When creating smoothies for weight loss you may shy away from high-calorie and high-fat foods like nuts. It seems counter-intuitive, but adding foods with healthy fats to your diet (in moderation) can actually help you lose weight. Putting nuts in smoothies is a delicious way to add satiating fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
What are healthy fats?
Our bodies need fat in order to function properly. You want to make sure you are getting the right kind of fat in your diet, though. “Healthy fat” refers to the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found naturally in plants. These fats have heart-healthy benefits like reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol, helping to stabilize blood sugar levels, and are anti-inflammatory.
Health benefits of nuts
Here’s a quick summary of the health benefits of nuts. I’ll go into detail for each nut below.
Nuts are high in healthy unsaturated fats. These healthy fats have heart-health benefits including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, raising HDL (good) cholesterol, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
They are also high in antioxidants and are a great source of many other important vitamins and minerals.
Nuts are good sources of fiber, protein, and fat so they will keep you feeling satisfied for longer. This means that although they are high in calories and fat, eating them in moderation can actually help you to lose weight.
Feeling full and staying full, or satiety, is a very important key to weight loss. If you’re feeling hungry all the time when trying to lose weight you’ll end up snacking more. This can work against you in the end and cause weight gain.
When eaten in moderation, including foods in your diet that contain fiber, protein, and fats (the healthy, natural fats found in plants) you will be satisfied for longer. In the end, this can help you to lose weight!
How to use nuts in smoothies
Depending on the recipes, add 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup of nuts in your smoothie. The difference between the amounts depends on how nutty you want your smoothie to taste. The more nuts, the nuttier your smoothie will be.
If you don’t have a high-powered blender, raw nuts can be difficult to blend smooth. Soak them in water overnight to soften them. Drain and rinse before adding to your smoothie. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have the luxury of soaking nuts overnight, try soaking them for an hour in warm water before blending.
If you have a high-powered blender you can just add the nuts unsoaked in with the other smoothie ingredients and blend.
Soaking raw nuts is not required for smoothies. If you don’t have a high-powered blender and don’t mind a crunchy texture to your smoothie you can add the raw nuts without any soaking.
You can also add nut butter to your smoothie to get that nutty flavor. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of nut butter. Just be careful with nut butter and read the ingredients on the packaging. Many of them come with added sugars, salt, and other ingredients you may not want to add to your smoothie.
Another option for adding a nutty flavor to your smoothie is to use nut milk for the liquid base. Just replace the liquid in the smoothie recipe (I usually just add water to my smoothies) with the same amount of nut milk. You can make your own nut milk or buy it in the grocery store. Be careful of added ingredients, though, like sugars or other sweeteners. These can add unnecessary calories to your smoothie.
Nuts to use in smoothies
This list of nuts are not the only nuts you can use in smoothies. They are the more common nuts used in smoothies, are very healthful, and blend well with many different ingredients. Feel free to use any nut you want in your smoothies. If you have any nut suggestions please leave them in the comments below this post!
In the “blend with” section of each nut, I make several suggestions of ingredients to use with that nut. This is not a comprehensive list of ingredients. I’m hoping to help get you started with creating smoothies with nuts or to give you some new ideas.
Keep in mind that nuts blend well with fruit, vegetable, and green smoothies.
Walnuts are very high in antioxidants, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and have one of the highest levels of omega-3 fats of any nut. They can help you with weight loss (in moderation) despite being high in calories. This is because they have good amounts of omega-3 fats, protein, and fiber to help you feel satisfied for longer. Walnuts are also known for their cardiovascular benefits including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and for reducing inflammation.
If you are adding whole walnuts to your smoothies, be sure to keep the skin on them. 90% of walnuts’ phenols (antioxidants) are found in the skin.
1/4 cup of walnuts contains 196 calories.
Walnuts are extremely perishable. Shelled walnuts should be kept in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. They can also be stored in the freezer for up to a year.
