Smoothies are fun and delicious way to throw together a quick meal… BUT, are they actually nutritious? Follow this guide on how to make smoothies more filling to balance the macronutrients in your blender and make better smoothies that keep you full for longer!
As a matter of fact, the biggest problem people have when it comes to smoothies is that, an hour after they finish it, they start to feel hungry again and end up snacking on other foods because they can’t wait until their next meal. This does not happen when you make an actually filling smoothie for breakfast or lunch that contains a good balance of all the macronutrients your body needs to thrive.
Below, you can find the answers to some of the commonly asked questions about how to make a smoothie more filling, that will help you create delicious and creamy smoothies that are low in sugar, dairy and gluten free and paleo friendly as well.
And you are on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), scroll to the end to see how make a filling smoothie that’s AIP approved too 😉
How To Make Smoothies That Keep You Full - FAQs
1. Is having a smoothie for breakfast healthy?
Yes. If you do a good job in combining the sugar that naturally occurs in fruit with a healthy amount of proteins, fibers and fats, you can make smoothies that keep you full and satisfied all morning.
A healthy breakfast smoothie isn’t made by just blending fruit and ice, but it combines nutrients in a balanced way, which leads us to the next question.
2. What’s the macronutrients breakdown of smoothies that keep you full?
When selecting ingredients for a smoothie, you need to go way beyond fruit. A smoothie that’s just made with fruit and fruit juices is going to be high in sugar, lead to more cravings later on and it’s also not ideal if you’re trying to lose weight.
A filling smoothie includes ALL macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fibers that will make you feel satiated.
Here’s an idea of what a perfect, well-rounded smoothie should look like:
- BASE: 1 cup of liquid (see which ones in the section below)
- PROTEIN: 20 to 30 gr (1 scoop clean protein powder)
- FAT: up to 2 tbsp healthy fat
- CARBS: 1/2 to 1 cup fruit and steamed starchy vegetables + 1 cup vegetables
- FIBRE: 1 tbsp (see question n. 6)
3. What liquid should I put in my smoothie?
To make a smoothie more filling, only opt for liquid bases that are unsweetened and low in natural sugar so that you can avoid the insulins spike that comes from fruit juices.
Here are some ideas:
- Water (filtered water, spring water or infused water)
- Unsweetened almond milk, cashew milk, hemp milk or other non-dairy milk
- Full fat coconut milk
- Coconut Water
- Unsweetened green tea
4. What can I put in a smoothie for protein (without adding dairy)?
Proteins are essential to make smoothies more filling as they help initiate your ‘satiety hormones’, the ones that tell you are full.
Here are some ideas to add more protein into your smoothies:
- Baby Spinach and Kale
- Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds
- Almond or Cashew Butter
- Grass Fed Collagen (while collagen is proven to have great benefits for healing leaky gut, it is not a complete protein, as it does not contain the complete amino acid profile you would get from meat. Use it for a boost of protein in your smoothie but make sure to incorporate more complete protein in your diet throughout the day)
- Junk Free & Dairy Free Protein Powder (make sure you always choose plain, unsweetened flavors)
5. What’s the best fat to add to a smoothie?
Adding good quality fat makes your smoothie creamier and more satisfying. Healthy fats slow down the digestion and absorption of the sugars contained in fruit helping to balance your blood sugar. Fat also helps you curb overeating and it’s a great source of energizing fuel to use during the day.
Here’s some examples of healthy fat to make your smoothies more filling:
- full fat Coconut Milk
- ¼ Avocado
- 2 tbsp nut or seed butter (almond butter, cashew butter, sunflowers seed butter, tahini)
- 1 handful of nuts
- Coconut meat or coconut butter
6. What can I add to my smoothie for fiber?
Fruit naturally contains fiber, but when fruit is blended up in a smoothie, it’s easier (and faster) for our bodies to absorb the natural sugars it contains. Adding a good source of extra fiber to your smoothie will help you slow down the absorption of the sugars.
In addition to that, fiber is important to keep our digestive systems running smooth and to keep us full.
Here are some examples of fiber sources to add to your smoothies:
- Vegetables, ½ to 1 cup. Carrots (check out my Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowl), zucchini, spinach and kale are the easiest to add to a smoothie as they have a very agreeable taste. You can also try adding steamed cauliflower, steamed kabocha squash and fennel.
