to drinking smoothies as meal replacements whether you are trying to lose weight or just to improve your overall health (see also “Pineapple Carrot Turmeric Spritzer“).
A smoothie allows you to pack a whole lot of nutrients into one glass. With the right ingredients you can have a nutritious healthy meal brimming with goodness.
This is a great idea for busy people too as you can put your smoothie into a portable container and take it to work or drink it on the train.
There’s no need to skip breakfast if you’re running late, just blend your smoothie and take it with you.
Just as they are easy to make for breakfast on the go, a meal replacement smoothie is also great when you’re too tired to cook.
Coming home after a busy day at work or running around after kids the last thing you want to do is cook. Blend a smoothie and you’re set.
There are endless variations of meal replacement smoothies, so you should never run out of ideas for a new smoothie.
Best Ingredients For Meal Replacement Smoothies
So what are the best ingredients for meal replacement smoothies?
As we have mentioned, to make a smoothie to replace a full meal you need to include healthy fat, complex carbohydrates and a source of protein.
The protein and carbohydrates will sustain your energy levels during the day and the healthy fat gives you a full and satisfied feeling, keeping hunger at bay.
Avocado is an excellent source of healthy fats and also adds a delicious creaminess to the smoothie (see also “20 Delicious Healthy Pumpkin Recipes“).
Even if you are not particularly fond of the taste of avocado it is mostly masked by the addition of other ingredients such as fruit and vegetables.
Seeds also provide essential healthy fats so adding flax seeds, hemp seeds or chia seeds will give your smoothies a great source of fat and some nice texture.
Coconut oil has some anti-inflammatory properties as well as being a good source of healthy fat for your smoothie.
One of the most popular healthy fats to include in meal replacement smoothies are nut butters (see also “How To Make A Healthy Tiger Nut Trail Mix“). This can be peanut butter, cashew butter or almond butter, whichever you prefer the taste of.
Not only are these nut butters a wonderful source of healthy fats, but they are also crammed with protein.
As well as nut butters there are other tasty sources of protein to add to your meal replacement smoothie.
You can buy protein powders including plant based, whey based or egg based to add to your smoothie.
There are a lot of choices on the market and if you are on a diet there are some specific protein powders for weight loss (see also ‘How To Use Protein Powder For Weight Loss‘).
Yogurt is an excellent protein source and will also add a creamy texture to your meal replacement smoothie. For an even higher protein intake use some Greek yogurt.
One of the best sources of complex carbohydrates are fruit and vegetables which are great in meal replacement smoothies.
Complex carbohydrates are found in unprocessed foods as opposed to simple carbohydrates which are refined sugars and starches.
Adding fruit to your smoothie adds more than the important carbohydrates, however. Most fruit adds sweetness, color and fiber.
If you don’t have access to fresh fruit then using frozen is a good alternative. Most grocery stores will sell frozen fruit that you can put straight into your blender or smoothie maker.
Bananas, strawberries, blueberries and mangoes are some of the most popular smoothie fruits, fresh or frozen.
Vegetables are also filled with complex carbohydrates and make excellent smoothies. As well as the fiber they introduce you will be getting so much nutrition from those added vegetables.
Like fruit, you can use either fresh or frozen vegetables but go for fresh when you can.
Some of the most popular veg for smoothies include carrots, kale, spinach and sweet potatoes. But of course, there are many more, and it is a matter of personal preference which you add.
Other sources of complex carbohydrates which are very popular in breakfast smoothies are oats and quinoa. They add bulk, texture and additional protein.
How To Blend A Smoothie
If you have decided to give meal replacement smoothies a try you’ll need to know how to blend one.
Where do you start, what do you add and when? Let’s break it down a bit.
The first thing you need to do is choose the base of your smoothie. A lot of people use milk in its many forms as a base.
You can choose between dairy, soy, almond or coconut milk depending on your personal preference and any allergies you may have (see also ‘A Guide To The Best Milk Alternatives‘).
