Sunday, September 4, 2016

Juice vs Smoothies, which is healthier?

Smoothies are the rage and many people have their favorite smoothie recipe.  Which one is better for you?  A recent article in the New York Times, Are Smoothies Better For You Than Juices?, outline the pros and cons of juice vs. smoothies.   

      1.        Juice – to be healthy, juice has to be real, 100% juice.  Many people buy Sunny D, Hi-C, or Capri-Sun juice drinks and think they are getting real, 100% juice.  But these are fruit drinks or juice drinks and not 100% real juice.  These fruit drinks may contain some juice as Hi-C drinks contain about  10% real juice.  Simply Fruit Punch Juice Drink contains only 15% juice.  The rest is mostly sugar water.  The added sugar in these drinks is often high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar which provide only “empty calories” without the nutritional benefits of real juice.    
  • Choose "juice" not juice drinks or fruit punch.  To be sure it is real juice, look for the word “juice” on the label and not “fruit drink” or “juice drink”.  Look at the ingredients to be sure it is juice and no sugars like high fructose corn syrup have been added.   
  •  Fiber:  Eating whole fruit is a healthier option as it retains the fiber in the fruit.  My husband enjoys an orange at breakfast, but I still like a glass of ice cold orange juice or grapefruit juice.  No juice drinks or fruit drinks, just 100% real juice.    
2.        Smoothies
a.       Fruit:  Make them with real, whole fruit.  Using the whole fruit keeps the fiber which slows down the absorption of the natural sugar, fructose, that is in the fruit.  Making a smoothie from one banana and a cup of frozen raspberries would add 12 grams of fiber to your day. Using whole fruit which has the fiber is a reason smoothies are a healthier option than juice.
b.      Vegetables – using fresh vegetables such as cucumbers, spinach, romaine lettuce is a great way to add nutrients like vitamin A and potassium to your day and fiber.  Using avocado adds a smooth texture and healthy fats to your smoothie.
c.       Protein – milk or yogurt adds protein.  Choose low fat milk or low fat yogurt. Add in nuts or silken tofu for more of a protein boost.  Unsweetened almond milk makes a great smoothie.  Yogurt and milk not only add a high quality protein but also calcium and vitamin D to your day.   

Making a smoothie at home can be healthier as you know all the ingredients and you don’t need to add sugar.  Some store bought smoothies can be high in added sugar, even as much added sugar as a milkshake.  So check out the ingredients and the calorie content of store bought smoothies.

Many readers commented on the New York Times article.  One smoothie favorite from a reader:  banana, mixed frozen fruit (with blueberries and blackberries), yogurt and almond milk.

If you enjoy Almond Milk, then the following is an easy smoothie recipe:
/2 medium banana, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 cup chopped fresh mango
2 cups chilled unsweetened vanilla-flavored almond milk

In a blender, add the banana chunks, blueberries, strawberries, and mango. Blend until combined, about 30 seconds. Serve in chilled glasses with straws.

Recipe courtesy of Melissa D'Arabian

So pull out the blender this week and enjoy a smoothie.  Smoothies are a great way to have breakfast and take it with you as you are rushing out the door. 


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