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Nutrition experts have studied exactly how satisfying smoothies are to us, but it turns out the answer isn’t that simple because not every smoothie is created equally.

Participants in the study reported feeling more satiated after smoothies that they considered “food-like.” Some of the satiation level also had to do with how long it took participants to consume their smoothies. It’s been known for quite some time that eating (or even drinking) slowly helps our brains better catch up with our stomachs, and properly assess fullness levels, so we eat less. That’s true for smoothies, just as it is for food, so the thicker smoothies that take longer to consume can help one feel fuller than the watery ones.

If you’re drinking more smoothies as a way to feel satisfied with fewer calories or simply as a way to have a nutritious meal replacement when you don’t have time to sit down for a real meal, it’s important that this blended drink fills you up. If it doesn’t, you may just reach for another meal anyway. We took a look at some ingredients you can add to your smoothies to help them keep you feeling full until your next meal.

smoothies healthiest

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Avocado

Creamy avocado is filled with healthy fats to keep you feeling full, and blends up nicely in smoothies with greens, bananas, chocolate, or berries because of its mild, slightly sweet flavor. One whole avocado has roughly four grams of protein, too, so in addition to adding a satisfyingly thick texture to your drink, it also adds this filling nutrient.

smoothies healthiest

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Low-fat Greek yogurt

If you typically eat Greek yogurt with berries and granola for breakfast, just dump it into your smoothie. It’s thicker than regular yogurt, and much higher in protein while remaining low in sugar. Its neutral flavor also makes it mix up well with either savory ingredients like kale or cucumber, as well as sweet ingredients, so it’s versatile.

smoothies healthiest

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Frozen cauliflower

This may sound odd at first, but give it a try. Unseasoned cauliflower has almost no flavor, so it won’t interfere with the overall taste of your drink. What it does have is filling fiber. If you cook it, freeze it, and blend that up, it can add a satisfying bulk and texture to your drink that makes it feel more like food than a beverage.

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Oatmeal

Rather than eating your oats hot and mushy, just add them raw to your smoothie. They’re an excellent source of soluble fiber, which is why they keep you full for hours, and they can provide much-needed texture to an otherwise watery smoothie. They can also aid with blood sugar management, so if you do add sweet stuff to your smoothie, the oats can help minimize the resulting blood sugar spike.

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Nut butter

Nut butter will instantly add bulk, protein, and healthy fats to your smoothie. And because it is so thick, it will take a long time to consume, which can help you feel better satiated than a liquid smoothie. The trick is to go with the natural butter that has some of the oils left on top, as this will blend better with your other ingredients.

smoothies healthiest

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Chia seeds

One ounce of Chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber and four grams of protein, so it can really fill you up while helping to manage blood sugar spikes. The other great thing about Chia seeds is that, in their dry form, they’re tiny, but once added to liquid, they enlarge, becoming gelatinous, and adding a satisfying texture to your drink.

smoothies healthiest

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Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is often overlooked as a smoothie ingredient, but it shouldn’t be. It’s high in protein, low in fat, and mild enough in flavor to go well with either sweet or savory ingredients. One cup offers 28 grams of protein at just around 160 calories, and it works like a thickening agent, similar to Greek yogurt or nut butter.

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Finely chopped nuts

If you don’t like the consistency of nut butter, but you still want the healthy fats and protein nuts have to offer, just toss your favorite nuts into your food processor and grind them up. They’ll add a nice crunch to your drink, and you can either blend them in with the other ingredients or sprinkle them on the top.

smoothies healthiest

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Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds are an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, and protein, as well as vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, and iron. They’re certainly a superfood, and they go well in many smoothie recipes – particularly those containing carob, chocolate, bananas, or nut butter. You can chop them up finely, or add them whole, depending on the texture you prefer.

Tahini

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Tahini

Not many think of Tahini when making a smoothie, but, it acts much like nut butter and is a good alternative for those with nut allergies. It has a thick, creamy texture, and offers a little over five grams of protein in just two tablespoons. In fact, it has more protein than milk, along with plenty of Vitamin E and B. It’s slightly sweet and will go well in most recipes that would usually use nut butter.

smoothies healthiest

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Black beans

Though you may associate black beans with enchiladas and bean soup, they are actually widely used in sweet dishes around the world, and can certainly make a filling addition to a smoothie containing avocado and chocolate powder. They’re high in protein and fiber, and when blended, create a nice thick paste.

smoothies healthiest

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Red lentils

Red lentils serve a similar function as black beans, offering a good amount of fiber and protein, and a mild flavor that goes surprisingly well in sweet recipes. One cup of red lentils offers 18 grams of protein and they add beautiful color to anything you put them in. They’re also an excellent source of folate and iron.

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Silken tofu

Silken tofu is incredibly soft – almost as soft as yogurt – so it will blend into smoothies nicely. It’s also a good source of protein, offering 10 grams of the stuff in just half a cup, and less than 100 calories. Mild in flavor, it tastes just as good with berries and fruit juices as it does with kale, celery juice, and spinach.

smoothies healthiest

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Cooked quinoa

Cooked quinoa may usually be the side dish to your chicken or steak dinner, but it can also go in your smoothie. One cup of this whole grain, cooked, offers eight grams of protein and five grams of fiber, along with plenty of copper, thiamine, iron, and vitamin B 6. It also adds a nice thick consistency to a smoothie.

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Cooked pumpkin

This is the perfect season to find more ways to use pumpkin. Cooked and chilled pumpkin makes an excellent addition to smoothies. It’s naturally creamy, makes anything a gorgeous bright orange, and is a great source of beta-carotene, as well as vitamins C and E to boost your immune system. It also offers a decent amount of fiber.

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