Of course, you don’t have to use milk and there are other options. You can use fruit juice, water or even yogurt as your smoothie base.
If you are calorie watching, water, skim milk, or plant based milk is best for you. Or if you want a creamier taste use yogurt or dairy milk. For those who prefer a sweet base, fruit juice is the way to go.
Now is the time to choose the protein for your meal replacement smoothie. You have the choice of tofu, nut butters, Greek yogurt or a protein powder.
When using protein powder make sure you check the instructions carefully so that you add the right ratio. A good average is ½ to 1 scoops of protein powder to each cup of liquid in the smoothie.
If you intend to use frozen fruit or vegetables in a smoothie with protein powder, blend the powder with the liquid before adding the fruit or vegetables for a smoother mix.
Adding Healthy Fats
For some healthy fats you can add slices of avocado or a couple of tablespoons of flax, hemp or chia seeds to your meal replacement smoothie. These will also provide some texture and additional fiber.
Nut butters are a popular and tasty addition to your smoothie and provide excellent healthy fats. You can add peanut, cashew or almond butter, all of them have good levels of fat.
Coconut oil is another popular choice as a healthy fat in your meal replacement smoothie.
Choosing Complex Carbohydrates
You can now decide what complex carbohydrates you want to include in your smoothie.
Fruit is a good choice as it is an unprocessed food and most add a level of sweetness to the smoothie. Fresh fruit is best, but you can also use frozen fruit for convenience.
Vegetables such as carrots, kale and spinach are excellent smoothie additions for their complex carbohydrates. You will also get a good source of fiber from the vegetables.
The choice of fruit or vegetable in your meal replacement smoothie will largely determine its color too.
Most red or blue fruits will produce a red or purple smoothie while veg such as kale or spinach will make a green smoothie.
Bananas unless mixed with other fruits will give you a pale yellow colored smoothie.
If you prefer you can leave out the fruit and vegetables and add oats or quinoa for your complement of complex carbohydrates. They have the added benefit of also being an excellent source of fiber and protein.
Meal Replacement Smoothies & Weight Loss
The reason for using meal replacement smoothies can vary depending on individual goals and circumstances, but a desire for weight loss is common.
Smoothies are a good way to lose weight as you can include protein and fiber into your diet without too many carbohydrates.
Having a good amount of protein helps you to feel full for longer periods of time and this can help with weight loss and calorie control.
Like any meal that you eat, it is the ingredients that you use that will have the potential to either increase, maintain or decrease weight.
Carefully monitor the amount of sugar that is going into your meal replacement smoothie if you are using them for weight loss.
To reduce the amount of fat and calories in a weight loss smoothie use skim or plant based milks for your base.
For those on a keto diet, a smoothie that contains high amounts of fat and minimum carbohydrates will work well.
Tips For Meal Replacement Smoothies
All of the elements of your meal replacement smoothie are important to give you the nutrients that you need and help you lose weight if that is your goal.
But there are some tips for making the most of your smoothie as a meal replacement.
Protein is the ingredient that will help you stay full for longer and curb your hunger.
When you are making a meal replacement smoothie make sure you are adding at least 15-20 grams of protein to the mixture.
Fiber will also help you feel satisfied for longer periods after drinking your smoothie.
Adding quinoa or oats will give you an extra fiber boost and keep you full. The fiber is also really important for your digestive system and for keeping you regular.
Drink your meal replacement smoothie as slowly as you would eat a meal.
If you drink it too quickly you will feel very full and possibly bloated. Take your time, and you may feel satisfied sooner and not drink as much.
Regulate the amount of liquid in your smoothie as too much will be less satisfying and not fill you up.
You really only need enough liquid to blend the different ingredients together. A good tip is to start with less and add more if you need it.
A strawberry, banana and oatmeal smoothie is a great meal replacement.
Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber and very nutritious. It will make you feel fuller for longer and so help with any weight loss program.
Strawberries are full of nutrients and add sweetness to the smoothie. Bananas are high in potassium and fiber and will add to the filling feeling.
