Are you team juice or smoothie!? You may be wondering, what’s the difference between juices and smoothies? In this post I’ll breakdown the difference between juices and smoothies, list some of the benefits of each, explain how fiber plays a role and include some tips for making them at home.
A smoothie is a puréed beverage that contains a variety of ingredients. Typically it contains some type of liquid as the base (like for example water, nut milk etc) plus greens and fruit. You can even add in some of your favorite superfoods. Some popular ones include chia seeds, flax seeds, maca, spirulina and cacao. There are so many different superfoods out there and each of them have specific health benefits. Smoothies are made in a blender and contain all parts of the ingredients including the fiber from fruits and vegetables that are being used.
Juices are made in a juicer. One of the main differences between the two is that they don’t contain fiber. The process of jucing extracts the liquid from the ingredients therefore removing the fiber. Juices are usually a blend between a variety of fruits & vegetables. One of my favorite ingredients for juice is ginger! Juices tend to be more concentrated compared to smoothies. Both are a great addition to a healthy diet. There are some key differences to take into consideration when deciding between a juice or smoothie.
Smoothies tend to provide more satiety than juices because the fiber remains in tact. In addition to including fruit and greens, people like to add protein and healthy fats to make it filling and more nutrient-dense. Flax, chia and hemp seeds are a great boost of protein, omega 3-fatty acids and fiber. By including all of these macronutrients, smoothies become more of a complete meal. Smoothies are a great go to for breakfast if you’re on the go! The key to making a healthy smoothie comes down to what ingredients you put into it. If you add in lots of fruit not including some of the other stuff it can turn into a big glass full of sugar.
There are few things to consider when buying or making a smoothie. Here are some tips:
1.) Add in leafy greens. Leafy greens are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Adding them into your smoothie helps get your daily intake of veggies. Greens are filled with phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. There are so many different greens you can choose from depending on what flavor profile you are in the mood for. For example: you can add kale to your smoothie which is a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C and even calcium. Or if you prefer you can add some spinach if you looking for a less bitter leafy green. Other greens you can use in your smoothie include Swiss chard, dandelion greens, beet greens, lettuce and arugula the list goes on. Each have their own unique health benefits and flavor. I listed below some more detailed information about a few of my favorite greens.
Nutrients: Great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium and fiber. Taste: earthy, semi-bitter.
Nutrients: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, good source of magnesium and iron. Taste: mild flavor, less bitter than kale and more delicate in texture.
Nutrients: rich in potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin A, and folic acid. Taste: very mild and neutral flavor profile. Pairs well with everything!
Nutrients: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, excellent source of magnesium, calcium, iron and contains all the essential amino acids. Taste: similar flavor profile to swiss chard and spinach. Mild flavor, less bitter than kale and dandelion greens.
Nutrients: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, B-vitamins and calcium just to name a few! Taste: bold, bitter, slightly peppery, stronger flavor profile.
Nutrients: calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C. Taste: bitter even more so than kale, strong, bold flavor.
Greens are a nutrient-dense super food. You can even add to your smoothie herbs or spices for added flavor such as mint, cilantro, parsley, micro greens or Ceylon cinnamon.
2.) Fruit provides sweetness and breaks up the bitter flavors of leafy greens. Fruits contain essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C and potassium. Personally, I like to add low-glycemic fruit to my smoothie so that my blood sugar doesn’t spike first thing in the morning. Some fruits you can add to your smoothies include: bananas, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mango and pineapple. There are so many to choose from, the possibilities are endless! You can also add a combination of these. Two of my favorites are wild blueberries and strawberries.
3.) Fiber plays a key role in digestive health. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. So you may be wondering what is the difference? Soluble fiber helps maintain blood sugar levels and helps regulate absorption of cholesterol while insoluble fiber promotes bowel health and regularity. Fruits and veggies have fiber. You can incorporate extra fiber by adding in nuts and seeds. Smoothies are a great choice if you’re looking to add more fiber into your diet.
4.) Protein-one of the key macronutrients. You can add in one of your favorite clean protein powders for that extra boost of amino acids or include a variety of nuts and seeds. Some of my personal favorites are almonds, pumpkin, chia and hemp seeds. Nut butter is a good choice for extra creaminess. I like to make homemade nut milks which are another great way to get in extra protein and add thickness to your smoothie.
5.) Healthy Fats. I’m all about the omega 3’s! Yet again, you can add in seeds which are a great source of healthy fats. They play an important role in brain health and reduce inflammation. Some healthy sources you can add to your smoothie include avocados, walnuts & almonds just to name a few!
When making your smoothie keep in mind this formula: leafy greens + fat + protein + fiber + a handful of fruit (for sweetness). This combination gives you an extra energy boost and helps fuel your day.
So lets talk about juice. As mentioned previously fiber is removed from the juicing process. It’s a liquid based drink and is usually concentrated because it extracts the juice from veggies and fruits. The downside to juice is the lack of fiber. Fiber is important for our gut and digestive health. It keeps us fuller for longer. The minerals and vitamins from the juice are easily absorbed into the body with minimal digestion. I like to think of juicing as a great way for quick vitamins and minerals. I usually pair it with a meal that is fiber inclusive to make up for the lack of fiber from the juice. I find it to be a great supplement. Juice does not make up a complete meal since it lacks fiber, fats and protein which are essential macronutrients. When it comes to making a healthy juice make sure its more vegetable based than fruit. If you only end up juicing fruit its essentially a glass of sugar water since there is no fiber. Plus, the sugar content will be extremely high which will more than likely lead to a spike in blood sugar. Some of my favorite veggies to add to juice are cucumber, celery, carrots & ginger. One of the pros to juicing is it’s a great source of antioxidants and it has anti-inflammatory effects on the body. It’s also light so its a good choice if you looking to fill nutritional gaps.
Are you team juice or smoothie? Or do you like both? Personally, I love both! I love smoothies in the morning as part of a complete nutrient-dense breakfast because they are full of fiber and I can pack in extra greens, fat and protein to give me fuel. I drink juice when I’m looking for an extra boost of vitamins. I usually drink juice separate from my meal and don’t make it quite as often. Try them both out and see which you prefer! I am happy to help if you have any questions 🙂