Healthy Living

Smoothie or Juice - Which is better for your health?

Smoothie or Juice - Which is better for your health?

At Modern Kids Design, it seems there is always some discussion around food and finding that ideal diet, so this week on the blog we are digging into the archives and bringing back a post we received a lot of feedback on - Juices vs. Smoothies. People seem to feel passionately about one or the other but at MKD, we like both for different reasons and here's why...

Sometimes it’s difficult to eat all our fruits and vegetables. We know we should do it, we want to do it, but it can be a little overwhelming. Right now, the FDA recommends eating about four and a half cups of fruits and vegetables a day. That's a lot.  At Modern Kids Design, we’ve found juicing and drinking smoothies makes “eating” our fruit and veggies easier for the whole family. We love making our own organic juices and designing a yummy breakfast smoothie but understand that some people may be a little confused about the benefits and differences. We’d like to jump into the debate. When it comes to the Juices vs. Smoothies battle, is one better than the other? Read on to find out.

What’s the Difference Between Juices and Smoothies?

The main difference between juices and smoothies is fiber. To make a fruit and/or vegetable juice, you cut up your ingredients and place them in a juicer. The juicer extracts the liquid from your fruits and veggies and separates it from the insoluble fiber and that is why you see pulp at the end. So, you’ll have a glass of nutritious juice—minus the fiber.

An interesting fact about juicing is that in some cases, not all, you can juice the skin and consume nutrients that you would not normally have access to. One surprising example is lemon skin and another is pineapple skin. Yes, both are nutritious. You really have to read up on which type fruit skin to juice though because some of it is a “no no,” and you have to make sure that your particular juicer can handle the skin. :-)

Smoothies, on the other hand, are blended. You place your ingredients into your favorite blender and hit “on.” When it’s done, you still have all the original fiber. When you drink a smoothie, nutritionally it’s as if you’d eaten all the ingredients separately. Plus, you’ll feel full.

Both smoothies and juices offer plenty of nutrients to fuel the body. Because of how they’re processed, however, your body uses the fuel differently. The vitamins in fresh juice go right into your bloodstream. It’s like getting a shot and you feel the boost. The vitamins in a smoothie are accessed more slowly due to the fiber but some say that the process of making smoothies can also actually enhance the nutrient absorption. In our opinion, smoothies and juices both have an important place in a healthy diet. For many, it comes down to preference, taste and even convenience. Honestly, we think you can’t go wrong with either and that there’s enough space for both in a green diet.

Which Has More Nutrients, Juices or Smoothies?

If you consider how a juice is made and how a smoothie is made, you would think that smoothies have more nutrients because they maintain all the parts of the original ingredients. However, the body processes the nutrients from smoothies and juices differently. In the case of smoothies, many of the nutrients are trapped in the fiber, and the body is not able to process them as quickly as they are with juices. The vitamins from the juices are like a quick shot of nutrients in the system. People have different health needs, desires and objectives. You have to think about what is important to you and what you want to achieve with it for your family.

This is anecdotal but, in our experience, when you juice for long periods of time, you have  remarkably high levels of energy. In fact, if you juice daily, you may find you sleep less. Again, in our experience, it has been nothing short of astonishing. It is important to note, however, that it was the result of making our own fresh juice at least four times a week and consuming it within a day if not hours of making it.

An important side note about juicing -- Depending on the type of juicer you have, you can’t let it sit for days.  You have to drink it fresh. The nutritional value goes down with time as it can oxidize. Check the instructions for your juicer to determine how long it can last. But the bottom line for us, is juicing has helped our families get through the winters without getting ill. The vitamin intake is just that strong. Having said that, your level of health can be equally as strong with a consistent menu of smoothies too. Both are good and mixing it up is even better!

Should I Juice My Fruit or Blend It?

Due to the high natural sugar content in many fruits (and some vegetables), some people prefer to blend their fruit into smoothies. Again, that is a great option. You can consume a lot of fruit that way too. Whether you blend or juice you can consumer more than you would if you eat the fruits whole.

To be honest, even when we make green juices, we add a bit of fruit, particularly apples to help make it more palatable. Oranges and grapes are also a great way to sweeten a vegetable juice. Once you get started, you’ll be able to better determine which fruits or vegetable combinations work best for you.

Is Juice or a Smoothie Better For Kids?

Both juice and smoothies are great for kids, but there are some caveats. If you’d like to share your juice with your kids, make sure to dilute your younger kid’s portion with some water. This will cut back on some of the sugars from fruit juices as well as the strong nutrients. According to some doctors, it makes it a safer option for the young ones. Again, this is anecdotal, but we have never worried about sugar from organic fruits and vegetables and have never had any problems with it. If your kids have a steady exposure to fruits and veggies in all their magnificent forms, they’ll be ahead of the game and super healthy too. :-)

One last thing we’d like to note for now is that because smoothies are more fibrous and filling, they make a good breakfast, lunch or even snack replacement for teens who are constantly running out the door instead of sitting down to eat. It's actually a good option for adults on the go too. :-)

So, there you have it. That’s our two cents. There is literally no end to the juicing and smoothie story and debate. It is amazing how passionate people are about one or the other (us included!). At the end of the day, again, you cannot go wrong with either. Both are great choices and additions to the family menu. Depending on your time and inclinations, If you haven’t already started making your own juices or smoothies, we hope you’re now thinking about giving it a try! We’ll be sharing some delicious recipes soon but, in the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts with us at healthyliving@modernkidsdesign.com. As always, thanks for reading!