As a substitute for an evening meal this is an excellent option.
For plant based protein you can’t get much better than almonds. They are full of antioxidants, high in vitamins and are known to lower cholesterol.
Bananas are also high in antioxidants and contain potassium.
As a smoothie ingredient they add fiber, creaminess and a wonderful flavor. Flax seeds contain high levels of Omega 3 and have the ability to lower blood pressure.
This smoothie is ideal as a replacement for breakfast or lunch.
Spinach is a fantastic source of iron and combined with the high protein and healthy fat of peanut butter, this smoothie is a winner.
The iron in the spinach helps the production of red blood cells which transport oxygen.
The banana adds some sweetness and the peanut butter is a great source of protein and healthy fat.
Essential Omega 3 comes from the addition of flax seeds and the whole thing is a creamy, vibrant and tasty meal replacement.
Despite the addition of cocoa powder this meal replacement smoothie is very healthy. The cocoa powder contains antioxidants which reduce the risk of heart disease.
Berries, either fresh or frozen, are also full of nutrients and add sweetness to the mixture while the banana gives flavor and fiber. This smoothie has chia seeds which are an excellent source of healthy fats.
The smoothie looks and tastes like a dessert so use this as a replacement or as a mid afternoon snack.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie
Rather than reaching for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch take 5 minutes to make this delicious smoothie instead.
With mixed berries for your daily vitamin C, tons of dietary fiber and peanut butter for protein and healthy fats, this smoothie is a meal in a cup. Add the rolled oats and protein powder, and you are set for the rest of the day.
This smoothie will fill you up and keep you full of energy.
Coconut milk is a blend of pressed coconut flesh and water so its composition varies depending on how it is mixed. Some coconut milk is higher in saturated fat than others.
3.4 fluid ounces of coconut milk can contain 14.6 grams of fat, so is not particularly helpful as a weight loss smoothie. However the berries and banana make it nutritious, and the maple syrup adds extra sweetness.
Drink as a replacement for breakfast or as a mid morning snack.
If you like avocado then you will love this smoothie meal replacement. This fruit smoothie is packed with heart friendly ingredients such as potassium, fiber and healthy fatty acids.
You also have a good amount of whey protein to keep you full for longer.
Avocado also helps to keep you satisfied, so you won’t be feeling hungry an hour or two later. The non-fat Greek yogurt adds to the creamy texture of this smoothie without adding any fat or calories.
Pumpkin is a vastly underrated food despite being high in antioxidants and rich in vitamin A.
Not only that, but it is a weight loss friendly food with low calorie content and will give your immune system a boost.
The base for this smoothie is almond milk which is rich in vitamin E, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Add a frozen banana for flavor, fiber and potassium along with some ginger (see also “How To Make Ginger And Turmeric Kombucha“), and you will have a tasty meal replacement smoothie.
This is a great detoxifying smoothie as well as being a meal replacement.
Kiwi contains vitamin C which helps the body repair cells. The kiwi also complements the vitamins and fiber of the avocado and spinach.
There is a lot of fruit in this smoothie, so it is very filling and packed full of nutrients. There are also a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds which provide the healthy fats to the smoothie.
A wonderful meal replacement for breakfast or lunch.
After an exhausting workout the last thing you want is a heavy meal.
This banana, mango and carrot meal replacement smoothie is perfect for times like that. You can rehydrate and recharge your body with this delicious and nutritious smoothie.
The banana, mango and carrot are packed with vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
For a more filling smoothie and thicker texture freeze the carrots and the banana. If you prefer a more liquid consistency than use fresh fruit and vegetables.
Not just a post workout smoothie, this can be substituted for lunch or dinner.
There are many variations of meal replacement smoothies and it would be impossible to cover them all. And there are plenty of reasons for having a smoothie instead of a meal.
You may want to lose weight, or perhaps you’re too busy to stop for lunch. Some people may be recovering from illness or surgery and need a liquid diet.
Whatever the reason, we hope you have found our guide to meal replacement smoothies helpful.