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Green Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss and Fat Burning


Robyn Openshaw, MSW - Jul 22, 2019 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links


Green Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss and Fat Burning

Green smoothies are perfect fuel to burn fat and lose weight, and not just because a well-balanced smoothie is a low-calorie meal. A green smoothie for weight loss won’t rob your body of key nutrients (like some fad diets do, such as “keto”), and will include the right kinds of ingredients to support your body in shedding pounds and keeping them off.

In this post:

Before I share some smoothie recipes for weight loss and fat burning, let’s talk about how weight loss works.

How to Lose Weight

Most people are under the impression that losing weight just comes down to eating less. Some refer to it as “CICO”, or “calories in/calories out”. This means you consume fewer calories than you exert through physical activity and simply existing (your metabolic rate).

But there’s more to it than that.

  • Choose high-quality calories. You also have to take into account the quality of your calories if you want to really thrive. Think about it—200 calories of broccoli is going to treat your body differently than 200 calories of candy, so why do people act as if they’re equal? One gives you vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber–as well as satiety–while the other just spikes your blood sugar.
Photo of healthy and junk food from

Calories and nutrition have little to do with each other.

  • Eat whole foods. Processed foods and drinks carry ingredients your body doesn’t recognize and can’t use, including ingredients (like MSG) that are straight up toxic. Fat protects us from toxins by absorbing them, and it is then stubborn in coming off because it is resolute in doing its job of keeping toxins from metabolizing and harming our bodies.

You can avoid this push-and-pull by simply eating whole, unprocessed foods, or foods that are as minimally processed as possible. Whole foods are naturally detoxifying, and once the toxins are gone, your fat cells no longer have a reason to stick around.

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  • Don’t fear carbs. There are many fad diets that encourage you to eliminate whole categories of very important foods, like going low- or no-carb or getting rid of oils and other fats. These diets might work at first, but they are ultimately unsustainable because your body needs these macronutrients. Fat nourishes your brain, your hormones, your cells, and more, and carbohydrates like whole grains and vegetables give you energy.

In the Oxford-Cornell China Project, researchers discovered that people eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet could eat 200 calories more than those eating 20 percent animal protein (like Americans do, on average) and stay lean. It’s just not true that “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.”

Some theorize that foods high in resistant starch–a banana, for instance–actually bind calories, so that you absorb fewer than the food actually contains.

[Related: The Carnivore Diet: 11 Bizarre Claims of the All-Meat Diet]

  • Reduce or eliminate added sugar. Processed sugar is an inflammatory, addictive ingredient associated with dozens (if not hundreds) or health problems, including difficulty shedding pounds.
    • Sugar messes with your hormones, including the ones that regulate your metabolism and signal fullness.
    • Sugar causes widespread inflammation, which can lead to insulin resistance and leptin resistance, both highly associated with weight gain.
    • Sugar is addictive, causing cravings that keep you reaching for more of its empty calories.
    • Sugar elevates your blood sugar levels, giving you a rush of energy that falls just as quickly as it rises. The sudden crash causes you to eat more sugar to get that energy back up. A vicious cycle!

[Related: How To Break Your Sugar Addiction in Four Days]

  • Swap out vegetable oil for healthy fats. Vegetable oils are inflammatory and can keep people from reaching weight loss goals, especially if trans fats are involved. Companies have started phasing out trans fats, but you’ll still find them on ingredients lists (anything labeled “hydrogenated”). Opt for fat from nuts, seeds, olives, coconut, avocado, and other whole food sources instead.
Graphic of healthy oils from

Good fats are essential for healthy weight loss.

  • Don’t fret about protein. Most Americans get too much protein, not too little. While protein will help build up muscle, which in turn helps you burn more fat, you’ll get plenty of protein from a plant-based diet. Pound-for-pound, you get more protein and nutrients from spinach than from a steak.
  • Have a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds in your diet. This will help you take in all the fiber you need for the day—something that most Americans are lacking in their diet—which is key for weight loss. Fiber is important to the health of your digestive system (and thus, the rest of your body).

