If you cannot stand runny and watery smoothies, this article will show you how to thicken smoothies without adding calories.
You can use smoothies to lose weight, increase nutrient intake, or gain weight. It all depends on the ingredients you use.
Your ingredients also determine the thickness of the smoothie. If you don’t use the right ingredients, you might end up making a watery smoothie and nobody wants that.
Bananas are perfect for thickening smoothies. But they may not work for you if you’re trying to cut back on sugar or you simply don’t like them.
Avocado, yogurt, and nut butter are also great alternatives but they’re loaded with calories. Which is not a good thing if you’re trying to lose weight.
The truth is you can’t thicken smoothies without adding calories. However, there are low-calorie ingredients that can make your smoothie thicker while adding minimal calories.
If you’ve never made smoothies before, try these breakfast smoothie recipes.
How to thicken smoothies without adding calories
1. Add chia seeds
Chia seeds are very dense in nutrients. They contain omega 3s, all 9 essential amino acids, and fiber. Even better, they’ll barely add calories to your smoothie.
Chia seeds turn into a gel-like substance when they’re soaked in liquid. This gel can keep you full for hours – which can be beneficial if you struggle with hunger.
If you don’t have a powerful blender soak them in water before blending. It only takes them 20 minutes to become gel-like when soaked in fluid. Alternatively, you can buy ground seeds.
Don’t let your chia seed smoothie sit for hours before drinking it because it’ll become too thick. Drink it within 30 minutes.
Note that adding many seeds can be disastrous. 1 or 2 tablespoons of chia gel are enough to make your smoothie thicker.
2. Add Xanthan gum
Instead of using bananas or cream, which can add up to 500 calories to your smoothie, add Xanthan gum.
Xanthan gum is a thickener that can make your smoothies thicker without adding calories.
It’s made from Xanthomonas campestris (a natural carb). One tablespoon of Xanthan gum has 30 calories, 7 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of carbs. In addition, it’s gluten-free and vegan.
Just like chia seeds, you only need to add a small amount to make the smoothie thicker.
A teaspoon of Xanthan gum is enough to make your smoothie thick.
3. Use less fluid
Using too much water or milk can make your smoothie watery. Therefore, do the opposite if you want thicker smoothies.
Use less water than the recipe requires. If the smoothie ends up being too thick, you can always add water.
4. Use frozen fruits and veggies
Some people add ice to smoothies to make them thicker. The problem with ice is it eventually waters down and makes the smoothie watery.
Unlike ice, frozen fruits and veggies thicken smoothies. But you have to choose the right fruits, watery fruits such as watermelon will only make your smoothie runny.
Buy frozen fruits and veggies in the supermarket or put fresh produce in the freezer for 24 hours before blending.
5. Add fruits with soluble fiber
Soluble fiber can make your smoothie thicker because it turns into a sticky substance when it dissolves in water. This type of fiber will also keep you full for long, balance cholesterol levels, regulate blood sugar levels, and lower risk of diabetes.
Apples, pears, oranges, avocado, and other citrus fruits are good sources of soluble fiber.
It’s important to add soluble fiber to your diet if you want to lose weight and improve heart health. Other good sources include whole grains, veggies, legumes, and nuts.
6. Add flaxseeds
You only need one tablespoon of flaxseed to make your smoothie thicker. One tablespoon of flaxseed has 37 calories.
Like chia seeds, flaxseeds form gel when soaked in fluid for 20 minutes.
It’s worth noting that flaxseeds are high in omega 3s, which help fight inflammation and improve heart health.
Remember to buy ground flax seeds since most blenders can’t grind them properly.
7. Add sweet potato or pumpkin puree
Adding sweet potato or pumpkin puree to your smoothie can give it a sweet taste without excess sugar. Plus, it won’t add lots of calories to your smoothie. A tablespoon of sweet potato puree has 16 calories.
It’s better to cook your own puree since packaged puree has preservatives. Feel free to use fresh or frozen puree.
You may also want to try butternut squash and carrot puree.
8. Avoid substandard blenders
You can’t make a thick smoothie if the ingredients aren’t blended properly. This means you have to use a top-notch blender.
Blenders with low quality blades usually make watery smoothies since they can’t churn through veggies, seeds, and fruits.
Ninja blenders and vitamix blenders are some of the most highly recommended blenders.
9. Add gelatin
Gelatin is dried powder made from animal parts including bones, tissue and skin.
Gelatin won’t change the flavor or color of your smoothie since it’s tasteless and colorless.
Add one scoop to your smoothie to make it thick.
According to research, gelatin can heal your gut since it improves the lining of the digestive tract and prevents intestinal damage.
10. Add kefir
You probably know that probiotics are good for your health. Well, kefir is a good source of probiotics.
When using kefir, prepare one serving at a time. Your smoothie might turn sour if you store it overnight since kefir is made from fermented milk.
If you’ve been making watery smoothies, these tips will help make your smoothies thicker and more filling.
Avoid adding sugar and high-calorie thickeners if you want to lose weight. You may want to add herbs like ginger and turmeric to your smoothies to get more nutrients.