The flavor of walnuts is generally mild but does contain some tangy and sharp notes. The flavor is a complex combination of earthy, fruity, and tart. Compared to other nuts they can taste somewhat bitter because of their high tannin levels.
Almond, apple, apricot, avocado, banana, blueberry, Brazil nut, caramel, carrot, chia seeds, chocolate/cacao, cinnamon, cloves, coconut, collard greens, cranberry, date, hemp seeds, kale, mango, maple, nectarine, nutmeg, oats, peach, pear, plum, pumpkin seeds, romaine lettuce, spinach, strawberry, Swiss chard, vanilla
Almonds are high in biotin, vitamin E, magnesium, and manganese. They are also a good source of fiber, protein, and calcium. The monounsaturated fat in almonds has been known to help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol. The fiber and fat combined in almonds can help control blood sugar levels and help with weight loss.
They also have high amounts of antioxidants, mostly found in the brown layer of skin. For this reason, it’s best to add whole almonds to your smoothies with the skin to get the most benefits from them.
1/4 cup of almonds contains about 207 calories.
Shelled almonds have a short shelf life before they go rancid unless they are stored in a cool, dry, and dark place. Keeping them in an airtight container will help to extend their shelf life. If you store them in the refrigerator they will last for several months. Storing them in the freezer will extend their life up to a year.
Delicately flavored, this sweet tasting nut blends well with any smoothie combination. It’s so delicate, however, that you may not notice it in smoothies with stronger tasting ingredients. Raw almonds are sometimes described as having a slight cherry flavor.
Apple, avocado, banana, beet, blackberry, blueberry, Brazil nut, broccoli, cayenne, celery, chai, cherry, chia seeds, chocolate/cacao, cinnamon, coconut, coffee, collard greens, cranberry, date, fig, ginger, hazelnut, hemp seeds, mango, nutmeg, oats, orange, pineapple, plum, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin seeds, raspberry, romaine lettuce, spinach, strawberry, Swiss chard, walnut
Macadamia nuts contain high amounts of magnesium, vitamin B1, manganese, and thiamin. They are high in omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid which is the same fatty acid that is found in olive oil. Macadamias are also high in oleic acid.
Macadamia nuts have one of the highest healthy fat content of nuts, containing about 60 percent monounsaturated fat oleic acid. This is a good fat your body needs to help fight heart disease and lower your risk of stroke.
1/4 cup of macadamia nuts contains 180 calories.
Macadamia nuts are high in healthy fats and this means if they are not stored properly they will have a short shelf life (about 2 – 4 weeks). You can extend their shelf life by storing shelled nuts in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Or store them in the freezer in an airtight container for 9 to 12 months.
The taste of the macadamia nut can be described as creamy, buttery, and slightly sweet.
Acai, avocado, banana, blueberry, chocolate/cacao, cinnamon, coconut, coffee, collard greens, cranberry, mango, pineapple, raspberry, romaine lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard
Hazelnuts (also known as filberts) are very high in manganese and are a great source of copper, vitamin E, magnesium, folate, and thiamine. They also contain fiber, protein, and many antioxidants.
Hazelnuts contain fats that are known to promote heart health. They are particularly high in healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. The fats, fiber, and protein in hazelnuts can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight by keeping you feeling satisfied for longer.
Like other nuts, most of the antioxidants in hazelnuts can be found in the skin. Be sure to add the skin to your smoothie, too!
1/4 cup of hazelnuts contains 178 calories.
Hazelnuts have a lower percentage of moisture than other nuts and have a high vitamin E level. This combination gives them a longer shelf life than many other nuts. The shelf life of shelled hazelnuts stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark place is up to 6 months. Shelled hazelnuts will keep for 6 – 8 months when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for around a year when stored in the freezer in an airtight container.
The flavor of hazelnuts has been described as mild, sweet, and buttery. Hazelnuts blend well with almost any food, and their taste stands up to strong flavors such as citrus and chocolate.