It helps slow down your food as it makes its way through the small intestinal tract, so that you’re better able to absorb nutrients from what you eat. It also helps keep bowel movements regular so you are eliminating at a healthy pace.

  • Don’t eat too close to bedtime. If you eat right before bed, your body is going to use the energy it needs to provide you a restful and healing sleep for digesting your food instead. Sure, you get energy from sleep, but only if your body is allowed to do what it needs during that time without digestion getting all the attention. Without the quality sleep your body needs, it will be harder to lose weight. Give yourself at least two or three hours between dinnertime and bedtime, and feel free to experiment with timing to see how it affects your slumber.

[Related: Will A Fasting Diet Get You The Results You Want?]

All the above tips for health weight loss will also help you to burn fat. These recommendations are also most effective if you add exercise and strength training to the mix—stronger muscles help burn fat at a faster rate.

Top 10 Foods for Weight Loss, Fat Burning, and Boosting Metabolism

The following foods are great for adding to smoothies, especially if you’re trying to lose weight, because they add fiber and boost your metabolism. They also give your body a go-to source of energy for physical activity, so blend these up before a workout to give yourself some fuel.

1. Nuts and seeds: The fat and protein contained in nuts will provide you slow-release energy throughout the day that also keeps blood sugar stable. Almonds in particular contain arginine, an amino acid that helps strengthen the GI tract. Improved gut function also helps improve function of the liver. When blood sugar is stable, gut health is in check, and your detoxification organs are working smoothly, you have a much easier time shedding weight.

Seeds like flaxseed and chia are fantastic for weight loss, and their fiber is gut-healing as well as filling. My favorite hack for banishing hunger is to drink a glass of water with a tablespoon of chia seeds stirred in. It’s fun to drink and it fills me up!

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2. Berries: These fruits hit the sweet spot of being low in sugar and high in fiber, so you get the sweet flavor without the blood sugar spike that can come with more refined foods. Berries help improve circulation, allowing you to better absorb nutrients.

3. Leafy greens: As you’ll see in the recipes below, we love our leafy greens as a smoothie base. They add antioxidants and other phytonutrients along with plenty of vitamins and minerals.

[Related: Top 11 Greens To Use In Green Smoothies]

4. Avocado: Just like nuts and seeds, the fat in avocado keeps you fuller longer and provides steadier energy throughout the day. It’s also packed with fiber and B vitamins too. Bonus: adding avocado to smoothies makes them nice and creamy, and keeps them from separating.

5. Celery: This fibrous vegetable is known for having “negative”calories—that is, you expend more calories eating it than you get from the food itself. That’s a bang for your buck!

6. Cacao powder: For a chocolatey green smoothie, you can always add raw cacao powder to the mix, which is a highly concentrated source of antioxidants. For weight loss, their polyphenols help burn fat2.

Photo of raw cacao from

Cacao’s polyphenols are a fat-burning powerhouse.

7. Green tea: Feel free to get creative with your liquid base for your smoothies, and make them even greener! It doesn’t always have to be milks and water. Green tea has plenty of beneficial antioxidants as well as the compound EGCG, which is known for its metabolism-boosting effects.

8. Coconut oil: I love adding nut butters to my smoothies as a source of fat, but sometimes the flavor doesn’t quite fit. Coconut oil is a fairly neutral way to add fat to your recipe without altering the flavor. Plus, its medium-chain triglycerides are more easily digested than other types of fat, giving you a more accessible energy source.

9. Cinnamon: Not only does this add a nice flavor to your smoothies, but cinnamon is a detoxifying metabolic booster and helps to stabilize blood sugar. It tastes great with apple- or pear-based smoothies, or in combination with ginger.

10. Grapefruit: While the age-old grapefruit diet isn’t likely to get you sustainable weight loss, simply adding this fruit to your regular rotation can help you to more efficiently use the insulin your body produces, thanks to an antioxidant called naringenin.

