Most of us know about smoothies—the frothy, colorful drinks we see in supermarkets, health food stores, and in our own blenders. But what about the newest craze? Green juices, which are usually seen in the hands of celebrities, have rapidly taken off as the latest health trend. Both these healthy drinks provide tons of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber, but they can also be loaded with sugar and calories. If I may steal a phrase from Carrie Bradshaw, we can't help but wonder: Which are better, smoothies or juices?
The answer: both! You just have to understand their good, bad, and delicious sides.
The Good. Smoothies are a great way to fill up while also getting many of your daily requirements of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Another bonus: They taste great! Try yummy fruits such as apples and blueberries, which are packed with fiber and antioxidants. Adding fruit to your smoothies is also a way to grab extra nutrients you may have missed in meals.
Green juices are packed with antioxidants that help strengthen your immune system and fight diseases. When using dark greens such as spinach or kale, you can get as much as four grams of fiber, five grams of protein, and essential vitamins K, A, C, E, and B2. Try using green juices to sneak veggies to your kids if they typically turn them down. No time to make your own green juices? Go for Starbucks' new Evolution Fresh Juice, which comes in fantastic options like sweet greens with lemon and pineapple coconut water.
The Bad. Many smoothies at the grocery store are loaded with extra sugars and calories, so be careful—especially if it tastes suspiciously like a milkshake. Making your own smoothies helps you control and portion the ingredients.
Although green juices are packed with health boosters, there are certain things you should keep in mind. Using a juicer requires the addition of whole fruits and vegetables, and their pulp—the most nutritious part—is often trapped in the machine.
The Delicious. For a tasty smoothie packed with protein and vitamins, combine these ingredients in a blender:
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 3/4 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt
- 1 tablespoon Manitoba Hemp Hearts
- ½ cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon Navitas Naturals Raw Maca Powder
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
Not enough time to whip up a smoothie? I always keep a pouch of Happy Family Happy Squeeze Smoothies on hand. You can throw one in your bag and still be sure you're getting essential vitamins and minerals at around 100 calories per pouch.
Although drinking your veggies may take some time to get used to, this green juice recipe will have you hooked in no time. In a juicer, combine:
- 3 ounces kale
- 1 ounce spinach
- 2 apples, cored
- 1 small cucumber
- 1 inch piece ginger
For an extra burst of sweetness, stir in one packed of Nektar Naturals honey crystals.
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Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, is a nationally-recognized nutrition expert, author, and entrepreneur. She is the author of two top selling books, The Wall Street Diet and Bread is the Devil. She is the founder of Nu-Train, a nutrition consulting company, and Bestowed, a subscription service that offers consumers a personalized way to discover, sample, shop, and learn about the best nutrition and lifestyle products on the market.