EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Juicing and smoothies have become popular and it's no wonder: they are portable, they taste great, and they are an easy way to add more fruits and veggies to your day. But, are juices and smoothies really as healthy as they seem? Check out this list of pros and cons to figure you which of these beverages is right for you and your dietary goals.

Juicing

Pros:

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  • Relatively easy way to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
  • Some vitamins and antioxidants may be more easily absorbed after juicing.

Cons:

  • Most contain inadequate amounts of fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
  • The cost: the machine itself can cost anywhere from $50 to $400, and recipes tend to call for large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables in season for the best value.
  • Drinking calories may not trigger the same level of satiety as eating calories, so you may not feel satisfied even if the calories are adequate.

 

Build a better homemade-juice…

  • Instead of throwing away the leftover pulp (fiber) after you're done making a juice, mix it into muffin batters and casseroles for an added boost of nutrition.
  • Keep serving sizes in check, sticking to 4-6 ounces instead of the more common 8-12.
  • Use more vegetables than fruits for a smaller dose of sugar.
  • Enjoy juices as a side dish to a meal or snack that contains lean protein and some healthy fats, rather than using the juice as the entire meal or snack.

 

Smoothies

Pros

  • Blenders are usually more affordable than juicers, and can be used for other kitchen tasks.
  • When made using the tips below, smoothies can contain adequate fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
  • Can use cost-effective frozen fruits in addition to or instead of fresh.

Cons:

  • Pre-made and packaged smoothies often contain excess added sugars and calories.
  • Drinking calories may not trigger the same level of satiety as eating them does, so you may not feel satisfied even if the calories are adequate.

 

Build a better homemade smoothie…

  • Start with a base of non-fat, plain Greek yogurt, low-fat milk, or unsweetened non-dairy milk.
  • Add a frozen banana for sweetness and consistency, and up to ½ cup additional fruits for flavor.
  • Mix in a few tablespoons of healthy proteins and fats, such as chia seeds, peanut butter, or protein powder.
  • Top it off with a handful of leafy greens -- it'll change the smoothie's color but you won't taste it. We promise!

 

Maryrose Agel is the registered dietitian at the ShopRite of Spotswood and is available for free nutrition services. 

Contact her at 732-570-8534 or Maryrose.agel@wakefern.com