Why Don’t I Feel Full After Having Smoothies?
I’ll be honest, I never used to find smoothies filling. An hour later, I’d be hungry again and thinking ‘why did I bother?’ or ‘what’s all this smoothie hype about?’
I like to chew. In my mind, chewing is eating. And, sometimes, I drink so quickly that I blink and I’ve finished my ‘so-called’ meal.
Turns out, there is a trick to making a smoothie that keeps you feeling full. It’s not tricky and I’ve got a stack of simple tips for you to keep in mind.
To Make a Smoothie Which Keeps You Full, Add in ‘Extras’.
Adding in ‘extras’ to your smoothie will help ensure you stay full and give you longer lasting energy. It’ll help ensure you get a good mix of nutrients and a balanced meal.
To feel full with smoothies, you’ll want to add in
- a good source of healthy fat
- a good source of carbohydrates
- a good source of protein
So that’s why for this Healthy Chocolate Smoothie recipe I’ve added; avocado (for fat), oats (for carbs) and milk (for protein). The dates are for sweetness and the other ingredients are for flavour or texture.
There is a Difference Between a ‘Snack Smoothie’ and a ‘Meal Smoothie.
One of the reasons you may not feel full after smoothies are that you are having ‘snack smoothies’ by mistake – when you really need a ‘meal smoothie’.
Snack smoothies are not intended to keep you full for hours. They are simply there to tide you over for a couple of hours, at most.
If you want to feel full for a while, you need to look for ‘meal smoothies’.
The main difference is that a snack smoothie is lighter on ‘extras’ and a meal smoothie is loaded.
How many ‘extras’ should I be adding to my smoothies?
It depends on how hungry you are and when your next meal is planned. If you’re not planning to eat for a while (3-4 hours), go for a ‘meal smoothie’. If it’s only 1-2 hours before eating again, choose a ‘snack smoothie’.
A ‘meal smoothie’ might have 2-4 ‘extras’, plus a flavour boost. e.g. Oats, milk, avocado, nut butter for ‘extras’ (and dates or cinnamon for flavour).
A snack smoothie might have 1-2 ‘extras’ plus a little flavour boost. e.g. milk and a banana for ‘extras’ (and 1 tbs honey and vanilla for flavour).
Examples of Power Packed ‘Extras’
Carbs: 1/3 cup oats, 1 piece of fruit, 1 cup of berries or 1/2 banana, a cup of milk, 1/2 cup of yoghurt.
Protein: A handful of nuts, a cup of milk, 1/2 cup of yoghurt, a scoop of protein powder (although, here are my thoughts on protein powders, you can go for TWC’s approved protein blends with simple whey proteins or the vegan plant-based options using a lot of the nuts & seeds mentioned here as extras), 50g silken tofu, 2 tbsp hemp seeds (if that’s your thing).
Ideally, you want one of each group to get a balanced meal – but that’s up to you. We’re all so different.
Can I add too many extras to my smoothies?
There is a point when you can add too many extras. The aim is to eat what your body needs, not more or less. Goldilocks was onto something…
For example, I don’t think you need to add 1/2 an avocado (which would be two ‘extras’) to a smoothie when 1/4 will fill you up just fine.
If you stick to 1/4 (which is one serve of healthy fats), it means you can use another ingredient to add more flavour, protein or fibre instead of using up all your ‘extras’ on one ingredient and one group of nutrients.
The more types of ingredients you use, the more varied the nutrients – and this nutrient variety is essential.
What To Do if Smoothies Still Don’t Leave You Feeling Full…
You might want to try a smoothie bowl instead. These are thick ‘meal smoothies’. And they have toppings like muesli, nuts, seeds, coconut or fruit adding another ‘extra’.
PLUS, you have to eat smoothie bowl with a spoon so they take much longer so that by the time you’ve finished, you might feel full. Eat too quickly and your body doesn’t have enough time to do this.
Be mindful of portion sizes though. Use the ‘meal smoothie’ formula above to work out the extras. I would recommend including 3 extras in the blender and then add one more extra on top for crunch (=4 extras).
TIP: To thicken a smoothie, add more ice to the recipe or start with a base of frozen fruit & veggies (you can hide neutral tasting veggies like cauliflower and zucchini really well this way!).
You can also try ‘meal smoothies’ like this Chocolate Smoothie recipe. And if it still doesn’t keep you feel, then… now you know. Smoothies aren’t right for you.
Ultimately, the healthiest food for you is the food that makes you feel good. Don’t go hungry because you like the idea of being a smoothie drinker. Eat food for breakfast instead, like this delicious 5-minute breakfast or these overnight oats!
Find more fabulous recipes, health advice and more on Lyndi’s website.
Share your whole foods healthy smoothie creations with us on Instagram with #myTWC!