Almond, apple, avocado, banana, berries, blackberry, blueberry, cardamom, cherry, chia seed, chocolate/cacao, citrus, coffee, collard greens, fig, kiwi, orange, peanut, peanut butter, pear, romaine lettuce, spinach, strawberry, Swiss chard
Pecans contain more than nineteen vitamins and minerals including vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin B, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, folic acid, phosphorus, and zinc. They are also rich in fiber and antioxidants.
Pecans can help regulate blood sugar, reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, boost your immune system, and help with weight loss.
1/4 cup of pecans contains about 172 calories.
Shelled pecans will only last for 2 – 4 weeks if kept in the pantry. To extend their shelf life, place them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 9 months. For an even longer shelf life, place them in an airtight container in the freezer and enjoy them for up to 2 years.
Pecans have a rich, buttery, and sweet taste. They are a favorite in baked goods and, of course, pecan pie.
Almond, banana, blueberry, butternut squash, chocolate/cacao, cinnamon, collard greens, date, flaxseed, honey, mango, maple, oats, papaya, peach, peanut, peanut butter, pumpkin, romaine lettuce, spinach, strawberry, Swiss chard, vanilla
Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts. 82% of the fat found in cashews is unsaturated fatty acids, and about 66% of these fats are heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. This combination of fats is similar to those found in olive oil.
Cashews are also very high in copper and are a great source of phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, and zinc.
Eating cashews can help promote heart health, bone health, boost energy, and increase antioxidant defenses.
1/4 cup of cashews contains 221 calories.
Cashews are more stable when being stored than most other nuts because of their high oleic acid content. For maximum shelf life store cashews in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to six months, or in the freezer for up to one year.
Cashews are delicate in flavor. They have a taste similar to peanuts, but milder.
Apple, banana, blueberry, cardamom, cherry, chia seeds, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, collard greens, date, flaxseed, hemp hearts, mango, maple, nutmeg, oats, peach, persimmon, romaine lettuce, spinach, strawberry, Swiss chard, vanilla
Chestnuts are high in fiber and help support digestive health. Dietary fiber can help food move through the digestive tract, stabilize blood sugar, alleviate constipation, and promote satiety.
Chestnuts also contain a good amount of antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and promote heart health. They are good sources of manganese, vitamin C, and thiamine.
Ten kernels (roughly 84 grams) of roasted chestnuts contains 206 calories.
Chestnuts are probably the most difficult nut (in this list, at least) to store. If you allow them to dry out they will become as hard as dry beans. If kept too moist or warm they will mold. The ideal storage for them is in the coldest part of your refrigerator in covered containers. When stored like this they will last 2 – 3 weeks. Once you have roasted them, they will not last more than a few days in the fridge.
Ideally, use the raw chestnuts as soon as possible after receiving them to avoid having them spoil.
European chestnuts are not really edible when raw so they must be cooked. Unlike other nuts, the skin must be removed prior to eating and can be difficult with raw nuts. The skin should be easier to remove from warm, roasted nuts.
Chestnuts have a mildly sweet taste that blends well with many flavors.
Almond, apple, banana, cherry, chia seeds, chocolate/cacao, cinnamon, coconut, collard greens, cranberry, date, fig, hazelnut, honey, nutmeg, oats, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, romaine lettuce, spinach, strawberry, Swiss chard, vanilla, walnut
Brazil nuts are extremely high in selenium. In fact, they are the #1 food source on the planet for selenium. Selenium is an anti-inflammatory agent, a mood booster that helps prevent depression, and can help regulate your thyroid levels. While there are great health benefits from selenium you do want to be sure to not get too much. Selenium toxicity is a serious issue you want to avoid. Sticking to the serving size of 6 kernels (1 ounce) every once in a while should be fine, though.
The unsaturated fats found in Brazil nuts can raise your HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels.
Brazil nuts are also high in protein, fiber, thiamine, copper, and magnesium.
