Vegetables have many nutritional benefits. The vitamins and minerals they contain strengthen you immune system, and their fiber slows the rate of carbohydrate absorption in your body and keeps you full for longer. Different colored vegetables have different nutrient properties, so include veggies in a variety of colors in your smoothies to maximize your health benefits. Blend a vegetable smoothie in place of your breakfast or snack to see the benefits of weight loss.
Include one green vegetable in your smoothie. Spinach is a great way to start, as it provides a smoother texture in drinks and has hardly any flavor. Kale is another great green that provides you with a higher vitamin load than spinach; however, it’s tougher than spinach and in your shake may provide some pulp. Throw 1 cup of each green to start your smoothie, add ice, fruit, water and blend. You'll get a healthy dose of vitamins A and C and fiber with minimal calories.
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Orange vegetables like carrots and pumpkin are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene. They are sweeter than green vegetables, so combine them with green veggies for maximum flavor. By adding 1 cup of orange vegetables to your smoothie, you'll have more than 200 percent of your daily value of vitamin A and some beta-carotene. Together, these nutrients work to improve your eyesight, immune system and cell growth.
Add a Fruit
Adding too much fruit to your vegetable smoothie may defeat the purpose of losing weight. If you add too many fruits, you may add too many calories -- something you want to avoid during weight loss. Stay in portion-control mode by choosing one piece of fruit or 1 cup of fruit per shake. Try 1 cup of frozen pineapple or berries, one-half of a banana or a medium-sized apple. These fruits taste great when paired with vegetables.
Add Natural Flavors
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Add one piece of fresh, chopped ginger, fresh mint, cilantro and or 1 tablespoon of agave nectar or honey to maximize the flavor of your smoothie without adding too many extra calories. Use coconut water or plain water instead of juice to reduce the amount of sugar. Add ice to thicken the shake and make it colder. The more natural flavor you use, the tastier your shake will be. Add tofu or a handful of nuts to boost the protein in your vegetable smoothie.
Carlye Waxman is a registered dietitian trained at Mount Sinai Hospital NYC in Medical Nutrition Therapy. She is a weight loss expert, private counselor and community based dietitian in New York City.