15 Tasty Meal Replacement Smoothie Recipes To Fill You Up & Keep You Going
Sometimes you don’t feel like making a big production out of your meal. Other times you don’t have a place in your schedule to do it, even if you wanted to. The life saver in these situations? The meal replacement green smoothie!
I’m a big fan of how smoothies allow you to get in more greens and superfoods than you can eat in one sitting with a fork. You’ll find me sipping on one any time of day. I’ll give you the basics of how to turn any green smoothie into a complete meal, plus my top 15 recipes for meal replacement smoothies. I’ll even give you suggestions for which meal each one is best suited!
In This Article
- Why Should You Have a Meal Replacement Smoothie?
- How to Make a Good Meal Replacement Smoothie
- Smoothies for Breakfast
- Smoothies for Lunch
- Smoothies for Dinner
- After-School Smoothies
- Midnight Snack Smoothies
Why Should You Have a Meal Replacement Smoothie?
You can enjoy meal replacement smoothies whenever you’d like, but there are a few scenarios where having a drink instead of a conventional “meal” may be more helpful or appropriate.
- During an illness: When we are sick, we need to load up on the nutrients to get ourselves back into fighting shape. But we don’t usually have the energy to go through the process of chopping vegetables, standing in front of the stove cooking, or cleaning up. Putting together a quick smoothie is much easier to do and delivers plenty of helpful vitamins and minerals.
[Related: 7 Natural Immune Boosters]
- When you are low on time: Green smoothies are the perfect “fast food.” You don’t even need to worry about doing any prep work if you’re using smaller ingredients that don’t need to be chopped, like greens and berries. It’s even easier when everything is already prepped (like a frozen bag of pineapple, for instance), and you can just toss it all in the blender with some liquid.
Green smoothies are a breeze for make-ahead meal prep, too, either by assembling the ingredients together in freezer containers, or by freezing portions of blended smoothie (I like to use quart jars, making sure to leave an inch or so headroom). Just take one out of the freezer and let thaw in the fridge the night before you want to have it.
- When you are recovering from illness or surgery: The recovery process requires a lot of rest so that the body can use its energy to repair itself. A lot of energy goes into digesting food, and smoothies help begin the digestion process by breaking down the food into particles much smaller than our teeth can. This gives the gut less to do, so more of your energy can go towards recovery. If you’ve had mouth surgery, smoothies are the ultimate “soft food” and can be soothing to the healing area.
How to Make a Good Meal Replacement Smoothie
You can’t replace a meal with a smoothie if you don’t know what actually makes up a meal! Make sure yours has the basic balance of fibrous carbohydrates, protein, and fat to keep you satisfied.
- Fibrous carbohydrates: I emphasize fiber here because simple carbs aren’t going to keep you satisfied. You want complex carbs from vegetables (and whole grains or legumes if that’s part of your recipe) that will give you steadier energy throughout the day. Veggies like leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and beets are some great green smoothie add-ins.
- Protein: Remember that many vegetables contain protein (the ones I just mentioned are good places to start!), but if you want extra, you can also get protein from nuts and seeds—such as chia, flax, and hemp—or whole foods based protein powders made from similar ingredients. Even better if they’re sprouted. The protein content will be higher, and you’ll be able to digest it more easily.
- Fat: Nuts and seeds also offer up some healthy fats along with protein, and some other great smoothie-friendly sources include the butter form of the nuts and seeds, coconut, and avocado.
[Related: 3 Fats That Hurt, 3 Fats That Heal]
Meal Replacement Smoothies for Breakfast
The best smoothies for breakfast will be made up of foods that support energy production, so you can be alert and motivated throughout the day. For this purpose, we’ll want a big handful of B-vitamin rich leafy greens, along with energy-sustaining fats from avocado or coconut.
- Morning Mojito Smoothie
This refreshing, summery blend contains leafy greens and avocado, along with peach and apple to round out this mineral-rich blend. The base liquid is cooled nettle tea. The tea is optional, but highly recommended for its amazing benefits! Nettle is highly nourishing and contains calcium, iron, Vitamin A, and protein.
- Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie
The way most people eat oats sets them up for big cravings throughout the day. The microwaveable packets are filled with sugar, and there is little else to keep the carbohydrates from digesting quickly. A recipe for an energy crash! Add your oats to a smoothie balanced out with sprouted flax. The flax will provide fat and protein. (Note: if you don’t have protein powder, you can increase the amount of flax). Feel free to add some coconut oil to the mix, especially if you’ll be having a late lunch. The fat will help keep you fuller for longer.
- Morning Berry Smoothie
Key in this recipe is the coconut milk, with lots of healthy fats and some protein, too! The type of fat in coconut is called medium-chain triglycerides. These fats digest differently than others. They are metabolized more quickly than long-chain fatty acids and so are more easily used for energy. If you’re dairy-free, double down on the coconut content and add in some coconut yogurt instead.
Meal Replacement Smoothies for Lunch
This time of day is often best to have your biggest meal. It’s when our digestive fire tends to be the strongest, so we can use our food as fuel faster. That means more energy for the rest of the day! Use these green smoothie recipes that make bigger portions for your mid-day meal.
- Banana Split Smoothie
We’ve got two bunches of leafy greens in this two-serving recipe—hope you’re hungry! The kale and spinach offer plenty of those energy-boosting B vitamins along with fiber. Coconut water kefir provides those medium-chain fats, but also probiotics. If you keep your good gut bacteria thriving, they’ll keep you thriving!