1/4 cup of Brazil nuts contains 185 calories.
Brazil nuts have a high oil content and must be stored properly for maximum shelf life. If they are stored in the pantry they will last between 2 and 4 weeks. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 9 months or in the freezer for up to 1 year.
Brazil nuts have a creamy, mild nutty taste similar to almond or coconut. Some people love the flavor and some people strongly dislike it.
Almond, avocado, banana, beetroot, blackberry, blueberry, chia seeds, chocolate/cacao, cinnamon, coconut, collard greens, cranberry, hemp seeds, oats, pumpkin seeds, raspberry, romaine lettuce, spinach, strawberry, Swiss chard, tahini, walnut
Peanuts aren’t actually nuts they are legumes. They are related to other members of the legume family such as beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils.
Peanuts are high in monounsaturated fats. These are the heart-healthy type of fat that is found in the Mediterranean diet. They are also very high in copper, and vitamin B3. Peanuts are good sources of vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein, and manganese.
Peanuts are known to promote heart health and they rival fruit as a source of antioxidants.
Like other nuts, most of the antioxidants are found in the skin. Be sure to keep that on the nut when adding to your smoothie to get the most benefits.
1/4 cup of peanuts contains about 142 calories.
Store shelled peanuts in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months and in the freezer for up to 6 months. Exposing them to heat, light, or humidity will cause them to turn rancid.
Peanuts have a buttery and nutty taste.
Apple, avocado, banana, blueberry, cauliflower, chocolate/cacao, cinnamon, collard greens, date, flaxseed, honey, nutmeg, oats, peach, pineapple, romaine lettuce, spinach, strawberry, Swiss chard, vanilla
Pistachios contain a healthy combination of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They are also loaded with potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamin B6, thiamine, and copper.
Pistachios are known for their cholesterol-lowering abilities, specifically LDL (bad) cholesterol. The healthy fats, fiber, and protein found in pistachios can help with weight control by making you feel satiated.
1/4 cup of pistachios contains about 159 calories.
The pistachios’ split shells expose the nut to air making it important to store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Stored like this they will last for up to 3 months. You can also store them in the freezer in an airtight plastic freezer bag for up to a year.
Shelled pistachios should be stored the same as split shell pistachios.
Pistachios taste rich and nutty. They are sometimes described as having a sweet buttery taste. Note that pistachios can come salted. I do not recommend adding salted pistachios to your smoothie.
Almond, apricot, avocado, banana, blueberry, cardamom, cashew, cherry, chocolate/cacao, cinnamon, coconut, collard greens, coriander, cranberries, date, fig, mango, mint, plum, pomegranate, romaine lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, tahini, vanilla
The health benefits of mixed nuts will depend on which nuts are in the blend. Overall, though, nuts are high in healthy unsaturated fats that are known to have heart-health benefits, reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Mixed nuts should be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator or in the freezer. They should only be stored for as long as the shortest shelf life nut in the mix. To be safe, store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 months or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Mixed nuts are going to taste, well, nutty. They will be a combination of all the different nuts in the mix and will have a complex nutty and buttery taste.
Banana, blackberry, blueberry, chocolate/cacao, cinnamon, coconut, collard greens, date, fig, nectarine, nutmeg, oats, orange, peach, plum, pumpkin, raspberry, Romaine lettuce, spinach, strawberry, Swiss chard, vanilla
Add nuts to a smoothie today!
Nuts are high in calories and fat but they still make a very healthy addition to your smoothies. Because of their high-calorie content, you may not want to add them to EVERY smoothie you make, but the health benefits you’ll get from them are worth it in the occasional smoothie.
I challenge you to try adding nuts in your next smoothie. Pick any one from the list above.
If you’re looking for some nut smoothie recipe ideas or inspiration, check out the ones here:
I’d love to hear which one you picked and how it turned out in your smoothie in the comments below!
If you’d like to learn more about how to create nutritionally balanced smoothies, download my free guide:
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