Green Smoothies for Weight Loss and Fat Burning

The following green smoothie recipes for weight loss are rich in plant-based nutrients, include natural sugar only (no added honey or maple syrup), and are balanced with healthy fats.

Replace one or two meals per day with one of these green smoothies, and you’ll feel and look fantastic. Research for my book The Green Smoothies Diet showed that the top 5 results from a daily green smoothie habit are: more energy, weight loss, better digestion, brighter skin, and decreased cravings.

[Create your own weight-loss smoothies with this free printable 1001 Green Smoothies Cheatsheet!]

Green smoothies are also super simple and inexpensive to make. Take advantage of the frozen produce section, and buy fresh produce that’s in season to make the most of your smoothie dollar. Feel free to amp up the protein content with clean, no-additive protein powder.

1. Avocado Dream

Photo of the avocado dream smoothie from

Avocado Dream Weight-Loss Smoothie

A lean, green, avocado dream! This smoothie doesn’t require a lot of ingredients, but it still packs a big nutrient punch. Fresh lime juice brightens up the flavor, while the avocado will keep you satisfied from breakfast to lunch (or lunch to dinner!)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 2 hearty handfuls spinach
  • 1 avocado
  • Juice of ½ fresh lime
  • 1 stevia packet

Directions

  1. Blend coconut water and spinach till smooth. Add the avocado, lime juice, and stevia and blend for 20 seconds.

2. Lucky Green Smoothie

Photo of the Lucky Green Weight-Loss Smoothie from

Lucky Green Weight-Loss Smoothie

This is one the kids will love too, and you can get them in on the fun by helping to add the ingredients in the blender. Grapes contain a mineral called boron, which our body uses to help stabilize blood sugar. The fiber and fat from the ground flax join in and help do the same. Feel free to substitute flax seeds with chia seeds or our TriOmega Superfood Blend.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups water and ice
  • 3 large handfuls spinach or mixed greens
  • 3 cups frozen or fresh green grapes
  • 1 scoop protein powder (your flavor of choice)
  • 2 tbsp sprouted ground flax (or TriOmega)

Directions

  1. In a high-speed blender, blend water, ice, and greens for 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

3. Turning Green

Photo of the Turning Green Weight-Loss Smoothie from

Turning Green Weight-Loss Smoothie

Want to up the sweetness of your green smoothie to make it more appealing to your kids (or to you, if you’re new to this kind of thing!)? Adding more fruit into the mix is the best way to do it—you’re adding lots of nutrients and fiber along with the natural sweetness. Banana and pineapple also help thicken up the mixture, making its texture more like a milkshake than a smoothie.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups water and ice
  • 3 large handfuls spinach
  • 2 large leaves kale with stems
  • 1 cup green grapes
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop protein powder (any flavor)

Directions

  1. In a high-speed blender, blend water, ice, and greens for 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

4. Tart Berry Blast

Photo of the Tart Berry Blast Weight-Loss Smoothie from

Tart Berry Blast Weight-Loss Smoothie

We’re creatures of habit, so I don’t blame you if you’re one to find a recipe you like and make it over and over again. If you’re looking to add some variety, this Tart Berry Blast brings new flavors into the mix along with its vibrant red hue. Cranberry juice helps reduce chronic inflammation, which is often a barrier for weight loss, while pomegranate’s conjugated linolenic acid helps burn fat.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup cranberry juice
  • ½ cup ice
  • 5 large leaves kale
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • 1 orange peeled
  • 1 apple cored
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tbsp sprouted ground flax

Directions

  1. In a high-speed blender, blend juice, ice, and greens for 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

5. Zesty Green Smoothie

Photo of the Zesty Green Weight-Loss Smoothie from

Zesty Green Weight-Loss Smoothie

Add a little zing to your morning green smoothie with fresh ginger. This powerful herb is anti-inflammatory and also stimulates digestion—an important part of weight loss when working properly. Feel free to choose your favorite greens for this one. The best ones are the ones you will actually eat!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 2 cups favorite green (spinach, kale, chard)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 cored granny smith apple
  • 1 tbsp peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients into a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.