- Ground flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds (up to 1 tablespoon)
- Prebiotic fiber blend, Tigernut Flour (up to 1 tablespoon). See the benefits of tigernut here.
7. How much fruit should I put in my smoothie?
Putting too much fruit in a smoothie provokes a spike in your blood sugar, and the consequent release of insulin leads to imminent energy crashes, feelings of hunger, mid-day cravings, anxiety, etc. For this reason, you need to limit the amount of fruit to 1/4 to 1 cup per smoothie and balance out the sugars from fruit with all the other macronutrients mentioned above.
To limit the amount of sugar in your smoothies:
- Prefer low-sugar fruits, such as: all berries, green apple, pear, kiwi, lemon, lime, grapefruit, cranberries, cantaloupe
- Prefer less ripe bananas (they contain less sugar)
- Use mango and pineapple in moderation
8. How do you sweeten a smoothie?
Smoothies don’t need to have any extra sweeteners, as the fruit you put in is perfectly sweet already. There is no need to add dates, honey, maple syrup, or anything else to your smoothie if you use fruit to sweeten it.
Also, there are some ingredients that can help you achieve a sweet sensation without using extra sugar:
- Liquids like Coconut Milk and Coconut Water
- Sweet spices: Cinnamon Powder, Nutmeg, Ginger Powder or root, Vanilla extract, Turmeric
- Unsweetened Cacao Powder and Carob Powder (only add ½ tsp or the taste will be overpowering)
- Superfoods: Mesquite Powder, Maca Powder, Acai Powder
9. How do you make a smoothie thicker?
Consistency is important in order to make smoothies that keep you full. A smoothie with a rich and dense consistency is more satisfying to eat and gives your digestive system the impression that actually ate something rather than just drinking.
To make a smoothie thicker, make sure to add some of the following:
- Frozen fruit (the best fruits to add thickness to a smoothie are mango, banana and acai)
- Avocado (for an extra creamy texture)
- Pumpkin puree (to make your smoothie super rich)
- Flax seeds or flax meal
- Coconut yogurt
- Chia Seeds (soak them in water for about 10 minutes before blending them in your smoothie so they incorporate easily)
10. Does adding more ice to a smoothie make it thicker?
Yes. You can either add crushed ice or ice cubes to thicken up your smoothies or even fruit-infused water that you have previously frozen to give your smoothies a boost of flavor.
11. How can you make a smoothie easier to digest?
a. Add crunchy toppings to chew on
The act of chewing stimulates the production of salivary enzymes that are responsible of activating digestion and stomach acid so that your digestive tract is fully capable of assimilating all the good nutrients you are taking in.
Here are some ideas for healthy toppings to make smoothies more filling and more digestion-friendly:
- Brazil nuts (I use them as a natural selenium supplement) and other nuts
- Unsweetened shredded coconut
- Cacao nibs (they are also high in protein)
- Passion fruit (low in sugar)
- …why not?, a couple of homemade grain free cookies (because balance 😉
b. Don’t drink it too fast
Smoothies are not meant to be drank like a drink, but to be eaten slowly and chewed on, as an actual meal. Drinking your smoothie too fast makes it hard for your body to absorb all the nutrients, and it can provoke bloating and digestive upset.
Also, by perceiving you smoothie like an actual and filling meal (instead of a drink) you will be less prone to seek for solid food.
c. Don’t make your smoothie too cold
If your stomach is sensitive to cold foods (especially early in the morning, when your digestive system is warming up), skip the ice and only use half the amount of frozen fruit and vegetables and replace the other half with ingredients at room temperature.
12. How do I make an AIP friendly smoothie?
With restrictions on nuts and seeds and on the amount of fructose one can consume per day (download a COMPLETE AIP FOOD LIST HERE), being on the Autoimmune Protocol can make it a bit challenging to make a filling smoothie.
HERE’S AN EXAMPLE to make smoothies that keep you full and are also AIP compliant and low in fruit:
Combine half a banana with 2 cups of baby spinach, ½ a zucchini (peeled), ¼ of an avocado, ½ cup water, ½ cup coconut milk, a dash of cinnamon, 1 tbsp of tigernut flour (for prebiotic fiber) and 1 scoop pf collagen. Top with some coconut shreds and tigernut flakes to activate digestive enzymes while chewing.
This concoction will help you balance out potential blood sugar spikes and keep you full for longer!
... Now It's On YOU!
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