- Berry Nutty Smoothie
The almonds in this lunch smoothie help make it a very filling meal replacement, keeping you satisfied and productive all the way to dinner. Make sure you get a few big handfuls of greens in there to help fill your veggie quota for the day, and round it out with some protein from either powder or extra ground flax. You’ll be glad you did when you’re not gunning for the vending machine later in the afternoon!
- Power Green Smoothie
This smoothie is no joke! It’s packed to the blender brim with antioxidants from using green tea as a portion of the liquid base, as well as frozen açai and blueberries. This meal replacement smoothie for lunch will keep you happy and full, while the systems of your body are protected and humming along.
Meal Replacement Smoothies for Dinner
At dinner time, we still want a well-rounded meal with all the macronutrients, but we need to shift the ratio of each a bit. To make sure you sleep well and undisturbed, look for recipes that are higher in fat and protein so you won’t have any blood sugar spikes keeping you awake.
Also, try not to drink this smoothie too close to bedtime. Your sleep may become disrupted by having to get up and use the bathroom, or you may not have a restful sleep because your body’s energy is devoted to digestion instead of its usual functions that help you feel refreshed in the morning.
- Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pick Me Up
Though pumpkin is a starchier vegetable, this winter squash is high in fiber, helping to even out the impact on your blood sugar. Even better is the scoop of peanut butter, which not only adds healthy fats but a rich and comforting flavor. Not pumpkin season around you? Look for cans of pumpkin puree in the baking aisle—and check the ingredients. Some are pie-ready with lots of sugar added in. Look for a can with nothing more than plain pumpkin, and organic if possible.
- Warm Apple Smoothie
Sometimes, especially in the colder months, it’s nice to have a warm beverage as you wind down at night. But even with handfuls of spinach, this is no pureed soup! To add to the apple’s sweetness, we use pitted dates. Walnuts, or your favorite nuts, balances it out to make a filling, autumnal meal you can enjoy just as well on your front porch or by the fire.
- Greena Colada Smoothie
Who can say no to a pina colada? You won’t have to when you make it a meal! The tropical flavors of pineapple and coconut blend well with mild-tasting leafy greens like spinach. Plus, raw coconut in a smoothie not only adds those healthy fats we’ve been going for in our meal replacements, but it makes it super creamy too! If you can’t find it fresh, you may be able to find it in the freezer section at your grocery store. Feel free to add coconut oil as well to up the fat content.
Snacks don’t necessarily need to have all the components of a full meal, but they will need to hold the kids over until the next time they eat. Since it’s often homework time, fill them with ingredients that nourish the brain and keep them energized and focused. No falling asleep on those math assignments!
- Super Hulk Green Smoothie
Are your kids fans of Marvel movies? Tell them how super strong they’ll be like the Incredible Hulk when they get their greens in after school in this smoothie. They can even help you make it and learn what each of the ingredients does to help them grow smarter and stronger (like the berries, which can help improve mental focus at school).
- Choca-Laca Maca Shake
What I love about this smoothie is that it’s a superfood extravaganza! Maca powder can be stimulating energy-wise, giving everyone a late-afternoon boost to get homework done or get revved up for soccer practice. And it’s quality energy, too, not the quick rise and fall that you’d get from added sweeteners (this one has Stevia, which won’t have an effect on blood sugar, as well as the fiber-rich powder of the sweet lucuma fruit).
- Zesty Green Smoothie
This zingy blend will perk everyone up when they get home from school or work. Load up on your favorite leafy greens to puree with parsley, apple, ginger, lime, and a little bit of celery. The fiber will keep you from getting ravenous before dinner, and you’ll get a hydrating boost to increase your energy as well.
Midnight Snack Smoothies
I’m normally not a proponent of eating in the middle of the night, but if you’re gonna, it may as well be something healthy! The best midnight smoothies are higher in fat so you don’t spike your blood sugar before going back to bed, and contain ingredients that help the body relax so you can get a good night’s rest. Here’s a hint a reader once taught me, if you don’t want to wake anyone by firing up your blender: use an immersion blender!
- Chocolaty Breakfast Smoothie
Cacao powder is a great ingredient to include in your late-night smoothies. And that’s raw, by the way, not the same as Hershey’s processed cocoa powder, which doesn’t have the same medicinal benefits. Raw cacao contains magnesium, which helps relax your muscles. That’s your permission to reach for the chocolate after a tense day! It’s also high in anandamide, the “feel good” chemical that’ll put you in a dream state even before your head hits the pillow.
- Chai Green Smoothie
The spices in this smoothie are warming and grounding, just what you need in the middle of the night when you’re trying to keep things low-key. They taste great with the banana and almond butter, the latter helping fill you up to avoid hunger pangs in the middle of the night. For the banana, I suggest throwing the whole thing in the blender, peel and all, as its high magnesium content promotes relaxation. Some folks even make a tea out of the banana peel to sip before bed—but a smoothie is probably more palatable!
- Avocado Dream Smoothie
Sweet dreams guaranteed with this smoothie! It’s a super simple, super green mix starring avocado. Its fiber and fat helps avoid high blood sugar so you have an easy time drifting off to sleep. Feel free to add a handful of frozen pineapple for a tropical twist.
There you have it, smoothies for every meal, even the small ones in between! Quick, easy, and delicious, so you can spend less time cooking, and more time using all the extra amazing energy you’ll gain from having nutrient-dense, well-balanced meals.
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Posted in: Green Smoothies