All remaining smoothies are adapted from The Green Smoothies Diet.

6. Grapefruit Cilantro Booster

This summer treat tastes super fresh and lets the herb cilantro shine bright. I love adding cilantro to my smoothies because it’s a great detoxifier. It helps pull toxins out of our cells3, which in turn can help us get rid of stubborn fat. Toxins love taking up space in our fat cells, so with herbs like cilantro helping to clear them out, we can more easily shed the weight.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups ice water
  • 2 cups cilantro
  • 10 dates, pitted
  • Spinach, added until mixture reaches 6-cup line
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large pink grapefruit, peeled
  • 1 D’Anjou pear
  • 2 bananas, frozen in chunks
  • ¼ whole lime, unpeeled
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • ⅓ cup almonds or your favorite nuts

Directions

  1. Blend the first four ingredients until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
  2. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours in glass jars and shake well before serving. (This recipe becomes stronger tasting if not consumed immediately).

7. Summer Apricot-Watercress Divine

Watercress isn’t typically available at the grocery store year-round like a lot of leafy greens. You can usually find it from mid-spring to mid-summer. It’s a cruciferous vegetable, which pairs nicely with its cousin kale to aid in weight loss thanks to their detoxifying qualities. The potassium content of this blend is great for fluid balance to avoid water retention, and it also helps with nutrient synthesis.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups ice water
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 3 leaves kale (any kind)
  • Spring greens, added until mixture reaches 6-cup line
  • ¼ lime
  • 5-6 ripe apricots, pitted (optionally frozen in chunks)
  • 2 ripe peaches, pitted (optionally frozen in chunks)
  • 1 banana, frozen in chunks
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • ½ avocado

Directions

  1. Blend the first five ingredients until smooth. Add fruit and blend again until smooth.
  2. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours in glass jars and shake well before serving.

8. Savory Sweet-Hot Smoothie

Don’t throw out your radish greens! We can use every part of the spicy little plant; just make sure to wash the tops well to get any dirt out of the leaves. Pea greens—also known as pea shoots, sprouts, or tendrils—add a lot of nutrition in a little package, as the sprouting makes their nutrients more absorbable by the body. These are often found at Whole Foods, but they can be substituted with spinach or watercress if you don’t have them at your local grocery store. Cayenne pepper adds a delicious kick to this blend and provides a nice balance to the sweetness of all the other ingredients like dates, pineapple, berries, and banana. Cayenne contains capsaicin, which has been shown to be beneficial for weight management by increasing fat burning4.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups ice water
  • 4 radishes and their green tops, washed well
  • 3 oz pea greens
  • Spinach, added until the mixture reaches 6-cup line
  • ¼ cup chopped dates
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups pineapple, preferably frozen in chunks
  • 3 cups frozen berries
  • 3 bananas, frozen in chunks
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Directions

  1. Blend the first four ingredients until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
  2. Serve immediately for best nutrition (sprouts oxidize quickly), or refrigerate for up to 24 hours in glass jars and shake well before serving.

9. Dandelion Blast

The key in this smoothie is sodium. No, not the kind you sprinkle on your food. Sodium chloride = table salt, while sodium by itself is a mineral that you need in your diet for acid-alkaline balance, as well as fluid balance. (That means it helps you avoid retaining water.) The star ingredient for this is celery, which is rich in sodium and high in fiber, too.

Ingredients

  • 2 ¾ cups ice water
  • 2 large stalks celery
  • ¼ whole lemon
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled
  • 4 cups dandelion greens
  • Spinach, added and blended up to the 6-cup line
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 bananas, frozen in chunks
  • ½ avocado
  • Frozen berries, added and blended until the container is very full

Directions

  1. Blend the first six ingredients until smooth. Add fruit and blend until smooth.
  2. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours in glass jars and shake well before serving.

