Smoothies can be a great way to add more fruit, vegetables and fiber to your diet. If made correctly, they can be delicious, nutritious and a smart meal alternative. They are also a great food option for people who have digestive challenges, such as irritable bowel, malabsorption, Crohn’s or Celiac disease. They can also be good for cancer patients going through chemotherapy and who have low appetite.
Many people confuse smoothies and juices, but they are two distinctly different things. We think both are great and can play a role in your diet. Depending on your goals, one might be better than the other to meet your needs. Here’s the basic difference: Juicers extract all the juice from a fruit or vegetable, while smoothies are made by blending.
Juicing generally removes most or all of the skin and fiber, so they can offer a great nutrition boost. Because fiber has been removed, they pass through your system relatively quickly. Smoothies are blended so they can be made from the entire fruit or vegetable – skin, rind, stalk and all – for extra nutrients. The fiber slows digestion and helps make you feel full. You can also add yogurt, protein powder or other protein boosts to stay full longer.
How to make delicious, nutritious smoothies
A word of caution: Commercial smoothies that you buy in restaurants and stands can be high in calories and sugar. While an occasional serving might be OK, if you want to consume smoothies as a regular part of your diet, you need to learn the contents and nutritional facts. Or better yet, make your own. It’s easy, fast, fun, and you can get creative.
You can use a regular blender if you have one or there are dedicated smoothie makers of varying sizes and price points. Look for one that is easy to use and easy to clean so that you use it often. Some are pretty slim with a small footprint so you can keep them on your counter for frequent use. Here’s some comparison info on popular models of smoothie makers.
Most smoothie makers will offer some recipes and instructions. The type of smoothies you’ll make will partly depend on your goals, such as weight loss, a nutrition supplement for irritable digestive systems, or an occasional healthy treat. (if you are a Member of TotalCare Wellness and need help setting dietary goals, call ESI certified Nutrition Coaching for help.)
There are no shortage of options. Eating Well offers a good selection of low-calorie and healthy smoothie recipes, including smoothie bowls – thicker smoothies that you serve in a bowl, eat with a spoon, and garnish fruit, granola or other toppings.
Prevention offers 20 Super-Healthy Smoothie Recipes
Cleveland Clinic offers a fun infographic on How to Smoothie.