What should you do??
Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake deserves a pat on the back. Whether you are
consuming them raw, grilled, steamed or in liquid form – you are making a solid effort to
improve your overall health and preventing future diseases. Making produce into a
drinkable form is awesome, and convenient but have you ever wondered if there is a
“best practice” for doing so? Juicing or blending? There are pros and cons to both, so
before you go out and spend money on the necessary equipment, read this.
A majority of people think that juice is healthy. But did you know that the daily
recommended intake of juice is 4 ounces a day? That’s only a half of a cup and it doesn’t
matter if you make it or buy it. And now you are probably wondering, why??
When you juice a fruit or vegetable, you are extracting all of the water and nutrients
out, while leaving the bulk, or fiber, to go to waste. This is a red flag! We WANT the fiber
in our diets for so many reasons (heart health, digestive health, satiety, to name a few).
Fiber helps your digestive system by making it work harder to get the nutrients out of
the food and into your blood. Without that said fiber helping out, the nutrients go
straight to the blood stream. This could be great if you have digestive issues but
definitely not great for your blood sugar.
Also, if you are juicing as a meal replacement, please note that without fiber, you will
most likely be hungry again soon. It’s important to note that since juicing is so
concentrated, a little goes a long way (hence the 4-ounce recommendation). In the eyes
of an RDN, you are much better off eating the actual piece of produce than juicing it.
There is something to be said about throwing whole fruits and veggies into a blender
and having the result be filling and delicious. Blending is great, for so many reasons – I’m
trying not to get too over excited while writing this, but I may not be able to contain
When you blend produce, you are using the entire thing (skin and all) which means the
product is an excellent source of fiber and very filling. Personally, we make smoothies
most mornings of the week at our house. It’s a great way to make sure my kids are
getting the nutrients they need and it’s fast and easy.
When you are blending foods, the nutrients are broken down from their original form
(the whole fruit form). This means they are readily available for your body to absorb and
use. Since the fiber is there, the nutrients are utilized at a slower rate. This means you
won’t get that big spike in blood sugar like you do with a juice.
Another advantage to blending is that you can add in whatever you want! Chia seeds,
flaxseed, peanut butter, yogurt, anything your heart desires. I put almond milk in mine
for a low-calorie additive that thins out the smoothie a little bit. Add Greek yogurt to
increase protein intake or pumpkin seeds for some healthy fats.
Lastly, blending is cleaner and easier. Most blenders are dishwasher safe, and you won’t
have to clean up the unused portions like you do with a juicer.
In my eyes, blending wins. Hands down. Don’t ever be afraid to experiment with
blending and making new recipes. Drinking your produce is a great way to increase your
fruit and veggie intake, so what are you waiting for??
Need a place to start? For one of my favorite smoothie recipes, click here.