10. Arugula Arame Attack

Sea vegetables are incredibly rich in highly absorbable vitamins and minerals, and contain important B vitamins that help your body metabolize macronutrients. That means it helps your body more efficiently use protein, fat, and carbohydrates as fuel and energy. A study out of Newcastle University suggests it may help you lose weight too, thanks to its fibers that stop the body from absorbing fat5.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups ice water
  • 2 large handfuls arugula
  • ¼ cup arame or wakame, or 1 raw nori sheet (Asian sea vegetable)
  • Spinach, added until mixture reaches the 6-cup line
  • 2 cups pineapple, preferably frozen in chunks
  • 2 bananas, frozen in chunks
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries, blackberries, or mixed berries
  • 1 apple or pear
  • ⅓ cup almonds or your favorite nuts

Directions

  1. Blend the first four ingredients until smooth. Add fruit and stevia and blend until smooth.
  2. Serve immediately for best results, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours in glass jars and shake well before serving.

READ NEXT: 7 Principles of Your Perfect Diet

Photograph of Robyn Openshaw, founder of Green Smoothie GirlRobyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.

 

 

Green Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss and Fat Burning

Sources

  1. “Increasing Fiber Intake.” UCSF Health. University of California San Francisco.
  2. Andújar, I. et al. “Cocoa Polyphenols and Their Potential Benefits for Human Health.” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2012; 2012: 906252. Published online 2012 Oct 24. doi: 10.1155/2012/906252
  3. Rafati-Rahimzadeh et al. “Current approaches of the management of mercury poisoning: need of the hour.” Daru: Journal of Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences. 2014; 22(1): 46. Published online 2014 Jun 2. doi: 10.1186/2008-2231-22-46
  4. Whiting, Stephen; Derbyshire, Emma; Tiwari, B.K. “Capsaicinoids and capsinoids. A potential role for weight management? A systematic review of the evidence.” Appetite. 59 (2012) 341–348.
  5. Dunford, James. “What’s green, slimy and good for you?” The Telegraph UK. May 30, 2010.

 

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Posted in: Detox, Green Smoothies, Health Concerns, Healthy Weight, Natural Products, Recipes

8 thoughts on “Green Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss and Fat Burning”

Leave a Comment
  1. Mic says:

    Thank you for this, GSG. I want to lose 20 lbs. but don’t know how. Now I know exactly how!

  2. This is really useful for me! It’s difficult to refer back and forth on FB though. Can you email me this article? Thank you!

    1. Rose Butler GSG says:

      Hi Merrill, this article is not on Facebook. It’s on our Green Smoothie Girl website under "Blog." Here is the direct link https://greensmoothiegirl.com/smoothie-recipes-for-weight-loss/. You may also like our other smoothie recipes (and many other recipes) from our website. https://greensmoothiegirl.com/recipes/.

  3. Danielle E Clegg says:

    Is there any good reason you can’t just add organic baby food to your smoothies instead of blending up your greens ?

    1. Rose Butler GSG says:

      Hi Danielle, although it would be easier, we recommend whole foods instead. Even organic baby food is processed and you may not be getting ALL the nutrients greens have to offer.

  4. Joanne says:

    Hi Robyn, what’s the amount of fibre we should aim for each day?

    1. Rose Butler GSG says:

      Hi Joanne, Robyn does not measure the nutrients in her daily intake, but considering she lives a 98% whole foods plant based diet, you can imagine it to be above average!
      The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends the following for how much fiber to eat per day:
      25 grams per day for adult women 50 years old or younger
      38 grams per day for adult men 50 years old or younger
      28 grams per day for pregnant or lactating women
      21 grams per day for adult women over 50 years of age
      30 grams per day for adult men over 50 years of age

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