Sitting around at breakfast with some of my college friends, Denise asked me if I juice. I said no but that I drink a lot of smoothies. Sure, smoothies can be a nutritional nightmare and the calories from various ingredients can easily enlarge your bottom line or your belly.
For example, did you know that a 32-ounce peanut power plus strawberry smoothie from Smoothie King weighs in at 1020 calories and 32 grams of fat? Wait a minute… what about the average women who only needs 1500 calories or less each day to lose weight? This smoothie would be almost the only thing you could consume all day. But you could order the 20-ounce and make it skinny for 480 calories and 21 grams of fat.
Even the Tropicana Tropical Fruit Fury Twister so popular with kids contains about 340 calories for the bottle (20 ounces) that is supposed to be 2.5 servings according to the label. Come on, how many kids would drink less than one half a bottle and stop? Compare that to a 10-ounce bottle of 100% juice for 110 calories. Big difference.
But I love smoothies for a number of reasons:
1. Kick up your fruit intake. Fresh or frozen, most any fruit in season will work. Experiment with fruit combinations such as mango and blackberry or dark cherries and blueberries. Cut up brown bananas into chunks, freeze them and then use the pieces like ice for a creamy texture.
2. Get more greens. If it’s hard for you to get enough greens in your diet, toss fresh spinach or kale into the blender along with the fruit. The sweetness of the fruit will cut the bitterness of the greens and you’ll never notice but your body will. Try my favorite green smoothie that my husband drinks too. No, he didn’t at first until he tried it and realized that the fruit does provide a wonderful natural sweetness. If the drink wasn’t green, he wouldn’t know that kale is in it.
We use a Vita Mix 6300 which came from Costco but there are many similar ones. I hinted that I wanted one for Christmas. I use it almost daily. Did I say I love it? Depending on your kitchen space, there are shorter Vita Mix versions too. The reason I chose Vita Mix is that I want to use the whole or majority of the whole food and not just the juice. See why I don’t juice below. Also look at the Oster Beehive Series. There are a number of various units to choose from and many others.
3. Pick up your protein. In order for smoothies to be satisfying and fill you up, a protein source is a must. What works? Greek yogurt versus traditional yogurt due to the extra protein, skim milk or soy beverage, peanut or almond butter, or protein powder. I add chocolate protein powder (whey protein) along with peanut butter for a chocolate-peanut taste. Without the protein, it’s easy to drink a lot of calories and still be hungry.
On the flip side, I’m not a juicing fan for this big reason:
1. No pulp = no fiber, less minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals. Yes, juicing also increases your fruit and veggie intake but at the expense of losing the fiber and nutrients that are tossed. Basically you lose the benefits of the whole fruit and vegetables, which research indicates are nutrition powerhouses.
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