5 Simple, Throw-Together Smoothies That Are Filling Enough for a Meal

5 Simple, Throw-Together Smoothies That Are Filling Enough for a Meal

Smoothies seem to be the poster child for “healthy eating,” and many people grab one as a substitute for breakfast or other meals. But without proper planning, it’s easy for that simple smoothie to fall short when it comes to nutrition.

As a dietitian, I’ve worked with so many clients who would tell me that they just blended fruit with water or almond milk and had that for breakfast. Then they’d end up feeling hungry shortly afterward and throughout the day too. Many of them would then eat more than felt comfortable at meals because they didn’t take in enough nutrients during the early hours.

Just to be clear, I’m not here to knock anyone’s smoothie game. I make smoothies regularly and think they can be a quick and easy way to fuel your body and mind while satisfying mealtime hunger—as long as you keep a few key points in mind. The good news is that if you love smoothies, they absolutely can be a complete meal with proper planning!

The first thing to keep in mind is whether or not your smoothie is robust enough to be considered a meal—meaning, is it comparable to what you’d be taking in for a meal not in smoothie form? Calorie needs vary widely based on a number of factors, so it’s difficult to give a set number to shoot for. Perhaps a more useful way to determine whether you’re hitting that benchmark is if your smoothie keeps you satisfied for at least three hours and contains a good amount of each of the main macronutrients. (More on the below!) I generally don’t recommend calorie counting, but if you have a history of dieting and restriction, having some awareness about calories can be helpful for making sure you’re not undereating. In that case, I recommend smoothies be a minimum of 400 calories if you’re having one as a meal.

Back to the macronutrients: You also want to make sure you’re incorporating a good source of carbohydrates, protein, and fat into every smoothie. Food groups work together to keep you satisfied until your next snack or meal, so a smoothie that allows you to take in a combination at once is going to be better able to sub as a meal. Pick at least one food from each category for a filling smoothie. (Also, feel free to add on some of your other favorites like leafy greens, cocoa powder, and spices for an extra kick!)